Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules/Archive 12

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Merger between WIARM and IAR

I've just merged WP:WIARM and WP:IAR, as that seems to have been the least controversial method of clarifying IAR. If anybody reverts, I'll let it be, but I still think that WIARM and IAR being apart is not a great idea. Thanks, Luc "Somethingorother" French 21:40, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

I really like this idea, but I tried it a few months ago and it was violently shot down. It seems there are a number of people who insist on IAR being a single sentence, for reasons which continue to escape me. Still, I support you. - Chardish 21:48, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

I fully endorse the merge. EdokterTalk 22:00, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Awful idea. You made the page all fat again (detracting from the point), not to mention that it's been tried before. So, you neither get points for the end result nor for being original. On top of that, I predict you'll get reverted within 24 hours. Миша13 23:12, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Wow, that was definitely unnecessary. Keep a cool head when editing. And for the record, Wikipedia isn't a contest, and no one earns points for anything. - Chardish 23:29, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
I see no personal attack in Misza13's comment. Daniel 23:40, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
That essay has never had consensus to be policy, until that happens such a merger is inappropriate. I have reverted it. You know very well Lubaf that you should get consensus before making changes here that you pretty much know are contentious. You are not being bold, you are being stubborn. I also see no such attack in Misza13's comments. 1 != 2 23:41, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that Chardish meant to link to WP:CIV -- while Mizra13's comment wasn't a personal attack, it certainly was dickish. Rockstar (T/C) 21:12, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Only because I pointed out why this was a bad edit? Or perhaps because I predicted correctly that it won't stick? Or was that plainly because I am blunt when I comment? Really, if people take comments opposite to their own personally, then no wonder they label them as "personal attacks". Миша13 22:17, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


At the top of every policy page it says "It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page."

I would like to implore people to respect this. If your idea is truly seen by the community as an improvement it will be accepted on the talk page and implemented. But when you pretty much know ahead of time that the version you are creating is going to be reverted then just don't do it, go to the talk page and get consensus. Creating versions you know will be reverted is disruptive. 1 != 2 23:46, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

OK, let's discuss. What is 'contentious' about the merge. If anything, a merge would clarify the policy without having to jump to different pages. EdokterTalk 23:47, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, for one thing it is an essay. It has never gained the support of the community as policy. Policy needs to reflect consensus, you can't just tack something onto it and call it policy. 1 != 2 23:52, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
OK, I can understand that. What if we were to use a template like this?
That way, it would not become part of the policy, but can still share a page. EdokterTalk 00:10, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
But it shouldn't share the page. The page mustn't become a cluttered mess. It must remain simple.
I'm still waiting for someone to present evidence of a problem in needs of a solution.
Incidentally, transforming the policy's complete text into a "nutshell" of WP:WIARM wasn't a "minor" change. —David Levy 01:38, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
"It must remain simple." Why? I'd like to see convincing arguments that an extremely short version of this page is best. - Chardish 01:56, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Please read the older discussions. No offense, but I'm tired of repeating myself. —David Levy 02:06, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how IAR has wide acceptance among editors, since everyone has their own idea of how it should work. The policy tag is blatantly misleading in that regard - we all think IAR should be policy, but there's no agreement about what we all think IAR is. - Chardish 00:14, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
I was under the impression that we all know what IAR is and what it means; we just have a problem with the wording, as it currently leaves open the potential for abuse. Rockstar (T/C) 21:14, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
This is bordering on disruption. The same small group of people has been making so much noise for so long it is ceasing to be productive. It needs to occur to you that consensus is not going just magically change if you just hang in there long enough, you need new and fresh points that actually compel people to agree. 1 != 2 21:40, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
You must strive to assume good faith here. You shouldn't characterize any attempt to improve the page as disruption. It's one thing to disagree with people, another to say "what is wrong with you?" If you've gotten to the point where you see this as an adversarial process (or are assuming we're treating it like that), that's just unhealthy for everyone.--Father Goose 23:28, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Disruption does not require a bad faith motive. Perhaps you really believe you are doing Wikipedia good. But I assure you, that regardless of one's motives, that taking disputes to the policy page instead of the talk page over and over is disruptive. 1 != 2 23:37, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you kidding me? I hope you're as embarrassed as I am for you. Disruption? We are trying to find a way to improve the wording on this page. End of story. It's fine if you disagree with a change, and it's fine if you want to participate in the discussion. But guess what? Sometimes project pages get edited. Were you unaware? Have you participated in the often heated discussions of other policies? BLP, NPA, etc. -- policy pages are edited and changed from time to time, even if the change is reverted. It happens. Labeling all those who disagree with your opinion and actually want to improve a policy page as participating in disruption is downright sad. Take a second to rethink the implications of what you said. Right now, as it stands, you are hurting this encyclopedia. Rockstar (T/C) 23:53, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Trying to change the page is fine, I have no objection to that. I am saying that it needs to be done on the talk page. I am saying that making edits you know are contentious and likely to be reverted over and over is not respecting consensus, but is just edit warring. Since you think my judgment is in error in this matter, I can assure you that an uninvolved admin will make the final determination should any action need to be taken.
I unprotected this page in the hopes that we could edit it through discussion and consensus, not so that people can edit war. 1 != 2 00:14, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
If editors (i.e. members of the community) keep trying to change this, it means there isn't *consensus* for the policy in its current form. Why do we still have this? (talk) 11:28, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
There are strong indications that the principle underlying IAR does have broad support. What's disputed is whether that principle is expressed as well as it could be. Due to austerity of the current wording, even a small tweak to the language is treated as a radical change and opposed. Meanwhile the current wording does not do a good job of explaining the full idea behind the rule.--Father Goose (talk) 20:04, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, remember the month-long debate about whether "working with others" should be included? Sigh. I'm thinking that some new thinking needs to be applied to this page. Suggestions? - Chardish (talk) 20:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I suggest that someone—anyone—present evidence of a problem before continuing to pursue a solution. —David Levy 21:07, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
But WP:WIARM does. So what's the problem? —David Levy 21:07, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Next revert will lead to protection

If this ridiculous edit and revert war continues, I will restore the protection of this page. Discuss, don't engage in this childish behaviour. If you haven't gotten your way after seven reverts, you should know that you won't get your way after eight reverts either. AecisBrievenbus 00:54, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm confused -- I see only one real change/revert in the past few days (Lubaf's merge)... how exactly does this merit full protection? Does this policy have different rules when it comes to protection? If so, why don't we make a proposal at WP:PROTECT to reflect that sentiment and see how it flies? Rockstar (T/C) 01:06, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to recommend not protecting it -- the desire to change it will remain in place, pent up. The long-term protection of WP:NOR was recently lifted and kept off despite a very large number of edits and reverts. The parties involved have pretty much tired out and some progress has been made. I really have trouble seeing what the benefit of page protection is (as opposed to brief blocks of those who war over them). In most cases, it seems to me like holding in a sneeze and pretending that it cures the flu.
We have to resolve our differences here -- through discussion -- but if the page is frozen on The Wrong Version, the party that favors that version will have no incentive to discuss things. You see how little discussion occurred during this past month of protection?--Father Goose 03:51, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that some people are being hyper-protective of this page, to a fault. I have made two edits to this page recently, neither of which were reverts, and then an administrator threatened to block me if I didn't desist. I challenge the notion that this page currently has any consensus, and strongly oppose the idea that protection of the page will help solve anything. - Chardish 04:03, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

And the threat itself is juvenile and so vulnerable to manipulation as to be pointless. Either protect it or do not protect it, as appropriate, which protection in this case would not be appropriate. —Centrxtalk • 04:47, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

The warning seems appropriate to me. I really don't see what is juvenile about it, we often warn before taking action in the hopes that people will change their behavior before blunt tools are needed. 1 != 2 05:00, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
The warning itself is de facto protection. "If you change this page, I'll undo your changes and then protect it." How is this different from not being able to change the page at all? - Chardish 06:00, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
In fairness, Aecis didn't threaten to undo any changes before protecting the page. I do, however, agree that the warning was inappropriate; it invites a user to indiscriminately revert any change that he/she dislikes (an action that will be rewarded with protection of the page in his/her preferred state). —David Levy 06:05, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I thought an undo was implied, though as you pointed out, it doesn't make sense either way. - Chardish 06:23, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I certainly hope that an undo wasn't implied. That would violate policy. —David Levy 06:43, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

If the current editing dispute had been the first or the second, yes, my message would have been highly premature. But this is not the first editing dispute. Just look at the protection log. This page has been protected 14 times in just over two years. The editors involved are highly experienced and established Wikipedians, who should know better than to engage in an edit war. I fully stand by my message. AecisBrievenbus 13:28, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

This threat seems to fly in the face of several long-standing policies that are at the heart of our project's success, most gravely being bold in editing pages and the wiki process as a means of building consensus. I would like to hear a more thorough explanation on why you feel that preserving the page in its current state supercedes these principles. This sounds like you are telling us that being bold is a privilege that you have revoked. - Chardish 17:23, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, wow. If you cite WP:BOLD why don't you scroll down a bit yourself, specifically to the section named WP:BOLD#Non-article namespaces. Guess what? WP:BOLD was designed with articles in mind. While that section doesn't name Wikipedia: namespace specifically, it does note that "it is easier to cause problems" here. Moreover, WP:BOLD should only be invoked in cases where the edit is an objective improvement, not when the editor knows he'll get reverted within the hour. Миша13 22:12, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
WP:BOLD is not something that is invoked; it is part of the spirit of the project. I agree that being WP:BOLD doesn't mean you can be stubborn, but it doesn't mean that you can't try new ideas in good faith if you think the community would approve. - Chardish (talk) 22:24, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Except that wasn't a new idea. It was tried in the past (in fact, IAR was "fat" and got split into IAR and WIARM for the sake of simplicity) but contested and the policy kept short ever since. So, again, what's the point in being "bold" when you know your edit is contentious? You don't get points for having your name in page's history either. Миша13 22:44, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not referring to a specific event but rather a general principle. And, for the record, Wikipedia is not a contest, and you do not earn points for anything. - Chardish (talk) 22:53, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
General it may be but you're applying the reasoning to a specific event here. And, for the record, you're repeating yourself. I know Wikipedia is not a contest which is exactly why you don't get any points for getting your name in the page's history (except for those who are driven by "oh, wow, I edited one of Wikipedia's most important policies - praise me!"), which again poses the question: why strive for it knowing you'll fail? A tangential note: if Wikipedia ain't a contest, why is RfA plagued by editcountitis and basically boils down to a editor beauty pageant? Миша13 23:09, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, you seemed to be implying that there were things that earned you points. I don't strive for imposing my views on others - I strive towards finding a version of this page better than the one that we have now - and I don't see failure as inevitable. (And I agree that RfA has serious, serious problems.) - Chardish (talk) 00:02, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
You've cited a valid reason for intervening in the dispute. You haven't cited one for intervening in a manner that clearly favors one side. (For the record, it's my side that stands to benefit.)
It's appropriate to warn that the page will be protected if the edit-warring continues, but it's inappropriate to warn that the page will be protected after the "next revert" (which ensures that the current setup will remain). This actually encourages advocates of the status quo to revert (because this will guarantee that their preferred version of the page will be locked in place). —David Levy 17:43, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
So now I'm being called to task for trying to stop an edit war, rather than the edit warring sides? Fine. I don't favour any side, and I don't prefer any side. And I'm certainly not trying to thwart "the wiki process as a means of building consensus", as Chardish seems to imply. Edit warring is not a means of building consensus. Discussions on talk pages are. But how am I trying to thwart the discussion on this talk page, Chardish? WP:BOLD explicitly states: " Be BOLD! ...but don't be reckless", and adds that "[t]he admonition "but do not be reckless" is especially important in [non-article] namespaces." The various edit wars that have gotten this article protected fourteen times are a form of recklessness that is certainly not allowed under WP:BOLD.
In response to David Levy: I feel that my wording encourages people at least to refrain from edit warring for the time being. If some editors interpret it as an invitation to revert to get the article locked in its current state, that is their fault and their responsibility, certainly not mine. I most definitely do not accept responsibility for the disruptive behaviour of others. AecisBrievenbus 21:39, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Several well-meaning people tried protecting this page in the past. It turns out that things are less acrimonious when it remains unprotected. I appreciate that you are trying to do the right thing. Thank you very much for caring! --Kim Bruning (talk) 21:58, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
What edit warring are you talking about? There was one revert, not an edit war. And, FYI, people are calling you to task because you dropped in with guns blazing, shouting threats at everyone. How exactly do threats ever help calm a situation? An appropriate comment would have been "People, please try to find consensus through discussion. Edit warring does not help build this encyclopedia and often results in this page being protected. No one enjoys protected pages (as it goes against the spirit of Wikipedia) so how about we try talking it out?" rather than "Don't even think about touching the project page or else I'm going to protect it." That may not have been what you meant to say, but that's how it came off. Rockstar (T/C) 22:06, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Guns blazing no, threats most definitely not, but clear language yes. And why? Because the history of this article makes it clear that it's necessary. But if all of you disagree with me, fine, have it your way. I take back what I said. This is not worth it. I'll take this page off my watchlist, and leave you guys to it. May the strongest win. I don't care anymore. My final comment on this matter is that you guys need to think of what your priorities are. For over two years, this page has seen edit war after edit war after edit war. I can understand that something like that happens when IPs and new editors invade an article about a politically sensitive subject, when real world tensions hit Wikipedia. But such behaviour from established Wikipedians, admins even, on one of our policies, is inappropriate. AecisBrievenbus 22:19, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your understanding and for your good intentions. I think this policy is in desperate need of some progressive thinking, but I don't think protection is the answer. - Chardish (talk) 22:23, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh is it? I would rather say, the rest of Wikipedia (specifically, the many needy articles) are in need of progressive thinking. Too much effort is in the stead put into irrelevant issues that are not even included in the end product. Миша13 22:51, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
No, these pages are in need of some progressive thinking; the rest of the encyclopedia definitely isn't. Wikipedia is, for the most part, reactionary. Policy pages aren't. In order to get the end result, we need a stable infrastructure. So stop pulling that card -- it's overused. Rockstar (T/C) 23:06, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Exactly - stable. Does that definition include changing it every month? And when did building an encyclopedia become overused? Миша13 23:12, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
If this policy were stable, it wouldn't need to be changed every month (or ever). The fact that there are edit wars and general problems with this policy (as evidenced by the archives on this talk page) mean that it isn't stable. Not yet, at least. Rockstar (T/C) 23:21, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
It's not clear that it "needs" to be changed every month, simply that is is changed somewhat regularly. There's a frequent desire among some editors to somehow lengthen and clarify what's on this page, but the majority of Wikipedians seem ok with it. Before editing the page, I'd like to see evidence that there's some harm being done by it. That fact that this page itself gets tug-o-warred over isn't evidence of any harm being done to any other part of the project, I don't think. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:07, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
It isn't my fault that you evidently don't understand the major flaw in your reasoning.
If you want to warn that you'll protect a page if edit-warring continues, that's fine. Just be sure to warn both sides indiscriminately. Don't announce that you'll protect the page as soon as it's reverted back to a particular version.
Whether your warning would have been exploited is irrelevant; while editors are responsible for their own actions, it's perfectly reasonable to criticise you for creating a situation that was subject to such abuse. I don't doubt that you were trying to help, but it's my opinion that your intended solution was potentially harmful (and I'm glad that you've reconsidered). —David Levy 23:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Never has so many, done so much, to so little

... as all the editors of this tiny little page.

