Wikipedia talk:Policies and guidelines/Archive 12

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Recommended addition to "Role" section

I recommend keeping this edit which adds this text and associated minor changes to WP:Policies and guidelines#Role:

This text was taken from WP:Consensus#Exceptions and re-worded to fit here. The original wording said they "have policy status" but it's clear that sometimes, such as many or all office actions, their status is greater in that that they trump WP:IAR and there is no appeal to either ARBCOM or the community at large. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 18:50, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

I think it needs to be tightened up a bit. Where are official declarations documented so they can be checked for this? I note that Wikipedia:Office actions at the top refers to this article for Wikipedia official policy, but that's not defined here. Dmcq (talk) 19:13, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
If say Jimbo declares a policy, who writes it up as a policy page, and which policy subcat does it go in? - Dank (push to talk) 19:25, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Dmcq - I don't have a complete answer for where official declarations are documented, other than "it's usually obvious it's a declaration when you see one." When the board or office makes an official pronouncement, as opposed to a board member or foundation employee speaking as himself, it's presumably be clear, just as it's clear when an arbitrator is speaking on behalf of the committee vs. as himself. With developers and Jimbo it's potentially not quite as clear, one may need to look at the context to see both if they are speaking officially and, if so, if they intend their statement to have policy-level or above-policy-level status. If a developer says "this will be hard" that's different than him saying "we don't have the manpower for that," and that in turn is different than him saying "it would require a fundamental rewrite of the entire wiki software." While all 3 statements are "request denied," the first is clearly not meant to be policy-level, the second may be policy-level but it can be overturned by the community if resources are made available, say, by the community de-prioritizing other work, while the third is pretty much at the same level as an office action - in practical terms, there is no appeal. Similarly, with Jimbo, "I think that..." (personal opinion) is different than if he hypothetically says "This is the way it's always been and this is the way it is" (policy-level declaration) vs. if he hypothetically says "This is the way it's always been and this is the way it is and I'll block anyone who edits otherwise" (pseudo-super-policy statement - note: I've never seen Jimbo make a threat like this, and I doubt he would). davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 19:31, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Any further suggestions? If there is nothing by Jan. 5 or 6, I'll make the change, we can tighten it up later. I would prefer to see alternative wording before I add the text, so it only has to be added/changed once. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 04:02, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not comfortable with inserting something into policy if it's not clear what we're talking about. Sure, we have to follow the Foundation's WP:Terms of use, and you'll find a link to that at Wikipedia:Wikimedia policy, which is in Category:Wikipedia procedural policies. The question most recently came up at WP:Paid editing, where Jimbo declared a policy, and as long as the Board is happy with it, they can write it down at wmf: as a new Foundation policy if they want to. But I'm pretty sure that no one (including Jimbo) would be comfortable with Jimbo handing us a new conduct, content or deletion policy page, and if it's not going to happen, it's counterproductive to insert a new sentence here implying it could happen. Better to either leave the question unanswered, or if we're going to answer it, then let's get specific about where to put "declared" policies ... linking them from Wikipedia:Wikimedia policy would be one way to do it. If something like that does happen, we can deal with it then. Also, it's not reasonable to tell people that there are policies wandering around out there somewhere, and we can't tell you where they are, but "you'll know a declaration when you see them." It's not policy until it's on a policy page, and per this, "All policy pages are in Category:Wikipedia policies". - Dank (push to talk) 05:08, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Dank there. The WP:POLICY#Derivation section says something about this. Perhaps the policy should say more about Office Declarations which currently are only mentioned in a footnote. However Wikipedia abiding by policies which aren't listed would be Wikipedia running in broken mode I think, it can be done for individual WP:Office actions but it's wrong as a continuous thing. Dmcq (talk) 11:48, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
There's another point Wikipedia:BUREAUCRACY is pointed out as an example of this but I see no record of Jimbo on the page. How is a person to know this there? Is it now a consensus without him? and how about WP:PAID,has it got any status yet? Is what Jimbo said just being taken as policy until something is agreed by consensus oor is it determining what's there. Dmcq (talk)

Regional

I would like to make a suggestion and I hope this is the right spot to do it. I find a lot of articles assume the reader is American and the articles are written as if no other country other than the United States exists. I would like to see a policy that encourages writers to identify pieces of text that may only relate to America. For example Two databases exist....one from the FBI and one from the CIA should be updated to In the United States two databases exist.... Comments? 118.209.200.11 (talk) 10:19, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

There's templates like {{Globalize}} to warn in articles about things like this,as well as using the talk page to say about the problem or even, wait for it, fixing it yourself. There's a number of places referenced from Help:Contents for problems like this, from the help desk to ask about or report problems to the village pump to discuss improvements. Dmcq (talk) 12:00, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
It's important to hit the right balance. If it turns out that (as far as we can tell) there really are only two databases in the entire world, and they're both American, then the "global" situation is simply that two databases exist, period. Similarly, it's not necessary in an article about an American person, place, or company, to endlessly repeat "This US town, which is located in a US state, which, in case you forgot already, is in the USA..." We expect readers to recognize that the FBI and CIA are American agencies -- and, on the other side, that Interpol and MI5 are not.
The best solution is typically to add information about the non-US situation. We'd rather have your example above updated to "There are three databases: FBI, CIA, and ASIS" -- if that is verifiably true, of course -- than to continue omitting non-US information with a fig leaf of a tag that inadvertently emphasizes the US focus by drawing attention to it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:52, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

