Wikipedia talk:Consensus/Archive 20

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Archive 19 Archive 20 Archive 21

Default outcome of no consensus

Occasionally, we have large-scale discussions where one group of editors advocates an action based on policies or guidelines and another group opposes the action citing no particular policies or guidelines but indicating the subject of the discussion should be an WP:IAR exception. When those discussions are particularly long or contentious, the outcome is almost always "no consensus", and so we default to carving out an exception to the policy/guideline by maintaining the status quo. It seems sensible that the default outcome should align with policy when policy- or guideline-based rationales meet claims of WP:IAR or editorial judgement. In other words, I'd think it sensible that the "burden" of showing a firm consensus should lie with those wishing to make an exception to a policy or guideline rather than those advocating that an article is brought in line with an existing policy or guideline.

The specific change I'd like to see to this policy would be the addition of a bullet point under WP:NOCON saying "When consensus would be found if not for appeals to ignore all rules, a lack of consensus should default to the outcome supported by policies and guidelines, even if that outcome is not the status quo."

This is not an RfC, but I'd like thoughts on this. If the reception is generally positive, I'll make an RfC. ~ Rob13Talk 12:38, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

I don't see how that helps because the discussion would then become "my side won because it is supported by policy X" vs. "no, policy Y supports my side". What is the background? I hope it's not the infobox war. If policies really did support one side, by definition that is what consensus would find. Johnuniq (talk) 00:01, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
@Johnuniq: Egads! The background is most certainly not the infobox war, and if there's any room for something like this to be applied there, we must get rid of that room. There are many debates I've stumbled across where there is consensus that policies/guidelines support outcome A, but a significant portion of editors think WP:IAR/editorial judgement should be applied to choose outcome B. My goal is to take care of those situations and those situations only. It's rather awkward that we default to ignoring all rules when such discussions fail to find consensus; shouldn't we need consensus to override policy even if doing so is a status quo no-one's bothered to question? Perhaps a better wording would be: "When there is consensus that policies or guidelines favor a particular outcome, that outcome is the default until consensus is shown to ignore all rules." ~ Rob13Talk 01:53, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
Isn't the problem that one side thinks policies support their position (perhaps they say BLP means a person with a notable career should not be branded as a sex offender in the first sentence), while the other side thinks RS/NPOV/whatever supports prominent placement of the information? If both sides agreed that policy only supported one outcome, the discussion would have stopped weeks earlier. At any rate, a closer would note that consensus is that policy supports only one outcome, so that is the final decision. I can't find the particular wording I thought was at WP:CONSENSUS at the moment, but consensus specifically disregards ILIKEIT reasons—only reasons that are a valid reflection of policy matter. How would tweaking the wording help my scenario—should "sex offender" feature prominently in the lead? Each situation needs individual consideration. Johnuniq (talk) 02:21, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
@Johnuniq: It wouldn't; that's not a situation I'm trying to improve here. There have been situations like Nikkimaria described below where everyone agrees "policy/guideline X says we should do Y" and some people say "policy/guideline X should be ignored and we should do Z instead". I'm suggesting that unless we have a consensus that "policy/guideline X should be ignored", then we default to doing Y, even if Z was the status quo, until there is a clear consensus for ignoring the policy/guideline and doing Z. ~ Rob13Talk 22:17, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
I would be opposed to including guidelines in this line of argument, certainly - while I don't have any examples immediately to hand, I do recall discussions where not only does everyone agree that "guideline X says we should do Y here" but also that "common sense says we should do Z instead". I wouldn't want to see that discussion conclude that "we must do Y because guidelines even though Z undeniably makes more sense here". Most guidelines explicitly have that common-sense exception anyway. Nikkimaria (talk) 04:07, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
@Nikkimaria: I absolutely don't want to take away that editorial judgement. I'm suggesting that the default should by Y, even if Z is the status quo. If there's consensus to ignore guideline X and do Z instead, that's perfectly fine, which is why I'm only proposing that we change the "no consensus" section. Currently, the default outcome of no consensus is the status quo. I think the outcome should be Y in the situation you're describing until there's clear consensus for Z. Default to what the guideline says, with exceptions requiring consensus. ~ Rob13Talk 22:17, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
I might agree to default-Y for policies, in clear-cut cases with consensus and no conflicting policies, which I suspect would be few! I wouldn't for guidelines - partly because IAR is actually codified in most guidelines, so someone arguing for Z would be quite correct in saying guideline X supports their position too. In other words, while I think your proposal would make sense in some cases, I also think those cases are few enough to not enact it. Nikkimaria (talk) 23:14, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

May be I am missing something here, but WP:IAR is a policy as well. Therefore if in the described scenario the "no consensus" was declared basing on the strength of arguments, the "status quo" outcome is just as well based on our policy. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:47, 7 October 2016 (UTC)

@Staszek Lem: That is a rather serious misapplication of WP:IAR. "Ignore all rules" is meant to make sure our "rules" don't prevent editors from doing what's right for the encyclopedia in clear-cut cases or cases where the outcome that doesn't comply our rules has overwhelming support. It isn't intended to be a complete shield against all other policies or guidelines. The idea of "strength of arguments" goes out the window entirely if IAR can support any argument despite there being no consensus that we should ignore the rule. ~ Rob13Talk 15:45, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
@BU Rob13:. Well, this is your interpretation of IAR, which is basically the gist of your proposal here. You wrote "if IAR can support any argument" I don't see the relevance to my post, because I wrote just the opposite: solid arguments must support the choice of IAR compared to other policies. In other words, here is the chain of logic: IAR supports the particular version of article text, while application of IAR is supported by wikipedians' arguments. If there is "no consensus" whether to use IAR or some other policy then how do you decide "what is right"? Your suggestion is basically to give IAR lesser weight compared to other policies. Yes or no? (Please notice that I am neither pro nor contra this, I am just trying to understand.) Staszek Lem (talk) 20:12, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

Rob says, "Occasionally, we have large-scale discussions where one group of editors advocates an action based on policies or guidelines and another group opposes the action citing no particular policies or guidelines but indicating the subject of the discussion should be an WP:IAR exception. When those discussions are particularly long or contentious, the outcome is almost always 'no consensus', and so we default to carving out an exception to the policy/guideline by maintaining the status quo..." The problem is not the No Consensus section of this policy, but that to say that the outcome in that situation is 'no consensus' is a mis-evaluation of the consensus in that discussion. Provided that, as Nikkimaria notes, the application of policy is clear, and remembering that consensus evaluation must be based on strength of argument more than counting heads, then the consensus in that situation should always be evaluated as supporting the application of policy unless the arguments for the IAR exception clearly have consensus. Unless they do, then the consensus backing the policy — not the consensus in that discussion but the consensus in adopting the policy — prevails because, per the CONLIMITED section of this policy, policies (and guidelines) are the "established consensus" of the community. That means in a policy vs. IAR argument the policy side already has consensus unless the IAR side overcomes that consensus with a stronger consensus for an IAR exception. Moreover, the arguments for the IAR local exception have to be more than just "we need an IAR exception here" or "we don't like what the policy does," they must be reasons which address the purposes of the policy and give cogent reasons for why those purposes fail to properly or adequately address the particular situation under consideration. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:29, 8 October 2016 (UTC)

@TransporterMan: I basically agree with everything you said. My attitude is essentially that we should eliminate any doubt whatsoever as to what should happen in those cases. I do agree consensus has been incorrectly assessed according to both the spirit and word of our policies when WP:IAR arguments are weighted the same as arguments based on policies or guidelines, but it's very difficult to tackle that issue. It's a lot easier to fix the outcome than fix the assessment of consensus, especially because these discussions are often so tedious that they'll never be overturned at review. ~ Rob13Talk 15:41, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
Please clarify what do you mean under "WP:IAR arguments". There are two understandings: "arguments that say 'We have to IAR" and ""arguments that say 'We have to IAR because <arg1> and <arg2>". In the first case there is a single argument of type ILIKEIT. In the second case I fail to understand why <arg1> and <arg2> must intrinsically weigh less. "Arguments based on policies or guidelines" are of the same two types: either "We have to apply Policy1" or "We have to apply Policy1 because <arg3> and <arg4>". Again, the former is ILIKEIT, and in the second case I fail to see why <arg3>+<arg4> are unconditionally stronger than <arg1>+<agr2> (again, because Policy1 and IAR are both policies.) If you propose to declare that IAR is the weakest of all policies and gain consensus in this :-), then your suggestion is a consequence of this declaration. Staszek Lem (talk) 20:12, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
@Staszek Lem: Both, kind of, and I'll explain. In the sense of my proposed change, those would both be IAR arguments, but arg1 and arg2 can and should play a role in determining consensus. If one group says "We should apply Policy1" with no explanation and another group says "We should apply IAR because <arg1> and <arg2>", that very well may result in a finding of consensus for ignoring the policy if those arguments are sensible, unchallenged, and there aren't similarly compelling arguments on the policy side. I'm not suggesting any change in the process of reaching consensus, and IAR arguments are not inherently weaker, persay. What I am suggesting is that the default outcome be Policy1's outcome if the weighted arguments don't lead to clear consensus for IAR. Once all arguments (even IAR arguments!) are weighted and considered, I think a lack of consensus should result in following the policy or guideline which received that status because of broad community consensus rather than an exception which doesn't itself have consensus. Does that distinction make sense? I'm suggesting a change in what happens when the outcome is "no consensus", not a change in how closers may or may not get to the outcome of "no consensus". ~ Rob13Talk 01:31, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
I would have immediately agreed with you if policies in each and every part were based on broad discussions. It is true that the cores of our policies are hammered out by years of deliberation, but nowadays policies are modified by a handful of dedicated "policy watchers", and some particular clause in question may be not at all from a broader community. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:54, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
When that's occurred in past discussions I've been involved in (and it's happened very few times), it's always been figured out from the policy's edit history and the person who altered the policy in a significant way without discussion was firmly trouted. Should we really be working from the assumption that our policies/guidelines don't reflect community consensus? ~ Rob13Talk 02:07, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
Staszek, giving any strength to the argument that you just made is a path to madness. The ultimate purpose of policy is to establish a system by which individual issues do not have to be re-resolved, sometimes with inconsistent results based upon the same facts, every time they come up. To allow your argument is just to allow those freewheeling re-resolutions back into play. Just like consensus in general, but with more force where policy is concerned, we must engage in the "silent majority" presumption: that policy and changes to policy are approved by the entire community and that the fact that only a few editors engage in any particular consensus-making discussion only indicates that the community silently agrees with those who do. Unless we're going to do that, then we might as well get rid of policy altogether. That was tried at the beginning of the encyclopedia and the mass of policies we have today is the result because people get tired of arguing about the same things over and over and over again. The IAR system, when properly used and understood, is the balance against policy becoming entirely rigid and authoritarian. When questions arise about whether policy has been properly adopted or changed, the place for that argument to take place is at the policy itself, not in discussions about the application of the policy. Even our core policies are generally modified and maintained by a very small group of editors; if you allow your argument even those go back into play. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:10, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
Sorry? You say it yourself: "Even our core policies are generally modified and maintained by a very small group of editors" - that's exactly my point. I may trust and respect them personally, but this is not what "consensus by broad community" means. About "free-wheeling re-resolution" - as a couple people have already pointed out, here we are not discussing "re-resolution"; we are discussing the formal closure of a dispute. "No consensus" means "no resolution". Also, "silent consensus" is invalid argument. People have "silent consensus" on something until something flows into their face. The majority 99% of their time deal with the so-called "average case" scenario, and of course they see nothing wrong with the current policy. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:42, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
  • I think User:BU Rob13 12:38, 5 October 2016 is seeking to over-legislate what to do in cases where consensus decision making has, to date, failed. That is out-of-scope of this policy. If the decision needs to be made, the participants need to go back to work and find a way forward. Writing a clause such as this could serve to undermine working towards consensus because some parties may observe that no-consensus-default rule favours their position. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:02, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
    • @SmokeyJoe: How does that differ from what we have now, where one side can observe that no-consensus-default favors their position? That is an inherent issue with consensus-building, and we're unable to fix it, unfortunately. Might as well make it match with global consensus in favor of a policy/guideline in cases where consensus has been difficult to come by one way or the other. ~ Rob13Talk 02:07, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
      • "No-consensus-default" is not written in capital P Policy. Sometimes something has to be done, sometimes not. WP:BLP asserts a default position. WP:RETAIN does too. Where a default position is justified, let it be written in the relevant policy, but not this one for the general case.
In the case of a protracted disagreement, presumably applicable policy/guidelines have already been part of the discussion. The degree of applicability is always open for debate. You also appear to assume, poorly, that policy pages are up to date and correct in documenting practice. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:13, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
    • I'd like to second SmokeyJoe here by drawing a parallel to WP:WRONGVERSION. "No consensus" means no consensus for edit. We have a couple of exceptionally strong policies which can never ever violated, such as WP:BLP, or WP:COPYVIO, but most policies are not "wikipedia life threatening", and no harm to continue searching for consensus for longer time, broader forum, via policy update, etc. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:42, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
  • The current policy is fine. Note that the section in which WP:NOCON appears begins with this succinct and comprehensive introduction: "Consensus is ascertained by the quality of the arguments given on the various sides of an issue, as viewed through the lens of Wikipedia policy." That is sufficient.

    I think the clause "when consensus would be found if not for appeals to ignore all rules" is a bit of a red herring because it disregards the quality of the arguments. In my experience, closers treat arguments like because WP:IAR as equivalent to WP:ILIKEIT unless they present compelling reasons why the policy does not fit the case. Arguments to override a policy need to be very strong to carry any weight, but they should not be automatically discounted: The applicability of policy is open to debate.

    If there is no consensus on the merits of the case, including well reasoned arguments about the applicability of policies, then there is no consensus. Determining consensus is about assessing the quality of the arguments as viewed through the lens of Wikipedia policy. Determining outcomes in the absence of consensus should not be about discounting some arguments irrespective of their merits. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:32, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

Another instance

Some very good points above!

Another instance of the no consensus clause is of course in the case of RMs. I'm heavily involved in the ongoing discussion as to whether or not to move the article on New York State away from the base name New York. This is not the place to rediscuss the latest RM of course, but there's a particular argument that was repeatedly raised in that RM which I think is on-topic here.

I think the best place to see that particular argument is here. It is of concern for two reasons, which are really the same one in different terms:

  • It's misplaced. The no consensus clause is for the guidance of closers, not those !voting on the proposal.
  • There's a danger of circular reasoning if this argument is allowed at this stage of the discussion. The no consensus clause only takes effect if there is no consensus. We can't assume there is no consensus in assessing whether or not there is consensus.

However, the result of the RM may have been significantly influenced by this argument. There was a closing panel of three. One of them found consensus to move.

The other two both found no consensus, but both also found the move arguments stronger than the oppose arguments, just not by a big enough margin. The worrying thing here is, one of these two appears to have counted this no consensus, therefore no consensus argument in concluding that there were arguments both ways. (The other said none of the arguments against the move appear convincing in the least, but still found no consensus.) So it is hard to tell how much influence this argument had, and requests for clarification have gone unanswered.

There is likely to be another RM, it is just a matter of when. But I'm very keen to clear up any confusion about the no consensus clause beforehand, for obvious reasons. Andrewa (talk) 20:31, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

Donald Trump sexual misconduct allegations - RfC: Jane Doe content forum-shopping claim

Hello,

There was a claim made that I am forum-shopping an issue that is posted at

I will absolutely say that the NPOVN discussion, under normal circumstances, should have run its course. We're coming up to the date to vote in the presidential election (I'm a liberal for context), and it seems that timing is crucial on this matter. Most of the conversation is rehashing of what has been said numerous times by the same people. This was an attempt at gathering votes to close the issue. It has been discussed on the NPOVN site, including a request to cast a vote - and it broadened the audience to biography, politics and other project I cannot remember right now.