Boy, I can't imagine how bad this page must have been 1000 edits ago, to need that much improvment.  ;)

Or perhaps some of us can find something more useful to do than re-edit the same dozen words over and over again? --A D Monroe III (talk) 02:04, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

It is difficult to get much done when you have a sufficiently large group of editors insistent on ensuring that the page does not change under any circumstances. - Chardish (talk) 02:13, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
A thousand edits ago it was the current version(minus any subtle changes to the policy template). Nobody is refusing change, we are refusing change until consensus for change has been achieved. 1 != 2 21:11, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
And the current version doesn't have consensus, either. - Chardish (talk) 21:13, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
That isn't clear to me. Most users don't even bother opining on this talk page. They simply use the policy to improve and maintain Wikipedia (and leave us to our bickering).
Again, I await evidence of the alleged deficiency. Simply claiming that the policy is broken (when it appears to work quite well) doesn't cut it. —David Levy 21:27, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
It's not that it's broken, it's that there's significant room for improvement. I don't know if you want me to go on a fishing expedition through XfD and page histories looking for people misapplying IAR, but I'd be able to find numerous examples of people who think that IAR is just something that one "invokes" when the rules are inconsistent with what one wants. The goal should not be to revise the policy, but to make it more clear. - Chardish (talk) 00:31, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be best if somebody (say, you) were to go through, say, a random sample of 100 citations, and categorize and summarize them. I'm not going to do it, as I'm too lazy, but concrete examples help out more than abstract ideals. Thanks, Luc "Somethingorother" French 01:10, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't doubt that the policy is cited inappropriately. Every policy is, and I've seen no evidence that this particular policy is abused more than most.
I also don't oppose the idea of improving the wording. I simply haven't seen any proposals that I believe accomplish this. This should not be misconstrued as stubborn refusal to consider change. —David Levy 01:45, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not accusing you in particular of being stubborn (even though we do seem to be on opposite sides of the issue from time to time), and I apologize if my comments implied that. :) - Chardish (talk) 07:21, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
The very fact that it has stood for over a year in this form gives a strong indication of consensus. The policy as it is reflects the current practice in regards to IAR. 1 != 2 23:38, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
The very fact that you're forgetting the whole "working with others" debate gives a strong indication that we can ignore your comment. (Explanation: If you'll grant that "working with others" is the same as the current version, I'll be more than happy to revert to that. If not, well, your comment gains a fatal logical flaw, which leads to the conclusion it can safely be ignored.) Thanks, Luc "Somethingorother" French 00:26, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely - if it's the same thing then let's go ahead and revert. I'd also be fine with a reversion back to the 2001 wording - since IAR is and has always been policy then the original wording is surely still policy. With apologies to David and others who've heard this point before and may be tired of it. Haukur (talk) 19:51, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
As I (and others) have explained, the original version is simply a poorly-worded attempt to express one (but not the other) of the two important concepts covered by the current wording. —David Levy 20:08, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
According to its author the original version was meant as something of a joke. According to me it was a nice friendly reminder to wade right in and not worry too much about the details or the formalities. Not saying your interpretation is wrong, of course. The author is dead, after all. Haukur (talk) 20:56, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Sanger's mindset notwithstanding, the original version did, indeed, serve as advice to not worry about learning all of the rules before editing articles. (This is one of the two important concepts to which I referred above.) It was poorly worded, however, as there are other (inapplicable) reasons why the rules might make someone "nervous" or "depressed." (Someone could have a perfect understanding of the rules and simply dislike them.)
The current version conveys that important principle, and it also covers the equally important concept of avoiding needless bureaucracy (by not following the rules purely for the sake of following the rules, even when a particular application is unhelpful).
So while the original version remains valid, the current version is a major improvement. This being a wiki, policies are routinely improved, and the fact that their original wordings are valid doesn't mean that it's a good idea to revert to them. —David Levy 21:35, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Though it's not a basis for any case, it's worth mentioning that Jimbo likes the "nervous or depressed" wording. - Chardish (talk) 22:12, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
You're right; that's not the basis for any case.
By the same token, the fact that Jimbo applied his "IAR is policy, always has been" edit to a version essentially the same as the current one is equally irrelevant; no particular wording is sacrosanct or Jimbo-mandated. —David Levy 23:11, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't feel the current version serves "as advice to not worry about learning all of the rules before editing articles" at all. I'm glad it comes across that way to you, though. Hopefully that means that it comes across that way to some of the newbies as well. Haukur (talk) 22:21, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
The purpose of editing articles is to improve and maintain Wikipedia. Users are explicitly advised to ignore rules when they prevent said individuals from improving or maintaining Wikipedia. —David Levy 23:11, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
But the current wording strongly implies that people have to know that a particular rule presents an obstacle to improving Wikipedia before they can decide to not follow it. So they have to know the rule and what it means before they're allowed to "ignore" it. That's not really ignoring, is it? I think that with the current wording you could just as well substitute the word 'ignore' with the words 'do not follow'. The original wording did a good job of saying: "Does that big pile of rules look scary? Don't worry too much, you don't have to learn them all before you start editing." That's how the whimsical tone came across to me. I know that David perceives it differently. Haukur (talk) 01:16, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, I do. I don't perceive such an implication in the current wording, and while I recognize the original wording's intended meaning, it reads as advice to ignore any rule (even one that the reader knows and understands) whenever he/she pleases. ("Abiding by the civility and three-revert rules makes me nervous and depressed.") —David Levy 02:21, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Haukur, doesn't the WP:WIARM essay help help IAR to come across in the right spirit? Do you think people follow that link, and read it? -GTBacchus(talk) 00:26, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
A lot of it is good and helpful. I think it goes a bit too far into praising expediency at the cost of consistency. People come to this project, or any project, with an expectation that it has some sort of rules that are applied, in some sense, fairly. If they are told that the rules mean nothing when they conflict with expediency (which is debatably true in practice) they may reasonably ask: "Who decides what is expedient? Do I, as a newbie, get to decide? Or do old-timers have a bigger say? (In practice, yes.) So, if the rules mean nothing then what's to keep the old-timers from lording over me?" I rarely see this concern addressed. Haukur (talk) 01:16, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
"Who decides what is expedient?" Those with more experience with the system, just as one would expect to be true in any community. Do you show up new to an organization and start telling them how to run their show? I don't. Why should Wikipedia be different?

"The rules mean nothing when they conflict with expediency..." This is not the claim made by IAR, nor by WIARM. The rules don't mean "nothing"; they mean the distillation of lots of experience of what works and what doesn't. Does that mean they're infallible? No. Thus, when they fail, we deal with it.

"What's to keep the old-timers from lording over me?" Well, I've seen lots of people get de-sysoped, or fully run off the project, because they seemed to be here to lord over others, and not to work collaboratively, respectfully, and lovingly on the project. What keeps people from "lording over you" is other people. Talk to them, and everything will be fine. If you expect some kind of rule-structure to be a skirt to which you can run, then prepare for disappointment. -GTBacchus(talk) 10:53, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

IAR is wikipedia in a nutshell. So why would we be surprised that it changes every day? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:54, 9 December 2007 (UTC) Has anyone tried polka-dots yet?

Ignore rules? Admin rules! (Can we really ignore rules even if we have good reasons?)

No matter whether it is called "Ignore all rules", "Ignore a rule", or "Ignore rules when you have valid reasons to do"; it isn't important because well even admin doesn't honour you the right to do it. Not only that, in fact admin doesn't honor many major rules and it is just one of them.

Ignore any rule if it stops you from improving Wikipedia -- this right is just non-existent!

Note: Don't get me wrong!! I do realise I shouldn't take the rule literally. As far as I know, it is more of a spirit which tells us that no rule should be treated absolutely. Rules are not binding and should not be followed mindlessly. If you are in good faith and think the rule is bad or wrong and ignoring it will benefit the Wikipedia as a whole, you should act on it.

OK. Why do I say Wikipedia polices are non-existing in reality? It is because even admins have conflicting interests (eg they are also the editors of that page) and they tend to interpret rules in a way to favour themselves. They can even use "protection (page lockup)" and "banning" as a way to force you to respect what they say.

Admin Soum doesn't care to follow any rule he doesn't like -- The first example:
Admin even blindly ignores the policies -- Admin Soum even breaks the five pillars of Wikipedia without any reasoning

The cleanup incident in Comparison of one-click hosters

Even admins will create new subsidiary rules to justify what they are doing, or treat even guidelines absolutely and other editors must follow. If they don't follow, admins may threaten you with a ban. Here comes the second example.

Take a look at two pages - one before and after cleanup:

Before: it contains many filehosters to compare in the table.
After: All but three filehosters have been removed for good.

Spam Event Horizon - opinions in an essay must be followed?

Why such an abrupt change took place? It was because admin Hu12 left a message in the discussion page saying he got fed up and said the article had been reaching Spam Event Horizon (Essay only) so a cleanup was necessary. Well he went even further and set up a rule that "only entries that are links to actual Wikipedia articles about notable one-click hosting services sites should be added. External links, redlinks, substubs, non-notable sites or sites that are not one-click hosting services should be removed."

If you take some time to click on Spam Event Horizon (Essay only), it is only an essay proposed by someone. Read what an essay means:

Well but he demanded everyone to follow it. By the way, the article didn't say it is a good way to deal with spam event by literally eliminating everything.

Common sense? Is it something you will assume admin must have?

Common Sense: There are some mistakes on the article. Let's fix them.
Admin Hu12: There are some mistakes on the article. Let's discard everything and start all over again.

Common senses should not taken for granted. I see something as pretty obvious while an admin like Hu12 thinks otherwise. The table itself unfortunately contains some references to possibly infamous/unknown filehosters. Well it is a good idea to clean up the table a bit. If I were him, I would have a brief look at the table, trying to fix the problem by removing those infamous/unknown filehosters. Further cleanups can be done later to ensure a better quality comparison page.

However the admin went to the extreme and removed all but 3 filehosters. If you asked me why he did it in this extreme way, I would say:

  1. Laziness: Removing all requires much little effort. A few clicks and it is done! Otherwise it took quite some time to examine the table to fix it. Of course the good contents will be retained and is much better in this way. But the problem is, it takes efforts!
  2. Anger: I believe he would want to remove it all together because he got fed up with some spams on the table, even in the expense of wiping good contents/items and the whole page. Well he viewed stopping spam is on top of everything, even over the overall benefits and the goal of this comparison page. Sigh!
  3. Stuck mind: I believe one's mind will be stuck after he reads too many rules. The original intention of the rule is good but once they get used to it, they tend to apply the rules rigidly without second thoughts. They don't realise the rule may not fit to that particular situation. They also refuse changes.

After all, forget about all those Wikipedia policies and principles. Try to judge the edit alone from a normal citizen viewpoint. I can hardly this edit (cleanup) due to worrying about the spam is anything helpful to the Wikipedia. It actually sucks big time. Two wrongs don't make one right. I see it obvious. He can't see it. Anyway one fact won't change - he has essentially damaged the whole comparison page to an extent that it becomes almost useless as there are literally 3 filehosters left. There are just a few comments from other visitors about the change:

You have little room to argue with an admin

There are quite a few concepts and principles I disagree with that admin so I argued with him. Well it is not the most important. What I most disagreed is how the admin can discredit others' contributors work in such a way. I feel frustrated although I never contributed to this page.

This is just plain silly from a user point of view. Is there any big problem about having some infamous/unknown filehosters? Why does he revert every work made by all previous contributors and request everyone to start all over again? I would say reverting is a very rude action. It is a serious disrespect and discredit of all those previous contributors.

That revert decision is also taken so lightly. He just posted a message on the discussion board complaining the article comtains bad spam items so a revert of all previous work is necessary. He didn't even waited to form any consensus/agreement first.

Did they read the [WP:revert|"reverting" rules]?


  • Reverting is a decision which should be taken seriously. [Comment: He took it very lightly without any discussion first]
  • Reverting is used primarily for fighting vandalism, or anything very similar to the effects of vandalism. [Comment: The table has some spams but does it equal to vandalism? Does it deem for a complete revert?]
  • If you are not sure whether a revert is appropriate, discuss it first rather than immediately reverting or deleting it. [Comment: He only announced it not discussed it. No basic form of consensus is made before the revert. Some users complained but it didn't stop him from withdrawing the decision]
  • If you feel the edit is unsatisfactory, improve it rather than simply reverting or deleting it. [Comment: There are some spams. But he simply reverted it to fix it!]

Do not:

  • Do not simply revert changes that are made as part of a dispute. Be respectful to other editors, their contributions and their points of view.
  • Do not revert good faith edits. In other words, try to consider the editor "on the other end." If what one is attempting is a positive contribution to Wikipedia, a revert of those contributions is inappropriate unless, and only unless, you as an editor possess firm, substantive, and objective proof to the contrary. Mere disagreement is not such proof. See also Wikipedia:Assume good faith.
  • Generally there are misconceptions that problematic sections of an article or recent changes are the reasons for reverting or deletion. If they contain valid information, these texts should simply be edited and improved accordingly. Reverting is not a decision which should be taken lightly.
  • There's sometimes trouble determining whether some claim is true or useful, particularly when there are few people "on board" who are knowledgeable about the topic. In such a case, it's a good idea to raise objections on a talk page; if one has some reason to believe that the author of what appears to be biased material will not be induced to change it, editors have sometimes taken the step of transferring the text in question to the talk page itself, thus not deleting it entirely. This action should be taken more or less as a last resort, never as a way of punishing people who have written something biased. See also Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/FAQ
  • Do not revert changes simply because someone makes an edit you consider problematic, biased, or inaccurate. Improve the edit, rather than reverting it.

The above says it all. Even if there is a dispute, the admin still reverts it first to take advantage of it.

"Ignore All Rules"? What if admin says otherwise?

Admin Hu12 requested others to follow the advice made in an essay, in addition to its additional advice: "only entries that are links to actual Wikipedia articles... should be added. [Others]... should be removed." Otherwise any item you added to the comparison table will be removed.

You think that the rule is bad and stop you from improving Wikipedia. Well it is even not an established rule. It is only a "rule" set by the admin. You complain and would like to ignore his "rule" based on WP:IAR. Do you think it works?

In reality your contribution will be reverted immediately without mercy if you do. You will be warned to be banned. Now admin Hu12 took over the control of this page. Every item or entry added to the table must pass his examination. Isn't this against the spirit of Wikipedia?

The admin participates in the editing and discussion of this page. He has a conflict of interest. But he made additional "rules" and requested others to follow. So what's the point of WP:IAR when you can't even have a right to ignore it when you see the need?

Pretty much what they say is final. The discussion has been closed although they ask you to discuss when you disagree. After all, you have very little room to argue with an admin.
Why? Because admin has a "ban" button. You don't. If you believe they are wrong and criticise their actions, you may risk being banned.


I found out I get banned for an extended period of time when I sent this critic (glad that it was not a permanment ban becaue I believe I am honoured with it ;-D).
The reason is: Disruptive editing

You be the judge.

Try to review the history of Comparison of one-click hosters. I edited this page once only (revert the decision made by the admin by restoring the page).

I made some critical comments about his action and his reasons. Read the discussions for details.

He censored some of my comments. I supposed no one should edit or hide anyone's comment. Anyway he did. Impressive.

I believe someone who censored comments should be banned too by the way. The intention is evil.

Definition of disruptive editing and editors
This guideline concerns gross, obvious and repeated violations of fundamental policies, not subtle questions about which reasonable people may disagree.

A disruptive editor is an editor who:

  • Is tendentious: continues editing an article or group of articles in pursuit of a certain point for an extended time despite opposition from one or more other editors.
  • Cannot satisfy Wikipedia:Verifiability; fails to cite sources, cites unencyclopedic sources, misrepresents reliable sources, or manufactures original research.
  • Rejects community input: resists moderation and/or requests for comment, continuing to edit in pursuit of a certain point despite an opposing consensus from impartial editors and/or administrators.

In addition, such editors may:

  • Campaign to drive away productive contributors: act in spite of policies and guidelines such as Wikipedia:Civility,Wikipedia:No personal attacks, Wikipedia:Ownership of articles, engage in sockpuppetry/meatpuppetry, etc. on a low level that might not exhaust the general community's patience, but that operates toward an end of exhausting the patience of productive rules-abiding editors on certain articles.

Do I really fit in one of the categories? Odd Master2 (talk) 12:50, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Geez that is a long post, perhaps you could trim it down some. The fact is that IAR makes no promise that your ignoring of the rules will be accepted by others. 1 != 2 15:31, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

This is one of a few WP:SOCK harassment accounts.


Odd master3 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · nuke contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
Odd Master2 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · nuke contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
Odd Master (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · nuke contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
--Hu12 (talk) 18:18, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

This is nonsense

In what way is "ignore all rules" a good idea? First "improve wikipedia" is an inherently vague and subjective proposition. From what I have seen of administrators blocking users and protecting entries for petty political reasons, the last thing that needs to be done on wikipedia is to ignore rules that are followed by the average, non-admin contributor. Secondly, within a hierarchical organization such as wikipedia there needs to be a standard base ruleset which is followed by everyone, not to be disregarded on a whim because you can. And if there is to be an "ignore all rules" policy, then it should be for substantial and incontrovertible reasons, not simply for improving wikipedia, whatever that means. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DrVonMalfoy (talkcontribs) 03:42, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Please read WP:WIARM for a further explanation of this policy. Hopefully that'll clear up some of the issues you have. Rockstar (T/C) 08:05, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Section moved to bottom of page. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:24, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Your premise is flawed. Wikipedia is not (intended to be) a hierarchical organization.

If people are protecting articles for petty political reasons, that does not improve wikipedia; please report them to the administrators noticeboard. If you feel intimidated by that location, you can also drop a note to me, and I can sort it out for you. --Kim Bruning (talk) 11:11, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

While it does sound ludicrous it does actually work in practice. 1 != 2 15:35, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

What The...?!

Why does Wikipedia:Use common sense redirect here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kaos Machina (talkcontribs) 16:46, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

An editor decided to replace that page with a redirect without asking anyone first. I reverted his action. - Chardish (talk) 17:31, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks.Kaos Machina (talk) 15:02, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Ignore all rules?

