Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules

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This is the page for discussing the Ignore All Rules policy.

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Demotion to guideline[edit]

Is it so often invoked successfully that it is currently a policy on Wikipedia? It's lack of widespread use makes me question why this ought to be a policy or cornerstone of Wikipedia, if nothing else than as mainly keeping up a tradition since 2003. And it's also very much open to interpretation, one editor's citing IAR to improve the encyclopedia can be easily construed by another editor to be tarnishing its reputation. I've seen more editors sanctioned for citing IAR than editors citing other Wikipedia policies, and almost no editor successfully citing IAR and having their changes stick. It's one of the more abuse-prone policies cited around Wikipedia than any other I could think of. My last attempt at using this backfired, with more editors concerned about the rule of a policy and equal application of it over its spirit; that a one-off exception could "set bad precedent" for Wikipedia, as they say. I don't know, perhaps I am getting a little burned out over this. This has minimal force and/or effect in Wikipedia, so it should be more apt to stay as a guideline than as a policy page. Ironically above, a misapplication of IAR has once again led to more rules, more calls for evidence of consensus before change. TeleComNasSprVen (talkcontribs) 08:49, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

As discussed previously, this policy is not something to "invoke". Most of its use is silent and goes largely unnoticed.
When something is sufficiently controversial that someone feels the need to "cite" the policy, discussion probably is needed. Please see Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means. —David Levy 09:17, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
No, the policy is fine. Its main point is that other policies can be violated if doing so would assist the project—in other words, there is no bureaucratic requirement that forces certain outcomes "because that's what the rules say". IAR works when it is clear that the case assists the project—if there is significant dissent on that point, IAR is no use. In fact, no policies are useful when it comes to intractable disputes because one side will say that WP:V requires one thing, and the other will say that it doesn't. In that respect, IAR is no different from all the other policies, but IAR is useful on infrequent (or even rare) occasions when consensus agrees that normal procedure would be to do something, but the particular case under consideration would benefit from doing another thing. Obviously an editor cannot successfully defy consensus saying that IAR means their desired edit has to be reinstated—the editor would need a reason, and IAR is merely saying that if that reason has consensus, it can be applied regardless of some other rule. Johnuniq (talk) 09:31, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't that be more on the side of Wikipedia:Consensus and Wikipedia:Consensus can change? I thought it was a given rules, as well as their application, should be determined by consensus. TeleComNasSprVen (talkcontribs) 17:47, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
WP:IAR is analogous to "use some common sense". For example, WP:V is a core policy which says, "...any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material." But we have hundreds of thousands of articles in this state (or that have a source list at the bottom) and no one is likely to strip out content just for the sake of stripping out content. --NeilN talk to me 18:38, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
I think that IAR has a good impact in 20 times more situations than it is actually invoked, as a deterrent to Wikilawyering. North8000 (talk) 20:37, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Yep. As David noted above, it's most followed silently or with pointers to essays like WP:SNOW. --NeilN talk to me 20:48, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
This is such a fundamental policy that it is one of the Five pillars of Wikipedia. Demoting it to guideline status would leave no escape clause in the set of policies itself. The policies must have an escape clause.

I completely agree with those who note above that the most important and pervasive impact of the rule is not when it is invoked in discussion: it is when people realize that they can just get on with improving the encyclopedia, and proceed to do so without further ado. When it is raised in discussion, it should be to say "I realize the rules don't provide for this but I think it is a good idea because..." in order to focus the discussion on whether it is a good idea rather than lawyering the rules. ~ Ningauble (talk) 14:15, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

The most crucial of all policies. It is sage advice a guideline. If it was a guideline then people would argue that you can only argue with other guidelines.

I just used it recently and was able to maintain and improve Wikipedia despite the rules being in the way. Chillum 07:26, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

IAR's dark side[edit]

This little snippet of text helps vandals. One could violate a rule and then use IAR to get away with it. If you can fix it, great. If not, I'm willing to PROD the page. Lightning BOLT! (talk) 00:08, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Nothing to fix. Please provide one instance where the policy has ultimately helped vandals get away with anything. --NeilN talk to me 01:13, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not saying it did, I'm saying it could. Lightning BOLT! (talk) 12:27, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Every rule has its dark side, hence the need to sometimes ignore them. If WP:IAR prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. It certainly does not prevent anyone from reverting vandalism or blocking vandals. ~ Ningauble (talk) 14:57, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

It's like telling Rosa Parks it can sit at the front of the bus, then arresting her for it. (talk) 20:17, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

In the history of horrible analogies, you do not come in first...but you're in the discussion. --Onorem (talk) 20:31, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Love the referring to Rosa Parks as an "it". Will(B) 05:06, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

People don't get it[edit]

