Wikipedia talk:Editing policy

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Policy contradiction between WP:Preserve and WP:BAN's WP:BMB[edit]

This interesting RfC concerns the situation where a site-banned editor makes a productive edit. WP:PRESERVE says that appropriate content should be preserved, and WP:BMB says that when someone's site-banned, all their edits good and bad are to be reverted.

To me, the matter's not obvious at all. I think it has a lot of permutations and complications. Other editors seem to have found the question much simpler. I don't entirely agree with this consensus, but there is a clear consensus and it is that banned editors' contributions can always be reverted even if they appear to be productive. But since this concerns editors with conduct issues, and there might be some pointy tactical misunderstanding of this close, I think it's necessary to add some qualifiers to that. Most editors will find the next paragraph very obvious. In an attempt to reduce future problems I'll say it anyway.

You do need to think before you revert. Some site-banned editors are not above setting a trap for you. If a banned editor removes unsourced negative, defamatory or even libellous material about a living person, don't put it back. If a banned editor changes a copyright violation into a non-violating article, don't restore the copyvio. Notwithstanding the consensus in this discussion, you are responsible for your reverts.

I hope this helps.—S Marshall T/C 00:28, 8 August 2014 (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.

So it's been brought to my attention that Wikipedia:Banning policy#Bans apply to all editing, good or bad and Wikipedia:Editing_policy#Try to fix problems currently contradict each other. My opinion is that the older policy should trump the newer one, which just seems petty, but I'm happy to hear other views. -- Kendrick7talk 17:44, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Oppose: Unnecessary rule creep. There are many policies which say that editors should or may do things. See, e.g., in the WP:BURDEN section of the verifiability policy: "Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed and should not be replaced without an inline citation to a reliable source." If we're going to go around qualifying everything that says something like that with a, "but not if you're banned or blocked," we'll never see the end of it. Banned is banned, you can't do anything here legitimately. That's just common sense and this isn't needed. — TransporterMan (TALK) 18:12, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Just to note, the discussion that resulted in this proposal is at User talk:Arthur Rubin#Repeated reference removal on Citizen Koch. — TransporterMan (TALK) 18:28, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose premise. I see no contradiction. IMO, WP:PRESERVE seems to say that if there is something that could or should be there, but is not complete, it should be fixed rather than deleted. WP:BAN says that it shouldn't be there. In the case of this particular banned editor, he was "blocked" (as a floating IP, blocks are meaningless) for having most of his edits being wrong, misleading, or a violation of one of the guidelines to the point that there is nothing there to fix. In the rare case that there is something there to fix, a non-banned editor can take credit for the edit, and restore it. Of the last 5 edits that the poster restored, 3 were additions of misleading Wikilinks or clear violations of WP:OVERLINK, and 2 were possibly helpful.
    As a legal analogy, an edit by a banned editor would be considered voidable, while WP:PRESERVE would be analogous to the principle that, in case of ambiguity, anything that is unambiguous should be considered agreed to. There's no conflict there, and I don't see one here. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:59, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
How can you not see a contradiction between preserving good, encyclopedic content and removing good, encyclopedic content? Other editors shouldn't have to follow the banhammer patrol around with a mop and bucket when the easy solution is not to create a mess by violating WP:PRESERVE in the first place. -- Kendrick7talk 02:04, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose premise A bit late to the party (invited by the bot) so I don't think I have anything new to add, Arthur Rubin and MarnetteD are correct. As of course is TransporterMan. Dougweller (talk) 11:51, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Fix the appearance of a problem  Perhaps the problem is that WP:EP#Problems that may justify removal is missing a mention of WP:BAN.  Unscintillating (talk) 02:25, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, in concurrence with the editors above, the new language added at WP:BAN. Constructive edits added to Wikipedia shouldn't be removed just because some set of editors have a vendetta against some other set of editors. For the vast majority of editors, that's just a bunch of monkey business. Our goal here is to build an encyclopedia, per WP:5P. Deciding encyclopedic content shouldn't belong because it was added by a "bad person" doesn't support that goal in the least. -- Kendrick7talk 04:18, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose premise - the fact that the edit was done by a banned user makes it default to being considered bad. It probably shouldn't be there, so there's no need to preserve it. However, edits by other users are not automatically considered bad. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 11:07, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  • In point of fact, WP:BMB explicitly says it's OK to remove good, encyclopedic content. WP:PRESERVE says that such behavior is impermissible. I don't see how people sticking their heads in the sand helps move this discussion along. -- Kendrick7talk 03:02, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    • Not everything in life or at Wikipedia is easy—there is no set of rules anywhere that covers all possible situations in an entirely predictable and desirable manner. While PRESERVE has many merits, it is also the case that WP:DENY is the only way to handle long-term abusers. Any editor who loudly proclaims the right of banned editors to make good contributions—contributions which must be kept—is encouraging those banned editors to suck up more community time because there is always a good reason someone was banned. Johnuniq (talk) 03:31, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
In point of fact PRESERVE makes no comment whatsoever about the edits of banned users. Nor does it say that removal of any edit is "impermissible" - indeed that word is not in PRESERVE at all. It does gives suggestions as to how an edit might be improved rather than removed and there is still the option that "if you feel any edits made by the (or any) blocked ip were good - then you are welcome to re-instate those edits and make them your edits." BTW a) bans are decided by the community b) an editor has to go above and beyond "bad" behavior to receive a ban. The only way to edit after banning is by socking which is another violation. Why, after someone has treated the community like dirt, should they be welcome to edit? What does it matter if the edit is good, bad or indifferent? Actions have consequences. This proposal seems to me to be an attempt to remove those consequences. If an editor wants to edit productively they can go through the process of the WP:STANDARDOFFER. MarnetteD|Talk 03:40, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
What part of "Preserve appropriate content" are you unclear about? It's exactly my point that the editing policy does not make any "comment whatsoever about the edits of banned users." We're here to build an encyclopedia. Spitefully removing encyclopedic content just because there is a consensus that the editor who added it is a "bad person" is simply contrary to our project's fundamental goal. Please see WP:Wikipedia is not a battleground. -- Kendrick7talk 06:06, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
What part of WP:Banned means banned are you unclear about? As with your hyperbolic use of the term "impermissible" you continue to misrepresent policy. For example BATTLEGROUND has nothing to do with this situation. Nowhere in BMB or BAN is the term "spiteful" used. Your insistence that any editor who removes edits by a banned user is being "spiteful" shows a lack of WP:AGF. Yet again "if you feel any edits made by the (or any) blocked ip were good - then you are welcome to re-instate those edits and make them your edits." I am not sure why you continue to ignore this fact but it certainly fulfills your stated goal. One last thing, as stated by TransporterMan WP:BURDEN also removes content and editors who do that aren't being "spiteful" either. MarnetteD|Talk 15:23, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes... we should try to preserve appropriate content. The problem is that an edit made by a banned user is by definition inappropriate. ie, PRESERVE does not apply to edits made by banned users. Blueboar (talk) 11:11, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Nonsense. Since when does content become unencyclopedic just because the editor who added it isn't otherwise popular? Human knowledge is not a popularity contest -- Kendrick7talk 03:46, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