The word "all" seems really awkward. I can't conceive of any potential situation where literally ignoring either "all rules" or some particular rules (such as NPA, CIVIL, etc) could ever be useful. How about simply "ignore any rule"? This would additionally place emphasis on encouraging users to ignore as far as possible the fact that there are rules in the first place (which I think is at least part, if not the main aspect, of the initial thought behind this rule), rather than effectively saying "know the rules by heart (because they're so important...), and 'if a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it'" (as in, deliberately break it). The current title diverts from the fact that we should have as few and unrestrictive rules as possible. (Also, everyone who is being bold and happens not to break any of our policies and guidelines is not knowingly "following them", but rather ignoring them alright, which is a good thing.) I dorftrotteltalk I 07:47, December 13, 2007

I like the following sentences from the German version of the page:
  • Du bist nicht verpflichtet, alle Regeln auswendig zu lernen und genau nach ihnen zu handeln.
    • You are not obliged to memorise all rules and to strictly follow them.
  • Die Regeln sollten im Idealfall so beschaffen sein, dass du als konstruktiver Mitarbeiter nicht mit ihnen in Konflikt kommst.
    • The rules should ideally be formulated such that you, as a contructive collaborator, will not come into conflict with them.
  • Viel Freude, Mut, Gelassenheit und Unterscheidungsvermögen!
    • Have fun, courage, serenity and the ability to discriminate!
Now, I don't propose putting any of this into the English version, but I think it properly illustrates what this policy is about. The one single sentence we have here doesn't do that. I dorftrotteltalk I 08:04, December 13, 2007
I like the current title better. Not sure why, I just do. 1 != 2 15:51, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
But you agree that e.g. NPA should never be ignored? I dorftrotteltalk I 20:53, December 13, 2007
I agree to no such thing, IAR applies to all rules. 1 != 2 15:29, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Your point isn't really valid, because one could never apply IAR to NPA. It's just not possible -- under no circumstances could a personal attack ever be used to "improve or maintain Wikipedia." Don't forget, "Ignore All Rules" does not mean that anyone can ignore the rules whenever they feel like it. Rockstar (T/C) 01:10, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
But that's precisely my point: NPA cannot ever be neglected in order to improve WP. So why "ignore all rules"? But I can see where this is headed (once again), so just forget about it, I'm not a threat to the sacred status quo... Everything is perfect already, nothing to see, move along. I dorftrotteltalk I 04:35, December 14, 2007
You can ignore NPA in the following sense: you don't have to read it. Don't think of it as a "rule" that needs following; that's applying the wrong model to the situation. Don't attack other people, not because there's a rule, but because it's not helpful.

In particular, if the wording of the page WP:NPA is such that there appears to be some kind of loophole or technicality in the policy, then such wording should be ignored. We can respect the idea behind the rule (a principle), while ignoring the rule itself (a written document). -GTBacchus(talk) 08:03, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Agree! The word "all" is awkward. It is rare one has good reasons to ignore "all" rules at one time, although if you do have it you may do it theoretically. However there are people who get used to it and don't want to adapt changes. After all, I hardly see anyone can use this rule in reality to help them to ignore any rule or even a guideline provided that they have good valid reasons to do, especially when you are arguing with an admin (eg soum). I hardly see they honour this right. So it doesn't matter at all.Odd Master (talk) 08:38, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Anyway, I would propose "Ignore a rule" or "Ignore the rule" as the title of this page. Odd Master (talk) 08:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I propose we keep it under the current name. All rules are ignorable, each and every last one of them. The rule is not meant to apply to some rules and not others, but all of them. 1 != 2 15:32, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
As I said, I just wanted to propose once to rename it to "Ignore any rule" or some such, nothing more. But I maintain it's probably impossible to ignore all rules at once. Besides: IAR is the by far most ignored rule of all, even more than NOR and NPOV. I dorftrotteltalk I 19:55, December 14, 2007
That's not true at all -- there are some rules that, if ignored, you would be banned. For example, never can any editor violate our NPOV policy. But that's all outlined in the foundation issues. Rockstar (T/C) 20:03, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

You're putting too much emphasis on the ALL part, and ignoring the "as long as it improves wikipedia" part. If personally attacking someone would improve wikipedia, then yes, do so. This will, however never happen, because wikipedia could not possibly benefit from personal attacks. Therefore no one will ever be justified in not following that rule. Makes sense to me! IDIOTS!! (that's a joke there of couse, please find it funny :)) (talk) 02:38, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Eh, I didn't find it that funny. Now, if you had called someone in particular an idiot, now that would have been funny.  ;-) —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 04:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia at its worst

I've come recently to believe that this policy page, and this process page, are examples of Wikipedia at its worst.

The spirit of Wikipedia is that anyone can edit it, and that consensus is the process by

The issue here is that we have come the decision that a policy which is one sentence long is the fundamental policy of Wikipedia which supersedes all other policy. Therefore any edits to the page are considered to be sweeping and significant, regardless of how minor, and are reverted within hours. Only the most unobjectionable edits are allowed to remain - usually ones that don't touch The Sentence at all.

The problem is that we are now in a perpetual bold, revert, discuss cycle here, one that shows no signs of ending because achieving true consensus on a matter so divisive is next to impossible.

The reason for that is that there is a contentious split between people who like the policy as is and people who want to change it. The latter group is being bold and the former group is reverting, and even though there is discussion being had, the only way for consensus to be achieved is for one of the groups to either be converted almost entirely to the other's side of thinking.

The end result is that we have a page that bears the weight of policy, does not hold consensus as it stands, and the current processes for achieving consensus are inadequate to address the disagreements among users.

Wikipedia is not a battleground, but the edit warring and disagreement never stops here. Wikipedia is not an anarchy, but there appears to be nothing in place to stop people from making changes that no one supports. Wikipedia is not a democracy, but there appears to be nothing in place to stop people from obsessively reverting changes that don't have consensus - even if no disagreement to the change has been expressed. Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy, but there's an unwritten rule that states that the letter of this law is sacrosanct and cannot be touched.

How ironic that we have a policy which tells us that the spirit of a rule supersedes the written letter of the rule, and we argue incessantly over the written letter of the rule.

IAR isn't broken, but has potential for improvement. The current process we have in place prevents its improvement.

This is Wikipedia at its worst.

- Chardish (talk) 17:26, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

No, Wikipedia at its worst is characterized by name-calling, accusations of bad faith, and grudge-based refusal to stay on topic. We're actually behaving pretty well here.

There does appear to be a sort of stale-mate between people who insist that this page is a problem, and those who say that it's just fine. I still really don't see a cogent argument being presented for why the policy is problematic at one sentence long. If IAR upsets you, you may ignore it, and you'll probably be fine. Why is there a need to edit it? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:02, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I actually think this policy's history is Wikipedia at its best. Some people like it short, others think that it should be more comprehensive. Instead of fighting, we created a comprehensive supplement page, thereby appeasing both parties. That's middle ground, that's consensus at work, and that's Wikipedia at its best. I think we're doing pretty well right now. Rockstar (T/C) 18:40, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Experiments in Abolishing all rules (in road traffic)

Interesting results have been booked in traffic safety when all or most traffic rules were abolished in small given areas, see: Shared space --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:48, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Abolishing all rules would work in Wikipedia if we were also to abolish Wikipedia's hierarchical structures. Something makes me think this theory is partially the reason why you gave up your admin bit, no? IAR works the best when there is no heirarchy. Rockstar (T/C) 19:54, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Nice. The traffic analogy for a wiki is apt in many ways. Here, like on the street, what's safe and courteous does not always match what the rules say. Communication and a recognition of the need to share the common resource count for much more than memorizing some list of rules. I remember as a kid, learning to drive, and they tried to teach us rules by rote. Then one day the lightbulb came on: it's very simple. Are you going to drive across someone else's lane? Then you need to yield to them. Friday (talk) 19:59, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Essay link

I see some value in the essay, but Haukurth made a good point about its description being misinterpreted. As removing the offending text rendered it inaccurate, I've removed the link for the time being. I won't edit-war over this (and have no strong feelings as to whether or not it should be included), but I believe that we should discuss this matter and get it sorted out. —David Levy 01:31, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

As noted in a recent edit summary, just plonk it on WP:WIARM instead then :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:04, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

WIARM link

Given the disagreement over how IAR should be worded (concise vs comprehensive), we've got WP:IAR and WP:WIARM as separate pages, sort of a compromise. Since there's still some disagreement, I had semi-suggested moving the WIARM link up above the "See also" link. Some other people were bold and tried it out. That was soon reverted with the comment, "get consensus then change this long standing rule, it is already known these changes are no accepted", but without further comment. So here I will attempt to encourage discussion and consensus.

In this section, please set aside the question of separation of WP:IAR and WP:WIARM, which is being discussed in other sections. I ask that people please focus on the specific question of the placement and wording of the link.

I submit for discussion: Moving the WP:WIARM link up above the "See also" line might help archive better harmony between the two "sides" of this issue, and also make it more prominent (and thus easier to find) for newcomers. Concerns? Objections? Alternatives? —Preceding unsigned comment added by DragonHawk (talkcontribs) 20:19, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think Until{1==2) is being very nice. As advised on WP:BRD, arguments such as "get consensus first" are specious. Until(1==2) should not try to hide behind words like that.:-/ If you really want to discuss this, discuss on Until(1==2)'s talk page, and ask them for their personal opinion and reasons for that particular revert, as they are certainly personally responsible.. If they really, personally, don't like your edit for some reason, they should say so there, and explain their reasoning. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:45, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I thought that summary was a bit curt, but not out-of-line, and asking for more discussion is rarely a bad idea. I did leave a note on their talk page inviting them to join this discussion here. Ultimately, though, a discussion between two editors doesn't really advance consensus much; that needs community involvement. Hence the invitation for comment here.  :) —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 03:34, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Edit comment by Lubaf: "I'll consider anybody but Until (1==2) reverting me as a consensus against this version. Fair enough?", meh no, that would just be a lack of consensus for it. You can always try to convince people or make compromises, right? --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:27, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

My curtness is based on already talking all this through. It seems that every few weeks the same people come and try the same old thing once again without reaching consensus first knowing full well that the changes are objected too. BRD does not enter into it because once you have already done it many times and been reverted many times it is no longer bold but stubborn. 1 != 2 07:41, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I actually went through the semi-recent history of the page (500 or so), and the archive index, and never actually saw any discussion of this particular issue. Lots and lots of disagreement over the wording of "IAR" itself, and whether or not WIARM should be on the same page with IAR, but not the wording and placement of the link to WIARM. And to be honest, I don't really see how this changes the policy at all -- we're moving and rewording a link that's already there. In the current version, this would actually eliminate "See also", which might actually be an aesthetic improvement (though that's subjective, of course). So do you have any actual objection to moving the WIARM link above the "See also" line? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 13:42, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Ignore ALL rules?

I have a bit of a problem with this rule. And the problem is in the 'all'. Yes, most rules here on Wikipedia can be ignored, and should be if that helps building an encyclopedia. But ALL rules? I doubt it. To go from 'easy ignore' to 'never ignore':

  • Suppose I want to write a Wikipedia article, but don't know how to bold something. Should I ignore "bold the first occurence of the title"? Yes, definitely ignore!
  • Same situation, but the reason I am not bolding is that I think such bolding diminishes the readability of the article. Yes, ignore.
  • Same situation, but now I go and de-bold every article I edit, or I even edit articles just to de-bold the title. Not a very good idea.
  • When I do so, someone else reverts me and we get into a revert war. Should either of us break 3RR? Very doubtful.
  • When I do so, an admin not only reverts me but immediately blocks me without any policy for it. Again, not a good idea.
  • When this admin does so, they also ask a CheckUser for my ip address so it can be blocked. The CheckUser publishes a full list of my ip-addresses and when I used them, so they can all be blocked and people can try to find out who I am. Don't even start about this one...

Thus, I would say:

  • DO ignore any rule about what an article should look like if they make it harder for you to write or improve an article. If they are really important, hope that someone else will make the improvement that you can't make.
  • Do NOT make changes that you would expect to get a consensus against, even if you think they would improve the encyclopedia.
  • Do NOT break major procedural rules unless that really is the ONLY way to get Wikipedia out of problems.

- Andre Engels (talk) 09:48, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Um, right. WP:WIARM pretty much says this, although it doesn't put a relative scale on things. You could try improving that page. • To be more zen, one of the rules you have to be able to ignore is "Ignore all rules".  ;-) —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 13:46, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Does it? Where? Point 1 would indeed cover my first case, but the other 5 I don't see any clear statement being made either way or the other. - Andre Engels (talk) 14:35, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Whoa. I was with you up to point number 4. If you think bolding the title is bad, then you might start de-bolding titles. However, as soon as someone reverts you, why would you revert back? Isn't that kind of a dickish way to be? I mean, I don't care whether or not we've got a rule saying "don't behave like a spoiled child," it's still a useless way to behave. If someone reverts you, you talk to that person, not because of a rule, but because you'd rather get something done than screw around. You ignore rules, but don't ignore laws of nature, such as "courtesy matters".
Rather than your summary above, I'd say - "do whatever you want, but always be respectful of other people and what they've got to say." Respect covers it all; if you're being respectful, you won't get into a revert war, because it's obviously a silly way to behave. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:47, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Far too hypothetical. Any checkuser attempting to justify release of IP data with this rule has clearly lost their minds, and none of them would. --Deskana (talk) 21:50, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, everyone else has to be able to ignore all rules too. As the saying goes: their freedom to swing their fists ends at the tip of your nose. --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:31, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Andre Engels' comments above demonstrate precisely how a lot of users don't understand what WP:IAR rules. The exact nature of the policy is that if it isn't "all" rules, then there's no reason for it to even exist!   Zenwhat (talk) 18:16, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
The misunderstanding comes from regarding Wikipedia as some kind of formal system, and from forgetting that, in all our interactions, we're people treating each other as respectfully as we can. If you know that Wikipedia is not a formal system, and if you remember about courtesy, then there will be no confusion. If WIARM can be made clearer on the "not a formal system" point, then by all means, edit it! -GTBacchus(talk) 23:15, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
And don't forget common sense. Just because you ignore a rule doesn't mean you are exempt from any repercussion and can do whatever the hell you want as long as you cite WP:IAR in the edit summary. If you go around unbolding the title in articles you'd be reverted and told to stop or people wouldn't care (which would be consensus through silence). Assuming you are told to stop and still continued, you would eventually be blocked - IAR is not carte blanche. You can still be blocked if you violate 3RR citing IAR - just because you choose to ignore it doesn't mean everyone has to ignore it with you. I don't see how revert warring would be beneficial, but if you do, you could say that in your unblock request. Also, IAR only applies to our local rules, it can't be used to violate the Foundation's rules or actual laws. You can make changes you would expect to get a consensus against. Just expect to get reverted though, who knows, you might be wrong and people might agree. It's up to you whether you want to use BRD - or skip to the D. But use common sense. Finally, expanding on what GTBacchus said, acting like a dick on a collaborative project is not beneficial. Mr.Z-man 07:32, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
GTBacchus, WP:WIARM is perfectly clear and can't be substantially improved. The problem is: Nobody cares because it's "just an essay," so people pop in here from time-to-time, asking stuff like, "You mean I can really ignore ALL of the rules?! Oh really?!"   Zenwhat (talk) 22:57, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Zenwhat, I'm not at all convinced that nobody cares about WP:WIARM. Only someone who's already approaching Wikipedia as a lawyer will make the "only an essay" argument, for one thing. Additionally, I've seen it cited effectively in discussions; it's not ignored. It's pretty much the official explanation, because it won consensus support to be the sole resident of the "See also" section. That's not a sign of disregard.

