Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules/Archive 4

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I disagree with Ngb

I added this today; ngb reverted it with some nonsense about the text being "as simple as possible". I think some expansion is necessary in light of someone attempting to cite IAR as a "policy" (see Wikipedia:Strict constructionist deletion). I reproduce the text I added below for comment.

Wikipedia policy is not prescriptive; the written text of the policies on the Wikipedia does not absolutely control editing and failure to stay within the four corners of the stated policies is not an offense. Policy on Wikipedia is ever-shifting, changing as our administrators and editors constantly encounter new situations and act in response to them, with the goal of constantly improving the encyclopedia. The written policy only covers the situations we have encountered to date, and not completely at that, so you may find yourself in a position where the written policy doesn't seem to cover the situation at hand, or even offers guidance that, to you, seems wrong. When you find yourself in such a situation, don't panic. Instead, do what you think is best, with the goal of improving Wikipedia. Do not try to figure out what "policy requires", because there is no policy that requires anything.
Remember, policy may be wrong. What matters is that you always work to improve Wikipedia.

Kelly Martin (talk) 12:46, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

It's not policy? ^^;; But what we need is indeed a separate page where everything *about* IAR is stated. This page kept getting 20 miles long, which was a bit of a problem ;-) Kim Bruning 12:55, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
As I stated, there's previously been a strong consensus that this page should be kept as simple as possible.
What has happened in the past is that people have, in all good faith, attempted to 'expand' IAR with explanations. Other Wikipedians have added corollaries to those explanations. Other Wikipedians have added counterexamples to those corollaries. Other Wikipedians have expanded the original explanations. The net result is that IAR ends up snowballing into a ridiculous, long monstrosity that is no use to anyone.
Therefore, what's been done is to reduce this page to its simplest possible form and save the lengthy explanations for other essay pages: these are linked to in the 'See also' section. A good place for your text might be Wikipedia:Suggestions on how to ignore all rules.
This is far from 'nonsense', and I expect that you will apologise for rudely and unnecessarily calling it that. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 13:18, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I think that the current version, where other people are mentioned as important, is superior to the previous one. Haukur 14:15, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

The addition makes sense, however, it is completely unneeded. If someone thinks that your addition was not good they will revert. And they will have the rules on their side. IAR cannot be used as a defence, since it isn't a rule or a guideline or anything of the sort. It should be kept as simple as possible. SECProto 18:12, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
With the recent declaration by Jimbo in this edit that IAR is indeed an official policy, how does this change your thought process on "IAR cannot be used as a defence"? I'm curious to know what folks think about this. SchuminWeb (Talk) 02:37, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, that would leave the situation as being that IAR shouldn't be used as a defence, or justification, because it's logically vacuous to claim simply that it's policy to ignore policy, without at least expanding the point. (That's pretty much the standard way it's used, of course.) A more useful way of citing it would be to be to cite IAR, and then to explain why what one did was necessary to 'improve or maintain Wikipedia's quality'. Or, logically equivalently, just to explain why what one did was necessary to 'improve or maintain Wikipedia's quality'. Alai 04:48, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

License to edit war

One can justify any POV edit with this, no matter how many times it's been reverted. Surely some appeal to consensus is appropriate here, just like there was? Bear in mind that in a typical edit war, both sides think they are "improving Wikipedia's quality".

I know you all love the simplicity and the bracing "spirit of Wikipedia" feeling you get when reading this as a single sentence. But as written, it's bad advice. —Ashley Y 06:01, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree, it does need something. In the somewhat-romantic-sounding way that this reads, it should end with something like, "And consensus will prevail in the end." SchuminWeb (Talk) 06:12, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
If I am not correct this is the (or one of the) oldest "rule" in the book, am i wrong? Which basically means the whole WP:3RR thing gets trumped in favour of the anarchy that started up this project. Not to be too cynical of course! :) Ansell 06:51, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Both sides in an edit war may think they're right, but both should realise that having an edit war self-evidently doesn't improve Wikipedia's quality. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 08:03, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
It's not at all self-evident, as responsibility for the edit war can easily be placed on the other person, who keeps reverting "my improving edits". Your "should realise" part is the caveat to this rule that would be better stated explicitly. —Ashley Y 08:13, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree completely. Haukur 11:58, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

This page isn't policy. Using it to justify actions will just get people's asses kicked. They can't say that "I was only doing as I was told" because the page states quite clearly that this page isn't policy or a guideline. --Lord Deskana (talk) 13:11, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Deskana, you know exactly where this page stands. Noone can justify their actions with this page - It is not a rule, or a guideline, or anything that someone can use as a defence of any sort. SECProto 13:30, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

If people take even this rule that literally -- and taking rules literally is something this very rule is telling you not to do -- then there is probably no helping it. Specifically, I doubt tacking on "obey concensus!" would help, for exactly the same reason. In fact I think that "reverting to consensus version" shows up in edit summaries far more often than "ignoring all rules". 16:50, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

It is, of course, "not policy". Its status is advice. And as a single statement, it's bad advice. —Ashley Y 17:42, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I really think it is better advice without saying "only if people agree with you". This hurts a central point in the vain hopes that certain clueless people will thereby be prevented from doing clueless things -- as I say, it will probably not help them, for similar reasons that the original page wouldn't. Incidentally, if we really were to take things that literally, then, it was obvious that lots of people do not agree with your addition, therefore, according to your addition, you shouldn't have re-added it. Obviously that can't be right. 17:57, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
The "central point" is actually bad advice left unqualified. We're not trying to prevent people doing clueless things, only refraining from encouraging them to do so. —Ashley Y 19:06, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Even if I accept, for the sake of argument, that this whole page really is pointless to begin with, as we seem to be implying, even then, I'm not sure we've even accomplished what you think, because now people have even more reason to beat other people over the head with their favourite notion of "consensus", which is far more often abused a word in edit wars than this page ever was, so I trust you won't mind that I reverted your change to, shall we say, the consensus version, and let us conclude this run-on sentence with a hymn. AND DID THOSE RUUULES! IN ANCIENT TIIIIME! -Dan 20:22, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Your use of "consensus version" seems to be an example of that abuse, apparently? I'm not seeing a consensus emerge yet. —Ashley Y 23:10, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean?! Look at the straw poll!! We have nearly 2:1 working consensus on this point!!! Stop messing with the consensus version... no, you're exactly right, and in fact, it seems to me that the phrase "consensus version" in particular is almost always an example of this sort of abuse, though perhaps my experience is unusual. 15:35, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Possible intentions?