OK... The distinction here is between "content" and "edit"... It may help you to think of it this way: Since the vast majority of banned editors are banned for adding inappropriate content, it is important to review their edits to determine whether the content they added was or was not appropriate. Undoing a banned user's edits highlights the content for review. When we undo a banned user's edits, what we are really doing is a temporary removal of content... pending review. If other editors think the content is appropriate, they can return it. Blueboar (talk) 12:12, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I liked your reply enough that I've added two of the sentences to the policy:
Unscintillating (talk) 04:21, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a popularity contest. Per the tradition of WP:AGF, ad hominem issues should never be a part of our process. As such I've reverted your change. -- Kendrick7talk 05:29, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
On the policy page, you cited WP:CREEP in your revert.  In the edit summary above, you cited a Wikipedia article.  Here you talk about the WP:AGF of a banned editor.  Also, the policy-page edit resolved your concern.  But maybe you can answer this, why should ad hominem considerations never be a part of our process?  Unscintillating (talk) 00:36, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
That edit hardly resolved my concern! This is the editing policy! And I won't have Wikipedia poisoned at the root. If we change this policy, then we must change dozens that flow from it. Is a WP:Reliable source not reliable when added by someone we don't like? Yes, says WP:BMB. Is information not verifiable when added by someone we don't like? Yes, says WP:BMB. Is a point of view, otherwise verifiable via reliable sources, suddenly invalid because it's added by someone we don't care for? Yes, says WP:BMB. Even the WP:LINK policy -- the violation of which largely kicked off this discussion on my end -- would have to be changed. Sure, build the web, but, not if it's done by someone we don't like. It's completely absurd. I'm here to build an encyclopedia, and I'll take all the help I can get. Projecting your own personal ego complexes (to the point that many of you deny how out of whack WP:BMB is with the rest of the project's goals) onto a bunch of random IP addresses whom you've decided are sinister foes (We must deny their ego gratification?? Really???) is, in contrast, profoundly unhelpful. Perhaps meta puts it better than I can: meta:Don't be a dick. Focusing in on the editor rather that the edit is the ultimate dick move. -- Kendrick7talk 03:23, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Poison, an appeal to absurdity, egocentrism, and genitalia arguments do not demonstrate that ad hominem considerations should never be a part of our process.  What I see instead is that you are not requesting community resolution of a perceived conflict.  We had a recent RfC, in which the closing of this RfC concludes that consensus denial for WP:BAN is inherently unreasonable.  Do you agree that, "WP:Banning policy documents an English Wikipedia policy"?  Unscintillating (talk) 00:59, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose premise and oppose any change. It would be nice if a simple set of rules covered every situation, but that's not going to happen. Long-term abusers are a fact of life, and particular cases may need significant application of "banned means banned"—I have seen a couple of such applications be quite successful. Of course we want to preserve good edits, but life is more complex than suggested by this proposal. Johnuniq (talk) 06:24, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
One last thing to note WP:AFD, WP:CFD, WP:TFD etc etc also remove encyclopedic content. I have had articles (or sections of articles) that I put hours of work into vanish and I am not a banned editor. Though I regretted there disappearance I also know that it is part and parcel of editing at Wikipedia. I see no reason to change any of the policies or guidelines or essays which caused the removal of those edits anymore than I can see the need to coddle banned users. MarnetteD|Talk 15:44, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support explicit wording in the Banning policy making the deletion discretionary That is in fact the situation--although some admins delete as a matter of course, others first check the article. Whether or not the article can be presumed to be bad depends on the reason for banning, because many of them have no reference to the quality or nature of the contribution: Some do of course, such as persistently submitting copyvios. If the problems are behavioral, this not not necessarily imply that the article will be unsatisfactory.
the only real reason for maintaining a strict policy is that there is otherwise no way to enforce the ban, except by removing the temptation to contribute. Experience seems to show this does not work well. There is in fact almost no way of accurately detecting and enforcing a ban, and there never will be as long and we continue to permit anonymous contribution. In practice, removing the article seems rather to encourage ingenious attempts at circumventing the ban, making the situation all the more difficult. It is of course necessary that some editor in good standing take responsibility for verifying the material, but the deletion should be slow enough to give the editors who want to do that an opportunity to do so. I am aware that my position here is likely to remain a minority, but the more I work here and see the decent articles we are needlessly discarding, the more I am convinced that we do need to change it. Our purpose is to write an encyclopedia, and accurate content is what is needed. The identity of the contributor does not fundamentally matter. DGG ( talk ) 02:27, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
WP:Banning policy already says, " editor is personally obligated to help enforce any ban."  How much more explicit do you want it?  Unscintillating (talk) 04:02, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
I think User:DGG has basically the right idea, but he is confused about the scope. WP:PRESERVE is about preserving the encyclopedic content within an article, not about deleting an article (for which there is an entirely separate process). But yes: "Our purpose is to write an encyclopedia, and accurate content is what is needed. The identity of the contributor does not fundamentally matter." On that we agree! -- Kendrick7talk 05:45, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
yes, there are two problems: one is edits to articles made by banned editors, where we need to be careful not to reject necessary improvements or corrections (perhaps one solution is to encourage them to suggest them anonymously on the article talk p., analogous with the COI policy). The other is what to do with articles they submitted. Obviously no individual admin has to delete them, the way all admins do have the obligation to delete copyvio etc. --the problem is that those admins who think it necessary to delete them all make it much harder for anyone to endorse them (which is at present usually best done by making a substantial edit) DGG ( talk ) 15:40, 25 July 2014 (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.