"Good practice for proposals"

Has any policy or guideline ever been adopted through the procedure outlined at Wikipedia:POL#Good_practice_for_proposals? I personally am not aware of a proposal ever having been adopted on the basis of an RfC and a "Result: Promoted" closure. I've seen rules and procedures changed in this manner (changed -- not instituted), but never adopted. Can anyone enlighten me as to whether this has ever actually worked?--Father Goose (talk) 04:43, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

WP:MEDRS. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:11, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

WP:FORUM

Isn't the rf desk should be allow to ask questions, if they cannot answer a question, I think they should at least making a smart guess. Some questins I ask becomes depricate on Wikipdia rf desk, then where on Wikipdia can we allow debates and discussion about subjective opinions like Do you think X plate is moving to the NSWE? I still don't understnad what is wrong as using Wikipdia as a discussion forum? Then whch wiki can we do that without signing in. People like me to join google and yahoo groups to start a debate.--209.129.85.4 (talk) 17:50, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

I presume by rf desk you mean reference desk. There's lots of places you can go for a discussion. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia not a discussion board. Discussion of subjective opinions is not relevant. Dmcq (talk) 18:01, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion about changes to how Wikipedia works should be on WP:Village pump, not here. But I believe they will sy the same. If a web site says they don't want you to do something and you want to do it then go somewhere else. Dmcq (talk) 18:06, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Feedback, possibly ready for addition to see also?

After months of molding Help:Introduction to policies and guidelines, it'd like to get feedback from the people who watch this page and maybe even post it in the see also. It is meant to be a gentle, accessible, plain-speak introduction to the big policies/guidelines (simple + short bites + aesthetically pleasing). Thoughts? The plan is to soon be part of a larger system of basic help and introductions for the newest of users, but the infrastructure isn't quite ready yet (see more at WP:Help Project / WT:Help Project for that schtick). JoeSmack Talk 03:38, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Anyone? JoeSmack Talk 00:49, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I looked it over; it's okay. I didn't like the "Let's learn about!" tags; the labels seemed condescending. Other than that, it looked useful... but I wonder how much good it will actually do. Nobody reads the directions, you know. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:24, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Easily changeable, it was actually kind of a running joke when making it to be as enthusiastic about the next part as possible. Hopefully it do as much good as possible - how many new editors do you know who feel overwhelmed by tons of policies and guidelines? It's the same vein as WP:T, but meant to be more palatable. Any reason not to include it in the See Also of this project space? JoeSmack Talk 02:07, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Looks good. Nice work.
Incidentally, you are allowed to be bold, even on policy pages, especially for minor stuff like adding highly on-topic see-alsos.--Father Goose (talk) 08:13, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! I try to be bold, but carefully. Adding it now... JoeSmack Talk 19:12, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Guideline Dispute

Hi everyone,

There is a dispute between two editors at wp:when to use tables.

Comment is requested at the talk page regarding the versions over the dispute.174.3.98.236 (talk) 17:06, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

See also?

Wikipedia:How to contribute to Wikipedia guidance is an essay advertised at Category:Wikipedia proposals. It might be well to make sure that it points to #Proposals and doesn't contradict this page. I'd do it myself, but I'm almost out of time. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:51, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Update: I'm not finished reading this essay, but so far the content looks okay. It could use a bit of copyediting, though. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:18, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

RfCs in userspace

Relevant discussion taking place at Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion#RfCs in userspace. Question was posed by User:Casliber: "...have we ever discussed how long is a reasonable amount of time to develop and/or leave a made-up-and-loaded RfC in one's userspace before it should be by rights deleted as an attack page? (i.e. "put-up-or-shut-up" rule?)" thanks, IZAK (talk) 22:11, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Changing the rules to win a dispute

On my mind today: The deplorable practice of re-writing policies and guidelines to gain ascendancy in a dispute. Isn't this already addressed somewhere?

(If not, it's a bit more complicated than it might seem at first glance: disputes enlighten editors to true deficiencies in our written advice, and thus to legitimate efforts at improvement.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:59, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Policy should certainly be amended when conflicts make us aware that a policy does not correctly articulate the community's view on a given issue. At the same time, though, it's best to wait until after the specific dispute cools off (if it's not ongoing) before attempting to fix the policy -- otherwise the parties, already in "fight" mode, will war over the changes.
The really deplorable practice is not rewriting policy in the context of a dispute, but trying to force changes through edit-warring. If you can't demonstrate that most of the community agrees with a given section of policy (or changes to it), you shouldn't be pushing for it, as it has no standing without the backing of consensus, and it will be ignored as a result. Keeping non-consensus material in a policy does nothing but create strife.--Father Goose (talk) 07:17, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
The thing that always amuses me about this issue is that people have been complaining about it (in numerous contexts) since at least the time of Aristotle. Read his Politics: there are virtuous citizens who argue for the benefit of the community, and non-virtuous citizens who argue for the benefit of themselves (often because can't see that there is a difference between what benefits them and what benefits the community). I don't expect this problem to go away any time soon, though it would be nice if it did... --Ludwigs2 08:13, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
It really is amazing to me this business, I haven't been sucked into too many big disputes thankfully but of those I have every single one has had someone going off and trying to rewrite a policy or guidelines. It is how I got to this page originally. And they don't mention the dispute they're in or tell anyone else in the dispute what they're doing either! Luckily there seems to be enough people looking after the policy and guideline pages so they're pretty robust about stopping even persistent POV pushers getting the better of them. Dmcq (talk) 11:18, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
I suspect that this is how most of us got involved in editing policy pages. I would agree that editing policy due to a dispute is not best practice, but it is a reality we need to live with. Most of our policy pages have enough people watching them to fend off those edits that do not reflect community consensus. The other side of the coin is that there are rare occasions when the editor who wants to make a change has a valid point. We have to remember that consensus can change (it just does so slowly and with reluctance). Blueboar (talk) 14:37, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I've just realized that this is already addressed, in the very last sentence: "Editing a policy to support your own argument in an active discussion may be seen as gaming the system, especially if you do not disclose your involvement in the argument when making the edits." (It did seem a bit too obvious to have been left out...) WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:35, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Role of ArbCom in setting policies