If people pop in occasionally saying, "really, I can ignore all rules?", and then they get an explanation and learn something... what's wrong with that? That sounds healthy to me. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Like I said, just because you ignore a rule does not mean that everyone else must or will take the same position. If you ignore a rule and someone else finds your action to be disruptive, you aren't exempt from repercussions. To use a real world example, you can feel free to ignore the speed limit but the cop who pulls you over probably isn't going to care about how you speeding will improve society because he sees it as a safety risk. Mr.Z-man 00:15, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
In some countries, the police officer is free to not arrest you, even if you are breaking the law, if it is clear that you are at least not doing any harm. --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:18, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but it would still be his choice whether to allow it or not. My point was that you should not intentionally ignore a rule under the assumption that you are safe from any sort of consequence, be it a block or just a friendly note on your talk page. Wiki is not a vacuum - you need to take into consideration how other people will see your action or what effect it will have on those people. Mr.Z-man 00:32, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
 :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:36, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Z-man, I'm not making that claim. I'm not saying, "People should ignore rule X, because I think rule X should be ignored." I'm saying WP:IAR is ignored 90% of the time because the justification for why it exists is "just an essay," and people here are perpetuating this problem through preventing people from adding any "official" clarification.   Zenwhat (talk) 02:42, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

But what happens when you start adding what look like rules to Ignore All Rules? If you make it vague, you risk people not fully understating it. If you make it specific you risk weakening it. Mr.Z-man 07:06, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I think that it seems, thankfully, wonderfully simple. It does go along with things like consensus changing and being bold, and I really see IAR, in its present form, as about as concise as it can be. It certainly does not lack oversight, and I've always seen it as reassurance that if you break a rule, you may have bettered the project. If not for the better, it gets reverted and discussed. I've always had respect for this edit which showed quite an early grasp on the concept. the_undertow talk 08:55, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh boy. You're an admin, and you consider the diff above a successful application of IAR? In reality, it's a much better example of WP:POINT, and using IAR to excuse that editor's actions would be completely inappropriate. Your above comment explains exactly why IAR needs an explanation page; if an admin doesn't understand IAR, how can we expect new users to? Rockstar (T/C) 18:20, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure I like the implication that I don't understand the simple concept. I'm of the opinion that it needs no explanation. You need to take a closer look at the difference I provided. The new user did IAR and the overall result was that his edit was reverted, thus showing that just because one understands IAR does not mean there is no oversight. It showed just the opposite. I have quite a good grasp on IAR. If your wife is in labor, sometimes you have to break the speed limit. This, however, does not alleviate you from the officer who will be handing you a ticket in the hospital lobby. It's really quite simple. Essays and writings and deep psychological analysis are not going to make anything any easier on newcomers. It's one sentence. the_undertow talk 22:07, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
You are only allowed to ignore a rule (different from breaking a rule) if it benefits the encyclopedia. Furthermore, a truly successful application of IAR is one that no one notices; IAR bypasses bureaucracy and time-wasting, and gets things done by understanding exactly what consensus supports and improves Wikipedia. As Kim noted below, your example was perfect for WP:BRD, not IAR. And thus, I'm still not quite convinced that you understand the spirit of this policy. Maybe you should make your way over to WP:WIARM; hopefully then IAR's spirit will become clear. Rockstar (T/C) 02:52, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Would you stop sending me to the essay? You are playing word games. If you are aware of a rule, then ignoring it and breaking it are the same thing. If you don't see that, maybe the essay is needed. Also, where is it implied that the unnoticed application is the successful one? The only reason we need an essay is because of poor assumptions like these. the_undertow talk 03:35, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
All this from an admin. Really? Really? This makes me smile. Literally. Never have I been more glad that WP:WIARM exists. Rockstar (T/C) 03:58, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Just admit it. You're wanting to IAR when it comes to civility at this moment, right? Just Kidding, Rock. It's only discussion. We're good. At least you got a smile out of it. the_undertow talk 04:45, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Of course we're good. I'm glad you've got thick skin, too. Sometimes I get worked up. :) Rockstar (T/C) 04:55, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Doesn't look like any rule was deliberately ignored there, that's just fine. It does look like a great opening edit if you're going to deliberately apply WP:BRD on something contentious. Did you manage to convince people in the end? --Kim Bruning (talk) 21:04, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe the 'rule' being that the user was not happy with how articles are speedily deleted. Instead of writing a better article, he deleted the rule. I consider it IAR, but the point was to bring a little levity and to show that nothing was broken as a result. Nothing was bettered, granted, but I still like the edit. the_undertow talk 22:12, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
It was very noticable, and it actually edited the rule itself (so much for ignoring it), so not a good application of ignore all rules (if at all) :-P --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:46, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Haha. So the editor didn't ignore it, he rewrote it? All right Kim, I'll concede, if you can show me a 'good application' of IAR. The class is waiting. :P the_undertow talk 22:49, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I once saw a new article that said something along the lines of "John Q. Stinkbomb is the President Elect of Canada which is south of Mexico". This did not meet any criteria for speedy deletion because an assertion of notability was made, hoaxes are not part of speedy deletion. I speedy deleted it anyways because the rule prevented me from improving or maintaining Wikipedia. (1 == 2)Until 03:00, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Quick! Let's desysop him! Where's badlydrawnjeff when we need him? ;) Rockstar (T/C) 03:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Um hoaxes are part of speedy deletion. They fall under G3. the_undertow talk 03:28, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Ok, The undertow, you're really starting to frighten me now. A mere misunderstanding of IAR is one thing, but a fundamental misunderstanding of the speedy deletion process? Please read Wikipedia:HOAX#Dealing with hoaxes (note: not an essay), first sentence of the second paragraph: Note that hoaxes are generally not speedy deletion candidates. Hmmm... Rockstar (T/C) 04:01, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Don't cower. Simply read G3 - Pure vandalism. This includes blatant and obvious hoaxes and misinformation, and redirects created by cleanup from page-move vandalism. So where is it I was wrong? the_undertow talk 04:25, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Maybe we're all wrong. If someone speedy deletes a hoax, they're ignoring WP:HOAX. If they don't, they're ignoring WP:CSD. ;) Rockstar (T/C) 04:55, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm thinking that G3 was recently revised to include hoaxes. Whenever that was done, I guess someone didn't update Hoax. Sounds like a project, eh? I do remember a time when I would get pissed that hoaxes had to go to AfD, and although thats just my OR, I think a review of the CSD page could probably show when hoaxes were included as vandalism. Good thinking Rockstar! the_undertow talk 05:15, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
While some hoaxes are vandalism, others are people repeating something they heard and believe. In the former case G3 does apply, but if it is not clearly vandalism then the hoax should go to AfD. IAR can be used in such a situation but only with care, I have seen a few "obvious hoaxes" go to AfD and turn out to be accurate. (1 == 2)Until 04:20, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Clean up.

The argument that WP:IAR should not have clarification is horrible and has harmed Wikipedia. It seems to be based in the naive belief that there is no such thing as "objectivity" or "facts." If this is true, however, is that a fact or is that a personal opinion? Such anti-intellectualism is a serious problem.

As such, I have added clarification and made WP:WIARM a redirect to WP:IAR.

I've also noted my changes on the talk pages of both articles.   Zenwhat (talk) 01:46, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

The harm to Wikipedia is not at all obvious. Please provide evidence. I don't know what you're talking about. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm missing something. You believe that IAR needs an explanation, yet you are redirecting the page of said explanation to the policy? the_undertow talk 02:30, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
No, I added the information in WP:WIARM to WP:IAR, and then I made WP:WIARM a redirect to WP:IAR.   Zenwhat (talk) 02:39, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, considering this recent edit[1], you should really discuss such changes here and get consensus before doing that because that is the exact opposite of what we are about. That being said I agree IAR does need explaining to the uninitiated, and the linked essay does a fine job of sharing one interpretation of this policy. (1 == 2)Until 02:09, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:IAR is the first rule. Also, there is no "we", only "you" and "I." The linked essay is going to be ignored.   Zenwhat (talk) 07:27, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

That's not accurate, that the linked essay will necessarily be ignored. I've seen it cited effectively, repeatedly. Please provide evidence that the page which has gained consensus support as the one explanatory page linked from IAR is "ignored". -GTBacchus(talk) 06:32, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually there is a "we", it is the Wikipedia community. It is important to acknowledge them, if you think of this in terms of you and I then you will get the wrong idea of what this place is about. We don't "order" our rules in a hierarchy, so I don't get what you mean by first rule, even if it did come chronologically first(which I am not sure of) I don't see what that has to do with anything. (1 == 2)Until 16:08, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, if people want to ignore the linked essay they can. Essays are advice and can be ignored or embraced as people see fit. (1 == 2)Until 16:08, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

The Wikipedia community is made up of individuals. It is not a hive-mind. Per WP:IAR, all pages can be ignored or embraced as people see fit. However, in some cases, people are less free:

Policy pages > Guidelines > Policy summaries > Essays > Talkpage discussions > Random vandalism.

You apparently think the justification for WP:IAR is not important enough for it to be at the top of that stack, so that more people will read it, be aware of the policy, and follow it. Similarly, people have pushed WP:BRD to the bottom of the stack also, which leads to silly comments like this and frustrated proposals like Wikipedia:Silence and consensus. Fortunately, they haven't yet been successful at pushing WP:RS to the bottom of the stack, though it was apparently attempted.   Zenwhat (talk) 19:28, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

IAR, like everything else, on Wikipedia, requires common sense. It's not a "do whatever the fuck you want and ignore all dissenters" pass. If you get reverted, it means people do not think you're improving anything, and consensus still comes into play. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 19:53, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Can't edit this page, period

Well, my test worked. I hate making a point, but I wanted to find the most insignificant thing one could possibly change about this page, something that had absolutely no impact whatsoever on the interpretation of the policy, and see if it would get reverted. I decided to try removing the bullet from the single item in the "bulleted list" under See Also. I didn't think that anyone could possibly object to it; I found the edit utterly meaningless. Sure enough, in under 11 hours, it was reverted.
I think this page needs serious attention in that the Wiki process appears to be utterly broken with regards to it. It is impossible to edit this page in any way without being reverted, and that is contrary to everything we stand for. See my above reasoning on why this page is an example of Wikipedia at its worst.
N.B. I understand that some people feel that consensus must be reached before an edit can be made. The fact that this page has undergone serious discussion for years and remains more or less the same is a counterpoint to that. Pages that undergo heavy discussion on a daily basis and don't get changed don't have consensus. This should be obvious to all involved by now... - Chardish (talk) 18:10, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Charidsh, your test proves nothing like what you claim. If I see a bullet missing in any see also section, I'm likely to put it back. That's not special to this page. It's true that if you violate MoS anywhere on Wikipedia, you're somewhat likely to be reverted. That doesn't prove a thing about this policy. As to the thesis that the Wiki process must apply to this page, and that it's difficult to change - I'm not sure I agree with that. Why must this page be mutable? Rather than applying the general rule that "we use the Wiki process", explain why that rule is right in this situation.

I would piont out that this page has been edited, in ways that stuck, several times since I've been watching it. The most significant edit was probably the pruning of the "See also" section down to one (bulleted!) link, to WP:WIARM. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:29, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Chardish, WP:POINT is just a policy -- if it hurts Wikipedia, you can ignore it. What's most important is that Wikipedia becomes a decent encyclopedia. Making some kind of crazy edit that violates policy is not necessarily a bad thing if it's well thought-out and with the intent of helping Wikipedia. In the case above, that seems to be what your edit was.
You're right that this page can't be edited. Attempts to even bold or italicize single words are quickly reverted, along with notes left on talkpages to discuss your edits, though it's probably pretty likely that nobody's going to discuss the changes here.   Zenwhat (talk) 19:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
This page appears to be more bound by "rules" than any other page I've ever seen. Will this cause Jimbo to disappear in a puff of logic? Let's hope not. Friday (talk) 19:41, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
To Chardish, you shouldn't be making edits just to make a point, especially when bulleted see also lists are common practice. Zen, you're adding emphasis (to "you" of all things) for the same reason since you couldn't add your personal take on IAR to the page. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 19:49, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
My point wasn't whether bulleted lists are common practice or not. My point was that it doesn't matter whether that single bullet is there or not - it does nothing to the content or meaning or spirit of the page - and it got reverted. If changes that don't matter get reverted, then of course any change will be reverted. Thus the page cannot be edited. - Chardish (talk) 21:03, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I guess it's starting to behave like a foundation issue then: "essentially beyond debate". --Kim Bruning (talk) 21:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC) policies want to be anthropomorphized
Then why is it being debated, constantly? And more importantly, why are the opinions of those debating ignored, repeatedly, in favor of what's already on the page? The current version of the page works - this I agree with. What I contest strongly is that no other version of the page can work better - and continuous self-improvement is the point of the wiki process, which is being ignored here in favor of traditionalism and de facto page protection. On another note, NPOV (like other foundation issues) is essentially beyond debate, but that doesn't mean we can't improve the wording over time to make the policy clearer. For IAR, that seems to be out of the question in the eyes of a significant number of editors. - Chardish (talk) 21:49, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, don't look at me! I would prefer for it to be a tradition to make the page different every day. --Kim Bruning (talk) 21:58, 21 January 2008 (UTC) I even turned it black once. I even made it blink!(but the latter was too horrific, even for me)
I made it black, too, and I got blocked for it. ;) Rockstar (T/C) 22:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
WTF? On what grounds, pray tell? --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:34, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, jeez. It was a while ago. Back in June (when we were playing around with IAR more), I changed the page back to your black version (I thought it looked nice), and JzG blocked me because of it. I was bummed for a few days, but I'm over it now. :) Rockstar (T/C) 22:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
That's a clear policyvio by JzG then. If it happens again, drop me a line. --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:37, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
That's funny because I'm pretty sure JzG would have cited IAR for the block. ;) Rockstar (T/C) 00:11, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
But he didn't, and therefore, I'm still ahead! Bwaha! Besides, you can show that his block was more disruptive than your edit (as you wouldn't be able to edit the encyclopedia anymore, whilst the IAR edit was harmless mostly harmless), so he shouldn't do it again. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:06, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Hells yes! I think that's much more in line with Wiki spirit than the bureaucratic idea that one version of the page is the "best" and should stand forever. - Chardish (talk) 22:44, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I wouldn't try it (see above). We did that for a few days last June, and I ended up getting blocked for it. Rockstar (T/C) 22:46, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I would like to see a group of people band together and work to foster more of this sort of spirit on WP, though. Less bureaucracy and more libertarianism. More good-faith-assuming and less obsession over rules and process. Dramatically reducing the power of what goes on in the WP namespace over editor behavior. More education about principle, less education about specific rules. More wikispirit! (On another note, I think my favorite seditious edit of all time was when someone made WP:FUCKPROCESS redirect to WP:SNOW. But I like the idea of continuing to lively up this page.) - Chardish (talk) 22:55, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
More good wikieditorship! We should start a cabal? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:37, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Only if we elect to avoid bureaucratic boggings-down, yes, I'm all for a cabal! I have a fairly radical idea that would transform the WP namespace if it passed...I need to talk to you on AIM or IRC sometime. - Chardish (talk) 23:59, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Always around. Or mail me for (more) contact options. We'd need a fairly-sized cabal even for just IAR though, mind you. It looks like you need small teams to get things done these days. --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Ooh. I'm in. I'll enable email one of these days. :) Rockstar (T/C) 01:01, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Normally, we shouldn't revert such pointless edits. But here we ignore the rule. Where's the problem? Dihydrogen Monoxide (party) 01:03, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Chardish's experiment didn't prove that any edit to the page will be reverted. It proved that an edit that slightly worsens the page's formatting, performed without explanation and for no apparent reason, will be reverted.
Had this been a dummy edit that was reverted, that would be a different story. —David Levy 01:27, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
What if I think it improved the formatting? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:32, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Then let's discuss. Clearly, I thought it didn't. That's "R". Shall we "D"? -GTBacchus(talk) 06:29, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The way I've understood it, the person who reverts the decision is obligated to begin the discussion. Discussion is not a response to reversion, it is necessarily created by the reversion. This should ideally be done on the talk page - filling out an edit summary does not constitute starting a discussion. - Chardish (talk) 07:47, 22 January 2008 (UTC) Clarifying: the above doesn't apply to reverting patent vandalism, nonsense edits, or good-faith mistakes. It also doesn't apply to removing material that's significantly old: if you revert a change that is sufficiently recent, it should be assumed that you, not the person who made the change, have created a discussion.
Chardish... "the person who reverts the decision is obligated to begin the discussion...". What do you think this is, a formal system? Why stand on ceremony? If you want discussion, begin the discussion; don't talk about whose formal responsibility it is to begin the discussion. We could talk about whose turn it is to talk, but instead, let's talk: Do you think the "See also" section is better without a bullet? Why? -GTBacchus(talk) 15:50, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
No, WP:BRD says nothing about the reverter being obligated to start the discussion. Nonetheless (switching to the topic of the more recent edits), I attempted to discuss the matter three minutes after performing my first reversion to your/Kim's changes to the policy page. You then undid my reversion (with no explanation beyond "improving the page") and didn't edit the talk page until after the policy page was protected. —David Levy 08:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I find it odd you say "It is impossible to edit this page in any way without being reverted", when you have not yet tried seeking and achieving agreement on the talk page before making an edit, that would be far more likely to stick than what your have tried. (1 == 2)Until 15:55, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
If you have the patience to look through the history of this page (and it takes a LOT of patience), you will find that has not been the case. Whenever localized consensus may develop, this will become unstable once previously uninvolved editors take interest in the change. And there's nothing wrong with that; we all have a stake here, not just the regulars. -- Visviva (talk) 16:00, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I have looked through all the talk archives and have been watching the page for well over a year. I have seen a few attempts to gain consensus for change, but not agreement to these chagnes. I have seen lots and lots of edit warring in the form of pushing changes that either failed to gain consensus, or no attempt was made to gain consensus. Each time the existing version is preferred by the community, and each time that is where it ends up. That shows a long term stable consensus towards the short and simple version we have now. If that is to change it needs a consensus of similar significance. (1 == 2)Until 16:04, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Are you sure it's the community? It might be interesting to check who is reverting, and on what grounds. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:00, 22 January 2008 (UTC)