Is it possible this was only made a part of Wikipedia to "demonstrate" how laid-back and free it is or something? Because it seems a little bizarre that Wikipedia would have such a complex set of rules and systems to enforce them and then have something so very, very open to interpretation and abuse. Any thoughts? Karwynn (talk) 19:44, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

How, in any way, is Ignore All Rules open to abuse? SECProto 19:49, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
It encourages people to edit-war. Sure, it's not policy, but it is advice. —Ashley Y 19:51, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
It does not encourage people to edit war. It encourages them to improve the wikipedia. SECProto 20:10, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
That's the thing with edit wars. Both sides think they are "improving the wikipedia". Thus, this advice encourages edit wars. —Ashley Y 20:12, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm not even necessarily saying it encourages it, it's just that it's open to abuse. Anway, about my original question? Karwynn (talk) 20:24, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I think with some sort of "consensus" caveat it would be considerably less open to abuse. —Ashley Y 20:32, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
To Karwynn, yes. I'd like to see this taken more in the spirit of the original phrasing. Something along the lines of, If you find the myriad, often seemingly self-contradictory and incongruous rules of Wikipedia to be overwhelming and intimidating such that you are not able to contribute constructively to the project of building a free encyclopedia, then ignore the rules and simply do your best to improve Wikipedia. Keep in mind that those who abuse the rules under the pretense of ignoring rules will face censure from the community. olderwiser 21:02, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I like this, too. —Ashley Y 21:35, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
So do I. Haukur 22:26, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I think that is too long and has too many big words. :) SECProto 23:57, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
WALK OVER EDITS GOOD AND CLEAN! No, this predates most of that. Ostensibly, it tries to get people to carry on and not take the impressive volume of legislation we were accumulating (even then) too seriously. But in reality, it gives old farts an excuse to carry on about Ancient Time. 20:26, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Hey, I think the tidbit about self-contraictory should be in there to. Any thoughts? Karwynn (talk) 13:34, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Do you know how often we've been here at precicely this spot? And thus the cycle starts again ;-) BTW, as far as I'm concerned, yes, ignore all rules is policy. Can you figure or understand why I think that?
<blatant plug> If you want to learn more, how about signing up for calvinball at wikimania? ;-) </blatant plug>Kim Bruning 16:10, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Can we get a coloured ticky mark for this page too? I vote for orange. 16:14, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Somehow the meaning of IAR has been changed in this edit war. IAR is intended for any instances in which the rules prevent one from improving the encyclopedia. It has nothing to do with interpretations or complicated language or anything like that. I am going to restore the clause it to its original state, and any change at all should be considered major, and therefore require a consensus. AdamBiswanger1 19:02, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

The version you reverted to is a far cry from the original version. I don't like it because it seems to suggest that "the rules" are commonly preventing you from doing the right thing. That's a far cry from the truth. At most the rules may slow you down in doing what you want to do - usually by making you talk to other people about it. Haukur 19:07, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
No, that isn't true. This isn't merely a matter of expediting matters by ignoring rules that cause delay. In some instances, following a rule means acting in a manner that defies common sense and harms Wikipedia.
For example, several people have advocated the replacement of certain GIF icons with PNG/SVG icons that are larger and less compatible. There's absolutely no benefit, but they insist that we should follow the rules purely for the sake of following the rules. (They're referring to our image use policy, which makes sense in most cases.) This page serves as a reminder that the rules are a means, not an end. —David Levy 19:40, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, we had a talk at hacking days yesterday by a KDE/ openusability speaker. She talked about a study they'd done on wikipedia usability (including or focussing on images), and en-passant utterly destroyed any possible conception that our image use guidelines make any sense whatsoever. Actually that was for de.wikipedia + commons, who actually have somewhat simpler image use guidelines. I was amazed, I hadn't thought they were *that* bad. Kim Bruning 15:13, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Sometimes they do, such as in a case of an earnest 3RR violator, or an obvious statement that has no "acceptable" sources. Now, it is my personal feeling that anyone who wants adjustment of the wording of IAR is simply too married to the idea of legalism and perfect definitions, in a sort of mathematical mindset. We must think realistically and realize that it will not be abused, and even if it is, anyone doing so will be quickly admonished by the overwhelming majority of us who have common sense. So, let's not throw the brevity of IAR in the fire to prevent unlikely circumstances. It is perfect as it is. AdamBiswanger1 19:10, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

The version you reverted from was no longer than the one you prefer. Your "mathematical mindset" theory amuses me a bit since just 10 minutes ago you were making this somewhat legalistic procedural point: "any change at all should be considered major, and therefore require a consensus". But as it happens I do like the original version of this page and I don't think there was ever consensus to move away from it. Can we have that one back, then? Haukur 19:18, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
There most certainly was consensus to move away from the original version. This resulted in the page's natural evolution. Are you looking for some sort of formal poll? —David Levy 19:40, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this short version encourages edit warring. Both sides in an edit war are encouraged to "ignore all rules" and, in good faith, "improve Wikipedia's quality". I think we can give better advice here. —Ashley Y 19:44, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
The consensus is that edit-warring is harmful, so it does not improve or maintain Wikipedia's quality. As I've stated before, I don't object to the inclusion of a link to Wikipedia:Consensus. I thought that Haukurth's recent addendum ("Of course, it's critical that other people agree with you.") was fine (and you obviously agreed), but it was repeatedly removed. —David Levy 20:00, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Of course edit-warring is harmful. But the thing is, in an edit war each party thinks in good faith that they are improving the encyclopedia. That's the problem. I am in favour of some reference to Wikipedia:Consensus but not attached to any particular wording. —Ashley Y 20:24, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Adam's accusations of legalism are unhelpful. Surely we should be asking "what is the best advice we can give here?" Advice should be brief, but this misses an crucial caveat about consensus. AdamBiswanger1 even alludes to it by mentioning "the overwhelming majority of us", as any argument about the interpretation of IAR always must. —Ashley Y 19:54, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I certainly do not want to seem unpleasant or brash. That's my first priority. The reason I reverted to the original version was so that we do not have this aimless altering of the text that is going on now, which is rather inconsistent with consensus. But what I really want to get across is that the wording I reverted back to (If the rules prevent you from maintaining or improving wikipedia's quality, ignore them), are absolutely perfect. They do not require change, and I see no reason to further specify, because that version is phenomenal in the spirit of nobility and anti-bureuocracy that it conveys. To add fine print would merely do nothing but add unhelpful and unneeded advice, and kill the said spirit. AdamBiswanger1 00:17, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
That's that "bracing Spirit of Wikipedia feeling" I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, while it may make people feel good, it doesn't make very good advice, as it gives license to edit war (since each participant can claim, in good faith, that they are "improving the encyclopedia"). We're not talking about "fine print" here, but it does need to be qualified with a reference to consensus.
We probably shouldn't be sacrificing helpfulness for "spirit". —Ashley Y 19:31, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Giving reasons for ignoring rules