Does the Arbitration Committee have the specific overriding right to establish any policy for which the community has made a differing statement in an RfC widely participated in? The case in hand is the ArbCom Motion concerning BLPs for which an existing policy was apparently overturned by ArbCom with a requirement that a new policy be made. As I find no mention of ArbCom having the ability to supercede policy in this policy page, I wonder where it derives its specific powers. Collect (talk) 13:18, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

I would say that in most cases the answer is: No. ArbCom's job is to enforce the rules, not to make them. However, if ArbCom is ruling that a policy needs to change, then I think we should assume that the policy no longer enjoys a true community consensus. We need to re-examine the situation and establish just what current community consensus is.
Also... ArbCom may be making its ruling based on something that does over rule consensus... something like a Foundation mandate, or the advice of the Foundation's attorneys. This is especially possible when it comes to something like BLP, where there are actual Federal and State laws that can impact what we can and can not say. Community consensus could be solidly in favor of something, but if that something violates Federal or State law then that consensus must be ignored. I don't know if this is the case with the specific ruling you are referring to, but it needs to be considered. Blueboar (talk) 15:10, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Normally, I'd say ArbCom cannot set policy (though may encourage changes to it), but when we get issues that center on areas that the Foundation has asked us to keep vigil over (eg BLP), ArbCom-set policy may be needed if consensus cannot be easily developed prior to their involvement, simply to avoid all the drama. --MASEM (t) 14:54, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
One of the problems with "top down" decisions is that, where the material presented by the over-body is not presented to the plebes, the plebes may, in fact, doubt the actual wording of the mandate. In the case of BLPs, the clear evidence is that it is "sourced BLPs" which have far the greater incidence of contentious material. AFAICT, the Foundation is concerned about contentious material in BLPs, which means that the result of focussing all the energy on material which is not contentious is actually going to slow down fixing the real problematic articles <g>. Rather the "Law of Unintended Consequences" in such a case, no? Collect (talk) 15:16, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Unintended consequences... I think we have been dealing with that since Wikipedia started. Have we ever written a policy or guideline that didn't have unintended consequences? Blueboar (talk) 16:29, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Notifacation Of Proposal To Promote wp:quote

There is a proposal to promote wp:quote.174.3.110.108 (talk) 01:47, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

"Do not summarize, copy, or extract text"

Does this really match practice? A lot of our policies make direct reference to statements in other policies, and they often quote each other. It seems to me that this is the best way to ensure that they all say the same thing and do not conflict. Blueboar (talk) 19:01, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

That doesn't match practice, agreed. Do we want to be more careful in some way to keep track of the overlapping text? I'm not sure; this might just add an extra level of things to argue over, but I've often been attracted to the idea. - Dank (push to talk) 19:45, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think it should be removed, or perhaps re-worded to explain the problem (bad summaries badly maintained).
Additionally, most of that bullet item is exactly counter to both common practice and effective practice. I've personally added "Except for citations" repeatedly to WP:EL, and I plan to go on repeating the fact that WP:Reliable sources are not WP:External links until editors finally quit asking whether EL has banned their reference. So far, I think we're up to half a dozen separate repetitions, most of them involving bold-face text. It seems to have been a mostly successful strategy: We get many fewer such questions now, although we haven't quite eliminated them.
The bottom line, IMO, is that pages need to be useful, and if repetition makes them more useful, then we should repeat things (especially for sections commonly linked separately, like WP:ELNO or WP:HANDLE). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:22, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
The reason why I think the current language is wrong is that I see a lot of policy statements that are based upon statements made in other policies... and they often end up being slowly edited to the point where they no longer agree with eachother. I think direct reference and even quotation is the best way to resolve that. If a statement at WP:NOR is based upon something said at WP:V, we should note that fact (using language such as: "As noted at WP:V: <quote taken from WP:V>"... This tells editors "this is based on another policy... please don't change this unless you also change the policy where we took it from." Blueboar (talk) 21:28, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
If we quote them then even a minor change makes them no longer agree with each other. It's not like these are static documents. I don't think it's bad advice, I think that people need to understand that all policies and guidelines don't exist in a vacuum. "Newbifying" the policies by making them very redundant with each other seems like a bad idea to me, which is why I do think this line is sound advice. Obviously we shouldn't slavishly follow it. But would any of you disagree with this recent edit? Extensive quoting or summarizing of other policies is something I believe we should avoid. Gigs (talk) 21:46, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes... exactly right... even a minor change will make them no longer agree... which will mean it will be far easier to catch and correct discrepancies before they become significant. If I am reviewing a change, and notice that it involves something that is a quote... I would immediately check both policy pages, figure out where the discrepancy originated and highlight it to the other editors on both pages in an effort to sync them back together. This isn't about "Newbifying" polices... its about ensuring that our policies don't contradict each other. Blueboar (talk) 00:58, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Here's what we've got: == Content == Policy and guideline pages should:

  • maintain scope, avoid redundancy. Both purpose and scope must be clearly provided in the lead, and not merely as an aside. Content should be within the scope of its policy.[1] Policies should not be redundant with other policies, or within themselves.[2] Do not summarize, copy, or extract text. Avoid needless reminders.[3]
  1. ^ Suppose that some of the content from a dispute resolution page was copied into Wikipedia:Consensus as a great example of consensus building. Though it may be a great example, it is not a general community standard – yet several clarifying edits later, it may seem as if it were being presented as such. Or perhaps an edit is made to Wikipedia:Notability to clarify how it should be applied within a notability guideline on music. Perhaps Wikipedia:Verifiability is 'summarized' and reworded (non-substantively, of course!) in a guideline, so that editors don't have to check the longer (official, carefully-worded, more-rigorously maintained) version. All of this is scope creep. Keep policies to themselves.
  2. ^ The same redundant statement may change in one place and not in another, and though this is often not a problem in articles, with policy it lead to confusion, contradiction, and verbosity.
  3. ^ Example

So that's one sentence fragment (in bold, and without the grammatically necessary conjunction), followed by five sentences. IMO, the whole thing needs to be re-written. Here are my thoughts, by numbered sentence:

  1. "Purpose and scope must be" in the lead? Nonsense.
  2. This sentence effectively prohibits placing advice in the proper context (e.g., WP:EL saying that different rules apply to WP:CITEd sources, or WP:BLP and WP:V pointing to each other). The first footnote is a dreadful examplefarm.
  3. The third sentence has the same problem with contextualizing as the second. It also forgets (again) that this advice is supposed to apply to guidelines and essays, not just official policies. Additionally, it (and the second footnote) are widely flouted; actual practice is exactly opposite this advice.
  4. The failings of the fourth sentence are outlined above.
  5. In addition to assuming that an editor can magically know exactly what each and every editor "needs" to be reminded about, the linked example in the third footnote does not provide any indication of being a "needless" reminder.

I've never been very fond of this section. It has always struck me as a collection of a single editor's theoretical notion of the "right" way to write these pages. While I think this could be re-written to accurately reflect the community's practices, I wonder whether wholesale removal might not be the better choice. What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:22, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I think that policies should be able to state their purpose for existing, without constantly adding caveats that they don't negate every other core policy. How many policies have some summarized form of WP:BLP in them now? Most of them? Same with WP:V. It should be implicitly understood that no policy exists in a vacuum. Instead of creating this tangled web of cross-referenced summaries and digests, we should just have each policy talk about its own core message.
I think WP:V is a good example of a policy that avoids excessive summarizing and quoting. We could have a section in there talking about how we have higher standards for WP:BLPs, or how even verifiable information might violate WP:UNDUE, but we don't. Those other policies are quickly namechecked in a sentence at the bottom, but it makes no effort to summarize or quote or defer. I think that's a good role model for policies that we should aspire to. Gigs (talk) 01:57, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I think the reason why WP:V avoids excessive summarizing is that it was one of the first to be created (I believe NPOV actually came first, but V came shortly there after) ... so WP:V tends to be the one that most of the others quote. The fact is, you are correct in saying that our polices don't exist in a vacuum... they overlap and influence each other. This is especially true for the core policies. I think we would do better to acknowledge and draw attention to where they overlap, and where they influence each other... because a change to one can mean we need to change others. That isn't always implicitly understood. Blueboar (talk) 03:00, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
OK... to get the ball rolling, I have been bold... I think this is more in line with practice. Your thoughts? Blueboar (talk) 13:02, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
It may be that many policies summarize other policies but I've seen it lead to problems. If they are summarizing or copying a bit because it is not straightforward then it is liable to be changed. If it is summarizing a bit that is straightforward people will be aware of it or infer it from the five pillars anyway so it is redundant padding. However I'm a bit ambivalent about this point as it is covered by be brief and I believe this policy itself should follow its own advice.
On the business about the lead must give the scope and purpose of a policy I fully agree and fail to see why that is nonsense. Even this policy was racked with problems till recently because the scope wasn't clearly stated. The nutshells in particular have I believed saved a lot of trouble. In ordinary articles I've also noticed editors battling over the contents whilst leaving alone an anodyne leader that anyone can read any way - they haven't figured out what the topic or scope of the article is. A policy is not a policy if it cannot summarize its scope and purpose. Dmcq (talk) 14:22, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that a policy should clearly state its scope and maintain it... my pet gripe about the PSTS section of NOR is based on scope (I don't disagree with what PSTS says, but I think it moves the policy beyond the scope of "No original research" - and no, I am not trying to reopen that particular debate... just using it as a personal example). I think the real issue at hand is how to deal with policy overlap. What to do when a particular policy sub-topic falls within the scope of two different policies. Blueboar (talk) 15:26, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Anybody happen to notice that the entire paragraph Blueboar put up and that is being discussed violates just about every point that it itself is trying to make? The bolded sentence fragmant is a summary, but it tells you to avoid summarizing; it states to avoid repetition and needless reminders, yet the three footnotes pretty much are repetition and have needless reminders. I know this particular paragraph/section has been around for sometime and maybe it was written seriously but it seems almost like it was a joke the way it is written. But anyways- there shouldnt be a "right" way to write a policy or guideline and there should be quite a bit of leeway and latitude (needless repetition!) in how each should be written based on what problem it is that the particular policy is addressing. I agree however that perhaps codifying into policy regarding what to do about overlap between policies is a good thing but I hope that we can avoid setting down strict "rules" about how policies should be written like the particular section Blueboar correctly pointed out.Camelbinky (talk) 22:07, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
In case anyone's curious, it was added on 30 July 2009, and has been shortened significantly since then. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:36, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Blueboar, I don't actually object to your changes -- it's a bit of an improvement, I guess -- but we're still writing it as if only the four big-deal content policies (BLP, NOR, NPOV, and V) exist, and that no guidelines or essays exist. Did you really want to tell the folks at WP:RS that they're only allowed to "briefly" refer to WP:V?
Try thinking about the content of a related set of pages -- say, WP:TE, WP:APPEAL, WP:VANDAL, and WP:BLOCK -- and seeing whether a literal interpretation of this section would actually improve those pages. Personally, I don't think that APPEAL can be made intelligible without its frequent re-capping of BLOCK, but perhaps other people would come to different conclusions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:31, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Essays and guidelines tend to be a bit looser and more explanatory than policies, TE is an essay and APPEAL is a guideline. If editors don't like something in a guideline they are a lot freer to just ignore it. And if they do check up and find a difference it is normally pretty obvious which one takes precedence. However with policies like VANDAL or BLOCK one needs to be a bit more careful. Have you any particular cases where you think they obviously don't try an be brief in their references or don't make it obvious what takes precedence? Dmcq (talk) 00:49, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
It depends on what you mean by "they". Does "they don't try to be brief" exclusively refer to policies, or is it an inclusive term? Verbose essays are a dime a dozen. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:17, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
I meant the references from the policies to other policies. I think they should all aspire to brevity but it doesn't really matter as much for the guidelines and essays. Dmcq (talk) 01:27, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
re: "Did you really want to tell the folks at WP:RS that they're only allowed to "briefly" refer to WP:V?"... No, of course not... but I would like to tell them to "be brief" (or at least as brief as possible) when referring to WP:V. There is a difference. Blueboar (talk) 01:34, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
So why are we saying something different from what we supposedly mean? The section says, "Policy and guideline pages should:", not "Policy pages should do this, but other advice pages will have to look elsewhere for stylistic suggestions". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:29, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Nutshell