I've protected this page for 1 week to stop the edit warring on official policy. Everyone knows better here, so please take this time to discuss your edits and come to a consensus for any future changes. Ryan Postlethwaite 02:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Lessons of the day:
Or, altenatively, "edit with goodwill". Slac speak up! 02:53, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, come off it, Chardish. The only points that you've made are that you don't understand WP:BRD and that you're willing to engage in immature, disrespectful conduct purely for the sake of making the point that you've utterly failed to make. (The fact that deliberately inappropriate edits are reverted in no way proves that any edit would be reverted.) —David Levy 02:55, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
With all of the serious, good-faith disagreements that have arisen over this policy's wording, it's unfortunate (though understandable) that it's been protected because a couple of editors suddenly decided to use the page as a playground. —David Levy 02:55, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree with your assessment. I have an opinion on your actions as well (having deliberately reverted 3 times). --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:53, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I reverted your (and Chardish's) deliberately disruptive edits. And frankly, I'm being kind by describing them as such. —David Levy 04:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I was very careful not to do anything too controversial, so I don't think you have grounds for calling edits by chardish and myself disruptive, deliberate or otherwise. If so, please present those grounds, and let's discuss.--Kim Bruning (talk) 04:44, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
1. Your claim that you were "very careful not to do anything too controversial" is rubbish, and that's putting it mildly. You knew damn well that what you were doing was controversial, and to claim otherwise is to insult the intelligence of anyone capable of reading your words.
2. Of course the edits were deliberately disruptive. You've acknowledged that you were playing a new game, and Chardish has acknowledged that he/she was trying to prove the point that the policy lacks consensus (supposedly), so it's okay to replace it with another version that definitely lacks consensus. Both of you knew that you were disregarding countless serious discussions that have determined the page's format. —David Levy 06:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't see anything that either Kim or I did that could be construed as anything other than a good-faith attempt to improve the page. Since I already made my WP:POINT earlier today by removing the bullet (which, though perhaps unnecessary, could hardly be considered "disruptive") in what way was I trying to disrupt the page? Kim and I were bouncing back and forth ideas over AIM and worked together to improve the page; the fact that you don't agree with it means that the edits are contentious, not disruptive. I think your case against us is based on false assumptions.
I reject the assertion that I was trying to prove a point with my edits. On the contrary, I was trying something new - have we ever had a Zen koan as part of the page before? Could it work? Did you ask yourself that before you reverted me? Did you even read the koan before you reverted me? Be honest, I truly don't know. - Chardish (talk) 07:15, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You, like Kim, knew damn well that you were performing edits that radically altered a policy page from the state resulting from countless serious discussions. You knew that your version lacked consensus, and you acknowledged this on your talk page (citing your belief that the current version also lacks consensus as the rationale).
As I wrote on your talk page, I reject the premise that the policy's current version lacks consensus, I dispute the assertion that it's okay to deliberately edit it in a manner that you know lacks consensus, and I'm utterly baffled by any interpretation of WP:BRD (which you cited elsewhere on this page) that involves following the initial "R" with another "R" to the "B" version without any "D."
I did read the kōan before reverting, but its content isn't relevant. You were fully aware that there is no consensus to significantly expand the page's text and that the current version is a carefully created compromise. Heck, you actually removed the longstanding text (replacing it with the kōan) with your first edit. —David Levy 08:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I have to agree with David. You both knew very well you were being disruptive, you knew very well the edits were controversial. The version that has sat for well over a year does not lack consensus, it is long standing with the community. You are using this page to prove a point in a disruptive manner and it resulted in an important page being protected, again. (1 == 2)Until 15:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Neither Chardish nor myself caused any disruption, by any definition that I can think of, and we were careful not to do so! Even though a controversial edit is not immediately disruptive, there was no evidence that the edits would be controversial in the first place. Note that the discussion on the talk page at the time was all in favor of attempting to get the page editable again. So this is a textbook example of getting blindsided by WP:SILENCE.
Chardish certainly did accidentally drop some important text off the page, and in the nature of collaborative editing, I immediately restored the text (and he did not object). It helps when there is some amount of trust between editors.
I am beginning to believe that the opposite behavior of blocking collaborative wiki-editing is at least somewhat disruptive. For an old influential discussion on this topic, and for more detail on this line of thinking, please read here: Wikipedia_talk:Disruptive_editing#Blocking_consensus. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:04, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
"Neither Chardish nor myself caused any disruption, by any definition that I can think of, and we were careful not to do so!" Rubbish. Radically transforming a policy page in a manner that you know lacks consensus is disruptive. Doing so repeatedly is even more disruptive.
"Even though a controversial edit is not immediately disruptive, there was no evidence that the edits would be controversial in the first place." More rubbish. After all of the discussion that's occurred on this talk page, there's no way that you didn't realize that. And of course, the changes were reverted, and you responded by reverting back with an edit summary that nonchalantly referenced your switch to a different picture (without even addressing the reversions). —David Levy 17:25, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
A significant percentage of the rendered page surface area was modified by that edit. Calling that a reversion is a bit of a stretch, I think. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:51, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Are you kidding me?! The only lawyering (which you previous linked to above) is yours. —David Levy 18:25, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Consensus revisited again.

From WP:POLICY#Policies: "Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard that all users should follow."

This page is protected yet again due to people pushing changes that have not been discussed in any way. Policies have wide acceptance among editors, so when you change one you need to make sure your change has wide acceptance among editors.

This latest protection gives you the opportunity to attempt to convince the community to adopt your changes. These changes do not come through force, but through agreement. Seek it, if you fail accept that. Do not edit war. (1 == 2)Until 02:58, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Can you check who was edit warring? Please show relevant diffs with reverts. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Ryan Postlethwaite posted his interpretation below. Does that correspond with yours? --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:55, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Easier question: can you demonstrate that the current version has wide acceptance among editors, in light of the fact that this page has undergone nearly 1,000 edits in the past year? - Chardish (talk) 07:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Pointing to a 1000 edits of the bold/revert cycle does not show any lack of consensus for the current version. You are trying to reverse the argument, if you seek to change policy you need to show consensus for the change, not simply challenge the existing consensus. (1 == 2)Until 15:32, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
As explained on WP:SILENCE there is no practical technical or social means to prove that there is a consensus before making a change. There is a means to determine that a change did not have consensus in hindsight. This is an important property of the wikicommunity, and something you need to take into account.
It's similar to the blind spot on a car or a truck, you have to learn to live with it. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:12, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You were fully aware of the numerous discussions that determined the page's compromise format (carefully designed to preserve its minimalist nature while linking to a more verbose companion page), but you didn't let that stand in the way of fun and games. —David Levy 17:25, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Yup! And proud of it! I don't think fun and wikipedia are mutually exclusive. It is unfortunate that you denied me the opportunity to prove that, this time round. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:55, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You've actually acknowledged that you're "proud" of yourself for disregarding consensus in favor of fun and games. Wow. —David Levy 18:25, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You misread. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:11, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Kim, WP:SILENCE is an essay, and not a basis for argument, nor do I accept your premise that you cannot judge consensus without making a change. You can judge consensus by talking on the talk page, reading the talk page, or by looking at previous similar changes. Frankly I think you are already aware that consensus is against these changes, I fail to see how you could not be aware of this considering your involvement on this talk page. This blind spot is not in my vision, I can see a long term consensus for a version that has remained for well over a year and has never had any consensus to be changed. Be careful what you are proud of, being proud of playing games when people are trying to reach a serious consensus really shows a lack of respect to others.
You say there is no way to judge consensus but for making a change, that is just nonsense, you can talk here now that you know very well that undiscussed changes are likely to be objected to. Every addition I have seen either adds rules to ignore all rules, obfuscates its meaning with unrelated opinion based parables, or a silly edits designed to prove a point. These changes are not being reverted due to mere lack of consensus, but also because they are objected to on rational grounds.
I still do not see a proposed change on this talk page under discussion, I still don't see any attempt to determine what consensus actually is by anyone seeking to change this policy. Policy reflects wide acceptance among the community, you can't just push it in by your single minded determination. (1 == 2)Until 18:05, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You will find that there were and are several people in support of proceeding on this line of action. So not so much "single" minded. :-P
If you disagree with the WP:SILENCE page and think it inaccurate, please edit or discuss that page there, rather than splitting the discussion across multiple pages. I merely provided a short summary of it here, as per WP:WOTTA.
Finally, when I say something, please accept that I say it because it is to my best knowledge on the subject. Perhaps I do not have all the evidence, or perhaps I am wrong, but if we do not mutually accept that we are putting all our cards on the table, then of course there is no point in holding a discussion. Fair enough? --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:11, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Kim, I assumed good intentions on your part for as long as it was reasonable to do so. I will continue to assume good faith when your actions make it reasonable to do so. I do agree to make every effort not to let your past actions color my opinion of your future actions. There is always a point in further discussion, which is precisely what I am advocating. I hope you think that is fair. (1 == 2)Until 19:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
As per WP:WIARM I clearly worked out my actions before I did them, and when challenged, I presented my reasoning with ample documentation to back up that reasoning. I don't think it's particularly fair to conclude anything other than that I acted entirely in good faith. Even if you are a spirit of the rules person, then clearly I acted in the spirit of IAR. Even if you are opposed to IAR, I stayed well within all normal policy limits (though that would be wikilawyering ;-) ). --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:31, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

m:Foundation issues #3

So the reason I started wiki-editing on WP:IAR is to try and get the page out of its stuck position, where no one can edit (see comments by chardish, earlier today).

This did not quite work out, and apparently a lot of people are not aware of why it's important to do this kind of thing. I'll probably get a huge stack of talk page messages and such asking wtf I was doing now. I know I got mobbed on #wikipedia-en-admins.

I'll try to talk with everyone who leaves me a message. I'm also going to ask some friends to help out, if the number of people asking what's up grows too large. :-)

--Kim Bruning (talk) 03:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to throw in that I back Kim's actions and I'm willing to openly discuss with anyone who talks with me as well. Chardish (talk) 07:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Of course you back Kim's actions. You've openly acknowledged that the two of you orchestrated your editing via AIM. —David Levy 08:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
And we discussed via aim, because we supported each other's aims, and were using the real time environment to collaborate our edits. #wikipedia and #wikipedia-en have sometimes been used in a similar fashion as well, especially by WP:FAC editors. I would have liked to have more editors pitch in and help out. There were several standing by, but their edits didn't materialize due to your actions. --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:01, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You mean my reversions of your deliberately disruptive edits? —David Levy 18:25, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I think we have already adequately debunked that claim. --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:49, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
No, you haven't. You've merely insulted everyone's intelligence. —David Levy 19:12, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Either that, or he's presenting a cogent argument that warrants consideration. Choose carefully how to react. - Chardish (talk) 04:03, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Similarly, my pet, "Lucky," is either a cat or a goldfish. He has four legs, fur, whiskers, paws and claws, and he meows and purrs. Upon careful consideration, I'm going with "cat." —David Levy 04:15, 23 January 2008 (UTC)


Right guys, I protected the article, but I've had no previous interaction of the page and no real thoughts on the policy before this. I think we should now try and move on with discussion, rather than hashing out things that have already been said. The main question that needs to be asked is quite simple: Does the policy need to be changed from what has been seen as the norm for a long time? On one side, it's been used successfully many times in the past to help Wikipedia as it currently stands, but I also respect the fact that people have tried to change the policy previously with little luck due to it being seen as unchangeable wording. Let's try and discuss this once and for all, so we can stop the arguments that exist over this policy. Ryan Postlethwaite 04:11, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Ryan: Since you protected the page for a full week, I take it as given that you yourself are opposed to the page being mutable, correct? --Kim Bruning (talk) 04:17, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Not in the slightest, I believe that if there is consensus for change, we should certainly move forward with it. This is official policy, we shouldn't be edit warring over it and that is my only reason for protecting it. I think one of the key points of discussion now should be why can't people edit the page without it being reverted? Are people too hasty to revert or is there no reason to? These are the key questions. Ryan Postlethwaite 04:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, in the mean time, the page cannot be edited for a week, so we can't use the normal consensus process to find out. Typically it's handier to block the people who were reverting for a week, and the rest of the community can then sort things out on the page itself.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 04:26, 22 January 2008 (UTC) Actually, I was about to undo my question just before you answered, because it's probably more important to hear what other people are saying, and I'm really curious to hear what they have to say. Also: remember that I'm an old wikipedian, and I'm accustomed to some ways of editing that newer editors may not have encountered as much, apparently.
I think this is my mediator side coming through - we should take the opportunity to discuss now and try and come to a consensus. I'm not convinced that blocking people was the best tactic here - people have very different opinions and we should strive to resolve problems without the need for cutting peoples editing throughout the project. I strongly agree that it would be a good idea to get as many opinions as possible here. Ryan Postlethwaite 04:34, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
If blocks were called for, they would be of the people who were editing a policy page in a deliberately disruptive manner for fun and to make a point. —David Levy 04:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Please David, let's concentrate on the merits of any future change, there's no point in discussing whether previous editors were wrong - it won't get us anywhere. Ryan Postlethwaite 04:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I was responding to Kim's suggestion that I should be blocked for reverting deliberately disruptive edits. —David Levy 06:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I was actually somewhat vague in who I intended to be blocked: David, Chardish and/or myself, as that would be up to the protecting admin. I am still in favor of *any* action other than page protection, and -as wikipedia is no big deal- I am not unwilling to take the consequences. --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:07, 22 January 2008 (UTC) Wikibreaks are always a good thing :-)
Was there a request for page protection or just a unilateral decision? the_undertow talk 04:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
It wasn't quite a unilateral decision, I just saw there was edit warring and protected. Ryan Postlethwaite 04:34, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Alright, fair enough. For the record I suppose: who in your opinion was actually edit warring, and for each person: on what grounds? --Kim Bruning (talk) 04:48, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I’ll explain exactly why I protected the page, although I’m not sure why we should concentrate on my motivation rather than discussing future changes; User:David Levy was edit warring, he reverted three times in a short period; [[2]] [[3]] [[4]]. Kim, you changed the page twice, knowing full well it would revoke a response; [5][ [6] and although the second edit was not exactly a revert, it did intend to change the page back to your particular idea. Chardish originally edited with you to change the page[7] and then reverted when David changed it back[8] – that’s an edit war in my eyes, not at a serious stage, but it is official policy and that is a serious problem. Ryan Postlethwaite 05:00, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I think concentrating on your motives is simply a way of delving into why it was protected. It was an innocuous question, and I appreciate the diffs provided. I think when the page was protected, this information should have been provided. the_undertow talk 05:06, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
*nod* that's why I asked. Basically (as stated in section above this one) I'd like the page to be somewhat freely editable again (within constraints of consensus, etc etc). It's a bit strange to have IAR be uneditable at all.
So I've been trying several approaches to get editing going again , and in the last few attempts I've managed to get people excited and willing to go at things again, which is good!
But somehow the community dynamics end up thwarting progress each time. :-( Do you have any suggestions yourself? --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:14, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I do see your point, what I think works quite well is creating a subpage of this policy, originally start it as the policy is current worded, and encourage editing to thrash out a consensus - people can edit it as they please as long as we don't go blind reverting each other. Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules/Proposal would be an ideal location for it, and semi reversions to get a compromise could work well - my major problem is the edit warring on the policy page. Ryan Postlethwaite 05:19, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you think that that would jump-start normal wiki-editing, and that the policy page would not return to a deadlocked state?
Related but different: it also seems that anyone who wanted to terminate wiki-editing again would just have to do multiple reverts, so maybe we need to examine our best practices as well.. --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:29, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Respectfully, Ryan, I don't believe that it's fair to refer to the reversion of deliberately disruptive edits as "edit warring." Also, Kim's second edit was a reversion. Policy clearly dictates that one need only act to undo another user's changes (not necessarily restore an exact page version in its entirely) to "revert." —David Levy 06:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Does anyone else see anything inherently absurd by protecting the page on WP:IAR? And also, does anyone know if it's possible to get it "protected from protection"?   Zenwhat (talk) 04:52, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