I think this policy could be improved with an "In a nutshell" section. Diego (talk) 10:34, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

It already fits in a nutshell. Exactly which part of this is unclear? There is a rule, it prevents you from improving or maintaining wikipedia... you can ignore it. Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 15:06, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
It was a tongue in cheek-ish comment (the policy itself couldn't be made any terser), as many people appear to have forgotten that this is an option encouraged by policy. However, maybe something like "Focus on improvements, not rules" in a nutshell would reinforce the base meaning. I'll give it a try, if only to get people talking about this forgotten rule that so few people nowadays pay more than lip service. Diego (talk) 16:36, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Wow, twenty minutes and nobody has stepped in to revert or comment on an edit that changes 40% of a policy page. Nobody cares about this policy any more, do they? Diego (talk) 17:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

In whose opinion?[edit]

"Improving Wikipedia" in whose opinion? (talk) 02:53, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

WP:IAR is rarely invoked. Those involved in something less than constructive will not cite WP:IAR as a defense of their actions. WP:IAR is a highly suspect policy in my opinion. Only those sure that they are doing something wholesome will have the courage to cite WP:IAR in support. I think it is a good policy. Bus stop (talk) 03:30, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
In the opinion of the Wikipedia community. To me it is similar to equity in law. If a strict adherence to the rules defeats the purposes they were designed for, then break them. TFD (talk) 03:09, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
If you cannot reconcile your idea of improving the encyclopedia's with the community then the result will be the same as with any other policy. If you think people will revert you and tell you not to do it again then it is probably not going to improve the encyclopedia. Chillum 03:42, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, but I mean that the article itself should clarify this. At the moment it can be understood as saying that you can ignore all rules to force your change through if you believe it is an improvement. (talk) 20:08, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
That is not how I read it. It does not say anything about ignoring the community. Again, if people are going to revert you then what you are doing is probably not improving the encyclopedia. Chillum 20:32, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
It does not say anything about taking any notice of the community either. Again, I am not suggesting that you keep explaining it here, but that someone amends what is a fairly silly statement so that it makes sense and is workable in practice. (talk) 12:00, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
It also does not say anything about fried turnips. We don't need to mention everything it is not. It does make sense and it does work in practice. It has been in this state for several years and there has not been an abundance of confusion. If you look at the "See also" section you will see that your concerns are addressed in various essays on the subject. Chillum 17:47, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
It also does not say anything about fried turnips. We don't need to mention everything it is not. But, it could easily say more precisely what it is. Is it an ability of the community to override rules on a case-by-case basis? In my opinion, does raise a good point about the possibility of making consensus an explicit requirement for ignoring rules. djr13 (talk) 06:08, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
WP:IAR does not reference opinions, because it is not talking about opinions. It does not reference communicty, nor consensus, because it is not talking about those either. It is very simply talking about improvement qua improvement. If you are improving the encyclopedia -- by the absolute objective standard of improving the encyclopedia -- then you can ignore, without consequences, every rule in the book. There is some question whether you can ignore the other four pillars, such as WP:COPYVIO and WP:NICE and WP:NOT... and in particular WP:NPOV... but those are all very brief rules listed at WP:5 and should be 100% compatible with any use of WP:IAR that I can think of offhand. If you merely *believe* you are improving the encyclopedia, aka in your *opinion* you are improving the encyclopedia, but you fail to actually IMPROVE the encyclopedia, according to an absolute universal standard of improvement, then you are going to be reverted. Not because you were mis-using WP:IAR, but because you failed to understand the meaning of the term 'improve' ... which as I've gone to pains here trying to point out, is not subject to a bangvote, nor is it subject to anyone's opinion. If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. It means exactly what it says. There is no contradiction. There is no clarification needed, as long as you understand the plain meaning of the words being used. The rules are based on bangvoting, and on consensus, and on collectively-ascertained opinion. When such rules conflict with improvement-qua-improvement, pillar five says that improvement ought to win. (talk) 16:09, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I think we might need someone to upload another audio transcript for this.[edit]

Alrighty. So, I see that the audio version of this page is outdated by, like, uh, 5 years. The rest of the article is OK, but the audio should be changed out. OmegaBuddy13 (talk) 20:34, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

I want to be an awesome WikiJaguar! But I'm also a WikiOtter, and that's why I like this page so much!
@OmegaBuddy13: Considering there's just a bunch of links on the page, I don't personally feel as if a new audio version is necessary. ~ NottNott talk|contrib 19:55, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
@NottNott: Well, I guess you're right. It said that the audio was uploaded a few years ago, but I must've forgot to look at the recent edits, other than vandalism corrections. OmegaBuddy13 (talk) 18:47, 5 October 2015 (UTC)