There's background at the RfC: Jane Doe content discussion about the removal of content about a woman who claims that she was raped at the age of 13 by Trump - although only 16% of a universe of reliable, mainstream media is picking up the coverage.

Your input on this would be helpful! I would not normally forum shop, and in theory agree that there was not enough time given to the NPOVN discussion. Since there has been a claim made - and we're trying to come to a resolution quickly, I thought I'd post this here to get your opinion.--CaroleHenson (talk) 17:33, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

The forumshop claim was inane. Forumshop requires that you're on the losing side, and there was no losing side at NPOVN. The discussion was at an impasse, with the election approaching. The decision as to when to go to RfC was primarily mine, and it's my signature at the top of it. Like many things at Wikipedia, forumshop can have false positives. The claim was made in good faith but was off base on multiple points. ―Mandruss  17:46, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
Yep, Carole explained this to me, which assuaged my concerns of shopping. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 18:06, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
Ok, that's good to know. It sounds like it's a non-issue. I have been accused of a number of things lately - and thought it was best to address this head-on if there was concern about my objectivity, etc. Thanks for your input!--CaroleHenson (talk) 18:55, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

Suggested closing of loophole

Withdrawn. When I opened this discussion I did not anticipate having to defend myself against vague accusations of wrongdoing or suggestions that I should be blocked. Next time I suggest a clarification to policy I'll put on my flame-resistant armour first.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Sometimes a discussion will close nominally as "no consensus" when actually a consensus to remove content exists. For instance, an AfD might close with clear agreement that the content is unsuitable but opinions split between redirect and delete. Currently the wording seems to allow such a discussion to default to keep. This is, of course, ridiculous. Even worse, it seems to currently allow the minimum outcome of redirect to be prevented permanently on the grounds of the "non consensus" close. I'm seeing people misuse the policy in this way more and more often of late. I argue that this kind of obstructionism is not the intent of the policy. I suggest a clarification that "no consensus" in this context means no consensus between keep and delete, not just disagreement about which way to remove unsuitable content. A little while ago I tried to close this loophole but was reverted. Can anyone think of better wording for this suggested change? Reyk YO! 15:02, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Is there a practical problem? I don't think a policy page needs to cater for theoretical problems that maybe occur only every few years. Could you give some examples where the current guidance seemed insufficient to resolve the matter you want to avoid? Tx. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:16, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes, see for instance, Talk:List_of_Rozen_Maiden_characters#Straw_Vote_Redirect_Dec_2016 where this misconception seems widespread. It's a dubious situation where an AfD was allowed to remain as "no consensus" on the grounds that nothing should prevent a later redirect, and now the "no consensus" is being used to obstruct the redirect. Reyk YO! 15:31, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
That discussion is still active: changing guidance to give one option an upper hand in an ungoing discussion is generally counterproductive. Also, there's no disagreement on "method" in that discussion (the "delete article" method has been taken out of the equasion via a preceding AfD discussion so only a single delete method is left: "redirect", which has to be weighed against "keep"). Did you have any examples you're currently less involved in, and that contain the "method" tension? --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:58, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm not asking this to "win" the current dispute, and I resent the implication. Please withdraw it. Rather, I'd just like to avoid this kind of misunderstanding in future. Reyk YO! 16:06, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Regardless, it is unlikely the policy will be changed before the end of that discussion: so we can revisit the question of a possible policy update once that discussion has been closed (if a policy update is indicated at that point) – unless you have knowledge of other examples that can be discussed presently in a more detached manner? --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:20, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
@Reyk: I'm offended you think it's acceptable to unilaterally change a policy. You need to take a break from editing if you think that's ok. Now, I agree the result of the AfD was wrong in that most of the editors didn't think a standalone article should exist but the closing admin decided opinions were split three ways and chose no consensus. The issue then is not with consensus policy but with deletion policy. The DRV upheld this view. Unless you !vote delete in an AfD, you are saying the content can stay on Wikipedia somewhere. It then becomes a content issue where editors have to decide on the talk page if and how a merge/redirect happens. That discussion could result in the article staying right where it is. That conversation is ongoing so the system works. If you want to use AfD as a tool to decide consensus independent of involved editors then !vote delete. It removes the content and editors can later write new content to the parent article. !Voting merge only makes sense if there's a really clear consensus for merge. That's what went wrong here: some editors agreed to merge content and it took momentum away from the deletion argument. Chris Troutman (talk) 19:12, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
There's a thing called WP:BRD for a reason. If you're offended by that, then you are too easily offended. Also, if you don't think I should be editing Wikipedia you need to take that to ANI. Reyk YO! 19:30, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Lacks instructions

Add the following to see also:

more clearly defined "no consensus" policy?

I have difficulties to find good solutions for situations were I argue with another editor about the removal of possibly critical article content and were do not find a consensus. Imagine the following timeline:

  • editor A complies to WP:BRD and deletes contested material in an article
  • editor B reverts this
  • editor A opens a talk page thread
  • A and B engage in an endless discussion on the talk page without reaching consensus
  • B reverts any changes of A (i.e. the deletions of the contested content) back to the original state during this discussion with the argument "no consensus for deletion"
  • a RFC produces some more opinions with a majority (but maybe not all) opinions for removing the contested content
  • due to the continous reverts during the endless discussion and the argument of B (no deletion as no consensus is reached), the content still stays in the article
  • even if a majority of people argue for the removal, WP:NODEMOCRACY applies, so there is no automatism to generate "consensus"

Especially in articles with low traffic (hence few editors on the talk page) I have experienced this "strategy" of B (at least I percieve it as a strategy, it does not necessarily have to be intentional or strategic) to be quiet successful in keeping contested content in the article, especially if A looses interest and/or not too many people participate in the RFC. It is clear that there are disputes where there is no clear right or wrong (i.e. whether something is off topic or not) and I would theoretically be fine with me to just leave the discussion (I have usually been editor A ;-)) and the article as is (with the contested content). That is how I would interpret the current policy in WP:CONSENSUS:

"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."

There are, however, situations where the argument against the content are violations of e.g. WP:SYNTH, WP:COATRACK, WP:BIO or similar and leaving the article as is would be in my eyes harmful so either a clear guideline or hints on how to proceed or next steps if no consensus is reached would in my eyes help. So, to boil all this text down to some concrete questions:

  1. Are there best practices and guidelines on how to proceed in such a situation?
  2. Would it make sense to add some situations (i.e. WP:SYNTH violations) to the current policy where just leaving the article as is should not be the default mode (like the exception there for WP:BIO)? Or a majority of people arguing against the content is enough to keep it out of the article would be enough? In my eyes this would help ...
  3. Would it make sense to clearify in WP:CONSENSUS that during the discussion and during the "no consensus" state, the contested content stays out of the article? This would shift more responsibility to reach consensus (e.g. call for RFCs, propose less contentious formulations) etc to editor B. As of now, just repeating his argument and claiming that there is no consensus quiet often was enough to keep the article as is.
  4. Or is WP:ONUS already the policy for this? I read it that way, i.e. that editor B should argue for the inclusion of the contested content and when "no consensus" is reached stuff just stays out of the article but there seem to be different opinions about this.

What are your thoughts? Either extending the guidelines or outlining a good way to proceed in WP:CONSENSUS for such situations would in my eyes be helpful. Just as an example (please do not WP:CANVASS there!), one article where I am involved in such a discussion is Murder of Maria Ladenburger. There are clearly aspects in that article where just leaving it as is would not be too harmful (i.e. leaving the stuff that I personally consider to be off topic like the connection to the other rape case) but others like the WP:SYNTH stuff (the burqa) or the possible WP:BIO violations where I personally would consider the contested stuff to be to harmful to stay. Thanks a lot and a happy new year, LucLeTruc (talk) 14:55, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

WP:ONUS does address much of this (although not every type of content dispute), if I understand your issue. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:13, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
  • For articles with WP:BLP concerns, usually it's esasy to remove the content unless there is consensus to include it. However, when the disputed content is not problematic for living persons, I find it much more useful to use WP:STICKTOSOURCE as the overarching policy. If, instead of removing all content, the article wording is a direct paraphrasing of the content found in the reliable source, it is typically much easier to achieve some form of weak consensus. Doing that would be much more difficult if editor A insists on removing per WP:ONUS all traces of some reliably sourced content that editor B thinks should be covered in the article in some form. Diego (talk) 15:31, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker:, thanks for your reply. In what way does WP:ONUS handle this? In a way that B in this case would have to argue for including the stuff (i.e. keeping it) and if he fails to convince A (and others who responded in the RFC), this stuff stays out of the article (this is how I interpret this)? The phrase in WP:CONSENSUS ("In discussions [...] a lack of consensus commonly results in retaining the version of the article as it was prior to the proposal") however, contradicts this as here it is not the choice between "in" or "out" but rather restoring to "before" the dispute. Which in the case I describe means "in" the article. LucLeTruc (talk) 17:01, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
@Diego: I agree, with violations of WP:STICKTOSOURCE guidelines are strict and clear and rewording it is most often straightforward. Most issues we are discussing over there, however, are sourced (reasonably) well. The problem arises, when well sourced content just does not fit into an article because it is off topic (which may be subjective) or because (as with the burqa thing) a misinterpretation of the source (again, my perspective) make the content to appear "on topic". LucLeTruc (talk) 17:14, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
If the content was properly sourced and has survived there for a while, past the attention of several editors making changes without finding issue with the content, I'd say that consensus had already been achieved and WP:ONUS does not apply. This would be a case of WP:Consensus can change, but then the onus is on the people disputing the content to show that there's a new consensus against it. Again, this would be subject to the severity of having the content shown; if there's no significant harm in showing it, I'd always err on including the content and letting the readers decide by themselves how relevant it is by checking the references, maybe also adding a tag to warn them on the nature of the disagreement.
As with any other case, in case of prolonged disagreement the right answer is to keep trying to attract the attention of other editors as described in the dispute resolution process. Diego (talk) 18:13, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Agree, if no harm is done, I can live with articles that just include (in my eyes) off topic stuff. And if the dispute persists over "harmful" content, I have now found these noticeboards that I will use in the future to attract more input. There are, however, already quiet some voices from other editors in the given examples and for some of the aspects also a clear majority of people who argue against the contested content. Still, the argument of WP:NODEMOCRACY could hold (and is raised in the current discussion). So, lets stay with the synthetic example above: given that A has attracted several other editors by various means and the feedback is quiet clear for removing the content, how to proceed if B is still not convinced? Would this Request for Closure Admin Noticeboard be the next and most constructive and helpful step? Seems to be a bit cumbersome to me for really clear cases, but A just starting to revert again in practise lead to edit wars (B tends to revert back to his original version). LucLeTruc (talk) 18:33, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes that is the best route (and also see Closing discussions), but I hasten to add that what seems "really clear" to a participant in the discussion may not seem nearly so clear to a neutral or dispassionate observer. I also second Diego's suggestion of dispute resolution. Finally, in those cases in which an consensus evaluation is not clear, it must be bourne in mind that "no consensus" is a perfectly acceptable result under Wikipedia principles. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 18:53, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I totally agree. I would never fight endlessly for something which can also be seen from a different viewpoint. My whole motivation for this question, however, were some instances were I found strong POV or OR/SYNTH stuff in articles about crime and immigration where I just had the feeling that leaving it as is is just no option. And where even as I know that there is no such thing as "truth" i was still convinces that I was objectively right, not just subjectively ;-). In some of these cases engaging into the discussion was really tedious. Even after 4-5 people unanimously argued in my line, I could not convince one single other editor. So I was wondering at which stage I could just stop the discussion and engage into bold reverting even with one person still arguing against a consensus. First opening an RFC and then a request to close the discussion is a lot of work (and takes weeks), especially if you have to argue about many small aspects individually (and similar aspects in a lot of different articles). But if this is the way wikipedia works, most probably I would have to accept that. LucLeTruc (talk) 01:39, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

I say we just burn this whole policy to the ground and say best man wins. Vjmlhds (talk) 22:30, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

When is discussion unacceptable?

Under what circumstances is it unacceptable to discuss an issue which has consensus? Siuenti (talk) 13:11, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

There is no one-size-fits-all answer due to the number of variables, so the question is best addressed locally in article talk (especially where there is high activity by a number of experienced, good-faith editors). ―Mandruss  13:16, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Can you provide an example of a situation where it would be unacceptable? Siuenti (talk) 13:19, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
No, I couldn't get specific as to anything that should be applied community-wide. As I said, it should be up to local consensus. In my view many minor issues are not worth the time it takes to resolve them, and they divert limited time from more important things. But that's my opinion, and I defer to local consensus. We might as well disclose that this is about a difference of opinion at Talk:Donald Trump. ―Mandruss  13:28, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
So it is unacceptable to discuss an issue when there is local consensus not to discuss it? Siuenti (talk) 13:41, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Discussion does not mean change. Change can be held in abeyance while discussion takes place. Bus stop (talk) 13:47, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I don't think there is any such circumstance, but discussion is required to take place within the confines of our guidelines. Bus stop (talk) 13:37, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
If a massive amount of editor time is spent forming a consensus on a single sentence, I think the locals should be allowed to say, "This sentence is good enough and we're not going to talk about it again for quite some time." The benefit of further discussion should always be weighed against its cost. We should always remember that editor time is a finite and limited resource and there is never enough time to address everything. If the "rules" are not consistent with that, they should be amended; nothing in set in stone. ―Mandruss  13:40, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Examples
  • When an editor has been topic banned
  • When an editor passes from collaboration into the realm of WP:DISRUPTSIGNS, WP:Tendentious editing, etc.
  • When the discussion is not about article improvement but wanders off into WP:SOAP and WP:FORUM
  • When you're at article talk and start talking to me even though there's a consensus that I'm a terrible ass and deserve a thrashing (see WP:FOC)
Question, what inspired this question? Is there a specific situation you are involved in?
NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:37, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
If I may presume to speak for the OP, I'm fairly certain it's the current dispute about whether one word, "current", should be added to the first sentence at Donald Trump. Positions are "No", "Yes", and "Important things are being neglected because people keep insisting on revisiting the first sentence after it has been massively discussed." There is significant support for the latter position, on that and other items that have received sufficient discussion to leave them alone for quite awhile (which is not to say forever, although some editors insist on straw-manning the position in that way). ―Mandruss  16:53, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
So yeah, the proposal is to prohibit discussion of this sentence. Siuenti (talk) 16:56, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
The policy is already in your favor: WP:CCC: "proposing to change a recent consensus can be disruptive.". Mandruss can give their impartial third opinion and whenever someone wants to change that sentence you can say "it has been massively discussed [recently]." If the editor keeps insisting, remind them that such behavior is considered WP:DISRUPTIVE. Repeat until "[recently]" does not apply. BrightRoundCircle (talk)
Excellent point, and I think the definition of "recent" can and should be a matter of local consensus. ―Mandruss  17:02, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
So the editors of that page form a consensus about how long not to talk about the topic? Siuenti (talk) 17:22, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
It is kind of exceptional, but indeed this can happen (compare, for example, Talk:Sarah Jane Brown/Archive 8#Proposal: Another moratorium – in this case the agreed upon period not to talk about a certain topic again, a.k.a. moratorium, was one year). Note however, that in case of WP:LOCALCONSENSUS, such moratorium can easily be overridden by a different consensus from the wider community, so the moratorium period is best agreed via RfC or some other high-level procedure. Otherwise, anything happening before the relevant real life situation situation changes, or before there is a relevant in-Wikipedia shift in how policies and guidelines are usually applied, will usually be considered "recent". And even then, if some months have passed, a new gauging of whether or not consensus has changed may be frowned upon but is not necessarily impossible. --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:32, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
At that article we've spent a lot of time repeatedly debating this issue, which means that we have largely replaced one distraction with another. I'm still working on a solution to that one. That article may need some kind of "meta-consensus", but I'm not sure what that needs to look like. I'm not even thinking about what happens at other articles; they are free to adopt our methods, develop other methods, or continue with business as usual. These things grow organically and eventually one method might become the standard, similar to a widely-accepted essay. The only thing I'm certain of is that resistance to change is never good for the project. ―Mandruss  17:43, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

e/c

@BrightRoundCircle/Siuenti, per the wording of the WP:CCC policy, I would tweak BRC's advice above as follows... you can remind them that "such behavior is consideredcan be disruptive". Whether a specific example falls on the disruptive side of the subjective line, is.... well.... subjective. In this example an argument in favor of the localconsenus is that important other material is being overlooked/unattended to. So if the article and talk page go quiet for several days that may no longer be the case. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:50, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I want to be clear. I'm not asking when things like requested moves or RfCs can be placed under a WP:Moratorium so you can't request a move or request comments or whatever. I'm asking when you can't even talk about the title or the thing you think should change. Siuenti (talk) 18:29, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
A WP:RM moratorium usually includes not being able to talk about the topic (in this case: the article title of the article) in any guise on the article talk page for the indicated period. So, I don't know what kind of a distinction you're trying to make: "moratorium" = "not possible to talk about the topic falling under the moratorium on the talk page, not even indirectly, neither can the topic be discussed or implied on any other page". We just call that situation "moratorium" in order not to have to repeat the long sentence every time. --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:00, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
OK, sorry I didn't get that. I have updated the page to clarify. Siuenti (talk) 19:42, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── [As for the ground of the matter regarding the first lines of the Trump article:]