No, I don't. Any page can be protected - for any reason. If IAR didn't apply, we'd probably have to fill out a complicated checklist before protection. And why should a policy page have to be regularly changed? There is very little argument about what the proposed changes do to enhance the standing version. Slac speak up! 05:23, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Does this mean you reject m:Foundation issues #3, or do you have a different argument? --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
It's more likely that you and I have conflicting definitions of "the wiki process". It's a bit like a scientific theory - it is always open to revision, but as it is successively refined, revision or elaboration becomes unnecessary and undesirable. Change qua change is not "the wiki process" IMHO - achieving quality is. Slac speak up! 05:33, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
In that case the edits we did were not completely wasted. It looks like now we have a bit of a clue as to what's up. Thank you! I'd love to discuss these different views with you, either here, or on irc or skype or etc at some time in the near future. (or all three at once! ;-) ) --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:52, 22 January 2008 (UTC) but before that, I'm going to get some sleep now!
Kim, the point #3 that you cite says "The "wiki process" as the decision mechanism on content" (emphasis added). That doesn't mean that policy is always to be treated the same as content. I'm not sure it's so necessary that this page be so mutable and freely edited. Maybe, in order to keep the rest of our policy fluid, this one has to be rigid? I don't know that, or necessarily believe it, but it's a possibility that I wouldn't reject out of hand. I'm still not at all convinced that the page needs to change. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:10, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Zenwhat, I'd agree with Slac above: I don't find it absurd. If any page is being edit-warred, then protection is often a good way to control that. The IAR policy doesn't contradict this simple fact. Can you explain why you find it absurd? -GTBacchus(talk) 06:12, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Here's my primary issue with the "discuss, then edit" philosophy: It doesn't work. It's happened numerous times on this talk page where an edit gets discussed, everyone in the discussion is happy with it, the edit gets made, and then someone comes along and reverts it: someone who has WP:IAR on their watchlist and watches the page itself but not the discussion surrounding it. Cue edit war again. One of the most serious problems with this page is that it is held up as a sort of uberpolicy that supersedes all other policy: if this is the case, it is impossible for any version to satisfy everyone, and no version can hold consensus. If that is the case, why cling obsessively to a single version of the page? If this page were mutable, and closer to a (constructive, positive) sandbox than many are perhaps willing to allow, wouldn't that demonstrate the spirit of IAR to users, rather than merely describe it? - Chardish (talk) 07:32, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

What are the improvements though? When has this happened? And was the talk page consensus really good enough? If it was, a bunch of people would be scrambling to defend the new version - this is what happens with other policy pages. Slac speak up! 08:01, 22 January 2008 (UTC). I'm not discounting that individual editors could have trashed a consensus, but if that's the case, what moves were made to remedy it?
Here are some recent changes that have been made to this project page - [9] [10] Slac speak up! 08:09, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Slac, are you a fan of Edmund Burke? I.E., to give historial context to your assertion which is roughly the main argument against improving IAR: One of the main arguments against the abolitionist movement was that slavery was such a long-standing tradition on the books for many years, that the economy vitally depended on it, and the "radical" proposal to remove it was dangerous. Here, you seem to be making the same arguments. You also hear the same arguments regarding sharia in Islamic countries. I'm not trying to assert that Wikipedia is slavery or that Wikipedia policy is law (such as sharia) and it's a very, very poor analogy, but it's hard to find a better one. In any case, all of the relevant aspects (the core reasoning behind both arguments) correspond, making it a workable, effective analogy, even if polemic, and thus one worth considering.   Zenwhat (talk) 09:59, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Prejudicial comparisons aside, Zenwhat, you've yet to explain what is wrong with the current situation. Clearly, humans aren't being enslaved, nor are oppressive religious laws being enforced. You've asserted that IAR is harmful in its current form, but I've seen no evidence. Why are you so keen to fix something that might not be broke at all? I'm pretty sure that most people understand and accept IAR and WIARM in their current forms. I don't find the "only an essay" attitude to be prevalent at all. -GTBacchus(talk) 14:17, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Looking through this talk page history I see very little proposed wording changes followed by discussion. I see lots of arguing about if a revert was fair or not. On other policy pages when there is a major change I can find a discussion talking about that change. So, instead of arguing about who is right or wrong or when reverts should or should not be done, why not propose a specific change and see if people want it. Much of the lack of ability to edit this policy comes from a lack of attempt to seek consensus on this talk page.
I have seen it said that this protection reduces the ability to find consensus, not so. Consensus may be found by making bold edits when there is a reasonable chance they will be accepted, but when that fails one should stop and go to the talk page. Even if the page was not protected right now the time for bold edits has passed, and the time for talk page discussion is here. (1 == 2)Until 15:36, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
1st par=Exactly. And a proposed change that gets rejected is not an invitation to go on editing regardless. Slac speak up! 01:01, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Can you explain how that works please? Also, how is it an improvement on the process that had been started and terminated yesterday? --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:47, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you really mean to say you don't know how to discuss things on the talk page in an attempt to determine consensus? You make a proposition and if people think it is an improvement they will agree, if they don't they will object. You can make rational arguments to try to influence their opinion. I think you know about all this. It is an improvement because it does not subject the policy to back and forth editing, and attempts to involve the opinion of others. (1 == 2)Until 18:57, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The objective in discussing things on the talk page is to ensure that the actual project page is edited. There is no purpose to talk page discussion by itself. This is also somewhat documented at Wikipedia:Consensus. Note especially that many wikis do not have talk pages, and need to WikiWikiWeb:ReFactor WikiWikiWeb:ThreadMode into WikiWikiWeb:DocumentMode at regular intervals. Even there, the preferred editing mode is DocumentMode (which is what we call the actual project pages here on wikipedia) --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:33, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Well that opinion is just that, opinion. I disagree. We have talk pages to help communication as well as increasing the stability of actual pages. How other wikis run things is not really relevant. (1 == 2)Until 20:26, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
How other wikis run is relevant, because comparison allows you to logically prove or disprove certain assertions about wikipedia. In this case: if a wiki is able to obtain consensus on content without use of a talk page at all, then you can logically disprove that talk pages are required to obtain consensus (no matter how useful they might be). Do you follow? --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:45, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I requested outside opinions

Since we are to some degree talking in circles, I have made a post in an attempt to gain more participants: Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Should IAR remain flexible. I have made every effort to ensure the message and its location was neutral to our disagreement. (1 == 2)Until 15:43, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Random response: The change was fine. Reverting the change was also fine. It is right that this page should be in dynamic tension. -- Visviva (talk) 15:52, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Demonstrate consensus

To all those who claim that the current version holds consensus: can you demonstrate that? Can you point to a discussion where it was asked if the current version holds consensus, and there was not a significant number of people who said "no"? Or, can you point to a discussion where the current wording was decided upon with no major objections? I think that the huge number of edits to this page and massive amount of discussion going on is prima facie evidence that the current version lacks consensus. Just because the content is objected to in different ways by different people doesn't mean that there aren't problems generally perceived with the current version. - Chardish (talk) 16:06, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

The very fact that there has not been a successful proposition to change it demonstrates its consensus. Every time someone attempts a change through bold editing or through talk page discussion, they fail to convince the community that the current version needs to be changed. The current version is preferred each time. If there was no consensus for this version then it would not be so difficult to change.
If you had consensus for a change it would happen, and it would happen fast. This burden of consensus is on those seeking to change, the very lack of such consensus shows the desire of the community to keep it as it is.
What is more there is no significant version that people want it changed into, the proposed changes are a rainbow of week long campaigns for unrelated changes. There is no proposed version that has any significant support. Whereas the current version is by far the most stable version we have. Someone tries to turn X into B, it fails, the try to turn X into C, they fail, they try turning X into D... well, it is clear that X is more preferred than B, C, or D. (1 == 2)Until 16:14, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately this is circular reasoning. If consensus is the reasoning used to prevent people from introducing changes, whence consensus? Consensus is a great mechanism for making decisions, but as a means of de facto protection it is oppressive. Just gather a large enough community of people who resist all change and you're set - no other version can ever have consensus as long as there's a vocal enough group willing to shut down attempts at change. Per your above example, I think that what's more important is it shows that X does not have consensus - if it did, then there would not be multiple significant attempts to change it. - Chardish (talk) 16:33, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Chardish, inertia against change doesn't prove a consensus for the current version. To take another example, for years we had enough opposition and inertia against non-admin rollback that it didn't get done but we certainly never had a consensus that it shouldn't be done. Haukur (talk) 17:58, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
What you call inertia against change, I call and active preference to a specific version of the page. (1 == 2)Until 18:18, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
No, I meant what I said and it's not the same thing you said. I know that in addition to inertia against change there are also people with an active preference for the current version (or something closely similar to it). The point is that those who prefer the status quo can often have their way without any consensus for the status quo. I think the example I took is illustrative, there was never a consensus that we should not have non-admin rollback - but the people who opposed it had inertia on their side and for years that was enough. I'm actually amazed that the other side eventually prevailed. To get back to IAR, the fact that those who prefer the current version have prevailed for some time does not establish consensus for the current version. I don't mean to say that it's impossible that the current version has consensus, just that the evidence presented is insufficient to establish consensus. Haukur (talk) 18:50, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I can point to a discussion demonstrating consensus for the current, short version. It happened (in one instance that I recall) when we lined up a whole list of essays purporting to explain or expound on IAR, and we had a big survey of what people thought of each one, and WP:WIARM was the one that most people agreed explained IAR the best, and we also agreed that linking to it as a "See also" would be a good idea. Look in archives 7 and 8. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:02, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I see support for the short version, but also quite a bit of opposition. I see unanimous support for linking to WP:WIARM, but I don't see anything that suggests that we would have the short version be the standard at the same time. In other words, I see those discussions as only pertaining to the topic of essays, not the wording of this page. I also see this comment, added by you, which I feel is quite insightful:
I agree. Perhaps a straw poll is in order to determine if this page actually does hold consensus? - Chardish (talk) 17:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
That sounds fine. I'd also like to see a demonstration that anything is wrong with the current version. Currently, nobody has been able to point to any actual harm other than, "sometimes people don't understand the page, and have to ask for an explanation", which doesn't sound remotely harmful to me. In fact, it sounds ideal. A continuing dialogue on this page is a Good Thing. It's not as if it would be that hard to develop a better version, if there is such a thing. You just write it as an essay first, and then propose that it replace the policy once people are used to it. It has been proposed that WIARM replace IAR, but there didn't seem to be consensus for that edit.

In my statement that you quoted, I said that some kind of edit would be necessary, and as far as I'm concerned, that edit was made. We cleared "See also" of all links except for WP:WIARM, and that was a good edit. It stuck. See, the page isn't edit-proof; you just have to make a really good edit, and prepare the way for it with lots of talk page use. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:56, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I am all for the examining of the possible expansion of IAR on this talk page, I think it would need wide attention from the community. I think there should be a clear agreement before any changes are made. One wording from the past that I liked was along the lines of "If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. Ignore all rules does not mean ignore all people". I think this clarifies much, without compromising its cogency overly. But even though I support this version I would like to see a significant consensus for such a change before it took place. I also agree with the linking of the essay now that it is clear that it is an essay. (1 == 2)Until 18:13, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Double Think

Wikipedians undoublethink. Mini-luv rectify fullwise. Undoublethinkers become unpersons. Wikipedians doublethink fullwise. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:33, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Tradition, take 2

My challenge to all and sundry: change IAR every day.


First person who makes it to the page on a certain day (UTC!) gets to set the theme for the day, or some such.

We'll hold a competition, the prettiest version of IAR that gets the message across best will get a prize at wikimania in July.

(I still need to think of a prize, any suggestions? A certificate, or some small thing under Eur 20 should do :-) )

--Kim Bruning (talk) 02:05, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Wow, I actually typed my "this is not a playground" edit summary before reading the above suggestion that we turn this into a game. Please stop. —David Levy 02:06, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

The prize stands. If someone gets reverted, add a constructive edit. Remember that the point is to improve the page! --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:22, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Astonishing. How anyone can think that perniciously gaming the system is an "improvement" is beyond me. This sort of rules-perversion is what IAR exists to prevent. Kim, I am deeply disappointed in this as I have always respected you as an editor. Slac speak up! 02:24, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I think [11] this is a serious improvement.
The intent is to demonstrate that it is possible to present the same message in many different ways, all equally valid. At no point should there be any actual violation of the spirit of wikipedia editing. Technically, each edit should even fall within the normal rules, if at all possible. If someone breaks these particular restrictions, then obviously I shan't award them a prize. You're not supposed to be disruptive! --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:33, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Does that address your concerns a bit, Slac? --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Kim, you're literally attempting to turn policy-editing into a game. That is disruptive. Please stop. —David Levy 02:36, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I am of a different opinion. See below. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:36, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

What a great idea! I love it. Cheers. Tparameter (talk) 02:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

The stock-standard response in a WP:POINT-violation exercise is to protest "I'm only doing X - how can that be disruptive?" Disruption is not a simple violation of consensus - indeed it does not have to be. Disruption is like performance art - the action itself is what constitutes it, not what the stated intention is, or the framework for the action. I don't think Kim is seriously suggesting that his personal preferences are the defining criterion as to what this policy page should contain. If he is suggesting that, then he certainly hasn't allayed my concerns.
I suspect Kim wants me to say "you think it's an improvement, but the WP:CONSENSUS is that it's not" so he can then say aha - but IGNORE trumps consensus!! Nobody's saying that IAR means articles can be subjected to idiosyncratic whim, but that's not the same as requiring consensus to violate a rule. IAR works with every other policy to create the wiki-environment. And goodwill - something that can never be codified - is the fuel for IAR and for the wiki as a whole. If an edit is not made with goodwill towards other editors, then it is usually disruptive. If it is, however, then it will often stand in violation of the rules. Slac speak up! 02:53, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

In fact, WP:IAR does not trump consensus. Current consensus appears to be that this idea needs more discussion. So I'm withdrawing my contest idea for now. --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:17, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

So soon? :( Rockstar (T/C) 03:31, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Fraid so. I was talking online, and asked for assistance in the wrong place, apparently. --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:58, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
It's true; IAR doesn't trump consensus. You know why? Because we're not playing at trumps; we're writing an encyclopedia. I fail to see how arguing over this page helps accomplish that goal. IAR is broadly understood by most Wikpedians as far as I can tell. Occasionally someone is bothered by it, and comes to the talk page asking about it. They're generally given pretty good answers, which they accept or not, as they see fit.

Kim, I like your idea about a contest to improve our presentation of IAR, but I think there are less disruptive ways to do it than what you suggest. Using sub-pages seems like a good idea, and I don't think there's any harm in the main policy page not being edited. Just ignore the rule that all pages have to be freely editable! After all, it's a policy, not an article. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I am glad you withdrew this idea Kim, this is not a playground. (1 == 2)Until 16:05, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
See [12] comments 18 and 14(last sentence) in that order. Are you still glad?
Human beings are more productive when they are having fun. And, as you have just found out, I believe there is no other reason to contribute to wikipedia. I have always enjoyed working on tough nuts on wikipedia, and you have almost always seen me smiling. :-) [13] ...ok, so that wasn't *quite* the resounding endorsement. ;-)
By having fun in a responsible fashion and in a controlled environment, more people learn about how wikipedia guidelines work than in any other way. They can then carry their views across to the rest of the wiki.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 17:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
"And, as you have just found out, I believe there is no other reason to contribute to wikipedia, other than for fun." Some of us are trying to build an encyclopedia. I'm sorry that this interferes with your "fun."
"By having fun in a responsible fashion and in a controlled environment, more people learn about how wikipedia guidelines work than in any other way." "Having fun in a responsible fashion" doesn't accurately describe your behavior. `—David Levy 17:44, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I would respectfully suggest that this argument is not productive. We don't need to censure Kim for trying in good faith to edit the Wiki according to his best understanding. Why don't we discuss the page IAR, rather than each others' behavior? -GTBacchus(talk) 17:58, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Kim wasn't and isn't acting in good faith. He was putting his "fun" before the welfare of the project, and now he's dishonestly pleading ignorance of his actions' controversial nature. Failure to address this will only encourage him to engage in such misconduct in the future (just as he has in the past). —David Levy 18:25, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Such continued misconduct as earned me my adminship. :-) Fun is essential to the welfare of the project, as was recognized at the time. --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:23, 22 January 2008 (UTC) Omg! rouge admin!
I'm sorry, but no. You can't conclude that he isn't acting in good faith. Kim may well think that "fun" is a good, productive way to get things done. It's not an unreasonable position, although it may be a controversial one. Much serious work is best conducted as a form of play - I say that confidently, speaking as a mathematician. This attempt to blame and correct Kim is not productive, and in particular, it's not on-topic for this page. If you wish to criticize Kim's behavior, RFC is that way. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:29, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I most certainly can conclude that Kim is acting in bad faith, given his persistent dishonesty about believing the edits to be uncontroversial (even after they were reverted). Having followed many of the past discussions from this talk page, he was fully aware of the fact that such changes would not be met with consensus. When he claims otherwise, he's lying (and grinning all the while).
Furthermore, Kim has repeatedly blamed me (on this very talk page) for the incident in question and the resultant protection. —David Levy 19:41, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's also inappropriate. You two should get a room. This page is not for blaming each other for things, it's for discussing improvements to this page.

