Wikipedia talk:Policies and guidelines

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Overhaul Enforcement[edit]

I think we should consider re-writing this section:


Enforcement on Wikipedia is similar to other social interactions. If an editor violates the community standards described in policies and guidelines, other editors can persuade the person to adhere to acceptable norms of conduct, over time resorting to more forceful means, such as administrator and steward actions. In the case of gross violations of community norms, they are likely to resort to more forceful means fairly rapidly. 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. This means that individual editors (including you) enforce and apply policies and guidelines.

In cases where it is clear that a user is acting against policy (or against a guideline in a way that conflicts with policy), especially if they are doing so intentionally and persistently, that user may be temporarily or indefinitely blocked from editing by an administrator. In cases where the general dispute resolution procedure has been ineffective, the Arbitration Committee has the power to deal with highly disruptive or sensitive situations.

This isn't "wrong", but I think it hits the wrong tone. Once upon a time, the overall feeling from this page was "Lucky you! You, the regular editor, are trusted to do what's right for the project. Sure, the written policies aren't perfect or complete, but they exist to help you, and your good judgment will fill in the gaps." Now, when I read this, it feels more like "We have multiple layers of police and punishment methods to force everyone to follow rigid rules, unless you want to spend hours in dispute resolution bureaucracy."

I'm not sure how to improve this, but I think we should consider it. If someone sees this and feels bold, then I'd be happy to see what changes you make. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:26, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

I'm afraid your characterization seems to describe the situation fairly. If there could be fewer dispute resolution stages and they had more teeth it would be altogether better I feel. And the people who are willing to spend hours n dispute resolution do get their way eventually by driving other editors away. The way to improve it would be to improve how dispute resolution is done - but any 'improvements' instead tend to just be added on as more layers of pain. Dmcq (talk) 20:03, 29 May 2016 (UTC)
What I'd rather like is if a content dispute has failed to find a resolution at RfC is is still going on then some five people chosen randomly from a group of arbiters, maybe admins or some other board that was elected, would come along and would have to decide in one day one way or the other and the decision would be absolute for the next three months. Dmcq (talk) 12:44, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
Dmcq, what you're talking about is some form of content arbitration. It's been proposed and discussed many times over the years and has always failed as being too much like voting and opposed to the consensus model of wiki. I mostly gave up on supporting such ideas long ago. I've been (very) slowly working on an idea that could be used voluntarily (the draft is here) by the parties in a dispute. (And, indeed, I actually did this, or actually a preliminary concept version of it, at DRN in one dispute and it kind of worked.) Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 20:53, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
I wasn't thinking of content arbitration as such but a means to reduce the effect of disputes by imposing a time out and leaving something vaguely okay in the article. Long term high level disputes without a break drive away good editors. Basically a longer term of page protect without stopping edits and leaving something that isn't completely wrong like can happen with page protect. Yes trying out something as a voluntary opinion is always a good idea if possible. Dmcq (talk) 21:25, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
TransporterMan, that's an interesting approach. One of the challenges is getting people who know something about the subject area. Knowing the arbitrator in advance would give editors a chance to decide whether it's the right person (experience, character, relevant knowledge, etc.). I like the way that you've solved that problem.
(While you're here, do you have any thoughts on the tone of the two paragraphs above?) WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:25, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

Present/Past Hardware/Software Issues/Bugs[edit]

We have a lengthy dispute at Talk:Surface Book#Known Issues regarding this particular addition to the Surface Book article:

The device had an issue where it failed to sleep properly, draining the battery very quickly.[1] Microsoft developed a fix that was available on February 17, 2016.[2]

This small bunch of text caused a spectacularly fierce dispute between two editors. One considers past software bugs as being excessive for Wikipedia, implying that it's WP:NOTINDISCRIMINATE collection of information, whereas other editor insists on inclusion of the aforementioned quoted snippet, suggesting that it may shed light on a product's (past) issue, which may guide potential buyers, and also pointing to some other articles which have past resolved software bugs/issues documented.

There is still no consensus and notably the dispute is ignored by active regular editors, so after months of a slow edit war, administrators came to the discussion. However they do not provide any personal thoughts on the case, trying instead to find inconsistencies in both conflicting editors' statements (there are plenty). That's understandable, since there is no official position.

As far as I can see no official guideline regulating (present / fixed) (hardware / software) (issues / bugs), may I ask for an addition of a clear and precise official policy? I see a great necessity to have it. TranslucentCloud (talk) 09:21, 1 June 2016 (UTC)


The possibilities are: 1) a guideline stating that such coverage is generally, or perhaps always, unacceptable. 2) a guideline stating that they're always acceptable. 3) continue to consider things on a case-by-case basis.
1) is flatly not going to fly. There are far too many articles (on a variety of topics) where analagous content is well accepted. Look, for example, at all of the product-related articles that detail recalls. Whatever you mean by "encyclopedic", the editors of this encyclopedia have voted with their keyboards that such content qualifies, at least where RSs show its significance. A history of problems and their fixes often adds insight into the article topic.
2) is obviously too broad. There are many cases where references are not sufficient to show the significance of a fixed problem.
3) is the only viable option. If inclusion would pass WP:V, WP:DUE, WP:NPOV, WP:NOT, etc., there is no reason to have an additional rule that says "oh, but if it's about a fixed problem, there's a higher standard for inclusion." (Nor, of course, is there reason for a rule that establishes a lower standard.)
Item 4 of WP:IINFO (part of NOT) does preclude "Exhaustive logs of software updates", so we do have that. But the incident to which TC refers was hardly about an "exhaustive log". The edit war was caused not by a lack of applicable P&G, but by both TC and another editor choosing to edit war... ascribing far too much importance to the inclusion or exclusion of a single short paragraph. And this proposal is caused by failure to recognize WP:NORUSH. We don't have to write a new rule to cover every finely-delineated type of content that comes up in an edit war. Jeh (talk) 05:22, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
This policy is about setting up and maintaining policies and guidelines, not the actual content of them. Wikipedia does not have clear and precise official positions on very much except ones required by the foundation for things like copyright. If you want to resolve a dispute WP:DISPUTE gives the path towards doing that. Dmcq (talk) 10:57, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Wikidata and policy[edit]

Do we have any policy regarding WikiData? ((automatic) transclusions of data, references, citation needed, how to "flag" transclusions etc.) Christian75 (talk) 13:40, 27 June 2016 (UTC)