  • [Don't do "incumbent" in the hatnote, nor anywhere else in the article; don't do "current" in the lead sentence, nor anywhere else in the article: both are considered bad style in encyclopedic context – the applicable guidance is MOS:RELTIME.]
  • [That guidance isn't followed too well (there are a lot of currentlies etc. in the encyclopedia nowadays...), so whatever the current discussion at the Trump talk page results in:]
    1. unless Wikipedians start applying that guidance widely different from how it is applied nowadays, and, different in an opposite direction of what the current discussions at the Trump talk page would result in, that last discussion would be "recent" enough to foreclose any new discussion on the same topic till the end of Trump's term.
    2. [I'd try to make the lead sentence of the Trump article stylistically exemplary, so there's a strong advice against using the word "current" in it. For the hatnote: using {{Other uses}} (without parameter etc.) should be clean, sufficient, good style and whatnot, so don't complicate the hatnote with stylistically undesirable additions.] --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:48, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
      So whether the current discussions result in "consensus to change", "no consensus", or "consensus not to change", any further discussion will be disruptive? Siuenti (talk) 21:26, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
      Not exactly: the policy wording is "... can be disruptive". Which means you'd need a consensus to determine whether it "is" disruptive in a particular instance. So, if what you perceive as continued disruption at the Trump talk page is not generally seen as the same by (most of) the editors at the Trump talk page, then take it for instance to WP:ANI, and ask an admin to stop what you perceive as disruption. A consensus will form one way or another (it might backfire if the general perception at that other place is that this is no disruption, or if one would go there too soon, and the reporting elsewhere is seen as WP:FORUMSHOPping). --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:45, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
      Still some other suggestion: a new discussion about something that has been recently discussed a few times, each time with the same outcome, can be WP:SNOW-closed (I've done a few of such SNOW-closes, also some of them where I was (semi-)involved in the previous discussions), which is usually less cumbersome than ANI or AE (or similar dramaboard-)proceedings. I looked at the current discussions at the Trump talk page. I nearly applied such a SNOW close to the latest RfC on that page, but couldn't find a recent formally closed & broad/wide (i.e. at least RfC or similar) discussion about the exact same topic, so maybe best to let that RfC run its course for some time now. Alternatively, give a link to a discussion on the same topic that is (1) Recent (a few months at most); (2) Broad (broadly and neutrally advertised and/or on a high visibility page), and (3) Formally closed (as opposed to petered out on a de facto status quo, after which a new cycle of reverts fired up) – in which case we can see whether a SNOW close is possible, and someone willing to implement it. --Francis Schonken (talk) 22:07, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
      FYI: here is an example of such a SNOW close (in this instance called "procedural close") if I was unclear what I meant by that. And here is an example of another SNOW close. --Francis Schonken (talk) 22:24, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
      So seems that someone who thinks a topic should no longer be discussed could request WP:CLOSURE of that topic. Siuenti (talk) 18:23, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

Influence of personal opinions

The following essays address which arguments can be discounted: WP:arguments to avoid in deletion discussions, WP:Arguments to avoid on discussion pages, and others at Template:Arguments. However, in some discussions, where rules are not mentioned (i.e. absent) in arguments, people may rely on personal opinions to explain their votes. How would personal opinions (of any kind) influence consensus? --George Ho (talk) 09:07, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Where there are no rules, personal opinions are paramount. Let me clarify that a bit:
    1. It rarely happens that when there is a rule that applies without room for interpretation, that in that case a talk page discussion would still be necessary. So, generally, except for talk page discussions that should be WP:SNOW closed, there's always the wiggle room for interpretation of the rules. I don't very well see how a Wikipedian would voice their interpretation of applicable rules on a talk page without such interpretation being a personal opinion.
    2. Let me give an example of a discussion where the influence of iron-clad rules is minimal: currently at Talk:Johann Sebastian Bach#images we're trying to figure out which illustrations to use on the Bach article, and how to format and position such illustrations. There are some rules (e.g. MOS:SANDWICHING has been mentioned in that discussion), but however it is turned most of the basis for making these choices is, I'm sure, an implied striving for good taste by the participants in the discussion. There are no "rules" that directly say which images and audio examples to use (and which ones to exclude), so the larger part of the discussion boils down to personal opinion, with which to build the consensus for what will be displayed in mainspace.
--Francis Schonken (talk) 10:39, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • A lot of opinions boil down to I like (or not), which is little more than a thumbs up/down poll....so see also WP:Polling is not a substitute for discussion; Among other things, whoever closes discussions is not supposed to just count up Y/N opinions, but instead give greatest weight to reasoning. Is there a specific issue that makes you ask the question? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:59, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
    • The difference between "voting" and "!voting" has little or nothing to do with whether or not personal opinion gets mixed in. Both votes and !votes can be based in applicable guidance and in personal opinion (and indeed, both a vote and a !vote will usually be based in available guidance and some opinion on how such rules should apply to the case). Same for reasoning: a reasoning may be built on rules and/or personal opinion (and also here: most likely on both, i.e. the personal opinion about how rules apply). A closer of a discussion assesses the "soundness" of the reasonings: the weight of a reasoning built on policy may be low (while the reasoning linking the case to the policy may be tenuous), and a reasoning built an common sense may be given greater weight (even if no guidance is quoted). But supporting NAEG's question on where the initiative for this talk page topic originated? --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:30, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
      • For the many questions not covered in p&g, closers don't spend the mental calories weighing strength of arguments, separating the wheat from the chaff, discounting straw man arguments, and so on. Even if they did, the result would be largely determined by their own inevitable biases. A closer who closes against the numbers is usually begging for a fight. And people's minds are very rarely changed in discussions because very few people debate with open minds. Thus, in practice, issues not covered in p&g amount to democratic votes. In those cases discussion serves only to protect the illusion of NOTDEMOCRACY, and the discussion could be foregone with the same outcome. ―Mandruss  13:03, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
        • On the other hand:
          1. There is rarely ever a poll that has no p&g angle whatsoever. E.g. there's nothing so subjective as a style issue like positioning images in an article, nonetheless (as I illustrated above) that doesn't imply that there are no applicable rules at all.
          2. Even if there's little or no p&g angle (and the !vote mostly boils down to personal opinions), explaining your opinion in a !vote may influence the opinions of other !voters (it wouldn't be the first time that someone modifies a !vote, after another participant clearly worded the reasons for their opinion).
        Example of a poll which the closer had closed on what the "majority" (66%) wanted, and which was later overturned for not taking the soundness of the reasonings into account. Further, I think that the question of whether or not Wikipedia is a democracy is somewhat different from what the OP is asking. --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:47, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
        • Case in point, a discussion about an image. One of our guidelines says that images should not be too dark. Editor A says that the image is too dark and cites the guideline. Editor B says that the image is not too dark. Does Editor A have the stronger argument because they cited the guideline? I think not. And closers are not inherently authorities on image darkness. So that's a vote disguised as a !vote, and we could have skipped the discussion. ―Mandruss  14:01, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
          • Did you even read the above? Every !voting procedure is, to a certain extent, a mixture of opinions and applicability of guidance: so in your example, after the "not too dark" argument has been launched other !voters may (re)assess the hue of the image, and let their opinion be influenced by it. Whether in some instances "votes" and "!votes" are seemingly identical is not the topic here. But I agree that "personal opinion" plays a role in Wikipedia's current !voting procedures, and that that role is probably even bigger than generally assumed. But that's not the same as saying that in many cases !voting procedures can be replaced by plain votes. --Francis Schonken (talk) 14:16, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
            • (This particular indentation system baffles me. I don't know why simple colons per WP:THREAD wouldn't suffice, and I believe the guidance says that bullets are only for lists (AfDs, RfC survey sections, and the like), not open, free-form discussion such as this.) Well we may both be guilty of not hearing the other. I said, "And people's minds are very rarely changed in discussions because very few people debate with open minds." In that case, let their opinion be influenced by it does not apply, except to whatever extent people read existing discussion before they !vote AND let their opinion be influenced by it. In my opinion that is not common enough to have a significant effect. If you do it, good for you. I sometimes read before I !vote, depending on how much there is to read, and my mind is always open and it changes during discussion perhaps 5% of the time. I'm fairly certain we're both in small minorities, and I tend to think in terms of what is, not what would be in a better world. ―Mandruss  14:32, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
              • Still, tangent (I mean to the OP's question).
              Talk:Frédéric Chopin/Archive 16#Image options: discussion where "too dark" was one of many arguments (don't think a plain vote could have replaced that discussion).
              → Re. "I sometimes read before I !vote, depending on how much there is to read, and my mind is always open and it changes during discussion perhaps 5% of the time." – Here is a !vote with multiple reassessed !votes (not even counting what can't be counted, i.e. people not changing their !vote due to reading what was already there before they added their opinion... although many say something like "per [prior !voter]" so one can assume they read at least something). So speak for yourself please, I'm fairly certain I'm not in a "small minority" as far as my !voting behaviour is concerned. And the minority you confess yourself to belong to is imho not enough to change current practice. But as said, again, this is fairly unrelated to the OP's question afaics. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:18, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
              So speak for yourself please - LOL. Are you speaking only for yourself, or applying your subjective perception of the whole? This is where I get off. Thanks. ―Mandruss  15:31, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
In this whole thread I never contended I was unable to handle "personal opinion" in wiki-discussions. On the contrary, I contended subjective appreciation is one of the key components of any meaningful wiki-discussion. Which, as I implied in my first contribution to this thread, has little or nothing to do with the difference between "votes" and "!votes". --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:48, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
─────────────────────────
(ec) Further illustrating what I tried to explain above:
A !vote in an AfD may be formulated as follows:

  • Delete – I guess this person will be completely forgotten in a few weeks, and if not, we can still revive the article then. --(sig)

Such a !vote is formulated as a personal opinion. Taken literally the reasoning is even questionable in view of the WP:NOTCRYSTAL policy (we should not let mainspace content be ruled by personal speculations about the future).
Another editor might write:


Not much of a reasoning in that short !vote... so technically this could be ignored by the closer of the AfD. An intelligent AfD closer would however see that both the first "personal opinion" !vote and the second !vote with not much of a reasoning are in fact essentially the same, and equally valid (thus with similar weight in the discussion, if indeed the subject of the AfD'd article is only known for one event at that point in time). --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:18, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

Hmm, this policy we are on asks people to appeal to what it calls "common sense" and "reason" - one person's "common sense" or "reason" will sometimes be another's "personal opinion", we simply can't ban people from putting forward their ideas of "reason" or "common sense" (such a thing would be impossible). Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:29, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

We often see, in RM discussions about capitalization, a desire from a few people to capitalize things that are mostly not capitalized in sources (that is, not even close to our guideline criterion of "consistently capitalized in sources"). I think these are just "opinions", but they're dressed up as if they support some kind of criterion such as "clarity", or "common sense" (or sometimes just an appeal to "ignore all rules"). Sometimes such opinions get seconded (as here with no apparent reason). In an outlier extreme case at Talk:Cross-City_Line#Requested_move_11_February_2017, nobody came along to support the guideline-based proposal, and several supported the opinion that was based on nothing but an affinity for the topic. Can't blame a closer for that, when nothing but baseless opinion is offered; if some editors would offer something other than opinion, then some kind of weighting would be able to make sense of it. Dicklyon (talk) 15:51, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I'd just like to thank everyone for their opinions above. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:11, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

