Wikipedia talk:Policies and guidelines

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Policy pages versus policies themselves[edit]

I've noticed that policy pages sometimes seem to draw a distinction between the policies and the pages that describe them. For example, Template:Policy says "this page documents an English Wikipedia policy", not "this page is an English Wikipedia policy". This page's intro says "Wikipedia policy and guideline pages describe its principles and best-agreed practices", not "Wikipedia policies and guidelines are its principles and best-agreed practices". This type of phrasing seems unnecessary and confusing, so I'd like to start editing it out.

But am I missing something? Is this a conscious choice? I don't know—perhaps it's meant to communicate the pages are just imperfect descriptions of the community consensuses that are the true policies? (That would be a very strange decision, though.)—Neil P. Quinn (talk) 05:57, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

You're not missing anything and that's a reasonable way of thinking about it. And we don't even have some sort of ideal perfect Platonic policies we're trying to describe as they are just the consensus of the time. Dmcq (talk) 08:05, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, you've guessed it correctly: The True Policy™ is what the community does. The words written on a page that has been tagged "policy" at the top may or may not accurately or adequately reflect the True Policy™. It is a conscious choice. If you want to read more about this, then search for what User:Jimbo Wales has said about the British constitution over the years. WhatamIdoing (talk) 08:58, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
But policies are, per the Consensus policy, the "established consensus" of the community. What The True Policy is is the "spirit of the rule." But this Policy policy (not a typo) says that policies should clearly state the spirit of the rule and "If the spirit of the rule is clear, say no more." Therefore, the written policies should be accurate statements of the established consensus of the community and, unless the written policy is doubtful or in flux, should be deemed to be accurate statements of the True Policy. Unless, of course, this Policy policy and the Consensus policy do not state The True Policy. But, of course, they're not doubtful or in flux. But ... damn. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 18:10, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
The wording "this page documents an English Wikipedia policy" seems a sensible way of distinguishing between an abstract principle (the policy) and a literal thing (the page itself, as it exists on a screen, in digital memory, or hard copy). The statement "this page is an English Wikipedia policy" wouldn't account for the policy – whether held to be an unwritten rule or simply the sum of the words on the page – existing as a concept even if all copies of the page everywhere were destroyed. —Sangdeboeuf (talk) 06:46, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
@Sangdeboeuf: Sorry to resurrect an old discussion, but that distinction doesn't make much sense to me. The very thing that distinguishes a policy from an informal norm is the fact that it's written down and therefore easier for a community to agree on and for newcomers to grasp than a nebulous unwritten principle. That's why drawing fine distinctions like this seems unhelpful. Anyway, it does seem that the wording I asked about does exist for a reason (even if I'm skeptical of it), so I shouldn't change it without a broader discussion.—Neil P. Quinn (talk) 21:00, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Hello am anew here but itis ok let us see what we hàve carefully Binharoon (talk) 22:53, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

"X is just a guideline"[edit]

I have encountered this quote and its variants many times. It seems like a perennial issue: if a guideline goes against what an editor wishes to do, then the editor says it needn't apply because it is "just a guideline". Of course there may be exceptions to guidelines, but it may be insufficiently clear from the outset that such exceptions require explanation. This is addressed later in the Enforcement section,

Going against the principles set out on these pages, particularly policy pages, is unlikely to prove acceptable, although it may be possible to convince fellow editors that an exception ought to be made.

I'd like to convey a bit of this earlier in the policy, in the Role section. I propose (bolding to show diff):

Guidelines are sets of best practices that are supported by consensus. Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply when there is consensus for making them.

Perhaps this can be refined, but that is the general idea. Manul ~ talk 13:22, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

You may also be interested in WP:PGE.
Generally, I think that the whole section needs to be reconsidered. Guidelines often include more than just best practices (but some policies include that information, too); the {{guideline}} template says that they are "standard[s] that editors should follow", but we use that language to describe policies here; etc. It might be more accurate to say that the difference is merely reflective of editors' emotional reactions to certain ideas, or that guidelines usually provide more how-to information (except when they don't, e.g., WP:Notability). WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:22, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

South Africa[edit]

This page is for the purpose of discussing how to improve this policy. — TransporterMan (TALK) 21:09, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

South Africa is a diverse country with many sounds that have reached international standards when it comes to music kylo (talk) 19:00, 4 February 2017 (UTC)