Wikipedia talk:Editing policy

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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.[1] 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)
  • One issue, it's pretty easy to read the "Libel, nonsense, hoaxes, and vandalism" part to indicate we shouldn't cover notable hoaxes. I think it's a minor point, but if someone can find a clean way to fix the issue, that would be great (I couldn't find one...) Hobit (talk) 01:31, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
A minor point? Pfft! It is an excellent point! As this policy is more concerned with article content rather than article existence (to which the term "hoax" more readily applies) the term "hoax" in this context is indistinguishable from the preceding mention of "nonsense". (It could be argued that "falsehoods" might be a better word for something which falls in between "nonsense" and "vandalism" but WP:TRUTH has that covered already.) Good call! -- Kendrick7talk 07:29, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 October 2015[edit]

Noor Safia (talk) 05:16, 21 October 2015 (UTC) Noor Safia

X mark.svg Not done Blank request. Please add what you would like done in "Change XXX to YYY" format. Thank you. Inomyabcs (talk) 11:22, 21 October 2015 (UTC)