Stable version

The policy should mention the common pitfall "reverting to stable", "better before", "it's been that way for a long time", and other phrases that use the status-quo or the earlier editor's version as a stonewall technique. The policy should mention that consensus according to a policy , guideline, or discussion is a better level of consensus than consensus by editing, which often doesn't reflect consensus but reflects lack of attention from other editors. Either "Pitfalls and errors" or "Level of consensus" should reflect this. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 14:11, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Or it could just urge people to always revert to the Wrong Version. (That was meant as a joke.) Seriously, you have proposed two things.
(A) re status-quo, you appear to be saying that one may not revert to statusquo without some good reasoning on the merits beyond fact it has been the status quo. That's a very big rock to throw in the pond. Setting such a rule would make it open season on veteran editors on high traffic controversial articles. All anyone would have to do is make frequent dubious bold edits to exhaust veteran editors. Instead, the bold editor has the burden of the initial justification. That's the way it should be, IMO.
(B) re CONLEVEL, what problem is this idea trying to fix? It might be educational, and it might be accurate, but it doesn't seem to create a policy, per se. Does it?
NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 02:25, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
the bold editor has the burden of the initial justification — I'm not proposing to change that. This is addressed in WP:EDITCONSENSUS and what you're describing is edit-warring and non-good-faith edits. What I'm describing is good faith edits (for example fixing up a page according to Wikipedia policies and guidelines), having the edits reverted, and then being WP:STONEWALLed with "better before" or "it's been that way for a long time", meaning "despite the consensus represented in Wikipedia policies and guidelines, I will not let you apply them to this page because it was better before." Clearly "it was this way before" does not override Wikipedia policies and guidelines, and that's what should be made clear. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 09:10, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with the idea that status-quo reverts of otherwise wonderful well-sourced text is a bad thing, so I salute your aspiration here. That said, the devil is in the details and I still fear unintended consequences. So now that at least we two editors agree on the principle, can you suggest some text to add to implement this, and then we will have something tangible to evaluate? Bear in mind this is a policy, and edit warriors will pounce to spin anything they think helps their cause. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:54, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Slightly rewording a sentence or two from the WP:STONEWALL guideline would be fine. WP:SILENCE has some choice words about it. WP:STEWARDSHIP almost directly touches the subject: "In many cases, a core group of editors will have worked to build the article up to its present state, and will revert edits that they find detrimental in order, they believe, to preserve the quality of the encyclopedia. Such reversion does not indicate an "ownership" problem, if it is supported by an edit summary referring to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, previous reviews and discussions, or specific grammar or prose problems introduced by the edit." (emphasis mine)
Many editors forget about the itty bitty if there and revert to their "present state" version which does not adhere to policies, guidelines, or discussion, only silence or at best presumption of consensus by editing. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 13:19, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I do not think the above is a good idea. It's obviously not stonewall. It's a disagreement about what is better text. And it is a constant across much of Wikipedia that status quo default. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:30, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Just because it happens a lot doesn't mean it's good. Let's say you randomly edit an article and fix the references section or move an image so it complies with WP:MOS. You get reverted with "better before". You go to the talk page and explain that your edit is in accordance to the MOS. The response is "Wikipedia:Ignore all rules. It was better before." This goes against the idea of WP:CONSENSUS. This is addressed in WP:STONEWALL, WP:SILENCE, and WP:STEWARDSHIP. The revert effectively ignores your policy or guideline-backed attempt to improve Wikipedia in favor of a non-policy or non-guideline "status quo", which is meaningless. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 13:40, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
One could possibly pick a worse example, but MOS is regularly of controversy, and if you want the MOS to not be, and brook no disagreement, you actually have to raise MOS to 1)policy and 2) Core content policy, at that (not fiddle with this policy). Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:09, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
So whenever MOS is put into question it should just be disregarded? BrightRoundCircle (talk) 14:15, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
I can be discussed, it's obviously no emergency. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:19, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Naturally. And one editor says "per MOS" and the other says "per status quo". BrightRoundCircle (talk) 14:20, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
WP:DR is your answer. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:23, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
In a dispute where one editor follows a guideline and another follows "status quo", the resolution should be the one that's supported by the guideline, not the one where a stubborn editor preserves the status quo that they created. This goes back to what you said about MOS. "So what if it's a guideline? I have my preferred style, clearly backed by the status quo (which I created)." BrightRoundCircle (talk) 14:32, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Come, now. This, 'I am in all ways (and always) right', and 'They are in all ways (and always) wrong', is just not how many MOS issues work, and it's not how consensus works. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:07, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
─────────────────That's the question I'm trying to answer, though. If there is no consensus (or a consensus through silence, or through editing) for a "stable version", and the "stable version" is disputed, then for a time until a consensus-through-discussion is established the guidelines and policies should reflect the consensus of the community. It doesn't make sense that an article can by default not follow the MOS because it's a "stable version" that has never actually had consensus, while the MOS, even if controversial and contentious, should count for more than "stable version" which isn't a part of editing guidelines or policies (except for article titles). BrightRoundCircle (talk) 11:00, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I see arguments like this all the time... and it usually comes down to a disagreement over which language actually has consensus (with editors who support one version or the other claiming that their preferred version has consensus). What people forget is that it is quite possible that neither version has a true consensus. it is possible for the "status quo" language to drop from consensus... and yet... no replacement language to have gained consensus either. In other words... the consensus is still in flux, and requires further discussion. Blueboar (talk) 13:57, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Of course there's no "true consensus" but I'm talking about, for example, moving an image so it's in line with MOS. Guidelines are a better reflection of consensus than "status quo". BrightRoundCircle (talk) 14:17, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
In my opinion this comes down to the question: What is a guideline and what exactly is its proper role in Wikipedia editing? Every editor has an answer that they feel is the obvious correct answer, but there is no clear community consensus on the question. For every p&g fragment that appears to support Position A, there are others that appear to support Positions B and C. And we all cherry-pick from that mess depending on which Position we favor. Thus discussions like this can't really be resolved because there is no foundation. I've found that en-wiki is very good at creating situations like this and allowing them to persist forever. My Position: If argument about something like this persists for years, what's obvious is that there is no clear community consensus about it. Stop arguing, confront the foundational question, form that clear community consensus, and get it down in clear writing as policy. I call my position "First Things First". ―Mandruss  19:46, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Policy is rather overloaded; why not get it down in writing as guideline? That works (usually) for MOS, for example, except sometimes editors come along who just like to ignore guidelines. Dicklyon (talk) 03:54, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree. What is a guideline? Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines says "policies and guidelines are intended to reflect the consensus of the community". In an editing dispute, when someone is appealing to "stable version" they're justifying their edit because it's already there, while it should be justified according to consensus, or guidelines and policies which are intended to reflect consensus. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 11:12, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
sometimes editors come along who just like to ignore guidelines - Excellent illustration of the problem I describe. You say they "just like to ignore guidelines". I say you and they have different views of the proper role of guidelines in Wikipedia editing. And I say there should be one Wikipedia view on that, not several. It should be formed by clear community consensus that directly confronts the question, not in one local skirmish after another, indefinitely, with differing views about what those outcomes mean in the big picture. Once that clear consensus is established in writing, persistent argument and editing against it is clear, blockable disruption, and so most of it would end. My guess is that nobody wants to do that because they don't want to risk being on the losing side of that community consensus.
Sorry to the OP, I seem to have sidetracked their discussion. It's my way to look at underlying issues and root causes, I can't help it. No offense taken if you want to collapse this digression or otherwise refactor. ―Mandruss  11:19, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Actually that is the very issue I'm trying to address. This is the sort of dispute which I find problematic. A bold edit is done in accordance to policies or guidelines, and it's reverted, and the dispute is discussed in order to reach consensus. So far so good. One editor appeals to "stable version", meaning it's already there so consensus, guidelines, and policies don't matter. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 11:42, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Well the only chance of improvement is a widely-advertised discussion, at WP:VPP, to answer the foundational question. And I would give that about a 20% chance of producing a clear consensus, due to inertia and the extreme difficulty of forming a clear consensus on such a large and complex question. I think this would have been easier in the early years, when there was far less inertia and entrenchment. (My thoughts about Wikipedia tend to oscillate between hope and cynicism, and I am always at battle with myself about them. The hope part is what keeps me around.) ―Mandruss  12:05, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, said, though I think the odds of success are approaching zero. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:19, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree, and it's always fun to see how remarkably easy it was to create Wikipedia policies whole-cloth in 2006–2007 with little or no consensus, and how now even a change like "put a bullet point how 'stable version' is not a valid revert reason" is so contentious that it has no hope of making it into policy, when there are already policy pages saying that, albeit not directly. BrightRoundCircle (talk) 16:31, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I think that when you have a dispute like that, going meta on it like you're doing in this section is seldom helpful. Better to discuss the interpretation of the relevant guideline at the article talk page and/or the talk page where the guideline is. Dicklyon (talk) 14:46, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
That dispute is from a year ago, it was merely given as an example. The very reason I didn't give examples at the beginning is because I find people always dish out "well you shouldn't have come here to resolve your content dispute", when that's not what the discussion is about... BrightRoundCircle (talk) 16:31, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

e/c

And make effective use of WP:DR. See also the part about not answering basic questions at WP:DISRUPTSIGNS. It's a royal PITA and makes wiki un-fun, which is a one of many reasons we bleed editors. But that's what I do, since we don't have a culture that embraces your view of the world. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:32, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

Continued

As alluded above, I suggest combining policy from WP:OWNBEHAVIOR into WP:EDITCONSENSUS. I'll make an RfC if this discussion shows that it's a desirable change.


Expand the sentence from the policy WP:EDITCONSENSUS "Edit summaries are especially important when reverting another editor's good faith work." with a summary of the three bullet points from the policy WP:OWNBEHAVIOR that start with "An editor reverts":

Edit summaries are especially important when reverting another editor's good faith work. They should refer to relevant Wikipedia policies and guidelines, previous reviews and discussions, reliable sources, or specific grammar or prose problems introduced by the reverted edit, and not only protect a certain version, stable or not.

Suggestions? Bright☀ 14:33, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

Is the idea here to make a revert that has no edit summary (or a very brief summary) some how "illegal"? If so, then I am opposed. Wikilawyering over edit summaries should be discouraged. Blueboar (talk) 14:56, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
This addition, which is already part of Wikipedia policy, simply needs to feature more prominently. Bad reverts of good-faith edits are a serious problem, they turn away new editors and prevent improvement of articles. It's very easy to revert a good faith edit with "revert to stable", "no", "I don't like it", and so on, this addition simply emphasizes that these are bad reverts. Nothing in this addition is new policy, it merely emphasizes existing policy. Bright☀ 13:04, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

Consensus clause

Re this diff, some eds have been discussing this in a thread at a personal talk page. I agree with what Transporterman (talk · contribs) said in that thread about the absence of context. I nearly reverted the DIFF thinking it was a classic example of sour grapes leading a disgruntled ed to take out their bitterness in our rule pages, but then I thought better of reverting. Instead, I don't understand why this is necessary. Could @El C: or someone elaborate ? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:01, 25 May 2017 (UTC) ───────────────────────── I've now reverted this addition (diff in opening post). The reverted text read

"In certain instances for articles falling under 1RR, the consensus clause may be invoked by admins. Under this clause, editors must not reinstate any challenged (via reversion) edits without obtaining consensus on the talk page of the article in question. (Example: Template:Editnotices/Page/Donald Trump)"
Note - The example template was part of the original text

First, I'm opposed to adding "in certain instances" to such an important policy. We would need to specify which ones. Second, the instance that is listed in this text is WP:1RR, which is part of the Edit Warring policy. This policy already links to the edit warring policy in two other places. Its not clear how a third time helps. Third, from the talk discussion on the users page (link in opening post) it appears the example template provided somehow explains the necessity for this, but I'm not seeing it. And the biggest comment of all is that the italicized text seems to be the guts of the desired edit and appears to be adding text to explicitly prohibit a behavior reasonably classified as edit warring behavior and does not elaborate on the concept of consensus. Since the guts of this edit is about edit warring behavior, seems like it should probably be added, if at all, to the edit warring policy. If the desired edit is defended, it would help to begin with a statement of the perceived problem we're trying to fix. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:56, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Also, the first sentence ""In certain instances for articles falling under 1RR, the consensus clause may be invoked by admins." is (A) self-referential and (B) implies that admins may not cite policy without explicit authorization to cite policy. That's absurd. Explicit permission of this sort is "surplussage". NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:58, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
It may be absurd but it's the reality. A. The consensus clause exists—we can agree on that. And B. it has been added and removed at the discretion of admins. But maybe it belongs in WP:EW. I think it should be reflected somewhere, and be phrased somehow. El_C 17:42, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
From where I sit, the operation of what you're trying to say already appears to be described, albeit poorly, at WP:1RR. I suggest we migrate the conversation to that page. Feel free to copy paste or move en masse any part of my comments, just let me know if you do please NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:22, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Can someone please point to a community discussion in which it was decided that there is such a thing as a "consensus clause"? This is an invention of admin Coffee if I recall, and one that has created issues at several articles.- MrX 18:27, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
WP:ONUS Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:39, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea where the discussion can be found, but I presume it exists since the "consensus clause" appears to be a restatement of WP:1RR. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:48, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
We are discussing it at Wikipedia_talk:Edit_warring#Consensus_clause. El_C 18:51, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
WP:ONUS is not quite as strict as a clause that forbids content to be reinstated under penalty of sanction. It's also contrary to the concept of constructive back and forth editing as a means of finding consensus.- MrX 19:01, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── This topic has migrated to Wikipedia_talk:Edit_warring#Consensus_clause NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:32, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Levels of consensus

The levels of consensus section needs to be elaborated. Right now it names essays, WikiProject advice pages, information pages and template documentation pages (which may or may not represent broad community consensus, or one editor's personal opinion) and policies (which should represent the broadest community consensus). There are a few intermediate levels of consensus that are mentioned in the policy but not in the levels-of-consensus section:

The addition is meant to reduce article ownership behavior where an editor refuses to acknowledge consensus because they didn't approve it, or because there's no local consensus. Bright☀ 11:03, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Changes in italics. Bright☀ 09:36, 20 September 2017 (UTC) Alternate bullet-point version below. Bright☀ 09:04, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

List in its own subsection (version 2) - 23:56, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Scale

Though consensus is not a vote, the amount of community participation and agreement indicates the level of acceptance of a consensus. Usually, participation follows this rising order:

Added bullet-point version. Bright☀ 09:04, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

You have successfully convinced me you are thinking about something worth improving, but it's not entirely clear how you propose to change the existing text. The best way to communicate your ideas might be to just copy the subsection here and edit it the way you like, then post so we can see exactly what you're thinking. Thanks NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:47, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
Good idea, added. Bright☀ 09:36, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
@BrightR: Excellent, I'll take a look in a day or two. Meanwhile, as a housekeeping matter, please consider deleting my comments in this subtread. No need for others to review this now that you updated the original post. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:00, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
As long as we are discussing this topic... I would love to see some discussion about where policy related RFCs fit in... these can take place on LOCAL pages (article talk pages, project talk pages, etc), but are not necessarily LOCAL in scope (with wide participation, thus reflecting wide community consensus). One option would be to shift from "local" (focused on the place where the consensus was established) to "limited" (focused on the number of participants). Blueboar (talk) 12:46, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
Three things:
  • Another consideration: The stuff that's in the current Levels of consensus section is really only about the difference between content consensus and policy/guideline consensus and the special nature of consensus needed for policy/guidelines. I'd be extremely loath to change that language or dilute it by inserting inside it material having more to do with general levels of consensus than with policies and guidelines. On the other hand, the current section title is too broad for just policies and guidelines. What if BrightR's material, or something like it, were to be inserted before all the existing material and the existing material (along with the three current shortcuts) were moved into a four-equals subsection just below it named something like "Consensus for policies and guidelines"?
  • Having said that, I'm not sure just how useful or necessary this change is. I don't think that it's wrong or mistaken (though it probably needs some discussion and tweaking), I'm just not sure what problem it's really seeking to address that's not already adequately addressed here and elsewhere. I like it in one way because it makes clear something that's only kind of implied in this policy right now, but I'm not at all sure how needed it is.
  • A word of caution: This proposal could by mentioning consensus by silence become very controversial and easily become sidetracked through that detail. Though the concept is, as noted, already here in EDITCONSENSUS what it means (especially mechanically, if anything at all), and the degree to which it should be emphasized has caused some heated discussions in the past.
Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:51, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
All very good notes.
  1. No problem.
  2. This is specifically meant to address situations where an editor engages in WP:OWN behavior by saying, for example "you don't have consensus here" or "that guideline is just a suggestion, therefore my version should remain until you have consensus," whether or not the current version has any consensus.
  3. I tried to make it clear that consensus by silence is no consensus the moment it's disputed.
Hopefully this will make the proposal as uncontroversial as possible. Bright☀ 09:42, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
I'd been thinking about this topic for a while and though I reserve my right to comment further on this section in the future, I think the change is an improvement. I would like to see policies and guidelines separated to clearly identify that a guideline is not equivalent to a policy. Scribolt (talk) 11:46, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Updated. It's worth mentioning that the order is not absolute; some RfCs actually have broader support than some guidelines. Parts of some guidelines (and even parts of some policies, couple of examples above) were written by one person and simply stuck, while formal RfCs always have broad exposure. Some talk-page discussions involve a broader subset of the community than some parts of guidelines and policies, too. Bright☀ 12:22, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
It is fuzzy and that was one of the things I've been thinking about, and is why some of the language used causes me some concern; "cannot" (where do IAR and sensible exceptions fit in), "breadth" & "wider" (for exactly the reason you mentioned above, this doesn't necessarily correlate to a 'level' of consensus arrived at by a particular methodology). However, although I've got some ideas, they may never turn into concrete suggestions, so as I said I think what you've suggested is an improvement.Scribolt (talk) 12:35, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
In general all the "cannot" in policies should be replaced with "should not", but maybe that's a semantics discussion for another time. Bright☀ 12:57, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
  • The proposed change seems to be covered in the sections above the LOC....is the intent to link to the other sections that explains more?--Moxy (talk) 14:17, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Yup. Bright☀ 14:19, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
oK. ....then I suggest we move the LOC section to before the others....odd to see the intro to the other sections after the sections it mentions.--Moxy (talk) 14:24, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Good idea. What if we were to leave the current section where it is but rename it "Consensus for policies and guidelines" and then put BrightR's material (I really liked the bullet points better, paragraphed text is too dense) in a new section entitled "Levels of consensus" above the existing "Achieving consensus" section? Again, I'm opposed to changing any of the text in the current section. This is a draft of what I'm suggesting, though the wording of the last bullet point probably still needs some cleanup. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:31, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
I like it....but all our templates like {{Information page}} and hundreds of administrative pages like WP:HOWTOPAGES link to "Levels of consensus" because of its content about the type of pages. Is there another name we can use because linking to the new section would be very odd for many incoming links. Perhaps call the section an Overview? Moxy (talk) 16:55, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Good point. How about "Types of consensus"? Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 18:32, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Added a bullet-point version, probably the one I'll RfC since it's easier to read. Bright☀ 09:04, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I returned to load this in my brain, only to find two text boxes in the opening post instead of one. I might be able to decipher the full current proposal reading the subsequent discussion, but.... being a policy page, it will help the final consensus if new comers to the discussion don't have to do that. So as a housekeeping idea... to facilitate discussion... please consider creating a demonstration edit by first changing the policy page, then self reverting and posting the DIFF to the proposal. That would lock it in nice and neat for discussion purposes. If this suggestion appeals to you, I further suggest you name the DIFF anticipating that there may later ones as the ideas are vetted by additional eds. Maybe "DEMO-Ver-01" or equivalent. That way if additional good ideas come along, and the conversation gets convoluted, you can update the proposal with a link to "DEMO-Ver-02", and with proper threading and subsection titling it will be super-simple for people to instantly know what is being proposed and the current status of discussion. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:53, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