If you're willing to conclude that Kim is acting in bad faith, then you have a lot to learn about people. There is no situation on the Wiki that is ever improved by "concluding bad faith" or by accusing someone of bad faith. If you guys disagree, stop arguing and seek outside input. This back and forth is unproductive. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:49, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I think there are 2 or 3 broad approaches as to how to work on wikipedia. Recently we've been having some somewhat acrimonious back and forth collisions between at least 2 of those approaches. It's probably a good idea to establish some kind of pattern, and then figure out ways to reconcile the different methods. (in short, agreed :-) )--Kim Bruning (talk) 20:03, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Your preferred approach is to thumb your nose at the community and do whatever the hell seems "fun" to you. —David Levy 20:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Neither Kim nor I is compiling a random list of alleged infractions. Both of us are concentrating on matters specifically related to the policy page.
Regarding your claim that "there is no situation on the wiki that is ever improved by concluding bad faith or by accusing someone of bad faith," we'll have to agree to disagree. I always try to assume good faith in the absence of evidence to the contrary, but Kim has provided such evidence. To ignore that would be to the project's detriment. —David Levy 20:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not a matter of opinion. Accusing someone of bad faith does not lead to a solution. It is poor, ineffective dispute resolution. I am prepared to explain this fact at length if necessary, because it's very important. We seek solutions. Saying that you think Kim is acting in bad faith does not lead to a solution. Good dispute resolution would have you seek outside input once you and Kim have gone two rounds without seeing eye-to-eye. Going back and forth with "you're acting in bad faith", "no I'm not", "yes you are", is clearly unproductive. You say that it would be detrimental to "ignore" evidence of bad faith. I don't suggest ignoring anything (except maybe all rules!). I suggest practicing good dispute resolution. It shouldn't take too much stretching of the imagination to see that Kim might have some strange ideas about what constitutes good editing practices. I don't find it unthinkable that someone might find "having fun with editing" to be a very useful strategy.

The impossibility of concluding bad faith in another is a matter of logic, and it can be proved. You cannot see another humans motivations, and it's impossible for humans to act in a way that does not seem best to them. Read Plato; he knew this. So did Hume; so did Einstein. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:28, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

It was you who raised the issue when you declared that Kim was "trying in good faith to edit the wiki according to his best understanding." Are you suggesting that I'm not allowed to express disagreement with such a statement? WP:AGF doesn't instruct us to assume good faith in the presence of strong evidence to the contrary.
As I said, my assumption about Kim is that he's an intelligent person. As such, given the fact that he's followed many of the discussions from this talk page, he couldn't possibly have believed that his edits were uncontroversial (even if he believed that they were good). —David Levy 23:54, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
See below. We're not required to only make actions that will be uncontroversial. Good faith actions can be controversial as hell, if you think they're necessary. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:45, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
But Kim has explicitly claimed that he believed the edits to be uncontroversial (even after they were reverted). —David Levy 07:47, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Re:Gtbachus earlier: I have had similar experience in my career as a Programmer :-). If you're having fun, you are much more productive. It certainly can't be said that "programmers who are having fun disrupt the code they are writing". Rather, such code tends to be of much higher quality. --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:03, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Straw man. No one has asserted that fun always leads to disruption. —David Levy 20:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Does that mean we are (partially) in agreement on that point? --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC) Note that I certainly don't advocate having fun at the price of damaging the encyclopedia or at the expense of the community (see also elsewhere on this page). The idea is to have fun while improving things. or while learning how to do so.
We likely agree on all sorts of matters that have nothing to do with this dispute.
Your edits didn't improve things, and you know it. You might honestly believe that the page was better that way, but you also knew that such a format lacked consensus. You just didn't care. —David Levy 22:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be speculating about my motives, here. --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:44, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
No, I'm merely assuming that you're an intelligent person. —David Levy 22:52, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You're making the deduction "IF he's intelligent, then he must see that his actions are wrong, AND he is intelligent, THEREFORE he can see that his actions are wrong". I would dispute the first premise. It is possible for Kim to be intelligent and to think that a fun, playful approach to this page is a good idea in the present situation. Intelligent people can think a wide and divergent variety of things. Why not ask him about his motivations, instead of dictating to him what they must be, because you're the arbiter of all that intelligent people may think. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:32, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it's possible for an intelligent person to believe that such an approach is reasonable. It's highly unrealistic, however, that an intelligent person who follows this talk page could honestly believe such editing to be uncontroversial (even after it's been reverted). —David Levy 23:54, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
One can do something that one knows to be controversial in good faith. It happens all the time. It just means that he thinks it's necessary. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:45, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
But Kim has explicitly claimed that he believed the edits to be uncontroversial (even after they were reverted). —David Levy 07:47, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

There are a lot of accusations flying on this page. I think I'll protect it. the_undertow talk 19:27, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Probably not a good idea! --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:03, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

The koan is bad

I was pointed here from a Village Pump post, and looked at the proposed Zen koan.[14] I think it is a bad idea to include it, because the nuances of this particular policy are difficult to understand, and including the koan will probably serve to distract new editors and the less proficient in English from the link to the interpretations page, as well as just being distracting. I admit the koan is interesting and sends a profound message. However, I am not convinced that the koan or its message can in any way serve to improve the encyclopedia or foster harmonious editing. I am interested in the reasons if others disagree, thinking it may serve to improve the encyclopedia. MilesAgain (talk) 18:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I find myself agreeing with you on all above mentioned points MilesAgain. It may serve as a nice essay, or something for the userspace though. It is not without value, but it is not policy material either. (1 == 2)Until 18:26, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The objective is to get more people editing policy. Making relatively neutral changes shouldn't cause any trouble. Where it does, there might be some community issues. --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Why is "to get more people editing policy" an objective? I'm not sure that's obvious or necessarily true. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The point of this page is to define describe the policy "Ignore all rules", it is not to make a point about what you think policy editing should be like. Write and essay or propose a change at WP:POLICY, but don't use this policy to make your point. Frankly I fail to see how a story about Zen monks will give people the idea they should edit policy more. (1 == 2)Until 18:45, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The point is to describe Ignore all rules. The distinction may seem minor, but allows for some more latitude. To answer your question, please see the sections started prior to page protection, especially #Can't edit this page, period --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:36, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
That was a simple slip of wording on my part, but my point still stands that the page is not here so you can make a point about editing policy. I see no basis to the argument that this page cannot be edited, when those who have attempted change have yet to meet even the most basic demands of convince the community it is in their best interest. Of course you can't edit policy, you are doing it wrong. You keep trying to push a square peg in a round hole. If you just achieved consensus on the talk page you would be astonished how easily this page can be edited. (1 == 2)Until 19:57, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
That the page can't be edited is a canard. Random MoS violations will be reverted on any page, so removing the bullet point was a terrible test. The page clearly can be edited, because it has been edited, in ways that stuck. No actual improvement has come down the pike in a few months, but that doesn't mean the page is mummified. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The page is absolutely mummified. Any changes made over the past year have been unilaterally reverted, followed by page protection and zero constructive discussion by the reverting party ("The page was too fat" is not discussion). That's why WIARM was created: to bypass the ridiculous and close-minded actions that occurred at the policy page and actually do something constructive and relevant. Rockstar (T/C) 19:44, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Per WP:BRD, the burden of proof is not on a reverter to discuss unless the person in favor of the edit is demonstrating some kind of consensus for it. As for why WIARM was created, you don't have to tell that to the guy who created it. Now, when is someone going to explain just what's wrong with IAR as it is? I've been asking and asking and asking, and getting zero response. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:51, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, don't get me wrong; I think it's fine as is, assuming we can use WIARM as a supplement. I was just making the point that over time arguments have been presented and the page has been changed, only to be reverted back to the 12-word version. So this page really cannot be changed, ever; it is mummified, and, in many respects, outdated. In terms of the arguments made, there have been some good reasons for change, only to have been met with "It's fine as it is" or "It got too fat" or "Shorter is better," none of which are valid arguments. I can dig up those old arguments, but you were present in those discussions as well. Rockstar (T/C) 20:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The page is not mummified - it was recently successfully edited, with an edit that stuck. In particular, we cleaned out the "See also" secion, paring it down to one essay. That was an edit that happened, and stuck. The page can probably be improved further, but it would have to be done carefully. I'm certainly willing to help. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) re: GTBacchus: The burden is on every editor to explain every edit they make, this applies to the reverter as well (see also: what ignore all rules means). In fact, it applies especially to the reverter, as that is where BRD recommends that you place all of the weight of the resulting discussion. Hmm, can you explain how you come to the conclusion that the reverter has no such obligation? Perhaps BRD needs further clarification. --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:13, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I do not come to the conclusion that a reverter need not explain. A random violation of MoS (the case we've been presented with here - removing a bullet in the "See also" section) is made. It gets reverted with the edit summary "Why remove the bullet?" At that point, I would think the person removing the bullet might explain why they did it. Nobody did explain, except to say that it was a "test". Nobody asked me why I reverted, so I assumed my edit summary was sufficient explanation, but then Chardish started talking about how the page can't be edited, when he didn't engage in the "D" portion of the cycle.

Read BRD. It says 1. Be BOLD, 2. Wait until you are reverted, 3. Discuss with that person. I waited to be asked why I reverted. What?

We're all obligated to communicate with each other, of course, but it's hard for me to answer unasked questions. Chardish never asked why I reverted. You said "what if I think [removing the bullet] was a stylistic improvement?", and I said, "well, I disagree, let's talk". You haven't taken me up on that yet. Do you think it looks better without a bullet? I think it looks bad, because it diverges from all our other "See also" sections. Thoughts? -GTBacchus(talk) 23:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I SEE. That could have been handled better. --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:10, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it is fine as it is. I do think it could be improved, but I have not yet been presented with a version that accomplished this. (1 == 2)Until 19:58, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The objective was to seek variants, and you would be presented with a different version every day, all with the intent of improving the page. How thorough did you want to be? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:05, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
What are you talking about? I really don't understand half of what you say. (1 == 2)Until 20:27, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
See: #Tradition, take 2 - Summary: "Let's try a different variant every day, and award a prize to the best variant." --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:41, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I think Kim's general point is that the wording shouldn't matter on the policy that tells us that the wording on policies doesn't matter. You would think that in this talk page, of all places, we would be more warm and open to experimentation. Instead of establishing a fixed code by which this page may be changed, the warm glow of IAR should be radiating on all of us ; ) - Chardish (talk) 21:03, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

It is hard to take such a proposal seriously, nor does it seem sensible to take such a proposal seriously. I fail to see how a different page every day can have wide acceptance among the community as policy should. That is something for your userspace. (1 == 2)Until 21:10, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Per WP:BRD, we don't have to convince the entire community at once. That would require inhuman effort. We just need to convince people one at a time. Perhaps including you? --Kim Bruning (talk) 21:13, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
No, you won't convince me that playing silly buggers with the policy page is a good idea. Wide acceptance has nothing to do with the whole community, policy gets made and changed often on Wikipedia so don't start with the whole idea that getting consensus is not possible through discussion. You didn't even get a small consensus on the talk page first.
I can't help but notice that regardless of the thread title it is always the same discussion here, that is only tangentially related to the topic of the policy this talk page is for. Lets stay on topic instead of discussing philosophy and the finer points of consensus. You will know you have consensus for an idea when people start accepting it. (1 == 2)Until 21:17, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
"You will know you have consensus for an idea when people start accepting it." So I guess this page doesn't have consensus, since it's been hotly contested for nearly a year and in some aspects beyond. - Chardish (talk) 21:28, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
But Chardish, this version is accepted, it is the state of the policy month after month. A small group of people disagree, but have yet to get agreement for any change, or even pick the change they want. Consensus does not mean not contested. (1 == 2)Until 22:56, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
As I noted on your talk page, the fact that some editors believe that the page could be improved (and others disagree with suggested changes) does not mean that the current version lacks consensus. You recently acknowledged that "IAR isn't broken, but has potential for improvement," and I agree. A failure to reach consensus on how to go about improving the page does not imply that there is a lack of support for the current version (even among those who believe that another version would be better). —David Levy 22:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Until 1==2: "You will know you have consensus for an idea when people start accepting it."  :-) We agree more often than not! :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:11, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
If you believe that this policy "tells us that the wording on policies doesn't matter," you're mistaken. —David Levy 22:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay, in the interest of productivity lets acknowledge that the idea of a changing koan in the policy does not have consensus to be implemented, and while not an idea without merit suffers from significant objection in this venue and may be explored elsewhere as an essay. My question is: are there any other proposed changes people wish to discuss? (1 == 2)Until 22:59, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
That's a bit off-track, as that's not an aim anyone was err.. aiming for anyway. --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:12, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
But that is the point. It is foolish to argue that "this page should be ceaselessly changed" when there is no suggestion as to what it should be changed to. Your silly game resulted in a version of an important policy page that virtually nobody was happy with. To restate, the aim here is not change for the sake of change, the aim here is a workable policy page. As such, it will have to be changed every so often - like say, every few months. cf. the current version.
And it's foolish for people like Chardish to maintain that there is some sort of almighty groundswell against the wording of this policy. Periodic unilateral edits that get reverted don't indicate that there is some magical perfect version waiting to be released from the jail of inertia. If an individual change doesn't get support, you're going to have to work on the assumption that people prefer the original version. Individual changes have not succeeded; that is no grounds to assert that no change will succeed. Slac speak up! 01:09, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
MONTHS? That's ... you really don't trust the wiki for policy, do you? And if the community doesn't even trust it's own wiki for its own documentation, how can we ever hope to document anything anyone else has done (that is to say, create an encyclopedia)? --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:16, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
There's no logical connection there. The idea that we can't use the wiki process for writing an encyclopedia unless every policy page is in a more-or-less constant state of flux is unsupported, and I'm not inclined to believe it without evidence. I find it entirely possible to think that this page might sit around without changing while the wiki process works perfectly well on the encyclopedia. -GTBacchus(talk) 14:31, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
It is a best practice to "eat your own dog food". If you cannot use your own tools (where appropriate) to solve your own problems, then your tools are probably bunk.
Guidance pages describe our knowledge about how wikipedia works, so in that sense, they work like a kind of mini-wikipedia. This approach allows us to use our own collaborative editing tools and community to write our own documentation.
This is a wiki. Pages should not necessarily change for the sake of changing, but neither should they remain unchanging for the sake of being unchanging. When the wiki is used properly, pages change easily and smoothly, when the need arises for them to change. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:40, 23 January 2008 (UTC) The proposed solution for IAR deviates from this standard approach. I'd like to figure out if we agree on this much first. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:50, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Kim, which proposed solution do you mean? Is there a need for IAR to change? You say "if you can't use your own tools to solve your own problems, then your tools are probably bunk". What problem are we trying to solve with this page? As far as I can tell, we are using wiki tools to address concerns with this page. At this point, we've seen "B" and "R", and I'm still waiting for "D", but people seem more interested in arguing over whether "B" and "R" were appropriate, which is a pointless waste of time, and not the standard wiki approach. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:03, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
These are all still general statements, none of which are specific to IAR. I'd like to check if we are in agreement on these general statements first? --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:48, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
"When the wiki is used properly, pages change easily and smoothly, when the need arises for them to change." Indeed. What hasn't been demonstrated is a need for this policy to change. Editing it as a game is "change for the sake of changing." —David Levy 18:29, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Or, to be fair, a need for this policy to stay fixed and unchanging. - Chardish (talk) 18:50, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, neither of these needs has been demonstrated. I also agree that change-for-the-sake-of-change and stasis-for-the-sake-of-stasis are pointless. I don't think anybody's advocating stasis for the sake of stasis. Rather, people are reacting to individual changes that make the page worse, by reverting them. Seems pretty reasonable; healthy, even. There's not much to the page, so why should it need to change regularly? Is there a need for change? Nobody has made a case for that yet; I wonder if anyone ever will. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:03, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
If you're asking whether I think that a major policy such as this one can have a real improvement made to it every day, then my answer is no. There is absolutely no obligation for us to support a change that is not an improvement, either here or in namespace. Isn't that why watchlists exist? Slac speak up! 01:22, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
So are you opposed to people making changes, or only opposed to bad changes? (and good changes are ok?) --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:24, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
That's exactly right (option 2). Now, let's discuss what some good changes are. Slac speak up! 01:28, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Waitwaitwait, just a moment... and if someone makes a good change, you won't revert them? --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:32, 23 January 2008 (UTC) so far, so good
For the love of Mike, yes. Now, let's get to talking about what makes a change a good one. I'm not advocating no change, I'm simply asking for a case to be made. And reiterating that we don't tinker endlessly with policy pages for no good reason, we do it to make them better. Slac speak up! 02:06, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
More foolish to stonewall attempts at changing a page, then claim that the page holds consensus because no one has been able to change it, then employ that fact as rationale to stonewall attempts at changing the page. Can you see the circular logic here? - Chardish (talk) 04:09, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
But people have been able to change it. It has changed, in good ways that stuck. Why is this fact ignored? -GTBacchus(talk) 19:03, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Because the mythos that this is the Supreme Rule of Wikipedia prevents this page from being clarified in any meaningful way. The only edits that have stuck around for over a few days are edits that reduce the amount of text on the page and make it even more vague. If I have to speculate why, I think there's a pervasive fear that if this page is not perfect, all hell will break loose. I reject this idea.
One of my favorite things about Wikipedia is "letting it slide." If I see a page on my watchlist has been edited, and I think the new version of a page isn't better than the old version, so what? Let it slide, or make an edit upon the other edit that moves things closer to my vision for the page while maintaining the intentions of the other. Consensus doesn't work when our most veteran editors say things like "your edit does no good whatsoever," which is the message a reversion sends. - Chardish (talk) 00:14, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
We're arguing in circles. What are the improvements that can be made to this page? If anyone wants to enumerate them, we can formulate a view. I'm not a Burkean by any means, but I do think it's fair to ask for an explication of how a proposed change will improve things. Slac speak up! 02:00, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I support the ability of all editors to freely edit policy pages. I reject the idea that koan is in any way appropriate for this page. What I would support is a (possibly limited) merger with WP:WIARM means. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:16, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

To get a feel for the opinions of IAR, here

I don't like GTBacchus's essay at WP:WIARM. He and several who agree with his essay don't seem to like anybody making changes to it.