People seem to keep wanting to put in reasons for ignoring rules... like if they're "confusing" or if you're "depressed" or "scared". It is utterly beyond me why these would be good reasons to start ignoring rules, in fact acting on those kinds of emotions is pretty much where we see a lot of the most disruptive stuff come from. If you're going to ignore a rule, it should be in a calm state of mind, with a clear understanding of the rule, and thus why you need to ignore it. --W.marsh 20:03, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Obviously, I agree with W.marsh. An important element of IAR is that someone should understand why a rule exists before ignoring it. Advising users to ignore rules that confuse them actively discourages them from gaining a better understanding and making an informed decision. ("If the rules are confusing, instead of asking someone to explain them to you and attempting to understand what they mean, you should ignore them.") —David Levy 20:07, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Okay, if "confusing or unhelpful" doesn't fly then how about "contradictory or unhelpful"? Our naming conventions come to mind. Haukur 20:11, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
That seems entirely redundant to me. Being "contradictory" is one of the ways that a rule can be "unhelpful." It's already covered. —David Levy 20:21, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I really don't agree. Now, I can see why this might apply to people with special privileges, as these people really ought to know what they're doing, and can't be as easily reverted. An extreme example would be a bureaucrat's action to promote, which can't even be reverted by his peers! Maybe this is what motivates this sort of thinking. But these are unusual cases. For regular editors (which are the overwhelming majority), and especially for newer editors (which are still the majority), so bloody what if you don't understand the rule you're breaking? You will be educated shortly, and if not, then it probably wasn't really a rule, just something that happened, at that particular time, to be on a page with ticky mark on it. No big deal. 16:04, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Total agreement with User: and his/her inclusive viewpoint --PopUpPirate 16:19, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, the statement above that an "important element of IAR is that someone should understand why a rule exists before ignoring it" is utter nonsense. IMO, there is absolutely no basis or justifiction for invoking IAR to justify deliberately breaking rules. Wikipedia:Use common sense is more applicable in such cases where process/policy fetishism taken to an extreme leads to nonsensical conclusions. olderwiser 17:11, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Why is it okay to cite one but not the other? —David Levy 17:31, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
We have collectively noted several possible scenarios in which application of IAR is both sensical and just. For example, leniency to an earnest 3RR violator, borderline incivility, etc. If the rules lead to a nonsensical or unfair conclusion, then they lead to a nonsensical or unfair conclusion, and you ignore them. You do not abide by them. You are almost suggesting, Bkonrad, that the rules are perfect and that they will invariably lead one the right way. But in the next sentence you proposed the use of common sense should they not, leading me to ask David Levy's question. Why is it ok to cite one but not the other? How can using common sense override a policy without WP:IAR? AdamBiswanger1 17:49, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
First, I'm not entirely sure I understand the question. I don't really see how I implied that the rules are ever "perfect". As I understand it, the point of this rule was ENTIRELY intended as a sort of light-hearted shorthand to newcomers. Something along the lines of, "here are the rules, blah, blah, blah, ... but don't worry too much if you find them confusing or unintelligible; if you make good faith efforts to contribute to the project, any aspects of your edits than might not conform to the nth detail of some particular rule can get sorted out later." I don't think this rule was ever intended to justify deliberately breaking rules (although unfortunately it has been invoked for that purpose). Now, there are times when following the "rules", may result in either bureaucratic stagnation or nonsensical unintended consequences. In such cases the rules should be reformed, and an act of defiance may be just the jolt that is needed. For example, I think the time User:Ed Poor deleted AfD to make a statement about what a cesspool it had become was arguably worthwhile. But I think it was wrong to invoke IAR as justification for the action. In cases like leniency with 3RR or other policies, well, IMO, that is also a matter of common sense. Adminstrator discretion is implicit in all such rules. olderwiser 18:48, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
If you honestly believe that Uncle Ed's infamous WP:POINT violation was "worthwhile," you and I have very different views of this project and how it should be run. I do agree that it was an invalid application of WP:IAR, as it was to the encyclopedia's detriment. —David Levy 19:14, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I said it was "arguably worthwhile". I certainly would never have chosen to do so myself, and I very much doubt that I would have supported such an action if it had been proposed ahead of time. What was "arguably worthwhile" was that it did shake up the toxicity that had settled into AfD, at least for a little while. Ed's provocative action helped to refocus people's attention on the mess that was AfD. I think prod and perhaps some other alternative deletion mechanisms gained a better reception, at least in part, as a result of Ed's action. But in any case, that was only an illustration of people inappropriately invoking IAR. I seem to recall that was also tossed around in the userbox wars, again used inappropriately to justify expedience. A large part of this misunderstanding I think comes from the title--by itself, the title loses most of the wit and light-heartedness that the original phrasing expressed. And because the title (more than the actual content) was often invoked to justify expediency, later editors tried to shoehorn other considerations into the rule, once again only to lose the wit and light-heartedness. olderwiser 20:14, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't believe that Ed's action had any positive effect (aside from eventually contributing to the long-overdue revocation of his sysop status).
I agree that WP:IAR sometimes is abused, and you cited two excellent examples (Ed's deletion and the userbox saga). The key is that the rules are supposed to be ignored for the purpose of "improving or maintaining Wikipedia's quality." Even if the removal of userboxes accomplishes this goal (which I believe it often does), out-of-process deletions and wheel-warring most certainly do not. Like all editing, the application of WP:IAR should be guided by consensus. (Does the community agree that an instance of ignoring a rule is to Wikipedia's benefit?) More than one editor has attempted to insert language of this nature (including a link to Wikipedia:Consensus), but all such changes have been reverted. —David Levy 20:56, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think rules should ever be deliberately "ignored". If rules get in the way, I don't think "ignoring" them is the correct response. Actions based on such a deliberate choice are not made in ignorance. I do not think this rule was ever intended for that purpose -- those sorts of deliberate choices to step outside the rules are more appropriately addressed by other nuggets of wisdom, such as using common sense. olderwiser 00:20, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps "disregard" is a more appropriate word, but IAR is rather historical, and the point comes across all the same. Also, as I mentioned earlier, using common sense to override a rule is essentially IAR. One cannot use common sense contrary to a rule but for IAR, which is the only way out of strict legalism. AdamBiswanger1 00:24, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Why is IAR necessary for common sense? Common sense and administrator discretion is implicit in all rules on Wikipedia. Even core principles such as NPOV and civility can have varying nuances in application. This rule [IAR], as originally formulated, seems intended to address NOT the deliberate disregard of rules, but rather acknowledges that a sort of obliviousness toward the rules is acceptable, so long as you are acting in good faith. olderwiser 00:36, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
And that is exactly, exactly, exactly what IAR is, too. AdamBiswanger1 00:44, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Huh? olderwiser 01:15, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Because IAR "acknowledges that a sort of obliviousness toward the rules is acceptable, so long as you are acting in good faith". Sorry if that wasn't clear. AdamBiswanger1 01:20, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry if I'm a little dense, but I still don't understand. What is it "that is exactly, exactly, exactly what IAR is, too"? olderwiser 01:44, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Not at all--Well, you were trying to come up with why IAR is not needed/impractical and why UCS is superior. You then went into defining what UCS is, saying that it's not a deliberate disregard of the rules, but an obliviousness toward them. I really don't see the difference, as any action transgressing the rules in full realization of their existence is deliberate to me. But I said that the said obliviousness, which you mentioned, is "exactly" the same way IAR is intended to be used. The same reasons you laid out for the use of UCS are applicable to IAR, and produce the same result. They both really are "common sense" rules, that allow you to "break the rules" when needed. AdamBiswanger1 02:16, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm, then I think you may have misunderstood what I wrote. I wrote that IAR is not a deliberate disregard of the rules, but an obliviousness toward them. I suggested that UCS was perhaps a better alternative nugget of wisdom to apply in cases involving a deliberate disregard of rules. olderwiser 02:23, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh I'm sorry I had my finger on something completely different than what you said. But anyway, from when I've seen it used wisely, IAR is a deliberate disregard of the rules in full knowledge of their intricacies and the ramifications of the invocation, while being in complete good faith. But for now, I'm way too tired to make any sense...more tomorrow : ) AdamBiswanger1 02:32, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it has been used in that way. But I think it is something of an unfortunate extension of IAR far beyond the original scope. IMO, invoking IAR to disregard rules gives a tacit license to a sort of agressive ignorance -- even if it is intended with good faith, it can give rise to unnecessary confusion over applicability. I.e., why are some editors allowed to deliberately ignore some rules while in other circumstances, deliberately ignoring the rules results in blocks? It seems a lot of the contortions (and the resultant loss of the original wit) has to do with trying to cover such contingencies. I suppose my suggestion would only shift the onus of this discussion onto UCS--but I think that invoking the use of common sense is somewhat less inflamatory that invoking IAR in cases where it may be appropriate to deliberately disregard the rules. olderwiser 02:49, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I never said that editors should worry about accidentally violating rules that they don't fully understand. I said that they shouldn't be encouraged to deliberately violate rules that they don't fully understand. Indeed, if a user accidentally breaks a rule, he or she will soon be educated by someone more knowledgeable in that area. We shouldn't tell people to "ignore" such advice. —David Levy 17:31, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