The RfC will not have two boxes; when this discussion concludes, I'll phrase an RfC neutrally and succinctly ("Should the following subsection be added to WP:Local consensus? [...]") Bright☀ 12:24, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Apologies, if I had sorted out the subsequent discussion I would have learned of your plans to repackage it after initial feedback. Carry on! NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:35, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Where do RFC's fit into CONLEVEL?

I mentioned this above, but it really is an unrelated issue from what is being discussed... so I am hiving it off into a separate discussion. CONLEVEL is missing an important item: where do RFCs fit in? The problem is that RFCs can take place on local pages, but they can sometimes reflect very broad community consensus (indeed some RFCs can reflect a broader consensus than was achieved at the guideline level). Then again, other RCFs reflect consensus of only a few editors. It all depends on the level of participation (not the level of location). Thus, I am not sure how to account for RFCs, but I think we do need to account for them in some way. Blueboar (talk) 12:29, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

RCFs reflect consensus of only a few editors. It all depends on the level of participation - exactly. It entirely depends on the number of participants and percentage of agreement. An RfC with a million participants and a 50% split between two options is a clear no-consensus, and so any local consensus is better than it. An RfC with 20 participants and 90% agreement is pretty strong, and local consensuses shouldn't be able to override it; if it's reasonable to believe the RfC might not represent the general consensus any more, then a new RfC can be held. Exact numbers should not be specified. Bright☀ 14:11, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
The problem is that an RFC held at an article level can result in an outcome that disagrees with something said at the guideline level (this is less common with policy). The RFC then gets dismissed as being a "local consensus" (due to location) when in fact the RFC is hardly "local". Blueboar (talk) 14:59, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
The policy page already specifies that it's not local (inviting others to participate), and in any case whether it's local or "broad" depends on the number of participants and the exposure of the notices of the discussion. I'm getting the feeling this is about the semantics of the word "local" in favor of the word "limited"? In which case, I strongly urge you to avoid quibbling over this, like this seemingly endless quibbling over the word "reason". Bright☀ 15:08, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

RFC's are a tool for obtaining consensus (just like 3O, DRN, or MEDCOM) , not a type or level of consensus. Depending on how they're "advertised" and where they are used they can either form local consensus or community-wide consensus. The difference between local consensus and wider consensus is the type of place (along, again I would argue, with advertisement) that the RFC occurs. If the RFC happens at Talk:My Pretty Pony or Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Radio, it's ordinarily local; if it happens at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability, it's ordinarily community-wide. The best place to illustrate the distinction is at wiki-projects. Ordinarily, RFC's (and, for that matter, ordinary consensus discussions) at wiki-project talk pages only form local consensus and essay-level standards for those projects (as currently stated at CONLIMITED), but with proper advertisement and intent they can create policy or guidelines. Thus, the means of obtaining consensus, whether through ordinary discussion or through RFC, isn't the determinant; it's how the RFC is promoted and advertised. To say it a third way: If an RFC at a wiki-project specifically says that it's proposing to create a guideline or policy and that RFC is, per the Policy policy advertised at places like the Village Pump then it can, indeed, create policy or guidelines. In that case the RFC is community-wide. But if you file an RFC at Talk:My Pretty Pony to determine whether chartreuse ponies can be documented through reliable sources, that's local consensus. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 22:15, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Hmm, good point, I'll revise the bullet-point list above. Bright☀ 23:52, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Request for Comment - add subsection to WP:Local consensus about consensus levels

The consensus is against including the "scale" subsection.

Cunard (talk) 02:04, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should the "scale" subsection below be added to the WP:Local consensus section of WP:Consensus? Bright☀ 10:14, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

Scale

Though consensus is not a vote, the amount of community participation and agreement indicates the level of acceptance of a consensus. Usually, participation follows this rising order:

See also the preliminary discussion of this topic. Bright☀ 10:14, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

Survey re add subsection to WP:Local consensus

  • Very strong oppose - Totally unnecessary attempt to impose on the community one editor's idiosyncratic and inflexible views of what consensus is. Beyond My Ken (talk) 20:23, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose without a clear statement of the claimed underlying problem. There is only one "consensus", but there are different ways of estimating the consensus position. Experienced editors can often guess what consensus would be from previous cases. An unchallenged edit shows consensus by silence. Agreement among regulars on a talk page indicates local consensus. However if the conclusions from these methods of estimating consensus varies, a wide community discussion is needed for a better measurement. Johnuniq (talk) 22:25, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
This won't change your !vote but everything you said actually supports this addition, which clarifies exactly that. Bright☀ 09:47, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the law of unintended consequences. Suggest it is placed in a WP:ESSAY. --Tom (LT) (talk) 22:26, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per others above. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 22:29, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Completely erratic attempt to establish a one editor's view on consensus. KGirl (Wanna chat?) 02:04, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, appears to be a solution looking for a problem. Stifle (talk) 16:14, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support when implemented as shown below (i.e. in this edit). While I share some of the concerns mentioned by the opposes, I think this correctly summarizes the policy and is useful as a summary, since the proposal links to the relevant parts of the policy. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:59, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the views expressed above. I also feel it doesn't correctly preserve or explain the current language of the page. Gestrid (talk) 18:21, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - there are some highly volatile issues that many editors refuse to partake in...such as politics and religion...many don't want to be "labeled" for expressing their views so they say nothing. I agree with BMK regarding the one editor's views and inflexibility. I also believe that unless the topic is expressly about changing a policy/guideline, consensus to waive it in a particular instance should not override existing PAGs. Atsme📞📧 00:25, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - splitting hairs by the shades of gray. Yes, consensus is not a vote, end exactly for that reason consensus is established by the scope of arguments, not by scope of participation. If someone wants hierarchy, we have WP:Dispute resolution escalation process. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:43, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Attempts to define, quantitate, or scale consensuses, as a result following a presume question, misconstrue the meaning of consensus. Consensus decision-making involves re-formulating the question to avoid dividing conflicts, and these almost-but-not-quite consensus usually involve a failure to re-examine the question following later input, and thus should be regarded as unconcluded discussions. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:45, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I appreciate the intention, but I can envision this being misused for wikilawyering. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:45, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I'll be that guy – Support. Unless I'm completely missing something, this is a perfectly accurate description of how we handle conflicting consensus: global trumps local, and the more participation led to a consensus, the "firmer" that consensus is, in the sense of requiring a higher bar to overturn it later. Right? I really don't understand the wave of opposition here, nor do I see good arguments being made – I mostly see personal sleights and non-sequitur slippery slope arguments, which a sensible closer will ignore. As Bright pointed out, the complete 180 in support from the initial discussion to this one is...very curious. —swpbT go beyond 13:27, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
If this is what we already do without this text, is not adding the text WP:CREEP and liable to provide warriors some other verbiage to weaponize? I have not yet stated a WP:!VOTE because I'm still waiting for someone to explain what problem would be solved by the additional text to make the unknown risks worth it? Open mind here. If you move the discussion part of your comment to the discussion section, @Swpb:, please move my reply as well. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:31, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
CREEP is a particular type of new guidance, concerned with finicky details that should be left to editor discretion; this proposal doesn't resemble that at all. This is making a fundamental standard practice explicit, because leaving it implicit has invited too much re-litigation. I also don't see anything to "weaponize" here, and I think anyone worried about that has the burden to demonstrate what such abuse would look like, because I can't see it: this guidance emphasizes that wider participation carries more weight, which totally undermines the lone warrior getting their way by browbeating a few users in an obscure discussion. —swpbT go beyond 18:50, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Would you our @BrightR: be able to show examples of the "relitigation" this might have prevented or at least helped to resolve?NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:49, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I have about four examples with my own personal involvement (with some of the oppose voters here!) of discussions with arguments of "community consensus doesn't matter because there's no local consensus." To avoid the personal angle, I'll round up some randomly-found "local consensus" examples, but please mind that this issue has no searchable keywords ("consensus" or "local consensus" or "community consensus" give endless results...)
From personal experience, I find it's relatively frequent that an article owner would say something in the lines of "your consensus is not binding!" True, consensus is "not binding", but it's still better than non-consensus or not-consensus, and broader consensus is better than local consensus. This is all the proposed addition is saying. Bright☀ 05:50, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for taking number of contributors as a too exclusive criterion, see my more detailed explanations below. --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:39, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • comment (oppose) What would be the main point of classifying RfC's outcomes as "broad", "local", and so on? To know how strongly it is established and how hard would be to change it or to go wp:IAR about it. I think we could do that much better if we make past RfCs (and RfC-like) discussions easily available. I am not sure about the exact way but, as an example, talk pages could have a linked index of past RfC's with one liner description of the subject, outcome, and date. While policy pages should have "sources" pointing to the latest discussion(s) about each topic. Currently, almost only "the initiated" know how consensus was reached and with what arguments. And I presume having sources should also apply to policy pages for the very same need of verification. - Nabla (talk) 02:59, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support To me, this seems to be a suitably high level description of what everyone who's been here a while has already realized about how consensus actually works. Does anyone really believe that a non challenged or discussed edit has more consensus than an issue that's been discussed on the talk page? Or that something that's been discussed by broadly attended RfC with high attendance doesn't have more consensus than an informal discussion with three involved editors on the talk page? Or that something in a policy has more consensus than an RfC at the article level? There is a concern about gaming, but BRD relies on a consistent understanding of what the first BOLD edit is, which is at least partially related to whether there was a form of consensus for the content to begin with. I believe adding a little more clarity to what is established practice here could serve to reduce the lawyering that goes on in some of these cases. Scribolt (talk) 06:28, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Agree with Scribolt, this matches my experience on how consensus is established beyond discussion over a particular article, and I think that a similar description could help newcomers understand what's going on in larger discussions. Maybe if the section was written in a way that emphazises that it's being descriptive, not normative, people would agree to it better? I.e. not to be used as a reason on itself to support arguments, but merely as a summary of policy that is expressed elsewhere. After all, the proposed text roughly follows the approach at Consensus-building and WP:Dispute resolution.
I like Nabla's suggestion above to routinely provide links to previous discussions that informed a particular policy or guideline. I've seen this approach working very well in {{Old AfD multi}}, the RS noticeboard archives, and Wikipedia:WikiProject Video games/Sources#Checklist. Diego (talk) 13:26, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Seems like an unnecessary restatement of "levels of consensus". James (talk/contribs) 15:59, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per various above, especially Staszek Lem. --LukeSurl t c 14:54, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There's either consensus, or there's not. It's that simple. If there are any caveats to the ultimate result of the close, it should be stated in the closer's closing statement, which already happens. Steel1943 (talk) 16:10, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, and REPEAL all "levels of consensus" language because I feel like it exists solely to handcuff WikiProjects. — Mr. Guye (talk) (contribs)  02:58, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
    If we actually could do that, it would be a tremendous boon. They served out their usefulness for the most part back around 2008, and have mostly been a mechanism of exclusion and dispute generation since then.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:06, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as wrong-headed. It's just not an accurate model of what consensus is, how it works, or what WP:CONLEVEL is getting at. This is another attempt to make WP into a vote-based direct democracy. That isn't consensus in the WP sense. It's not a matter of how many heads turned up to spout yea or nay, it's about the quality of the reasoning that went into it formulating general agreement on something, and how broadly across the project the agreement is recognized. Otherwise, any wikiproject with a big pile of participants like WP:MILHIST would have their WP:PROJPAGE guidance essays – by sheer dint of editor numbers – trump site-wide policies like WP:EDITING that have few direct contributors and which have not aroused much discussion in years, but which are 10000% more central to the project than is wikiproject trivia like how to arrange tables of battles or how to abbreviate military ranks. (No, I don't mean to actually pick on MILHIST; it's one of the few wikiprojects left that actively serves anything approximating an open, encyclopedic purpose.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:06, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Discussion re add subsection to WP:Local consensus

Can you be a bit more explicit about how it would be added? As I've said before, I can't support anything which doesn't preserve the current language. If this is an addition to the current language, I'll be able to support it; if it replaces the current language, then I'll oppose it; it it modifies the current language then my position will vary based upon exactly how it does so. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:47, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

The first two paragraphs below already exist in the policy. The proposal would add the text in the "scale" subsection. This note added by me.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:36, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

Levels of consensus

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. WikiProject advice pages, information pages and template documentation pages have not formally been approved by the community through the policy and guideline proposal process, thus have no more status than an essay.

Wikipedia has a higher standard of participation and consensus for changes to policies and guidelines than to other types of pages. This is because they reflect established consensus, and their stability and consistency are important to the community. As a result, editors often propose substantive changes on the talk page first to permit discussion before implementing the change. Changes may be made without prior discussion, but they are subject to a high level of scrutiny. The community is more likely to accept edits to policy if they are made slowly and conservatively, with active efforts to seek out input and agreement from others.