Any thoughts on Wolfkeeper's edit today? One thing I like about it is, we're not looking for the "best of all possible worlds" (is that from Candide?) here, we're looking for rules which seem to work on Wikipedia as it actually is ... and saying that we're trying to expand on 5P rather than saying that we're trying to do what's "right" may help to get that across. OTOH, I don't remember anyone saying that we're limited to the goals in 5P on our policy pages. - Dank (push to talk) 17:29, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes it would be a better phrasing I think if policies actually were limited to developing the five pillars. However some procedural ones in particular seem to have little to do with anything except being an agreed way of doing things. I didn't like the old sentence but I'd never figured out anything better. Needs someone good with words I think. Dmcq (talk) 17:53, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
We're not trying to develop the pillars, we're trying to follow the principles that are the pillars. The Wiki is at the end of the day, just a server with some software on it that could be used for anything, it's the principles that we follow that make it an encyclopedia, and the policies and guidelines are there to help you follow these principles, including sorting out interactions between people and so forth.- Wolfkeeper 18:57, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I think we rather overexaggerate the would-be fundamental nature of these "pillars". They're a reasonably successful summary of our aspirations and methods, but they aren't some god-given mission statement.--Kotniski (talk) 09:11, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
They're certainly not god-given, they're laid down by royal proclaimation as a charter. I think if we as editors decided that we were going to be, say, a TV company or the next YouTube instead and deleted all the articles, then I think the monarch would be unhappy about this.- Wolfkeeper 13:23, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
No they were set up by wikipedia editors. I think you're thinking of the foundation principles Dmcq (talk) 13:31, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
(The foundation principles don't meet this description either. I don't know where these myths sprang up - perhaps it's a symptom of some inherent human need for a belief system based on "ancient wisdom". Where ancient in the Wikipedia context means 10 years or so ago.)--Kotniski (talk) 14:00, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Partly it was written by wikipedia editors, but it has considerable royal backing, and he employed people like Larry Sanger that did a lot of the heavy lifting.- Wolfkeeper 13:48, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Actually, if you look at the history, we had several of our core policies in place well before the five pillars were conceptualized. That does not diminish the 5P... but let's not rewrite history. Blueboar (talk) 13:54, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Yup. But if you compare the five pillars with: User:Jimbo_Wales/Statement_of_principles, they're actually quite close, pretty much the same thing.- Wolfkeeper 13:59, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Check the edit histories; this is partly right and partly wrong. - Dank (push to talk) 14:43, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It really doesn't matter at all. The point is whether they constitute a value system. If they don't then what is our value system?- Wolfkeeper 15:03, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It's like the British Constitution - unwritten.--Kotniski (talk) 15:09, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Bit of a myth, the British Constitution is at the very least, mostly written down.- Wolfkeeper 15:21, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Exactly, in many different documents, not in a centralized "five pillars".--Kotniski (talk) 15:39, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The point is that ultimately the Wikipedia is held together by values; and you have to point to what the values are when you formulate policy. It's not enough to 'do good', you have to say what good is, and 'good' is defined here by the five pillars. It doesn't actually matter where they came from, so long as they are being followed here and are influencing policy/guidelines/editing.- Wolfkeeper 14:34, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Good is not defined by the five pillars. What has spurred you do engage in this edit war when you can see that people don't agree with you? I won't revert any more, but if someone else does, I hope you'll have the good sense to leave it alone.--Kotniski (talk) 14:41, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I've just no idea where you're coming from. What are the values of the Wikipedia? If they're not the values, what things are considered to be good?- Wolfkeeper 14:59, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Well the "community" decides by "consensus" what's good. 5P does a pretty good job of summarizing the main points, but it isn't the source that defines "what's good". A policy can quite reasonably have motivations that aren't set out in the five pillars; in fact, since 5P seems to consist mainly of links to other policies and guidelines, I presume its wording has tended to follow other policies and guidelines rather than the reverse; that's why it does its job well.--Kotniski (talk) 15:06, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The community decides what's good, and writes it in the 5P. 5P isn't a policy, it's principles, it's a value system. If the motivation in a policy runs counter to 5P, then it would presumably be removed from the policy; the motivations are supposed to follow the principles.- Wolfkeeper 15:18, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Or can you give me an example of something that is a generally agreed Wikipedian value, that isn't in 5P?- Wolfkeeper 15:21, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't see anything about, say, avoiding unreasonable harm to living subjects there. But we don't say that WP:BLP doesn't apply because WP:5P doesn't explicitly endorse the values behind that policy.--Kotniski (talk) 15:38, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
IMO that comes under NPOV. It's not that we avoid unreasonable harm at all, it's just we're particularly tough on NPOV when the subject is BLP. I mean if something was true, but caused hurt, we still cover it. That might be worth adding to NPOV though; but that's the point, even if you found something, we would just add it to the principles.- Wolfkeeper 16:03, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
That's basically my point as well - we update the principles page to keep up with the policy. The former is not always the source for the latter. --Kotniski (talk) 16:17, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think BLP comes under NPOV. It is done more for legal reasons than anything else. Dmcq (talk) 16:19, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
BLP just says you really, really need to employ NPOV and verifiability on BLP articles. It's not generally considered to be purely legal reasons, there's also moral considerations.- Wolfkeeper 16:42, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Principles always come from people thinking them up, writing them down and other people agreeing on them.- Wolfkeeper 16:42, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Blueboar has offered an edit as a compromise ... I think it's pretty accurate, in addition to working as a compromise, that is, a statement recognizing important points on all sides of the debate. Just my opinion. - Dank (push to talk) 17:48, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