Tightened the wording of WP:CAUTIOUS[edit]

I guess I will take the policy's own advice, per WP:BOLD, and mention this change here.[1] I don't think, however, that I've changed any substantial underlying priciples of this policy as a whole. -- Kendrick7talk 02:20, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Proposed addition to "Avoiding personal attacks"[edit]

There is a proposal to add a short paragraph to the "Avoiding personal attacks" section of the No personal attacks policy page. The discussion is Proposed addition to "Avoiding personal attacks". Your participation is welcome. Lightbreather (talk) 00:14, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Preserving reasonable content[edit]

Isn't that what WP:PRESERVE is about? Why are we instructing editors to move reasonable content to the talk page? -- Kendrick7talk 04:44, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

You made this edit without consensus. That's a significant change, and not a good one in my opinion. I undid the edit because the wey it was written all content removed from the article that was not vandalism should be moved to the talk page. Perhaps the current version could be reworded a bit, but it seems to me to be saying that reasonable content that is removed (because it cannot immediately be dealt with) should be moved to the talk page. Vandalism and anything else that is not reasonable content is just deleted. That's a far cry from what you added. Meters (talk) 05:07, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Meters here... Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy... there is a line between suggesting something be done (as good practice) and requiring that it be done. Copying removed material to the talk page is often a good idea, but it should be optional... not required. (I will also note that anyone can cut and paste... so it does not matter who actually does it. If someone else removes material, and you think it needs discussion on the talk page... you can go to the article history, copy and paste to the talk page, and begin the discussion). Blueboar (talk) 16:02, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Clarifying PRESERVE[edit]

WP:PRESERVE currently states: As long as any of the facts or ideas added to the article would belong in a "finished" article, they should be retained if they meet the requirements of the three core content policies: Neutral point of view (which doesn't mean No point of view), Verifiability and No original research.

I note that WP:Verifiability says that verifiability does not guarantee inclusion... and that "The onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to include disputed content". Yet PRESERVE clearly implies the opposite... that verifiablity does guarantee inclusion, and that there is an onus on those who wish to remove the content to achieve consensus for the removal.