Scale

Though consensus is not a vote, the amount of community participation and agreement indicates the level of acceptance of a consensus. Usually, participation follows this rising order:

Bright☀ 09:25, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • One thing is missing... we need some discussion of RFCs would fit into all this. The problem, of course, is that an RFC may get a small turnout or a large turnout... and yet an RFC is considered an "official" reflection of consensus (and is a recommended step in WP:Dispute resolution). Blueboar (talk) 17:11, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

Pinging NewsAndEventsGuy, Scribolt, and Moxy who participated in the preliminary discussion. Strange how the preliminary discussion had almost complete agreement and now the RfC has almost complete opposition, and even people whose survey rationale supports the addition, oppose it. Bright☀ 09:45, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Suggest you put the first two paragraphs in a grey box and add a title bar to the whole thing that says Existing text in grey box, proposed new text in green box. I'm not convinced everyone realizes the first two paragraphs are already part of the policy.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 10:51, 12 October 2017 (UTC) Also, I share others concerns how this new text will possibly be fodder for arguments where one side may try to frame the debate around he levels in this scale. Do you think that might happen? Is this supposed to be a tool to help resolve disputes? As a said in the protracted discussion I hadn't studiend the wall of text, though I'm sure there were lots of good points made by many. I was waiting for the distillation in this RFC. I kinda expected a new-and-improved succinct explanation what problem this is trying to solve, but all I see is the naked proposal. As it stands, I'd have to oppose, but you haven't provided your reasons yet. In 50 words or less if possible, why? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:59, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
The problem, as stated before very succinctly, is editors who try to enforce local consensus (or local no-consensus) in the face of broader consensus. To take the Daily Mail example, it's like an editor insisting on using the Daily Mail as a source inappropriately despite broad community consensus that it should not be used. What's more, I don't know if anything I can say can sway any of the oppose not-voters because some of them explicitly repeat what the addition says and yet vote against it: "An unchallenged edit shows consensus by silence. Agreement among regulars on a talk page indicates local consensus. However if the conclusions from these methods of estimating consensus varies, a wide community discussion is needed for a better measurement. Oppose." When someone says almost word-for-word what the proposal says, and yet opposes it, I get the feeling this proposal is not being weighed on its merits... Then there are oppose not-votes that say "look at a the Daily Mail consensus, which was among a limited number of participants" - technically I guess "a hundred" (30 oppose, 68 support, plus several comments and several more closing admins) is limited... anyway I find that the not-votes here are very much divorced from reality. Bright☀ 15:39, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
When people go "meta" (by discussing the discussion instead of the merits) I quickly lose interest. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:59, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
That's because the proposal is so simple and the rationale is so brief that explaining it takes one or two sentences. It's the replies that I find utterly inconsistent and demonstrably wrong. Bright☀ 10:10, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose – "number of contributors" is the wrong entrance to make this discrimination. Compare the RfC that outruled Daily Mail as a general-use RS (limited number of participants, nonetheless a clear decision); Compare high participation discussions where the majority "wins" with a small margin (may be defined as consensus, but not a "broad" one); Compare Gamergate-related decisions (often high numbers of participants ushered in from elsewhere: despite their numbers they didn't weigh on these decisions); etc. --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:36, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Disagree, keeping with a very strong opposition to the proposal. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:21, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
The wording specifically and explicitly mentions that consensus is not a vote... The mention of the Daily Mail example is particularly puzzling since it was discussed hundreds of times by countless editors before a final decision was made. And even if you discount all those presumably no-consensus discussions, the final discussion and consensus was made among a very large number of editors. Not that it'll change your not-vote, but you both mischaracterize what the suggested addition explicitly states, and you mischaracterize the very examples you provided. Bright☀ 15:27, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Re. Daily Mail "discussed hundreds of times by countless editors before a final decision was made" – yet, after the decision was made commentators outside Wikipedia wondered how come that such a small percentage of Wikipedia editors can make a decision that applies to Wikipedia as a whole. To which was replied that these outside commentators didn't understand how Wikipedia's decision procedures work (read: no clue about the WP:CONSENSUS policy). Let's not give such outside commentators ammunition to torch Wikipedia's decision procedures. So, no, can't accept this proposal, also because of what you point out now: it seems internally inconsistent with the current policy ("not a vote" includes, indeed, not counting the overall number of participants). --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:42, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
How can what non-participants think have any bearing on Wikipedia policy? How can you call a consensus among 100+ editors (with about 2/3 supporters, 1/3 opposers) "limited"? "not-vote" doesn't mean that the number of supporters and opposers doesn't matter. It means that a discussion has to take place, and it's perfectly fine to hold a straw poll after a discussion has taken place, see this very RfC or the Daily Mail RfC, and in fact pretty much any community-wide discussion. See WP:WIKINOTVOTE. This addition does nothing to encourage more voting or not-voting. It collects existing wording from WP:CONSENSUS and arranges them from the narrowest consensus to the broadest consensus, in order to emphasize that a local consensus cannot override broader community consensus.
  • Wording that already exists in WP:CONSENSUS:
    • Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale.
    • Wikipedia has a higher standard of participation and consensus for changes to policies and guidelines than to other types of pages. This is because they reflect established consensus, and their stability and consistency are important to the community.
    • Consensus is a normal and usually implicit and invisible process across Wikipedia. Any edit that is not disputed or reverted by another editor can be assumed to have consensus.
    • If an edit is challenged, or is likely to be challenged, editors should use talk pages to explain why an addition, change, or removal improves the article, and hence the encyclopedia.
All this already exists in the policy and the proposed addition merely collects it all into one place, in order to avoid editors who insist that their local implicit consensus (or lack of consensus) overrides broader community consensus. Imagine, if you will, that I collected all these existing policy snippets and put them in a section called "local consensus" that reads like this. And then I get really weird oppose not-votes like "this is one editor's view" (which apparently is already part of Wikipedia policy, albeit spread across four or five sections), or "you can't use the phrase 'number of contributors' because of what people outside Wikipedia think of the Daily Mail consensus, which was limited" (to about a hundred participants, which is a very large discussion by Wikipedia scale), or an oppose not-vote that repeats the proposal almost word-for-word and yet opposes it...
This is already part of the policy, I'm simply trying to make it more accessible so editors would not insist that their local-consensus/local-no-consensus overrides broader community consensus. Bright☀ 16:03, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
None of what you quote above has the slightest indication that all of a sudden starting to count participants in a discussion ("...number of contributors..." as the proposal has it, as an instrument to compare "levels of consensus") has any merit. Keeping to my, in the mean while very strong, oppose. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:13, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
It's already in the policy: Many of these discussions will involve polls of one sort or another; but as consensus is determined by the quality of arguments (not by a simple counted majority), polls should be regarded as structured discussions rather than voting which parallels Though consensus is not a vote, the amount of community participation and agreement indicates the level of acceptance of a consensus; and Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. which parallels Local consensus, among a small number of contributors and Broader community consensus, among a large number of contributors. polls [are not] votingconsensus is not a vote; limited groupsmall number; wider scalelarge number. The proposal is not encouraging voting. It discourages local consensus (among a limited group, which is a small number of editors) used to override broader community consensus (which has a wider scale, which means a large number of editors). It's already in the policy. The proposal is collecting it into one place. Bright☀ 16:28, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
"wider scale" does not (necessarily) mean "large(r) number of contributors". Some "wider scale" consensus procedures (e.g. WP:DRN) do not necessarily imply a larger number of participants. They can be even less numerous to come to a "wider scale" decision. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:45, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Can you show me a single example of consensus that was reached on a "wider scale" with less participants? Logically, it's inescapable that the second you involve more people, you have a larger number of people involved... By appealing to DRN you involve more editors... Bright☀ 10:10, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Nah, again, not necessarily. E.g. an editor takes a content dispute to ANI, with multiple editors commenting, after which it is decided it should go elsewhere as a content dispute: wherever it is taken the new consensus may emerge with less participants in the discussion. So, no, your proposal is principally flawed on this point. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:19, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
new consensus may emerge with less participants in the discussion - but it's not a broader consensus, it's just a consensus. The proposal doesn't say "new consensus HAS TO HAVE MORE PARTICIPANTS". It says that a broader consensus is usually among a large number of participants. You're somehow interpreting that as "any consensus has to have a larger number of participants than the previous consensus". No. The proposal doesn't say that. Bright☀ 10:24, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
It can surely be a broader consensus: in the example above, the ANI discussion may have yielded a 4 against 2 consensus on the content matter, while in the subsequent discussion on a more appropriate content noticeboard, with 5, in the end they all agree on the prior minority viewpoint: by all means a "broader" consensus, although there was one participant less. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:37, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Lets consider the following scenario.... a dispute arises at an article over whether X should be considered an exception to guideline Y. An RFC is filed to resolve this dispute. 50 editors respond to the RFC, with 44 saying "Yes, make an exception" and 6 saying "No, don't". I think most would agree that there is a clear consensus for making the exception.
Now, let's assume that the dispute is subsequently taken to the relevant guideline talk page or noticeboard... where only 5 editors discuss, but unanimously say "No... don't make an exception". A clear counter-consensus for Not making an exception.
So here's the question: Which discussion reflects the consensus of the "broader community"? The far larger one formed on the "local" article page... or the far smaller one at the "non-local" guideline page? Blueboar (talk) 11:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
"Where" the consensus is reached is not an exclusive criterion either. The RfC OP may have been tendentiously worded, The RfC may have been inappropriately canvassed, etc.; In the second discussion the fact that the discussion was going on may have been insufficiently announced, its section title may have been misleading about its true objective, the editors of the article where the preceding RfC was held may have been unaware that the second discussion was targeting that article specifically (then they can still claim a local exception was possible and agreed upon), it may have been left unmentioned that a preceding RfC already determined consensus on the matter (so that the new discussion is in fact a WP:CCC determination), it may have been closed too soon, etc...
No, all these attempts at defining consensus levels by a too limited set of "countables" are going nowhere. The wider a discussion is announced with a clear presentation of the discussion at hand, without being rigged in any way (no socking, inappropriate canvassing, etc, etc..), the more it is presumed to be representative of the editor community as a whole. The larger the part of the editing community that *had an opportunity to participate* the broader a consensus generally is (although also there, there are exceptions: does an ArbCom decision establish a "broader" consensus than an ANI discussion with more participants? Yet, ANI decisions can be taken to ArbCom if a participant doesn't agree with the outcome at ANI...).
It happens that I arrive at a discussion about an issue about which I have no strong views. The option which I would probably favour most has about 60% support. In such event I might decide not to participate in the discussion (really, when that is the situation I usually don't): does that mean that the outcome of the discussion would have a less "broad" consensus? I would support the outcome, whatever that outcome is (I had the opportunity to participate), wouldn't I? That means that a broader part of the community supports the consensus, which makes the consensus broader without my participation in the actual !vote. --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:22, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
by all means a "broader" consensus ArbCom is explicitly not part of the Wikipedia consensus process, but even if it were, what you are describing is a new consensus, not a broader consensus. If 4 people agree on a topic, and then a marginally larger or smaller group (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, no need to exactly quantify, but on a similar scale) later come to a different agreement on the topic, it's merely a new consensus, not a broader consensus. But regardless this is the third time you bring up an irrelevant "counterpoint" since ArbCom is not part of the Wikipedia consensus process—WP:CONEXCEPT. Bright☀ 02:08, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
does that mean that the outcome of the discussion would have a less "broad" consensus? the RfC is not remotely worded in the way you suggest ("a consensus with n+1 people is broader than a consensus with n people"). While a broader consensus will have more participants, a consensus with more participants is not necessarily broader. This "n vs n+1" attitude does not exist in the text, you are forcing it where it doesn't exist. Take this existing wording: The goal of a consensus-building discussion is to resolve disputes in a way that reflects Wikipedia's goals and policies while angering as few contributors as possible. Now imagine someone raising, like you, an objection to this on the grounds that "if consensus A angers 60% of people, and consensus B angers 60%+1 people, then this policy implies A the true consensus." Of course not. Consensus is not a vote. And the suggested addition to policy literally starts with a link to WP:WIKINOTVOTE. Bright☀ 02:30, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Does not fix any of the major problems in the original proposal. Lipstick on a pig.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:07, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Error In Definitions

The term "Consensus" means: 1. general agreement, unanimity. 2.group solidarity in sentiment and belief. (Miriam Webster's Dictionary). Therefore, the notion that "Consensus" does not require a notable measure of democracy is clearly errant by definition of terminology. Policy needs to be revised to reflect a more accurate term than "Consensus", or else edited to reflect the value of "democracy", as under the current indication of policy that "Consensus is not democracy" is patently inaccurate to the terminology, and therefore, the policy as stated is misleading at best. 108.201.29.108 (talk) 08:29, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Enjoy tilting at windmills, do? Since when does "solidarity" mean "democracy"? - And many democracies are not in "general agreement" about much of anything.
Suffice it to say that we do not operate by the definition of "consensus" preferred by Merriam-Webster, we operate by the definition of "consensus" as outlined in this policy. It doesn't matter if you call it "consensus" or "snigglblock", it's our policy, defined as this policy page defines it. If you want to change that, you're going to need a good snigglblock to do so. Beyond My Ken (talk) 08:46, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Linkbox clutter

[1] User:Beyond My Ken, why are you reverting in support of linkbox clutter of mediocre shortcut jargon to sections that are fluffy descriptions, not authoratively worded policy? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:19, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