So, I wrote an essay at WP:WIARRM which expresses an alternative view. I'd like your opinion on whether it's correct and why or why not.   Zenwhat (talk) 03:17, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:WIARM has had considerable consensus since June or July 2007. See Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules/Archive 10#Established as consensus?. It is the work of editors and their discussions. This essay may be helpful guidance, when it is paragraphed and summarized, and discussed by a few editors, tho it has a long way to go. Newbyguesses - Talk 04:08, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Zenwhat: First of all, it's not my essay. I own nothing here. I am very happy with many changes that have been made to it. I'd like to see evidence for your assertions about me. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:48, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I added an image to WP:WIARRM that's worth checking out.   Zenwhat (talk) 10:03, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Zenwhat, seroiusly: why did you say that I don't seem to like people making changes to WP:WIARM? I haven't edited the page since November 2, and in that time, at least 15 people have edited the page. The fact that your edits were reverted (not by me) doesn't mean that people don't allow the page to be changed; it might just mean that your edits were bad. -GTBacchus(talk) 14:09, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Gotta stand with GTBacchus here, Zenwhat. It's kind of a rule that you don't edit an essay unless you do so in a way that retains its original message; doing stuff like reversing the positions of "descriptive" and "prescriptive" in the second paragraph here is practically asking for a revert. If there are other examples you can point to where you think you were unfairly reverted, please share them. - Chardish (talk) 14:22, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

And I strongly disagree with this image. It seems to suggest that if you are in a disagreement and you can't come to a quick compromise that you can just steamroller over everyone else with IAR and call it a consensus. IAR is not a license to be a jerk. "Wikipedia is not a democracy" and "Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy" but Wikipedia is a collaborative project. Mr.Z-man 17:50, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Correct talk page for that discussion → → → this way --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:01, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I second Mr. Z's assertion. WP:IAR is not a free license. We are not a democracy, nor a bureaucracy, nor an anarchy. - Mtmelendez (Talk) 18:26, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Correct talk page for that discussion → → → this way --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:33, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Mr.Z-man, notice the "think harder" part. A person cannot arbitrarily do what they want, because Wikipedia is not anarchy. However, if a person is correct, if their claims are rational, objective, factual, based in reality, correct, matter-of-fact, and so on, then they are fully justified in "steamrolling" over every policy and every person complaining about them violating policy, no matter how much such people there are making such claims. The reason is simple: The core of policy states that actions which help Wikipedia should be carried out, while actions which hurt Wikipedia should be ignored.

The folks here seem to think that WP:CONSENSUS is the first rule of Wikipedia and that WP:IAR was developed by consensus. No, that's not true. WP:IAR is the first rule and WP:CONSENSUS is just a "policy" on top of that, a very good one and one I agree with, although not with the actual page WP:CONSENSUS.

The idea that "Wikipedia is not a democracy doesn't simply mean Wikipedia is not ruled by a 51% majority. It also applies to 60% democratic majorities, 70% democratic majorities, 80%, 90%, and theoretically 99%." Otherwise, you are a democrat -- one who believes in a heavily pluralistic democracy which upholds "rough consensus" based on false compromise and opposes reason and success.

To quote Dudley Field Malone in the Scopes Trial, "There is never a duel with the truth."

The words "truth" and "objectivity" and "individual rights" seem to put a cramp in the mind of the current democratic majority which controls WP:IAR and WP:CONSENSUS, and I think that seems to be why this place is in the state that it is in. Furthermore, your actions are futile for a simple reason: The fact that you have ownership over the pages on Wikipedia policy doesn't in fact actually mean that you control Wikipedia policy, precisely because of WP:IAR, which is probably why people who actually understand WP:IAR aren't too worried about controlling the policy pages while you all think you're actually controlling something by making the changes that you do.

  Zenwhat (talk) 03:09, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Correct talk page for that discussion → → → this way --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:24, 24 January 2008 (UTC) Oh, I give up. Just go there, kay?
Kim, please stop doing that. We're discussing IAR, ok?
Zenwhat, as I replied on another page, rules don't derive their power from CONSENSUS; they derive their power from consensus. There's a big difference. One is a page, the other is the will to follow certain principles. If people didn't believe in the idea behind IAR, then its existence as a page here would do nothing. We'd just swap the "policy" tag for a "rejected" one, and that would be that. It's not the rule "dubya-pee-consensus" that we're following; it's the fact of actual consensus.

Your assertions about the "democratic majority" which "controls" IAR and CONSENSUS and "the state this place is in" are sounding increasingly silly. You have yet to provide a shred of evidence that anything is actually wrong. No harm is being caused by this policy. If there is any, show it to us already. Don't just expound on how it must be harmful, according to your theory.

You claim to understand IAR better than "the mob" (as determined by you), but you provide no evidence of this. I've asked you to back up several allegations, and you've ignored those requests. Your comments above betray a deep misunderstanding of Wikipedia.

It is fatuous to say that anyone is justified in steamrolling 99%. You know why? Because it won't work. Ask.... scores that I could name. Would you like a list of examples? You see, no appeal to some abstract "right" will get around the fact that you can't make Wikipedians do something they don't want to do. All we have is the power to convince. If people don't agree to enforce something, it won't be enforced. Policy pages don't carry guns. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:31, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Rules derive their power to create consensus, not from it. The latter argument is an appeal to tradition and a rejection of the idea that consensus can change. If a rule leads to a consensus around a rational, constructive change to Wikipedia, it is good. If a rule does not lead to a consensus around a rational constructive change to Wikipedia, it is bad and should be ignored.

In this editing process, where is IAR supposed to be?

Wikipedia consensus process flowchart

According to the discussions I've had with Kim, it's something like this. That seems to be what you're suggesting too, GTBacchus, since the only example you can think of, of where IAR would apply is either a newbie or veteran editor who chooses to be willfully ignorant of written policy.

If that were true, then we may as well just delete every page on policy. It seems absurd to claim that WP:IAR has no inherent value or meaning, or any inherent part of the editing process. You treat it like a statue of a Greek God -- not something that actually exists or helps anybody, just something to keep around to make people feel happier about themselves. It is insulting to think that WP:IAR is just kept in order to help people feel good about themselves when they come across the experience and objective conclusion that Wikipedia is a democracy and is a bureaucracy, despite the false claims made on WP:NOT.

  Zenwhat (talk) 04:57, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

"if their claims are rational, objective, factual, based in reality, correct, matter-of-fact, and so on," - and I'm sure the other side of the dispute thinks the exact same thing about their position, hence, a conflict. On a collaborative project such as this, I fail to see how ignoring other people because you think you are right and they are wrong (see Talk:9/11 for numerous examples) is in any way beneficial to the project - it can discourage other users and lead to situations where the the person most willing to fight for The Truth™ wins disputes. If right and wrong in a given situation is so black and white, I doubt there would even be a dispute. Mr.Z-man 05:15, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Mr.Z-man, I think that's very well said.

I would add, in reply to Zenwhat, that it's incorrect that the only examples of IAR involve people being either inexperienced or willfully ignorant (like a veteran editor not bothering to read WP:CIVIL because, duh. Just be civil; what else would it say?). Other examples abound. Any time you think something should be done differently, you can try doing it that way, and then see how people react, and then proceed respectfully. It's how a lot of things get started. It's where our WP:CSD and WP:CSK came from. They didn't used to exist, and there were rules about letting VfDs (as AfDs were then called) sit for some fixed period of time. That rule was being broken, regularly, by people who were trying to move things along, and people were ok with it in certain cases. Part of hammering out just which cases those were involved writing the pages WP:CSD and WP:CSK, so we don't have to repeat each argument in each case. It all started with people ignoring rules.

What could have been another great example was the userbox situation, beginning on New Years Eve/Day 2005/2006 when one admin deleted a whole slew of userboxes, which started a huge and fairly bitter months-long discussion leading to the clarification of WP:USER, the writing of WP:USERBOX, the compromise solution of WP:UBM (which was a great solution, and another example of IAR, in a different sense - we just bypassed the creation of any rule, and started moving things around - we ignored the supposed need for rules), and tens of thousands of words about the question in which lots of ideas about what we're doing here were fleshed out, and a lot of people learned a lot. It all started with one person ignoring a rule.

The reason it wasn't a great example is that, after the rule-ignoring was questioned, the resulting discussion was not undertaken in a spirit of mutual respect, or in a manner that dignified the participants. That was a shame, but I think we learned a lot from it, and overall, the process wasn't entirely unhealthy.

I can provide more examples, if you like. In the history of WP:BLP, for example, I know there were some high-profile cases of rule-ignoring that ended up crystallizing into a new rule. Like I said, I can dig up specifics, if you like.

For now, I'd point out again that you haven't demonstrated or provided a lick of evidence for any harm done by IAR, only for the fact that it doesn't jibe with your theory of how Wikipedia works, which seems to be shared by... yourself? Please provide evidence that you're talking about anything real. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:52, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

It can cause disputes, Mr-Z, hence the reason I agree that WP:IAR cannot be used as a blanket justification to always revert edits you disagree with. Wikipedia is not a government and policy is not law, but the analogy works good enough (which is why it was probably a bit cheap of me to resort to the cliche "Admins aren't policemen!" argument I used against GTBacchus), so let's go with it.

Assuming this analogy:

  • You can't arbitrarily break the law what is suggested in WP:WIARM and GTBacchus's analogy of the anarchist who chose to speed because "government laws on speeding are unjust." I think a similar argument would apply to tax evasion. I agree.
  • Where that fails is when law is horribly wrong, which I tried to demonstrate with an image of a person being lynched.

So, I really think that it makes sense to think of WP:IAR as civil disobedience. It would be stupid for a person to be "civilly disobedient" over something trivial like public roads or income taxes, because it's not quite clear what it would achieve other than a night in jail or massive fines. But on the other hand, figures like Gandhi, MLK, Tolstoy, etc., all demonstrated the fact that rules don't matter and should be ignored if they are evil. And though Gandhi's and MLK's actions violated policy and tradition (past consensus), they helped work towards future consensus.

In practice, it doesn't particularly matter even WP:IAR even states, "You can break whatever rules you want, LOL," assuming all other aspects of Wikipedia remain fixed, because users that are going to vandalize, make edits in bad-faith, and so on, are not going to need a policy page on WP:IAR to do it. They'll do it, no matter what, because they don't care about policy.

On the other hand, the purpose of WP:IAR is vigilance against democracy and bureaucracy. Even though WP:NOT states that Wikipedia is not bureaucracy or democracy, due to human nature it frequently disintegrates into that and it's important that rational individual editors and reason be given some kind of official "stamp of approval" to encourage them to ignore everything when they're doing stuff that hurts Wikipedia. Even assuming objectivity or reason don't exist, promoting the idea as part of wikiculture seems to have merit.

On the 9/11 twoofers:


Even assuming good faith (which is disputable), they can't ignore all rules in the above model because they failed to follow the "think harder" part.   Zenwhat (talk) 05:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

When did I make an analogy about an anarchist speeding? -GTBacchus(talk) 05:50, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and to answer a question of yours above, IAR enters the flowchart above in the "make an edit" step, if that edit happens to violate some existing rule, or if you just have no idea whether or not a rule addresses the situation, but you make the edit anyway. I hope that helps. The IAR that you added off to the side makes no sense, how can ignoring a rule just magically whisk you to a new consensus? -GTBacchus(talk) 06:08, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I think Kim might be right about this conversation belonging at WT:WIARRM. Why not just move the whole section there? -GTBacchus(talk) 05:52, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

GT, I assumed the part about the anarchist because I can't imagine what other kind of idiot (not that all anarchists are idiots!) would try to improve society through breaking traffic laws.

To change your analogy: Say your wife is giving birth. Should you speed? If it wasn't a silly anarchist or something along those lines, what was it? Simply a person lying to the officer?

If so, that's not a very good analogy because it assumes bad faith.

Also, you said that WP:IAR goes in the "make an edit" part. Question: Doesn't that imply that WP:IAR always has to be based on previous consensus? If so, how is that actually "breaking the rules"? I'd like to keep the conversation here so that it's all in one place and since we're not just talking about my essay -- we're talking about WP:IAR itself.   Zenwhat (talk) 07:29, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

When did I say anything, anywhere, about speeding? What are you taking about? GTBacchus(talk) 07:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
"Doesn't that imply that IAR always have to be based on previous consensus?" No, not remotely. It implies that you take some action, because of a some discussion, or just because you think it's a good idea. If you're ignoring rules somewhere in that model, it's at the point where you do something. It's not some sort of magical ticket to a new consensus that will whisk you over the heads of the unruly mob. You actually have to convince them. At first by breaking a rule (lead by example), and then by explaining your actions when challenged, thoroughly, openly, and respectfully. How else do you propose getting things done? -GTBacchus(talk) 07:58, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
GTBacchus is explaining pretty well. I wish people could find time to do that more often. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 09:25, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
A rule does not have to be horribly wrong to be ignored. IAR is not really civil disobedience and you can ignore minor rules that aren't evil. I would bet that most rules ignored (unintentionally) are minor. Wikipedia's manual of style has dozens of pages in it but only a handful are actually used regularly and enforced outside of the featured article process. Its a lot harder to justify ignoring the major rules because they have been written and revised to attempt to cover as many situations as possible. Mr.Z-man 16:39, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Kim: "GTBacchus is explaining pretty well. I wish people could find time to do that more often," is that a matter of fact or your subjective opinion? If it is the latter and you disagree that it is impossible to "think harder," what makes your opinion more valid than mine?

GTBacchus: About speeding... Sorry, my mistake. When I saw this image, I thought it was yours. I see it was BQZip01 who created it.

Mr-ZMan: We agree on everything, except that I think the MoS doesn't dispute the analogy of WP:IAR as civil disobedience because the MoS isn't really a "rule" that can be "guideline." It's mostly just a suggestion to make Wikipedia look nice and I can't imagine there ever being a conflict over strictly the MoS (not involving bad-faith, consensus, etc..).

Users should NOT, however, make Wikipedia look ugly because of their ignorance of the MoS. And WP:IAR is not about a sanction to promote public ignorance.   Zenwhat (talk) 00:50, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Can't imagine how there can be a conflict over strictly the MoS? Wow. See WP:ENGVAR, Wikipedia talk:Eras, WT:MOSTM. Those are the three most contentious MoS issues that I think of immediately; there are others. Work in Requested moves for a while, and you'll get to know them well. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:21, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I did not saying that people should intentionally ignore the MOS to make articles look ugly, that would not be improving the encyclopedia. But most of it is just to keep consistency among articles, less to stop them from looking like crap. I gave that as an example of how most rules ignored are minor and unintentional (and most of the MoS is a consensus created guideline). Most new users don't know any of the MoS except a few bits (the obvious parts) they can observe from other articles, even most experienced users don't know most of it. If you don't actually know the guideline for how to format a date or the title a section, you can look it up, but you don't have to. As long as its close to the guideline and doesn't look bad, it will be fine for most purposes. Mr.Z-man 05:35, 25 January 2008 (UTC)