This sets up a potential for conflict. I am sure that there is a reasonable middle ground... a balance between the two policy provisions... we just need to find a way to express it. Blueboar (talk) 15:44, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree. At root, I think a big part of the problem is essentially one of laziness. It's easier to tear down than to build up. When a contributing editor provides new content and a new source that another editor dislikes for any reason, a revert claiming some provision of WP:V is easy to throw out there, reverting within a minute of reading a contribution.
Fixing a contribution using the steps recommended for WP:Preserve takes much more effort. So often, lazy or POV-inclined editors skip past Preserve and move immediately toward revert, justifying their revert on the grounds that the ONUS is on the contributing editor to convince the reverting editor why he or she should not be an obstacle to the edit. That's not a collaborative attitude, but it's an easy one.
Except in extreme cases, such as citations to the satirical the Onion, as an obvious example, I think the guidelines should emphasize that the the best first step approach is always to seek first to practice the steps recommended in WP:Preserve for correcting and salvaging a contribution. When Preserve methods are practiced, that will also show more respect for other editor's good faith efforts. A secondary goal should be to at least salvage the reference to the new source, even if the sentence(s) describing the source material need to be completely reworked.
This bring us to the WP:V issue. What if a source should not be kept?
Here, in my experience, we run into editor's differences of opinion regarding the whether the new source is WP:NOTRELIABLE or the facts and views in the source give WP:UNDUE weight to a minority view.
Often reliability issues can be fixed by adding an inline attribution to the source identifying that such is the opinion of so and so. If that won't work, I think the second best option is to tag the source (rather than delete it) in order to invite additional editors' comments and/or the first editor's defense of verifiability. This avoids the appearance (and often the reality, especially on pages relating to anything remotely controversial where there are one or more people who engage in [[WP:Owner] tendencies, that a very hasty deletion, within just hours of the original posting, is POV motivated. As anyone who edits long on WP knows, such hasty reverts feel like a lack of respect for good faith contributions. While the onus on the contributor makes sense, I think it is good practice to tag before deleting and to give 24 to 48 hours for other editors to get involved and for the original editor to respond to concerns being raised.
In short, I suggest any modification in these guidelines encourage WP:Preserve as the first, and preferred option, followed by tagging of questioned sources then . . . after a bit of time, deletion per WP:V . . . if the onus is not met within that time frame. I think this approach is also in better keeping with WP:GOODFAITHGodBlessYou2 (talk) 02:07, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, WP:V is considered a core policy... it definitely has extremely strong community consensus (much stronger than the consensus for PRESERVE). I don't think the community would approve making PRESERVE the first option in all cases. So perhaps what we need is clearer guidance on when to preserve... and when not to. Blueboar (talk) 15:20, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't see any conflict. PRESERVE says to keep "appropriate" content. It doesn't say to keep everything that can be sourced. Is there any evidence that this is causing confusion in practice? WP:V is critically important but I'm not sure it overrides our editing policy. Both pages are old and strong and it's for us to make sure they don't contradict each other.—S Marshall T/C 18:50, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
This whole "Try to fix problems" aka WP:PRESERVE section is pretty clearly advisory/best practices, not mandatory, by its own terms. Even if you read it a different way, however, "Problems that may justify removal" aka WP:CANTFIX is a subsection of PRESERVE and makes it clear that other policies, including WP:V, may trump the first part of PRESERVE. (Though by italicizing the word might in its opening sentence, CANTFIX tries to dodge the question altogether.) Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 20:13, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
I think this has to do with some edits by User:GodBlessYou2 that were reverted. Perhaps that editor would like to provide the examples. Dougweller (talk) 21:29, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
I didn't start this thread. Also, I think it can be discussed in the abstract without trying to link it to specific examples. That said, my experience is that a lot of editors don't pay much heed to PRESERVE. Clearly, other editors have the same complaint. Facing fast reverts is discouraging, and that may be one of the intents of such reverts . . . to discourage editors from "encroaching" on owned articles.