You say "only 2 or 3" uses of the links per day, but that means about 700 - 1000 people are helped to find this page each year. That's more than enough to justify what is not really "clutter" in any meaningful sense of the word. This is a functional page, it's not out to win any awards for visual design. Please don;t remove the linkbox again unless you have a consensus to do so from this discussion -- right now, you do not. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:27, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
You seem to be working one the assumption that the linkbox enables the shortcuts to work? They don't. Possibly you are confused between the functionality of the linkbox and of Template:Anchor. Definitely, a lot of people with a passion for theses linkboxes seem to misunderstand. The Linkbox and its entries have nothing to do with helping 700 - 1000 find the page. Those people found the page by clicking on a shortcut typed by someone, usually on a talk page or a noticeboard. The shortcut links from old talk pages and noticeboards will work perfectly fine without all these linkboxes.
A more important reason to remove the linkboxes is that they are jargon, encourage jargon, and most importantly, create the appearance that the editor may use the linkbox advertised shortcut as an accepted link to policy. For these sections, that is wrong. These sections contain brief summaries of what people may mean when they say "no consensus" or "level of consensus", but they do not contain policy-level prescription/description/definition of the terms. The sections are unworthy of "policy" in isolation, they should not be referred to as policy in isolation, but taken to be explanations in the context of the policy page. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:58, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Nice try, but I'm actually just a tad smarter than that - I know how shortcuts work. However, no shortcut box, and no one knows what the shortcuts are; no one knows what they are, no one uses them; no one uses them, they have to stagger around playing blind man's bluff to get where they want to go.
And, in case you haven't noticed, Wikipedia runs on jargon, just like any other community of people with a similar focus: scientists (each in their own specialty), engineers (again, by specialty), journalists, corporations (by business type), lawyers, criminals, druggies, etc. etc. It helps speed up communication within the community. You want to mount a campaign to get rid of jargon? - do so in articles, where it's inappropriate, not in the shortcuts that help people navigate the system. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:21, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
I concur with BMK. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 01:29, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
That's nice TransporterMan. I think you both underappreciate the role of jargon in creating barriers for newcomers.
Sorry Ken, if that was cheeky, of course you know this stuff, but the words you used implied otherwise. Linkboxes do not help people got to pages. You have to be at the page already to see the linkbox, and it confers no functionality, unlike template:Anchor, which I do believe may many linkbox-entry-adders misunderstand.
Yes, Ken, jargon is good for efficiency. Good for efficiency, but a barrier for newcomers. Surely you would know, as the amount of jargon increases, people decreasingly know the jargon by heart, the additions to efficiency decrease, and the barrier heights increase. Surely? So, it is a matter of balance. I use jargon professionally myself. Internal communications are replete with jargon. But I also know to control the jargon. Jargon needs to be reduced for general audiences. It needs to be reduced for client communication where it is likely that the messages will be repeated, and quoted, sometimes out of context. Who is the intended audience for this page?
I am not against shortcuts, linkboxes, or linkboxes advertising recommended shortcuts. I am trying to improve the balance. WP:CCC, for example, is an extremely important shortcut. It has a very long and strong history of use, including use in very important historical discussions. Anyone interested in WP:Consensus and who might read an archive needs to know the meaning of the jargon WP:CCC.
The four linkbox-advertised-shortcuts I was attempting to remove, they are very very different in level to WP:CCC. I don't think they are justified for the clutter, for their dilution of the prominence of the important shortcuts.
Linkbox shortcut advertising has massively proliferated on project pages, usually without justification, never from what I find with a explicit demonstration of consensus to add them. I think there should be some onus on you to at least assert that these four shortcuts are important enough to recommend for use. I think they are shortcuts to policy bloat, sections that don't really say much on their own, and when I purse their past uses (using WhatLinksHere) I see them (unlike CCC for example) having been used clumsily and for no real effect.
Yes, I campaign to reduce this jargon-clutter. I think it has passed the crest of efficiency increase and the poorest advertised shortcuts are encouraging significantly dumbed-down one-word shouly VAGUEWAVE policy referencing discussions. Do you use these four shortcuts? I expect not, because clueful Wikipedians do not use barely known shortcuts.
Articles? Yes, I am more gently pushing back against excessive hat-noting. These hat notes consume extremely valuable real estate at the tom of articles, and so often exist to ameliorate bad titles. Often, RM regulars support minimalist titling with the justification that a 3rd or even 4th hatnote line can be added. Hatnotes are also confounding to screen readers used by the visually impaired.
However, the existence of other problems elsewhere doesn't mean that an identified problem here should be ignored. These top-level policy pages are supposed to be early-reading pages for newcomers (not high-language wiki-philosophy forums as happens). A newcomer, perhaps a few weeks in, should be expected to be able to read a policy like this without receiving the message that this page is not intended to be comprehended by them. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:06, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Doing dispute resolution, I use the links to the "No consensus" section far more often than I ever use CCC. I agree that the use of shortcuts to policy in communications to newcomers without explaining what the underlying policy requires or forbids is far less than ideal (though I also certainly understand the fatigue caused by having to explain at length the same damned thing over and over and over again). I do not agree that their visible presence in the policy makes it substantially more forbidding or difficult to comprehend. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:24, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
That sounds like a good reason to keep WP:NOCON in a linkbox. Not sure about the others. I hadn't noted use in DR pages (are the discussions blanked on resolution?). If used in DR, it makes sense that recipients of the message find the shortcut at the target section.
Linkboxes advertise the best shortcuts to use for a particular page or section. IF WP:NOCON is a good shortcut for backroom Wikipedians to use, then it should be in the linkbox. Is the same true for WP:NOCONSENSUS? Why two? Do they have different purposes, like the many parallel shortcuts found in the Linkboxes at WP:NOT? I should track down DR uses of these shortcuts before commenting further. What I had noted is that their uses on article talk pages usually involves a clumsy use, and where the section linked did not really support the person's argument. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:19, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
If you think the number of links should be limited (to one?) you need to get consensus for that. There have been a few discussions about this and no consensus for the "right" number of links. Bright☀ 04:11, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
No, there is no magic number. The guideline says two, but in cases, such as at WP:NOT, many more than two are justified. I recognise that and I don't remember seeing any discussions on it. I think rarely used, unintuitive, and redundant shortcuts should be removed from linkboxes. I admit that removing removing NOCON was a mistake. Not sure about the rest. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:19, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Finding these discussions is very difficult (searching for "shortcut" or "linkbox" or "redirect" is no help) but from the results I did get, it seems the best way to get rid of excessive redirects is to raise the issue on Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion, which is probably the most appropriate forum for these discussions. Bright☀ 04:42, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
The mention of RfD reinforces my impression that many people mistakeningly think linkbox entries are required for shortcuts to work. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:51, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
But if I understand correctly, SmokeyJoe doesn't want to get rid of the shortcut redirects themselves, he just wants to get rid of the boxes on the policy or guideline pages which tell people what the shortcut redirects are. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:12, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
No, I do not "wants to get rid of the boxes on the policy or guideline pages", but just reduce them. Or at least reduce their contents. I went too far yesterday, got it. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:49, 25 November 2017 (UTC)

There is no compromise between fact and fiction :

IP sock of indef blocked editor User:Edward Palamar Beyond My Ken (talk) 18:45, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

and to uphold this is a legal responsibility of the WMF, something which it is failing to do. - 100.14.81.196 (talk) 15:04, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Such accusations usually come with more details. Perhaps you could let us know what article(s) you are concerned about. Blueboar (talk) 15:10, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
You might also provide the legal theory under which you believe the WMF is "legally reponsible" for "upholding fact", other then the laws against libel, which is not a criminal matter but a civil one, and which therefore can be ignored with impunity unless someone decides to sue. Beyond My Ken (talk) 18:07, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
This might be related to this on Jimbo Wales' talk page, in which case this may as well be archived, as this is not a serious inquiry. Beyond My Ken (talk)

Semi-protected edit request on 6 January 2018

In the first sentence of § Through discussion, please specify the article’s talk page, as opposed to the disagreeing editors’ usertalks. 67.14.236.50 (talk) 23:30, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

Partly done: specified as associated talk page. WP:CONSENSUS also relates to pages in other namespaces AdA&D 23:51, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Kudos for following the spirit of the request! —67.14.236.50 (talk) 00:32, 7 January 2018 (UTC)

RfC on Proposal: Seek Consensus (unanimity), then impose majority decision

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The Consensus article is confused and self-contradictory, and worse, does not reflect reality. The reality of Wikipedia editing is that first everyone tries to achieve consensus (unanimity), and if that fails, then the majority of involved editors (there are typically two to four editors in any discussion) impose their will, equivalent to a majority vote among active editors. And often there is a third stage where registered editors perpetuate their majority decision by blocking the article from further editing by non-registered IPs (as is the case with this "protected" Consensus article). That being the real procedure underlying Wikipedia, I propose that the Consensus article is rewritten accordingly. 86.158.154.104 (talk) 10:56, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but your comment reads a lot more like a pointy rant than a serious proposal, and you're simply mistaken on several important points (starting with the notion that any major change to a policy page could be made without an RfC). My suggestion would be that you do a lot more reading and gain a lot more experience before proposing any change to WP:CONSENSUS, let alone a rewrite. You can get assistance with understanding how editing works at various places including WP:Teahouse and WP:Help desk—as well as one-on-one with more experienced editors on their user talk pages—but you'll be better off asking calm questions than making pointy proposals to rewrite policy pages. Comprehending the extent of what we don't know is one of the hardest things we can do, but it's also one of the most important. ―Mandruss  12:05, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the RfC advice, which I have now implemented. Meanwhile, even if my revolutionary proposal shocks you, please assume good faith. Sit back, think about it, and then I would look forward to your erudite comments. 86.158.154.104 (talk) 16:47, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
please assume good faith - Another mistake. I haven't challenged your good faith, I've challenged your competence and judgment. ―Mandruss  16:49, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Now I'm challenging your good faith. See how that works? ―Mandruss  17:47, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

Add a summary definition of what "consensus" is

Please add a summary definition of what "consensus" actually is. Currently the first paragraph only explicitly indicates what it isn't! —DIV (120.17.222.106 (talk) 12:20, 7 March 2018 (UTC))

Hi.
There already is one:

Consensus decision-making is a group decision-making process in which group members develop, and agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole. Consensus may be defined professionally as an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if not the "favourite" of each individual. Consensus is defined by Merriam-Webster as, first, general agreement, and second, group solidarity of belief or sentiment. It has its origin in the Latin word cōnsēnsus (agreement), which is from cōnsentiō meaning literally feel together.(1) It is used to describe both the decision and the process of reaching a decision. Consensus decision-making is thus concerned with the process of deliberating and finalizing a decision, and the social, economic, legal, environmental and political effects of applying this process.

1: "Consensus - Definition". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
Actually, the first paragraph isn't that bad. It defines "consensus" as:

an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's policies and guidelines.

Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 12:37, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Suggested title change

Can you please change "consensus" to a better and more common word? Which one sounds better: "decision", "discussion", or "agreement"? 207.246.84.117 (talk) 12:42, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

The one that sounds better is "Consensus" NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:00, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
You're wrong. Nobody ever uses the word "consensus" in real-life conversations. 207.246.84.117 (talk) 13:10, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Since I do engage in that particular behavior, I believe we have a consensus that I am "nobody". See WP:NOTHERE NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:17, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Hi. Consensus decision-making has English meaning that nothing else does. At least, not "decision", "discussion", or "agreement". If you haven't heard it in real life, that's hardly our fault, isn't it? —Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 16:24, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Non-starter. ―Mandruss  16:40, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

NYC subway station naming convention

There is a discussion about the NYC subway station naming convention at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject New York City Public Transportation/New York City Subway/Station naming convention#Unnecessary and overlong "disambiguation" parentheticals to station complexes. Users familiar with WP:LOCALCONCENSUS would be useful there. -- JHunterJ (talk) 16:41, 26 March 2018 (UTC)

New shortcut for Wikipedia:Consensus#Through_editing

User:CFCF wishes to add another shortcut to the section Wikipedia:Consensus#Through_editing. Wikipedia:IMPLICITCONSENSUS or Wikipedia:IMPLICIT, both of which he just created. I oppose adding these to the section linkbox, as they are clutter. Sure, the word "implicit" is the 5th word in the section, but a project space search for the word does not reveal a connection. It is just a fairly common word. The current shortcut WP:EDITCONSENSUS is easily clear enough and good enough without needing to muddy the waters by introducing a new recommended shortcut. Use your favourite redirects by all means, but please stop cluttering policy pages with useless distracting linkbox clutter. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:43, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

I like them because they bring more immediate attention to the idea of implicit consensus, and I don't think that two links is clutter. Carl Fredrik talk 22:54, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Opposed (A) See WP:CREEP, (B) CFCF has not provided any explanation how the new shortcut fixes or improves upon the existing shortcut WP:EDITCONSENSUS, (C) Look over the structure of the policy and compare the existing short cuts to the sections. Most sections have a shortcut that points to that section using a form of a word found in the section heading. That's what reinforces how it all works. If you just say "implied consensus" I predict less than 10% of newbies will have any clue what you mean. If instead you say "consensus through back-and-forth editing" the number probably rises substantially, but it won't rise to 100%. Why won't it rise to 100%? Because a lot of newbies (and even some regulars) do not know what "consensus" means. Our goal here should be to explain consensus, and adding yet another word to be puzzled out, thus making a phrase to be puzzled out, impedes the goal of quickly and intuitively conveying both the what and the how of the mechanical process. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:49, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
I have given reasons, and that the reason why no newbies would understand implied consensus is in part because we're removing the term. If we included it, it would be much more evident. I also find it to be intuitive, so I don't think anyone would misunderstand, unless you assume we're only linking it like WP:IMPLIED without any explanation. As to "following WP:BRD" — that's sort of what I'm doing. Carl Fredrik talk 12:58, 1 April 2018 (UTC)

Regarding consensus on removal of content

Hello. We are having a discussion on how to interpret these guidelines in this section of the Rommel's Talk page. Basically one user (Beyond My Ken) tried to remove an image in the article (not my image originally). I disagreed with the removal, thus I started a Talk section. Because no one else commented, I think the statements in the "No consensus" section of this article mean that "if there is a lack of consensus in the deletion debate, the original content will be kept", so I reverted the page to the original content. The admin TonyBallioni then accused me of edit warring on my Talk page. Beyond My Ken said that "You understand wrong. The content is disputed, so you need a consensus to restore it, and you don't have one. Please don't restore it to the article again without one." Can somebody explain to me about these guidelines? Perhaps they are not clear enough?--Deamonpen (talk) 03:52, 9 May 2018 (UTC)

I provided you with the soft edit warring warning for restoring content twice after two editors disagreed with you. It was a heads up not to continue to restore without discussion. The policy here is clear enough WP:ONUS The onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to include disputed content. If there is consensus for inclusion, it will be clear on the talk page. If there is not, then it stays removed. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:20, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps there is a misunderstanding here? As far as I can see: After my initial revert was reverted by Beyond My Ken, I opened the Talk Page. No one else commented there (for weeks) other than me and Beyond My Ken, so I concluded that there was a lack of consensus and reposted the image (accoding to my understanding of the Guidelines here). You then deleted the image yourself, gave me the warning on my Talk page, and commented on the Rommel Talk page that you agreed with Beyond My End (only by that point, there are two users who disagree with me, namely Beyond my Ken and you).
In short, I never did any revert after seeing that "two editors disagreed with you (meaning me)". Because when I reposted the image, I had no way to know that you (or any second person) approved Beyond My Ken's removal.
On the other point, if so, I think the wording on this page needs to be changed to avoid further misunderstanding.Deamonpen (talk) 04:37, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I see it now, sorry, when I added the new content on Rommel's part in the Resistance, that photo was readded because I still worked on the edit page I had opened before your edit (at that moment I did not notice that you had removed it yet)Deamonpen (talk) 04:45, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
You should also remember that "status quo version" or "stable version" hold no weight and any attempt to restore challenged material because it's in the "stable version" is indicative of article ownership. Bright☀ 06:00, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
I know about WP:OWNBEHAVIOR. I did not restore the image because it was the stable version. I only question the meaning/wording of "In deletion discussions, a lack of consensus normally results in the article, page, image, or other content being kept." If this means that restoration of challenged content requires consensus, I don't think many would be able to understand that. I repeated that when the image was restored the second time, I was working on an edit page (that still had the image) I had opened before TonyBallioni's editing, and when I pushed the "publish changes" button, I received no notice that someone had successfully edited the content and erased the image between my two edits (meaning I had no knowledge of the deletion by TonyBallioni or the restoration by myself)Deamonpen (talk) 06:18, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
That was actually directed at other editors who might tell you they're reverting to restore the "status quo". When choosing between two versions of an article, the improved version is preferred, not the status quo. If someone reverts without a reason, it's indicative of ownership behavior. Bright☀ 08:51, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
I disagree with Tony that ONUS has anything to do with this situation (ONUS is really about the initial inclusion or exclusion of material, see long discussions at its talk page), but there's no exception to the edit war policy for enforcement of this policy or many (but not all) others. Right result, but wrong reason. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:21, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
Thank you both for the clarification:)Deamonpen (talk) 17:22, 9 May 2018 (UTC)

How can a person lock the detail

My friend is a celebrity so she need a bit of privacy one shud not b able to change easily. Vtandel65 (talk) 18:48, 25 June 2018 (UTC)

Unfortunately Wikipedia does not work this way. All you can do is to delete information that is not published in reliable publications. Please see our policy WP:BLP for details. Staszek Lem (talk) 19:52, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
Also, if the page with the biography is vandalized often, you may request the protection of the page in WP:RPP. However you must provide an evidence of page vandalism. Just being a celebrity does not count. All biographies in Wikipedia are for notable people. Staszek Lem (talk) 19:55, 25 June 2018 (UTC)

Neanderthal as a H. Heidelberg or sapien human/hominin?