'Expressed' sounds unspecific enough for me. I like having the five pillars up front so newbies click on it rather than reading through this policy. Dmcq (talk) 17:54, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It's OK, it's better than what was there before.- Wolfkeeper 18:08, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
All right, if it has the effect of preventing newbies reading this page, I suppose that makes up for the other failings.--Kotniski (talk) 18:14, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
HA!  :>) Blueboar (talk) 19:35, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

"Do not summarize, copy, or extract text"

Does this really match practice? A lot of our policies make direct reference to statements in other policies, and they often quote each other. It seems to me that this is the best way to ensure that they all say the same thing and do not conflict. Blueboar (talk) 19:01, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

That doesn't match practice, agreed. Do we want to be more careful in some way to keep track of the overlapping text? I'm not sure; this might just add an extra level of things to argue over, but I've often been attracted to the idea. - Dank (push to talk) 19:45, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think it should be removed, or perhaps re-worded to explain the problem (bad summaries badly maintained).
Additionally, most of that bullet item is exactly counter to both common practice and effective practice. I've personally added "Except for citations" repeatedly to WP:EL, and I plan to go on repeating the fact that WP:Reliable sources are not WP:External links until editors finally quit asking whether EL has banned their reference. So far, I think we're up to half a dozen separate repetitions, most of them involving bold-face text. It seems to have been a mostly successful strategy: We get many fewer such questions now, although we haven't quite eliminated them.
The bottom line, IMO, is that pages need to be useful, and if repetition makes them more useful, then we should repeat things (especially for sections commonly linked separately, like WP:ELNO or WP:HANDLE). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:22, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
The reason why I think the current language is wrong is that I see a lot of policy statements that are based upon statements made in other policies... and they often end up being slowly edited to the point where they no longer agree with eachother. I think direct reference and even quotation is the best way to resolve that. If a statement at WP:NOR is based upon something said at WP:V, we should note that fact (using language such as: "As noted at WP:V: <quote taken from WP:V>"... This tells editors "this is based on another policy... please don't change this unless you also change the policy where we took it from." Blueboar (talk) 21:28, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
If we quote them then even a minor change makes them no longer agree with each other. It's not like these are static documents. I don't think it's bad advice, I think that people need to understand that all policies and guidelines don't exist in a vacuum. "Newbifying" the policies by making them very redundant with each other seems like a bad idea to me, which is why I do think this line is sound advice. Obviously we shouldn't slavishly follow it. But would any of you disagree with this recent edit? Extensive quoting or summarizing of other policies is something I believe we should avoid. Gigs (talk) 21:46, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes... exactly right... even a minor change will make them no longer agree... which will mean it will be far easier to catch and correct discrepancies before they become significant. If I am reviewing a change, and notice that it involves something that is a quote... I would immediately check both policy pages, figure out where the discrepancy originated and highlight it to the other editors on both pages in an effort to sync them back together. This isn't about "Newbifying" polices... its about ensuring that our policies don't contradict each other. Blueboar (talk) 00:58, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Here's what we've got: == Content == Policy and guideline pages should:

  • maintain scope, avoid redundancy. Both purpose and scope must be clearly provided in the lead, and not merely as an aside. Content should be within the scope of its policy.[1] Policies should not be redundant with other policies, or within themselves.[2] Do not summarize, copy, or extract text. Avoid needless reminders.[3]
  1. ^ Suppose that some of the content from a dispute resolution page was copied into Wikipedia:Consensus as a great example of consensus building. Though it may be a great example, it is not a general community standard – yet several clarifying edits later, it may seem as if it were being presented as such. Or perhaps an edit is made to Wikipedia:Notability to clarify how it should be applied within a notability guideline on music. Perhaps Wikipedia:Verifiability is 'summarized' and reworded (non-substantively, of course!) in a guideline, so that editors don't have to check the longer (official, carefully-worded, more-rigorously maintained) version. All of this is scope creep. Keep policies to themselves.
  2. ^ The same redundant statement may change in one place and not in another, and though this is often not a problem in articles, with policy it lead to confusion, contradiction, and verbosity.
  3. ^ Example

So that's one sentence fragment (in bold, and without the grammatically necessary conjunction), followed by five sentences. IMO, the whole thing needs to be re-written. Here are my thoughts, by numbered sentence:

  1. "Purpose and scope must be" in the lead? Nonsense.
  2. This sentence effectively prohibits placing advice in the proper context (e.g., WP:EL saying that different rules apply to WP:CITEd sources, or WP:BLP and WP:V pointing to each other). The first footnote is a dreadful examplefarm.
  3. The third sentence has the same problem with contextualizing as the second. It also forgets (again) that this advice is supposed to apply to guidelines and essays, not just official policies. Additionally, it (and the second footnote) are widely flouted; actual practice is exactly opposite this advice.
  4. The failings of the fourth sentence are outlined above.
  5. In addition to assuming that an editor can magically know exactly what each and every editor "needs" to be reminded about, the linked example in the third footnote does not provide any indication of being a "needless" reminder.

I've never been very fond of this section. It has always struck me as a collection of a single editor's theoretical notion of the "right" way to write these pages. While I think this could be re-written to accurately reflect the community's practices, I wonder whether wholesale removal might not be the better choice. What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:22, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I think that policies should be able to state their purpose for existing, without constantly adding caveats that they don't negate every other core policy. How many policies have some summarized form of WP:BLP in them now? Most of them? Same with WP:V. It should be implicitly understood that no policy exists in a vacuum. Instead of creating this tangled web of cross-referenced summaries and digests, we should just have each policy talk about its own core message.
I think WP:V is a good example of a policy that avoids excessive summarizing and quoting. We could have a section in there talking about how we have higher standards for WP:BLPs, or how even verifiable information might violate WP:UNDUE, but we don't. Those other policies are quickly namechecked in a sentence at the bottom, but it makes no effort to summarize or quote or defer. I think that's a good role model for policies that we should aspire to. Gigs (talk) 01:57, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I think the reason why WP:V avoids excessive summarizing is that it was one of the first to be created (I believe NPOV actually came first, but V came shortly there after) ... so WP:V tends to be the one that most of the others quote. The fact is, you are correct in saying that our polices don't exist in a vacuum... they overlap and influence each other. This is especially true for the core policies. I think we would do better to acknowledge and draw attention to where they overlap, and where they influence each other... because a change to one can mean we need to change others. That isn't always implicitly understood. Blueboar (talk) 03:00, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
OK... to get the ball rolling, I have been bold... I think this is more in line with practice. Your thoughts? Blueboar (talk) 13:02, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
It may be that many policies summarize other policies but I've seen it lead to problems. If they are summarizing or copying a bit because it is not straightforward then it is liable to be changed. If it is summarizing a bit that is straightforward people will be aware of it or infer it from the five pillars anyway so it is redundant padding. However I'm a bit ambivalent about this point as it is covered by be brief and I believe this policy itself should follow its own advice.
On the business about the lead must give the scope and purpose of a policy I fully agree and fail to see why that is nonsense. Even this policy was racked with problems till recently because the scope wasn't clearly stated. The nutshells in particular have I believed saved a lot of trouble. In ordinary articles I've also noticed editors battling over the contents whilst leaving alone an anodyne leader that anyone can read any way - they haven't figured out what the topic or scope of the article is. A policy is not a policy if it cannot summarize its scope and purpose. Dmcq (talk) 14:22, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that a policy should clearly state its scope and maintain it... my pet gripe about the PSTS section of NOR is based on scope (I don't disagree with what PSTS says, but I think it moves the policy beyond the scope of "No original research" - and no, I am not trying to reopen that particular debate... just using it as a personal example). I think the real issue at hand is how to deal with policy overlap. What to do when a particular policy sub-topic falls within the scope of two different policies. Blueboar (talk) 15:26, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Anybody happen to notice that the entire paragraph Blueboar put up and that is being discussed violates just about every point that it itself is trying to make? The bolded sentence fragmant is a summary, but it tells you to avoid summarizing; it states to avoid repetition and needless reminders, yet the three footnotes pretty much are repetition and have needless reminders. I know this particular paragraph/section has been around for sometime and maybe it was written seriously but it seems almost like it was a joke the way it is written. But anyways- there shouldnt be a "right" way to write a policy or guideline and there should be quite a bit of leeway and latitude (needless repetition!) in how each should be written based on what problem it is that the particular policy is addressing. I agree however that perhaps codifying into policy regarding what to do about overlap between policies is a good thing but I hope that we can avoid setting down strict "rules" about how policies should be written like the particular section Blueboar correctly pointed out.Camelbinky (talk) 22:07, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
In case anyone's curious, it was added on 30 July 2009, and has been shortened significantly since then. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:36, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Blueboar, I don't actually object to your changes -- it's a bit of an improvement, I guess -- but we're still writing it as if only the four big-deal content policies (BLP, NOR, NPOV, and V) exist, and that no guidelines or essays exist. Did you really want to tell the folks at WP:RS that they're only allowed to "briefly" refer to WP:V?
Try thinking about the content of a related set of pages -- say, WP:TE, WP:APPEAL, WP:VANDAL, and WP:BLOCK -- and seeing whether a literal interpretation of this section would actually improve those pages. Personally, I don't think that APPEAL can be made intelligible without its frequent re-capping of BLOCK, but perhaps other people would come to different conclusions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:31, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Essays and guidelines tend to be a bit looser and more explanatory than policies, TE is an essay and APPEAL is a guideline. If editors don't like something in a guideline they are a lot freer to just ignore it. And if they do check up and find a difference it is normally pretty obvious which one takes precedence. However with policies like VANDAL or BLOCK one needs to be a bit more careful. Have you any particular cases where you think they obviously don't try an be brief in their references or don't make it obvious what takes precedence? Dmcq (talk) 00:49, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
It depends on what you mean by "they". Does "they don't try to be brief" exclusively refer to policies, or is it an inclusive term? Verbose essays are a dime a dozen. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:17, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
I meant the references from the policies to other policies. I think they should all aspire to brevity but it doesn't really matter as much for the guidelines and essays. Dmcq (talk) 01:27, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
re: "Did you really want to tell the folks at WP:RS that they're only allowed to "briefly" refer to WP:V?"... No, of course not... but I would like to tell them to "be brief" (or at least as brief as possible) when referring to WP:V. There is a difference. Blueboar (talk) 01:34, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
So why are we saying something different from what we supposedly mean? The section says, "Policy and guideline pages should:", not "Policy pages should do this, but other advice pages will have to look elsewhere for stylistic suggestions". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:29, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Nutshell