If only English had a separate plural "you", I would use it here. —Ashley Y 21:22, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Ha! We have that here in Texas, but y'all make fun of us when we use it. (Actually, the only time I remember coming across 2nd person plural is in Spanish translations of the bible, but oh well.) —TheMuuj Talk 08:14, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Bkonrad asks: "Why is IAR necessary for common sense? Common sense and administrator discretion is implicit in all rules on Wikipedia.".

Indeed it is. The thing is that if we don't spell things out, some people aren't going to get it. (Not everyone is a smart cookie, or willing to spend time digging through the rules to figure out every nuance). Hence IAR spells out what was implicit in the rules before, lest people forget about it, or change the rules and out of ignorance lose the implication.

Kim Bruning 16:17, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Archiving talk page

Would anyone be averse to archiving this talk page? SchuminWeb (Talk) 21:15, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I restored sections with stuff less than a week old. I wouldn't mind archiving the straw poll, even though there's an appealing irony to it, in a sick and twisted way... 14:27, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Ignore the rules -- but not other people

The spirit behind this guideline is good, but as written it seems to encourage people to do whatever they want.

We want people to ignore the rules --- but without imposing their will on others.

I think we need to add something like "Ignore the rules -- but remember that Wikipedia is the joint project of many other people, who have ideas about how it should be, ideas which may be different from yours. Don't ignore other people." Bayle Shanks 01:16, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, this would be better advice to give. However, a number of people prefer the text as concise as possible, because they feel more inspired by it that way. —Ashley Y 01:52, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
We could link to WP:DICK or something instead. 17:55, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
We already do link to WP:DICK in the "See also" section. SchuminWeb (Talk) 20:20, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Sure. Ignore all rules is part of the policy trifecta as well as the Five pillars. Pick which of those you like best.

No single rule can do everything on its own. That's why we team it up with others! :-)

Kim Bruning 16:12, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Great way to put it Kim :) -- Laura S | talk to me 19:19, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
"Ignore the rules the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia's quality." --HantaVirus 20:50, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


Looks like people are constructively editing the graffitibox. Even so, edit summaries can only be so long... care to discuss here? :-)

I took out the "advice" part because imo ignore all rules is a kind of law of wikis. It tries to describe the following reality:

The software and the community act as a safety fence. So as long as you're acting in good faith, aren't a dick, and don't purposely violate NPOV, you can basically go wild, and you'll hardly ever screw up so badly that a couple of minor corrections to your edit can't fix it. (Or at worst, if you make a really big howler, people can just revert and then put back what you actually *meant* to say ;-) ). [1]

The levels of support and oppose at the top of the page seem to contradict my view however. Perhaps people feel that the wiki does not sufficiently act as a safety fence? I'm unsure.

Could some people who would like to use "advice" please explain their reasoning? Separately, it'd be interesting to hear more detailed oppose reasons, and to discuss them.

I'm not sure about that poll. I mean, look at the time scale involved. I think recent votes are fairly evenly split, so perhaps the real percentage is about 55% of straw pollees in favour. On the other hand, this gets cited a lot as if it were policy by many people who have not voted above, and it is rare to see any objection. (I have never seen one. Granted, I don't hang around with admins. See below. section referred to was removed --me 02:28, 19 August 2006 (UTC)) Disputes on naming, categorization, and actual wording aside, this thingamabob is something fundamental.
I don't mind the "advice" tag so much, because I think I have always cited this as advice -- not to justify any particular action (my own or another's). On the other hand, I don't mind seeing it removed either. 17:05, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
"Advice" is the simplest description of what this is. It's not a rule. It's not a guideline, apparently. What is it? It's advice. —Ashley Y 07:44, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

It appears Fearless Leader has spoken... I wonder what this will do to the IAR "cycle"? 02:22, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Paul Halmos on ignoring all rules

I like the way Paul Halmos put it in his autobiography: Don't break the rules until you find out what they are. Michael Hardy 21:27, 20 August 2006 (UTC)


JA: I know that you mean that in the least binding of all possible ways … Jon Awbrey 17:44, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

If you talking about my edit summary, I meant the merge discussion I'd intended to start was stopped because apparently it was the same discussion that's been had before. Only it's buried in the archives and change history, so I didn't know that before attempting it. If there's any talk page that deserves a summary at the top it is this one, what's been tried what has been suggested, what the outcome was. Blarg. As for the discussion page in general - no, I'm sure the cycle will continue. -- Isogolem 20:27, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Ah, very interesting … Yes, I only recently learned of this, but apparently one of the rules that some people like to ignore is the one about preserving edit histories. Jon Awbrey 21:02, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

This should not be policy

How disturbing that this just became policy under people's noses. This is pretty bad. Where is the consensus for this? --badlydrawnjeff talk 15:47, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

It did not become policy by consensus, it was fortunately decreed from above by Jimbo. Kusma (討論) 15:51, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I know where I'm heading next. That's disturbing. Wonder why he didn't slap a policy tag on it. --badlydrawnjeff talk
Jimbo stated that IAR is policy and always has been. So it wasn't didn't "[become] policy under people's noses." All we did was to add the policy tag to reflect this, and then modified it to match existing wording. SchuminWeb (Talk) 19:17, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Since in effect IAR means 'we don't have policy, we have rule by decree', it's in a sense appropriate this would become "policy" in the manner of, well, a decree. The "always has been" is indeed a little 1984ish, though. Alai 04:05, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