This page is only for discussing improvements to this policy. Please post your observation on the talk page of the article or articles in question. — TransporterMan (TALK) 16:52, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

In the timeline axis it shows H. hei. (it's hard to spell atm since i need to rush) with Neanderthal as a branch of them, yet that race is often thought to be a subspecies of H. sapien, not H. erectus (as H. hei. is thought to be a race of H. erectus). So shouldn't we change it so that Neanderthal is a branch of H. sapien or rather put H. hei., Neanderthalers, and H. sapiens all as H. sapiens?198.85.118.168 (talk) 16:31, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

Definition of Consensus

(1) I request that an explicit definition of 'consensus' be included in this policy.

(2) It is clear what consensus is not: neither "unanimity" nor the "result of a vote". However, a lack of explicit definition allows subjective interpretation. Inclusion will clarify editorial practice. If concise, the definition could lead the policy per MOS:FIRST. For reference purposes, Archive 2 records earlier attempts to provide a conceptual definition.

(3) This policy states that it "describes how consensus is understood on Wikipedia". It does so quite vaguely across different parts of the text. For example:

(3.1) "Consensus is a normal and usually implicit and invisible process across Wikipedia."
(3.2) "Consensus is an ongoing process on Wikipedia".
(3.3) "A consensus decision takes into account all of the proper concerns raised."
(3.4) "Consensus can be assumed if no editors object to a change."

One definition (3.3) requires subjective interpretation (what is a 'proper concern'?)

(4) In lieu of explicit definition, process (how) versus description (what) is emphasised in the policy. For example:

(4.1) "Decision making and reaching consensus involve an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's policies and guidelines."
(4.2) "Consensus is ascertained by the quality of the arguments given on the various sides of an issue, as viewed through the lens of Wikipedia policy."

Note: although Wikipedia policy is invoked, one process (4.2) requires quality judgements.

(5) Despite common practice by editors, there is no policy alignment with (though there is a link at the end to) Consensus decision-making. It is possible that such an alignment is currently precluded. The lead example (at 4.1) separates 'decision-making' and 'reaching consensus'. Practitioner education and/or policy review may align practice with policy.

(6) I have no favoured definition.

(7) Thank you for your consideration. Te Karere (talk) 09:57, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

My stab at a definition: “Consensus is rough agreement arrived at by engaging in compromise.” Blueboar (talk) 13:26, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
(1) An explicit definition of 'consensus'?
Some things are fuzzy. Blueboar's stab is excellent
(2) It is clear what consensus is not: neither "unanimity" nor the "result of a vote".
Unanimity is an extreme example of a concensus, and is not a useful example. Archive 2? Might check later.


(3.1) "Consensus is a normal and usually implicit and invisible process across Wikipedia."
True. Wikipedia works well and best on concensus. The exceptions are the disputes.

(3.2) "Consensus is an ongoing process on Wikipedia".

Bad statement. It is not a singular process.
(3.3) "A consensus decision takes into account all of the proper concerns raised."
Ideally, yes. If not true, it is not really consensus. "Not taking into account" is a damning statement on a process. this is a motherhood statement. what does it mean to "take into account". What is "proper". Answer: it is what the participants agree it means.


(3.4) "Consensus can be assumed if no editors object to a change."
Documented at WP:Silence
(4.1) "Decision making and reaching consensus involve an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's policies and guidelines."
(4.2) "Consensus is ascertained by the quality of the arguments given on the various sides of an issue, as viewed through the lens of Wikipedia policy."
Note: although Wikipedia policy is invoked, one process (4.2) requires quality judgements.
That's right. Concensus decision making involving compromise requires the group to make and agree to quality judgements.


(5) Despite common practice by editors, there is no policy alignment with (though there is a link at the end to) Consensus decision-making. It is possible that such an alignment is currently precluded. The lead example (at 4.1) separates 'decision-making' and 'reaching consensus'. Practitioner education and/or policy review may align practice with policy.
WP:Consensus is not a policy like other policies are. It is not "actionable". It is not "enforceable" It is more like a principle. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:57, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

Enacted discussions

What is the general rule for discussions that are correctly closed after the required amount of time but shortly after have objections in that of the proposed idea being a bad idea (as opposed to that the discussion was closed incorrectly). We have Talk:Bury, Talk:Bradford-on-Avon, Talk:World Heritage site and Category:Cars. There is also Talk:Acer Inc. which was re opened.

In the case of Bury the objections mainly came from the incoming links that resulted from the move. However User:Amakuru objected based on the move its self being bad, however the links were cleared up and several other comments following agreed the move was correct. I later asked Amakuru about it who said that the close in its self was not incorrect and that they may one day make the reverse proposal. In this case it was resolved.

However in the case of World Heritage site, the issue looks far more problematic, it was at World Heritage Site for 15 years before a RM in May with little participation got it moved to World Heritage site. The move has meant that many of the sub topics are now inconsistent with the main article. There was then a new RM in August to move it back which resulted in no consensus. It was then listed at Wikipedia:Move review/Log/2018 September and re opened and closed again by User:BD2412 (see User talk:BD2412#World Heritage Site), when there was another MR at Wikipedia:Move review/Log/2018 October#World Heritage site which is still open.

In the case of Category:Cars it was argued that a lack of consensus in the new discussion should result in the long-standing title being restored.

Deletion discussions are different as far as I'm aware as a page can be re created unilaterally and not be deleted under G4 as long as they (at least partly) address the reasons for deletion. I am asking here as I got no response here and it would be helpful to clear this up for all similar discussions.

So should things be restored, in favour, it means that long-standing pages are more stable, but it means that any closed discussion is not "stable" even if closed correctly, meaning its easier to get correct moves reverted. See this post for example. Crouch, Swale (talk) 18:08, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

I'm not clear what you're asking. I don't even see a question mark. I don't think there is a general rule for dealing with objections about correctly closed discussions. If it's correctly closed, what is the basis for the objection? Does the objector agree it was correctly closed? --В²C 19:54, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
My questions are 1) in situations where a move is enacted after a successful RM, is it appropriate generally to re open, even if closed correctly? and 2) if a RM is enacted as move (closed correctly) and there is shortly after dispute where a new RM to move back, should the title before the first RM be generally restored? Crouch, Swale (talk) 20:41, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
1) Generally, no. Only if the closer agrees, or per an MR decision (but that shouldn't happen if close was correct).
2) Gray area. Situation dependent. Many factors to consider. No fixed rule. --В²C 21:17, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

---

I'd avoid thinking in terms of "correct" closes. Sure, there are sometimes a few blantantly "incorrect" closes, such as moving a page without removing the {{requested move/dated}} template, or moving an article but not its talk page (which populate maintenance categories), but in the examples you're giving there may not be a "right" or "wrong" answer. There is simply the opinion of the closing admin (or non-admin) which is their judgement of consensus. Different admins will sometimes judge consensus differently, which is why we sometimes have a committee of three work together to close the most difficult and contentious discussions.
Some concepts to keep in mind:
1) WP:CONLIMITED. Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. So, if an RM closes with the unanimous approval of three editors to move, but shortly afterwards two others show up with objections after noticing the move, then it's clear that the original limited consensus did not hold up to wider scrutiny. To avoid this, experienced admins should use their judgement to assess the potential for such post-move objections... e.g. has the current title been stable for over a decade? Are sources mixed, i.e. does the Ngram show significant use of both the current and requested title? I don't think there's any rule that says a one-week old RM with limited (albeit unanimous) participation must be closed. No harm in giving it another week. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of "SNOW" closes before the week's run out, unless the request should have been viewed as a technical request. No harm in letting it run, unless there is some sort of compelling urgency to move... again, which makes it a technical move.
2) WP:CLOSECHALLENGE. Start by asking the closing admin to reopen it, but don't badger them about it if they disagree with your request to reopen it. Just take it to move review.
3) WP:IAR. There's no right-or-wrong answer as to whether to reopen and relist, or to start a new RM. Each option may be preferable in certain situations. It's fine to get a little creative in unusual situations, if you can come to a consensus on how to proceed with the other involved editors, feel free to ignore a rule or two if there's a consensus that a unique procedural solution for the situation is best.
4) Any frequent closer of requested moves who's getting a lot of traffic on their personal talk page after their closes should step back and think about their process for closing requested moves. The goal should be to make drama-free closes, and someone dropping by your talk to object should be an exceptional thing, not something that routinely happens. – wbm1058 (talk) 22:56, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
One thing that should generally be discouraged is forum shopping where people attempt to re open, or MR to try to get a different outcome, however consensus can change so there's nothing wrong with starting a new RM after some time, or new evidence comes to light. However the fact that its possible to forum shop may be due to the guidelines being even or unclear in a situation. Crouch, Swale (talk) 17:21, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
  • There is a simple answer to this: you take it to WP:Move review. A close wasn't "incorrect" (except in the technical sense Wbm1058 raises) unless and until a consensus at MR says it was. Even it does, what to do about it varies case-by-case. The RM may be re-opened; a new one may be opened; the name may revert to the status quo ante right before the RM that changed it; or (e.g., if there was move-warring) it may be reverted to an earlier but long-stable title. Occasionally a close is deemed faulty in its reasoning and consensus-assessment or for procedural reasons, but the current name kept anyway because a proper close would come to the same result for different reasons. This is complicated, and we have a rather formal process for it already for the very reason that it's complicated. No one fishing for a loophole by which they can force a title to some name they prefer because they didn't like the outcome of an RM discussion is going to find one here.

    PS, re: World Heritage site: "The move has meant that many of the sub topics are now inconsistent with the main article" is a bogus argument. In cases like "World Heritage sites in [country name]", the obvious, only course of action is to move them to be WP:CONSISTENT with the parent article, per the RM that already closed. Such normalization moves can be speedied at WP:RM/TR or just done manually. (Since an MR is open on this one, I would leave it alone until that MR is closed. But the consistency moves should have already happened, at the same time the main article was moved, or immediately thereafter. In a case where an article title is using the phrase as part of a proper name "Site[s]" would be retained (there are no extant examples, but it could in a book title like World Heritage Sites: A Complete Guide, if it were independently notable and we had an article on it). As far as I have seen, not one single person in the debate, including the RMs and the MR, has ever suggested that "site[s]" would be decapitalized in a proper name (rather, the consensus was that the general classification is not inherently a proper name but is just classification, like "Toyota cars" not "Toyota Cars"). Suggesting otherwise is an obvious straw man fallacy. I doubt Crouch, Swale is doing that, but given the pointlessly high-strung invective surrounding that little micro-debate over capital-letter trivia, it's best to be prophylactically clear about it.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:48, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

Verbal consensus

see new thread "Workshop on amending guidance for off-wiki discussions" NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:09, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Can a consensus on an article or group of articles be reached off of Wikipedia? GoodDay (talk) 18:58, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Inviting @Colonestarrice: here. GoodDay (talk) 19:00, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Effectively, no. While people can discuss WP issues outside of WP, they would still need to demonstrate a consensus here for it to be effective. Blueboar (talk) 19:16, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
The article-in-question that brought me here, is Alexander Van der Bellen. -- GoodDay (talk) 21:03, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
Ouch. An image cropped so close to the head should never use default size. I clicked your link and went, "WHOA". I reduced it.[2]Mandruss  21:31, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Workshop on amending guidance for off-wiki discussions

This thread was prompted by an earlier thread titled "Verbal consensus" and related VPPR thread linked below NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:09, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

Right now, the "Off-wiki discussions" bullet point actively discourages off-wiki discussion, which does not reflect the current reality of how people communicate about Wikipedia. I propose we change it to:

  • Off-wiki discussions. Consensus is reached through on-wiki discussion. Discussions on other websites, web forums, IRC, by email, and so on are not taken into account. In some cases, such off-wiki communication may generate suspicion and mistrust.

Suggestions are welcome. This is merely a workshop, and I will take it to VPP if we reach a wording that people prefer. Shout-out to Izno for the idea, which came out of a VPPR discussion (permalink). Enterprisey (talk!) 04:08, 2 December 2018 (UTC)

  • Obviously I think it's fantastic ;). I don't think we need VPP for it, or even a full RFC (I'm a fan of WP:PGBOLD). There's a couple minor thoughts wiggling around my head: 1) ARBCOM can reach a consensus via email and only record that consensus on-wiki. So maybe the wording isn't exactly what it should be. 2) I don't remember the 2nd, but it was there! --Izno (talk) 04:55, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
  • That's good (except it's "email" with no hyphen now). I don't see a need to discuss the text elsewhere as the change is minor. No policy at Wikipedia controls what people do off-wiki with an exception for egregious personal attacks made off-wiki and even there, people are welcome to make such attacks but they might get blocked on-wiki as a result. Johnuniq (talk) 06:07, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
  • I'd elaborate.... maybe change to something like People regularly discuss Wikipedia in general off wiki but discussions of possible changes to article content, rules, or specific user's editing privileges, etc, must be openly conducted on Wikipedia's forums for such discussions. Doing this business off-wiki may constitute WP:Canvassing or other behavior contrary to collaborative consensus-based editing. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:16, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Support. Consensus must be generated on Wikipedia, anything outside it is irrelevant and reeks of gaming the system. I'd remove the examples and just leave it as "Any discussion outside the appropriate discussion pages". Bright☀ 09:01, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Workshop on amending guidance for off-wiki discussions

This thread was prompted by an earlier thread titled "Verbal consensus" and related VPPR thread linked below NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:09, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

Right now, the "Off-wiki discussions" bullet point actively discourages off-wiki discussion, which does not reflect the current reality of how people communicate about Wikipedia. I propose we change it to:

  • Off-wiki discussions. Consensus is reached through on-wiki discussion. Discussions on other websites, web forums, IRC, by email, and so on are not taken into account. In some cases, such off-wiki communication may generate suspicion and mistrust.

Suggestions are welcome. This is merely a workshop, and I will take it to VPP if we reach a wording that people prefer. Shout-out to Izno for the idea, which came out of a VPPR discussion (permalink). Enterprisey (talk!) 04:08, 2 December 2018 (UTC)

  • Obviously I think it's fantastic ;). I don't think we need VPP for it, or even a full RFC (I'm a fan of WP:PGBOLD). There's a couple minor thoughts wiggling around my head: 1) ARBCOM can reach a consensus via email and only record that consensus on-wiki. So maybe the wording isn't exactly what it should be. 2) I don't remember the 2nd, but it was there! --Izno (talk) 04:55, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
  • That's good (except it's "email" with no hyphen now). I don't see a need to discuss the text elsewhere as the change is minor. No policy at Wikipedia controls what people do off-wiki with an exception for egregious personal attacks made off-wiki and even there, people are welcome to make such attacks but they might get blocked on-wiki as a result. Johnuniq (talk) 06:07, 2 December 2018 (UTC)
  • I'd elaborate.... maybe change to something like People regularly discuss Wikipedia in general off wiki but discussions of possible changes to article content, rules, or specific user's editing privileges, etc, must be openly conducted on Wikipedia's forums for such discussions. Doing this business off-wiki may constitute WP:Canvassing or other behavior contrary to collaborative consensus-based editing. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:16, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Support. Consensus must be generated on Wikipedia, anything outside it is irrelevant and reeks of gaming the system. I'd remove the examples and just leave it as "Any discussion outside the appropriate discussion pages". Bright☀ 09:01, 7 December 2018 (UTC)