I favor the view that if there were a flow chart of options for responding to another editor's contributions, reverting should be the last option considered (precisely when there is no other option, such as vandalism) rather than the first tool employed. Way too often, editors spending considerable effort to research and draft a contribution even a slightly controversial issue are confronted with a rapid series of reverts and zero effort to improve or even correct their contributions.
I'm not recommending a reversal of WP:V, but I do think that policies regarding GoodFaith and Preserve give good framework for eventually including in WP:V some strengthening of the recommendation to apply Preserve techniques in preference to reverting. It may be useful to continue developing essays like WP:Revert_only_when_necessary with the goal of developing some consensus around recommendations which can eventually be incorporated various guidelines, including PRESERVE and GOODFAITH and VERIFY.
If you really want an example, my most recent experience with a revert that totally ignores PRESERVE recommendations is discussed here.[2] The irony of that revert is extremely funny, given that the article was precisely about reducing reverts! –GodBlessYou2 (talk) 22:39, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't see the described conflict in the quoted text, since it clearly states only that policy-conforming text that would belong in a "finished" article (i.e. subject to verifiability requirements and subject to editorial judgement) should be retained. I do see it as implying that WP:UNDUE should be interpreted in the context of the finished article; in other words a correct and not overly long description of one point of view should not be removed just because no-one has (yet) added a presentation of an opposing view; i.e. due weight should be achieved by adding the missing content, not by removing existing content. Since this page is policy, this may mean, for instance, that the closer of an RfC should discount arguments for the removal of content merely on the grounds that an opposing point of view is not (yet) presented in the existing article. Apparently, WP:UNDUE does not explicitly mention this restriction on its interpretation, so this should perhaps be remedied. If this is not the intended consequence of the two complementary policy descriptions, then this page should be amended. --Boson (talk) 22:32, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Boson that UNDUE should be judged by where the article can or should go when "finished." In my view, if an editor adds material regarding a minority view, other editors, rather than delete it as giving too much weight to the minority view, should expand the material related to the majority view. That's how to restore balance in a collaborative way. If it really the majority view, there will be plenty of additional sources to add. That said, if the contribution with the minority view is overly long and wordy, it should be cut to an appropriate length, but deleting a reliable sources supporting the minority view should not be done unless there are already numerous citations to other sources describing the same material. Readers, I think, appreciate the bibliography of cited sources most of all. In short, the balance of weight is best kept, in my opinion, by adding more sources, not deleting sources. The exception is if over three or four sources making the same claims of opinion or fact. That's just too duplicative. In these cases, editors, especially those favoring those sources, should be asked to trim the list down to those which they believe provide readers with the best source for additional information. –GodBlessYou2 (talk) 22:52, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
The place to discuss changes to the definition and/or interpretation of WP:UNDUE is at WT:NPOV. The point here in this policy is simply to note that the UNDUE policy exists, and is one of the policies that can limit what we preserve.
I suppose what I was really asking with this thread is this: Do we need to re-write the PRESERVE section of this policy to better reflect what is said in other policies (especially the core policies)... to make it clearer when not to preserve material. Blueboar (talk) 15:59, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
  • WP:PRESERVE describes a best practice, and it assumes ideal conditions. If an editor is working in good faith to contribute encyclopedic material, then our first response should be to help craft the material rather than revert it. For instance, if an editor adds appropriate content but mangles the supporting citation syntax, then we should help fix the citation rather than deleting the material. Likewise, if material is otherwise unobjectionable but lacks a source, then the best practice would be to make at least some effort to find a source before deleting it.