2001 actually. <innocent look> Kim Bruning 22:57, 1 September 2006 (UTC) (not counting other wikis in the '90s with similar rules)
Then perhaps it should be labelled that this is a "decree" instead of calling it policy. We also need to explain the scope of this decree as everyone and their dog can use it to justify any behaviour (including disruptive) and limit its use solely to improving the encyclopedia, not as an excuse to run off and do whatever you want all the time. --Crossmr 15:48, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm afraid it is a policy, and must be so based on two things: One, Jimbo Wales says it is, and, what Jimbo says, goes. AdamBiswanger1 16:01, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
But that doesn't mean we have leave it so that everyone can run off and do whatever they want all the time. Want to block me for 3RR? IAR. Infact I could go off right now and start an edit war solely to prove this point, at which point some admin would block me for WP:POINT, and my legitimate defense is IAR. So what if I didn't have concensus for those changes? IAR. The potential for abuse of this is infinite, and I've already seen it being used to justify inappropriate behaviour.--Crossmr 16:23, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
There is no 'potential for abuse' if IAR is understood and applied properly. The key caveat is present in the current version: 'if the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia's quality'. Starting an edit war, disrupting Wikipedia to prove a point, is self-evidently not intended to improve or maintain Wikipedia's quality. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 16:46, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
So, why have a policy no administraitors follow? Why have a policy no admins take into consideration during a block? Why have a policy that some admins lose their sysop privliges for following it too literally? All this thing does is cause problems, and doesn't solve any at all. People will and have been blocked for following this, and they always will be, so it's more or less pointless.--KojiDude 16:51, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I doubt you can find an example of this. If you ignore a rule, but can't demonstrate how you were trying to improve the encyclopaedia, you should expect the community to react against you. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:08, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Actually it would be, because I'd be trying to prove a point that in my opinion, would better the quality of wikipedia, thus its covered by IAR. This is why it needs to be spelled out rather clearly. Because anything could be interpreted in some way as potentially bettering wikipedia, whether its through directly bettering an article, or bettering something behind the scenes that would, in someone's opinion, result in a bettering of wikipedia. If someone is making edits to an aritcle that are anything but simple vandalism, regardless of their quality, etc reverting them falls under 3RR. It becomes a content dispute. However, I could turn around and say after my third revert, these edits are terrible, and 3RR is preventing me from improving wikipedia, thus I can IAR. If several editors were to join the other side of the issue and form a concensus, I could turn around and say concensus is a rule that is preventing me from improving wikipedia, in my opinion, thus I can ignore it and continue to revert the article. We could go on like that all day. The key part of IAR is that its based on your interpretation of whats "better" for wikipiedia.--Crossmr 16:53, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I should IAR and turn this back into an essay. Only making the encyclopedia better, after all. I won't, but that's the logic. --badlydrawnjeff talk 16:58, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
That is not the logic. IAR does not justify anyone in taking any thoughtless action. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:08, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
That wouldn't be thoughtless. In my opinion this being policy hurts wikipedia and making it an essay betters it. Thus IAR applies.--Crossmr 17:16, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
That is certainly a somewhat tenuous justification -- obviously IAR needs to be applied with sense and is always trumped by consensus: it may be initially based on an individual interpretation but if that interpretation is ultimately not one that is agreed with amongst the editing community then any actions taken under it will be undone.
In the case of the 3RR, firstly it doesn't apply to reverting vandalism, and secondly common sense and our key principles of respect and consensus mean that Wikipedia is served more by discussion of controversial (or just plain 'terrible') edits resulting in consensus than by ignoring the 3RR.
Ultimately, IAR is a critical part of our editing model because it goes hand in hand firstly with other policies and guidelines (e.g. WP:BOLD) and secondly with fundamental features of the Wiki model: the fact that nothing is permanent and that almost any action can trivially be undone. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:08, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
As I said, the edit might not be vandalism, but it may be pointless, non-notable information, or something that contained poor grammar and other issues. Thats not covered as simple vandalism,but it does damage the article. IAR as written trumps everything, including concensus, as I interpret it. Which is the problem. You can edit war all night behind the shield of IAR and no rule could be applied to prevent you from doing so short of Jimbo showing up, because you're IAR under the guise of bettering wikipedia. Thats an extreme example, but its a literal application of whats written here, and you should be thankful its currently only being applied as a theory here and we haven't reached the stage of users actually applying this. I see no benefit from this policy and only harm.--Crossmr 17:16, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
The reason this is 'only being applied as a theory' is that if users try to justify long-term edit warring with IAR then they will simply get blocked. There is no way, shape or form in which edit warring of the kind you describe improves Wikipedia and if you apply IAR in that way, then you have misunderstood its purpose. As I say above, 'common sense and our key principles of respect and consensus mean that Wikipedia is served more by discussion of controversial (or just plain 'terrible') edits resulting in consensus than by ignoring the 3RR.' --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:30, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Its not the edit warring that is seen as improving wikipedia but the edit that is being put into place that improves wikipedia. Edit warring itself never improves wikipedia, which is why we have a rule for it, however the text that is trying to be kept may improve the article, or prevent it from being ruined by poor text. That does improve wikipedia, and if continually reverting a persistent individual who won't go to talk (which I've encountered more than once) is the only way to deal with it, IAR and don't expect to be blocked for it. --Crossmr 17:37, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Edit-warring is never the right answer to a content dispute. There are many other options, ranging from simply bringing in other editors (via Wikipedia:Third opinion or perhaps the Village pump) to formal dispute resolution processes such as Mediation and Requests for comment. Or another option is to take a long term view, leave the article for a week or so and then come back and fix it. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:45, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
"IAR is a critical part of our editing model" Then explain why innocent, good people are blocked for following it.--KojiDude 17:16, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I've already asked you to give an example. If you can't, I'm going to assume that you're just blowing smoke. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:30, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Oh, I see where this is going. I have to come up with a list of a bazillion people that were blocked for following IAR, or I'll be ignored. Any list I provide with under 1/3 of the people on Wikipedia probably won't be considered a problem, so forget it...--KojiDude 17:37, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
All I asked for was one example. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:45, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
And if I give one, your reply will be "But that's just one time this has happened. IAR works to better Wikipedia, and if you really think it shouldn't be a policy because of one little incident, then you're not exactly thinking clearly. Just report the incident at WP:ANI." To which I will reply by saying " Screw it, I give up. I'm not searching through every single user's block log just to satisfy you when I could be out with my friends watching a movie right now. "--KojiDude 17:53, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. If you want to second guess me when you have no basis for doing so then there's not much point in us having a discussion. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:56, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
The reason why this is and always has been policy is that our best editors follow it every day with success. It also keeps the process wonks out of everybody's hair. --Tony Sidaway 18:07, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Process is important, because this isn't your encyclopedia, or my encyclopedia. Its a project that belongs to everyone that has contributed, and the last thing we need is admins acting unilaterally making sweeping changes/deletions/etc without even so much as a courtesy explanation before hand. IAR is not an excuse to stomp all over process or other rules just because you feel you know better. From what I've seen there always seems to be a lot of blowback when admins do that. Both from users and other admins. I've yet to see IAR used positively, yet I've encountered it many many times used in a way that ends up in a bit of a gong show. I'd question why people who hate process are even putting themselves in a position to work within a group. Working within a group always requires process, unless you set yourself up as some sort of ultimate leader figure who's decision is final. Otherwise all you do by acting out of process is step on toes and irritate all those other people. IAR serves no purpose but that. There are rules for dealing with most things, and not all of them are terribly time consuming. In fact I'd say if the changes you think you need to make would consume a lot of time by going through process there is probably a reason for that.--Crossmr 18:19, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Have you even noticed me applying Ignore All Rules anytime recently? :-) When done correctly, no-one notices. When done wrong, things blow up. This might cause a bit of a negative bias in how you perceive things. Kim Bruning 15:53, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't like the fact that everyone wants it to be a policy just because Jimbo said it is. If there was an AfD and Jimbo voted, would it automatically be closed in his favor? Is that fair to the other contributors? Is it fair to have a policy that only creates problems, just because Jimbo said so? You guys act like he's the masiah or something. He might have made Wikipedia but if he makes a bad decision, it's still a bad decision.--KojiDude 18:29, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

If it makes you happier, I would want it policy even if Jimbo hadn't expressed an opinion. As it happens, he does have a deep insight into how things work here, and his considered view is that it should be policy. Rules are our servants, not our masters. Stephen B Streater 18:33, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo's ability to decree policy (in his capacity as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation) is one of a set of 'foundation issues' that are non-negotiable. If you don't like it, you have the option to take the content and set up your own Wikipedia. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 18:36, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

This is a description of how to use a wiki. <scratch head> I don't see how declaring things one way or the other really helps. <confused look> It just is. As to why it is the way it is, that's a story for another day. Wikipedia is one of those things that could never work in theory, only in practice, they say ;-) Kim Bruning 15:53, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Policy in a nutshell

I'm sure that "Policy in a nutshell" is the wrong thing, but please don't revert yet. A one line article in wikipedia, especially following that policy box looks wrong. It doesn't need to be "in a nutshell" but could we put in a box or at least center it or something? I'd do this, but I don't know how yet. ... Okay, there it is. Thoughts? -- Isogolem 06:43, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Looks wrong to me, I must say. (On layout grounds, that is, setting aside the "wrongness" of the content.) Going straight from infobox, to another infobox, to "see also" makes me wonder, "where's the actual policy"? (Perhaps appropriately for a literally self-negating statement, but still.) Alai 06:53, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that you quite understand what IAR is. It isn't an "article" at all, and its brevity and simplicity are among its key elements. For this to be adequately conveyed, the text must appear in the conventional format. In other words, it's supposed to look short and plain. Placing it in any sort of box (or otherwise attempting to downplay these qualities) renders its nature, location and very presence unclear. (As Alai noted, it looks as though the actual policy is missing.) —David Levy 07:01, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I prefer the simpler layout (as it currently is). Stephen B Streater 09:02, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Why do we feel the need to summarise a policy that it one sentence long? This statement in a nutshell: If the page is only one sentence long, read it and it should not have that policy in a nutshell box. --Lord Deskana (talk) 21:41, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm all for keeping IAR as it is, and I agree with you that the whole "nutshell" idea is well, stupid. But I do agree with the opposition that some clarification is needed--just not on the page itself. It does seem like that is in place, however, with the "see also" section. Now I'm just rambling. AdamBiswanger1R.I.P. Steve Irwin 21:59, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

I used to think that the nutshell was required for all policy. I think the only way it can be included is if we merge some of the IAR essays into this policy. --LBMixPro <Speak|on|it!> 21:28, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

It's required? This is a perfect occasion to ignore that rule, then! --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 21:48, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

See Also's

There's an awful lot of them - its getting confusing --PopUpPirate 22:56, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Personally I find them terribly useful in ensuring people don't abuse IAR, there should probably be more.--Crossmr 23:21, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

I am developing this Wikipedia:See alsos straw poll. Anomo 04:33, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Moving "straw" off to a sub-page?

What do you all think about moving the ongoing straw poll onto its own sub-page? As it currently is half of this talk page's length and adds a considerable amount to the load time, it seems worth the effort. Also when you consider the fact that every time we archive a talk page, the whole straw poll gets moved over to the new page.

Thoughts? SchuminWeb (Talk) 02:40, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Works for me. As a "poll" it's now rendered moot by the "one man, one vote" system, so it may not even be necessary to transclude it here in the long run. Avoiding copying it is a clear winner, at any rate. Alai 04:51, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
The "one man, one vote" how, the what? the which? What are you talking about? No, I'm not being sarcastic, I seriously don't understand, and it sounds really scary, could you please explain? :-/ Kim Bruning 15:55, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm curious what you mean there as well, but I've never really taken that poll too seriously, since all it's doing is showing whether people support or oppose its existence. We're not "voting" on any particular action with this poll. SchuminWeb (Talk) 16:55, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I assume that it was meant sarcastically (in the vein of Terry Pratchett's Havelock Vetinari) to describe Jimbo's decision that IAR should be considered as policy. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 17:32, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
<snicker> Now why didn't I catch that? :-) Kim Bruning 00:04, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

High Standards

I added "high standards of" to the policy line. The prior version of the policy could be taken to mean "maintain the low quality of Wikipedia" or "maintain the status quo of a Wikipedia article". There are enough vandals and idiots out there who would deliberately read the line as so. Bwithh 17:01, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately the line now includes the phrase "Wikipedia's high standards of quality". I'm just saying. 17:10, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Since every article (or all primary articles, if you exclude minor topic articles/sub-articles) is supposed to aspire to featured article status, there are high standards of quality. The new phrasing does not imply that all or even most Wikipedia articles are of high quality. But you see what I mean by pointing out that there are people out there who will negatively read such lines to mock Wikipedia. Bwithh 17:29, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
I really wouldn't be all that concerned about what vandals and idiots might read into it. I'd be more concerned about what a reasonable person will read into it. If you're worried about being mocked, "Wikipedia's high standards of quality" is probably not a good choice of phrase anyway. Even I want to mock that, and I'm not even a complete idiot. Half, tops. 18:33, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
The phrasing 'if the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia's high standards of quality' doesn't make sense -- or it doesn't make the sense that we want it to. The object of 'improving or maintaining' is 'standards of quality': this wording suggests that people should only ignore rules when editing Wikipedia's standards! I've reverted. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 22:02, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Do not add a new change to policy if it is controversial until after discussion has reached some agreement. —Centrxtalk • 22:06, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

God, WP:IAR is idiotic Bwithh 23:44, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
And yet your user page says, :This user's alignment is Chaotic Neutral: the "Free Spirit". IAR should be perfect for you. --Xyzzyplugh 02:06, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