    On the other hand, if an editor adds poorly sourced or unsourced material, or unencyclopedic material, or tendentious material, then there is nothing in WP:PRESERVE which prohibits removing it. If an editor routinely makes such edits, despite coaching on our content policies, and cites WP:PRESERVE to shift their editorial responsibilities onto others, that is inappropriate.

    I also want to challenge the idea that the "right" way to respond to undue weight on a minoritarian viewpoint is to bulk up the mainstream viewpoint. That's just not always true. Some minoritarian viewpoints are so obscure or so poorly supported by reliable sources that they simply don't warrant mention in our articles. When confronted with such a viewpoint, the proper policy-based response is to remove mention of it, not to inflate the mainstream viewpoint in compensation. It has been my experience that when editors lean heavily on WP:PRESERVE and downplay our content policies, they are often engaged in tendentious or agenda-driven editing and are trying to circumvent the resistance they're encountering. MastCell Talk 17:15, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

  • WP:PRESERVE describes keeping encyclopedic information in the encyclopedia. WP:ONUS is about keeping information in a particular article. Or at least last I checked; I can remember when it was just an essay it linked to WP:PRESERVE so there hasn't been a long running conflict here. As WP:5P says the project is to be the sum of all human knowledge; hopefully we can agree on that and see this quibble is merely about how to organize that information. -- Kendrick7talk 15:25, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Updated WP:PRESERVE to match the times[edit]

Given recent complaints that, while WP:PRESERVE is one of our oldest and, to a few of us old timers, most cherished policies, it has nevertheless become quite (irony noted) sclerotic, I have endeavoured to give it a complete rewrite/facelift to reflect modern times. Someone had to do it, and this policy has had no more faithful servant (I am at least tied with someone working another shift) than me. I don't hope to see anyone as an act of bad faith revert me just because they never really liked the policy in the first place (you know who you are, he says to imaginary people in his head).

I appreciate constructive criticism. But, please, if you're deconstructive, consider copying whatever parts you are gutting to the talk page so we know what we are discussing, per WP:PRESERVE. :) -- Kendrick7talk 08:09, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

  • I think if we're going to rewrite WP:PRESERVE, we should explicitly apply it to sources as well as information. In other words, if a source is reliable and appropriate, then editors need to be careful not to accidentally cut it out of the encyclopaedia even if they rewrite or remove the particular sentence the source is being used to support. It's always seemed to me that this is what the "copy it to the talk page" bit is actually talking about: hanging onto appropriate citations, rather than necessarily clinging limpet-like to a legacy phrase from a long-vanished editor.

    I also wonder whether "facts" is the right word. Echoes of "truth" there...—S Marshall T/C 12:58, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

That's a good point re: sources. I don't think good sources should be removed when editors simply disagree with how they've been glossed; I'd rather see them turned into external links if all else fails. As far as "facts" meh that's been in the language here for a while, I've only kicked it up a notch. I don't think we're ablating WP:TRUTH to simply concede that encyclopedias generally contain factual information. I'm open to suggestions on both counts. -- Kendrick7talk 05:03, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • @ Kendrick... I would have to put your revision side by side with the old text to see if anything was cut or added that I might object to... but at first glance it looks good.
@ S Marshall... I would definitely oppose the idea that we must preserve specific sources. Just to give an example of a situation where we wouldn't... suppose some bit of information is currently supported by a source that (although reliable) is on the lower end of the quality scale. Now suppose an editor knows of a better (more reliable) higher quality source. Not only is the editor allowed to replace one source with the other, but he should actually be encouraged to do so (as the new citation improves the article). There is no reason to preserve the weaker source. Blueboar (talk) 13:28, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Well, I said "if a source is reliable and appropriate". If a higher-quality source is available then normally I'd suggest it was used as well as (not instead of) the original source. If we're in the happy situation of having several higher-quality sources to choose from then I'd say the lower-quality one was no longer appropriate and could be removed. I can't help wondering if you feel this is something that a lot of editors would get hung up on?—S Marshall T/C 16:43, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I generally like the rewrite as well, thanks Kendrick. I've made a slight tweak to the part about leaving a comment on the talk page after a substantial rewrite so we don't see reverts simply because the rewriting editor fails to explain themselves on the talk page, citing this policy as justification for same. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:31, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Good call! -- Kendrick7talk 05:03, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Acceptable to me. Blueboar (talk) 13:11, 1 February 2015 (UTC)