History of Ignore All Rules

According to this link , Ignore All Rules was, in fact, the first ever wikipedia policy. "At the beginning, there were no formal rules, though Sanger eventually posted a set of guidelines on the site. The first was “Ignore all the rules.” Two of the others have become central tenets: articles must reflect a neutral point of view (N.P.O.V., in Wikipedia lingo), and their content must be both verifiable and previously published". --Xyzzyplugh 17:14, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, doesn't ring true - for one thing Sanger is listed as an opponent of this page above. Haukur 17:20, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Look here, about 10% of the way down the page. "I wrote this rule and was its first supporter; but I think we have outgrown it. I'm moving my name to the "opponents" category. --Larry Sanger" --Xyzzyplugh 17:24, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Duh, sorry. How embarrassing :) Read this for some recent ponderings by Sanger on how to do this sort of thing. Haukur 17:30, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Rules to consider. 17:05, 15 September 2006 (UTC)


I have added The Snowball clause to a section labelled "corollaries", for obvious reasons. --Tony Sidaway 17:59, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

That obvious reason being the ticky-box argument on Wikipedia talk:Snowball clause? It was already under "See also". 18:05, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Removed. Snowball has it's own page for a reason. -- Isogolem 18:34, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. BTW, Wikipedia:Policy trifecta lists be bold and avoid instruction creep as corollaries of IAR. --Ligulem 22:58, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that could cause confusion. The Wikipedia:Snowball clause is a corollary of Ignore all rules, but not a policy in itself. --Tony Sidaway 23:10, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Tony, I'm sorry to revert again, but I'm unclear about what is gained by adding the "corollary" text in any form to this page. -- Isogolem 23:15, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
You lost me there. I agree with you. I didn't realise that "corollary" was used the policy trifecta, and using it in a slightly different context here would be confusing. --Tony Sidaway 23:18, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
If you look at the edit history, it looked you you were particulary interested in getting SNOW mentioned as a corollary. *Shrug* Cool. -- Isogolem 04:32, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
This discussion closed looks like. See Also for SNOW: needed. "Corollary" text: not needed. Thanks! -- Isogolem 23:34, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Logical inconsistency

Other policies such as WP:No original research specifically state that they are not superceded by other policies.

This leaves you with a case where two policies each say the other is wrong. One says that you can ignore all rules if they prevent improving Wikipedia; the other one says that it must always be obeyed and that the "ignore all rules" policy cannot change that.

This is a contradiction. Ken Arromdee 18:28, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

You are correct; this is a logical inconsistency. But, to put it in logical terms, consider the premise that certain other polices may not be superceded by any other policy to be, in effect, false. WP:OR is not superceded by other policies except this one. So, therefore there is not a contradiction. I wouldn't suggest noting this on any other policy page, though. It would just clutter it up, and maybe even suggest breaking the rules. AdamBiswanger1R.I.P. Steve Irwin 20:04, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
And you are also supposing that adding original research to Wikipedia qualifies as "improving Wikipedia". —Centrxtalk • 20:18, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I fail to see how anyone could use WP:IAR in exuse to breaking WP:OR.--KojiDude (viva la BAM!) 20:37, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I would suggest Wikipedia_talk:No original research#Pool Forge Covered Bridge and OR as a place where WP:IAR is a reasonable excuse for breaking WP:OR. Ken Arromdee 05:12, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Two things: First of all, for other editors looking for the comment, it is now located at Wikipedia talk:No original research/archive13. Secondly, I agree that the above makes a decent case of IAR coming into play, after reading the whole bloody thing. I also agree that with WP:V coming into play there, it gets troublesome, what with someone suggesting getting their bit published in the local newspaper. That also seems a good case of throwing not only WP:OR out the window, but also WP:V as well under IAR. I have my own issues with WP:V, but, as Bruce Williams would say, "That's another program." SchuminWeb (Talk) 09:05, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

No original research is superseded by several rules. If the no original research page claims different, then that should be corrected (again!). Part of the reason we have ignore all rules is because this kind of sillyness happens, (one hopes by accident.) It allows you to work on the encyclopedia without worrying too much. Kim Bruning 20:54, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Ok fixed. And the fix is non-negotiable :-P Kim Bruning 21:11, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

The reason for WP:IAR is not so that old hands can use it as a justification for breaking the other rules. It exists so that newcomers can add content without feeling that they have to learn all the rules first. We are all responsible for our edits whether we ignore the rules or not and WP:POINT makes it clear that we should be called out for doing outstandingly bad work even if we are following policy to the letter while doing it. WP:IAR basically makes the accompanying point that we should not be called out for doing outstandingly good work even though we do not follow policy to the letter while doing it. That is the spirit in which WP:IAR should be read. -- Derek Ross | Talk 18:55, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Oh, come on now. WP:OR says it can't be superseded by other rules; this rule says it can supersede any other rule, including WP:OR. That's a contradiction. You're basically saying that it's not a contradiction because this rule doesn't actually say what it says.
WP:IAR certainly is there so that old hands can use it to break rules when needed. For one thing, consider the common sentiment that you should be breaking the rules knowingly--your "newcomers interpretation" would be meaningless here. Ken Arromdee 00:43, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
The problem may be in thinking of them as rock-ribbed rules at all, rather than as guiding lines. Even in the policy pages on the most fundamental principles, someone "improving Wikipedia" is certainly following the principles assiduously, they may just not be following the text on the policy page that no one noticed was added a month ago. —Centrxtalk • 00:54, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Your comments are close to the mark. Policy did indeed start out as loose guidelines rather than rigid laws. While its rules have become more rigid with the growth in WP and the introduction of the ArbComm, the idea is still to follow the spirit of the rules, rather than the letter. -- Derek Ross | Talk 04:04, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
How do you follow the spirit, not the letter, of a rule which says "follow the letter, not the spirit"? Ken Arromdee 15:27, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Simple. Apply WP:IAR. That's just common sense, <grin>. -- Derek Ross | Talk 20:32, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
No, I'm basically saying "who cares whether it's a contradiction or not". On Wikipedia people are more important than rules. If we end up being judged it will be for whether we have behaved sensibly or not, and not for whether we have slavishly followed the rules. That's why it doesn't matter whether WP:OR and WP:IAR contradict each other. Old hands may well use WP:IAR as "justification" for their behaviour but the fact is that like the rest of us they are (or at any rate should be) judged on their motivation and their behaviour, not on their rule-following ability. If it is sensible in one situation to follow WP:OR, then follow it. If it is sensible in another to follow WP:IAR, follow it. Either way you will be held responsible for using commonsense, not for following policy. -- Derek Ross | Talk 04:04, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Judging people on their motivation and behavior is one of the things that WP:OR says you may not do. WP:OR explicitly says that it may not be overrruled by consensus of editors, and it will be a consensus of editors that judges your motivation and behavior. Nothing overrides WP:OR--not agreement that it is being applied in a resoundingly stupid way, not "motivation and behavior", not common sense--nothing. If you think that editors should be judged on their motivation and behavior, then fix the rule, because the rule says that they shouldn't.
Or can editors' consensus overrule the part which says not to use editors' consensus? Ken Arromdee 15:26, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I think this is invoking apples when looking at oranges. IAR is about behavior. NOR is about content. The conduct of any editor is subject to the censure of the community. As has been discussed extensively, IAR is not a "get out of jail free" card nor a license to do whatever one wishes. If an editor invokes IAR to justify violation of NOR, the community consensus will (or at least should) find such conduct to be unacceptable. NOR is about content. And the statement in NOR about not being superceded by other policies or guidelines specifically (at least presently) indicates that it is the principles upon which NOR is based that are non-negotiable. The specific details of what is or is not OR is not as clear-cut as some try to make it out to be. There are many gray areas, which sometimes result in seemingly inconsistent outcomes. olderwiser 15:56, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
In that case, there's still a contradiction, just a different one. Now the OR article is correct and the IAR article is wrong. It should say "If the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore them--except for the rule saying that the principles behind WP:OR must be followed."
You can't get around the fact that there's a contradiction. If WP:OR really does mean there's something which is non-negotiable, fine--but then WP:IAR has to be changed to say that not everything is negotiable.
And even then, you've assumed that following the principles means avoiding OR. While that's usually true, I'm not convinced that that's true 100% of the time. Ken Arromdee 04:19, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
1) Violating the fundamental principles of an encyclopedia is not improving Wikipedia. 2) Ignore all rules does not mean the same thing as Break all rules. No rules conflict with IAR. —Centrxtalk • 04:41, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
The only way to ignore a rule is to either
1) do something that by coincidence fits with the rule anyway, or
2) break it.
Assuming that by ignoring rules you don't mean 1), it follows that ignoring rules mean breaking rules. They're basically the same thing. Ken Arromdee 06:21, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
No, most of the time if you are doing the right thing it coincides with what's written down. That's half the point with IAR. —Centrxtalk • 21:12, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

If logical inconsistency between the rules worries you, please ignore it and get on with improving the encyclopedia. -- ALoan (Talk) 10:17, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

You're asking me to ignore a contradiction that's *about what we're allowed to ignore*. That isn't logically possible. Ken Arromdee 20:57, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Now that's just thinking TOO much :D --PopUpPirate 21:24, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
You certainly can ignore inconsistencies in rules. Worrying about them is definitely a bad idea, so Ignore all rules applies. --Tony Sidaway 19:02, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm, I thought this section was going to discuss: "Ignoring all rules means to ignore ignoring all rules, and then ignore ignoring ignoring all rules and...." ad infinitum. —Malber (talkcontribs) 17:12, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

  • If "Ignoring all rules" prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. Yes, it is paradoxical; the point is that the encyclopedia comes first, the rules second (or possibly after that, depending). Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. >Radiant< 14:31, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
It's only "paradoxical" because nobody will fix it. Look, I'm not talking about the cutesy paradox that other people have suggested (you should ignore the rule which says to ignore all rules, which leads to a contradiction because if you ignore all rules you don't, etc.). I'm pointing out a contradiction in the ordinary sense: OR claims to be the final word, IAR says it's not. Each rule implies that the other one is wrong.
We have no business producing contradictory rules and making people have to figure out that IAR is the one which really takes precedence. Especially since quite a few people look at them and conclude that IAR *doesn't* take precedence. It really is impossible to figure out from the text of the rules whether OR can ever be ignored.
If our rules don't make sense together, they should be fixed so that they do. Refusing to fix broken rules on the grounds that IAR lets you get around them is questionable at best; and it's even more questionable when one of the broken rules *is* IAR. Ken Arromdee 17:32, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, each rule implies the other is wrong. And what happens is, when we are in a real situation, we'll decide which one applies. As a community. But we don't need to decide that now, because as far as I can see, nobody has brought an instance where it matters here. Hiding Talk 18:59, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, just above is the link to the covered bridge example, where someone had to violate NOR and Verifiability and had to invoke IAR in doing so. Or did you want examples where someone actually said "too bad I'm not allowed to ignore this rule"? I think it's unreasonable to demand the latter sort of example, because someone who reads the rules that way probably isn't going to write anything. Ken Arromdee 01:55, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I see what Ken is getting at. Put it this way: it used to be "Ignore all rules" was the first "rule to consider". Now there is no ordered list, and furthermore something claims to take precedence over everything. You know some people are going to hear "ignore all rules except NOR, which you must take as written, even if common sense and 'consensus' tell you otherwise". However, WP:NOR looks like it is going to be reworked into WP:ATT, which doesn't have the offending sentence. 18:57, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Who says we can't produce contradictory rules? --Tony Sidaway 19:04, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't see any logical contradiction. If you're ignoring WP:NOR anyway, you can always ignore WP:NOR's instruction that you not ignore it. See also WP:COPYVIO ("Wikipedia has no tolerance for copyright violations in our encyclopedia") (emphasis added). The only thing the strong language in WP:NOR and WP:COPYVIO accomplishes is to make it more difficult for editors to achieve consensus to ignore those rules, which may be appropriate in those cases. TheronJ 19:19, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Sure, but why, pretending you aren't an experienced wikipedian for a second, would you decide that you could get away with ignoring WP:NOR at all? "No tolerance" is very far from "this supercedes everything including other policies and consensus". Put another way: what do you think would happen if I tried to explicitly write "this supercedes IAR" into NOR or "this defers to NOR" into IAR? But, again pretending you're not an experienced wikipedian, isn't that what's already written? 19:45, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Hmm. I was addressing the argument that there's a logical contradiction. As to whether the semantic conflict makes it more difficult to use WP:IAR, sure. However, (1) I want it to be difficult, but not impossible, to use IAR to ignore important policies such as NOR or COPYVIO, and (2) the last think I want to do is encourage inexperienced users to use IAR. (Suggesting that new users should start ignoring core policies because they think it would be for the good of the encyclopedia smacks of WP:BEANS, and will probably get plenty of them banned). TheronJ 21:50, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
The perfect wiki would have no rules, of course. So the closer we are to that, the better, imo --PopUpPirate 23:07, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't agree with your (2), TheornJ. Of course new users should use be bold and ignore all rules. That's usually the least controversial way to use of it. 15:54, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
In response to Theronj, it isn't so much that it would be difficult to gain consensus to ignore the copyright policy, it's that if by some act of collective insanity you managed to get such consensus, this would of course be ignored. We do not and cannot put Wikipedia policy (even consensus, which I think is an excellent and in general one of the more useful Wikipedia policies) before our legal obligations. --Tony Sidaway 20:43, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Message box moved from page

I removed this from WP:IAR: it seemed more appropriate to a talk page, rather than the policy page itself. -- The Anome 12:03, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Warning sign Significant revisions are proposed to this policy or guideline. You may wish to look at the Wikipedia:Ignore all rules/Brainstorming to brainstorm and discuss possible revisions.
Copied to top of the page. That's where these boxes go. -- Isogolem 22:56, 2 October 2006 (UTC)