Any thoughts on Wolfkeeper's edit today? One thing I like about it is, we're not looking for the "best of all possible worlds" (is that from Candide?) here, we're looking for rules which seem to work on Wikipedia as it actually is ... and saying that we're trying to expand on 5P rather than saying that we're trying to do what's "right" may help to get that across. OTOH, I don't remember anyone saying that we're limited to the goals in 5P on our policy pages. - Dank (push to talk) 17:29, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes it would be a better phrasing I think if policies actually were limited to developing the five pillars. However some procedural ones in particular seem to have little to do with anything except being an agreed way of doing things. I didn't like the old sentence but I'd never figured out anything better. Needs someone good with words I think. Dmcq (talk) 17:53, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
We're not trying to develop the pillars, we're trying to follow the principles that are the pillars. The Wiki is at the end of the day, just a server with some software on it that could be used for anything, it's the principles that we follow that make it an encyclopedia, and the policies and guidelines are there to help you follow these principles, including sorting out interactions between people and so forth.- Wolfkeeper 18:57, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I think we rather overexaggerate the would-be fundamental nature of these "pillars". They're a reasonably successful summary of our aspirations and methods, but they aren't some god-given mission statement.--Kotniski (talk) 09:11, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
They're certainly not god-given, they're laid down by royal proclaimation as a charter. I think if we as editors decided that we were going to be, say, a TV company or the next YouTube instead and deleted all the articles, then I think the monarch would be unhappy about this.- Wolfkeeper 13:23, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
No they were set up by wikipedia editors. I think you're thinking of the foundation principles Dmcq (talk) 13:31, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
(The foundation principles don't meet this description either. I don't know where these myths sprang up - perhaps it's a symptom of some inherent human need for a belief system based on "ancient wisdom". Where ancient in the Wikipedia context means 10 years or so ago.)--Kotniski (talk) 14:00, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Partly it was written by wikipedia editors, but it has considerable royal backing, and he employed people like Larry Sanger that did a lot of the heavy lifting.- Wolfkeeper 13:48, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Actually, if you look at the history, we had several of our core policies in place well before the five pillars were conceptualized. That does not diminish the 5P... but let's not rewrite history. Blueboar (talk) 13:54, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Yup. But if you compare the five pillars with: User:Jimbo_Wales/Statement_of_principles, they're actually quite close, pretty much the same thing.- Wolfkeeper 13:59, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Check the edit histories; this is partly right and partly wrong. - Dank (push to talk) 14:43, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It really doesn't matter at all. The point is whether they constitute a value system. If they don't then what is our value system?- Wolfkeeper 15:03, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It's like the British Constitution - unwritten.--Kotniski (talk) 15:09, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Bit of a myth, the British Constitution is at the very least, mostly written down.- Wolfkeeper 15:21, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Exactly, in many different documents, not in a centralized "five pillars".--Kotniski (talk) 15:39, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The point is that ultimately the Wikipedia is held together by values; and you have to point to what the values are when you formulate policy. It's not enough to 'do good', you have to say what good is, and 'good' is defined here by the five pillars. It doesn't actually matter where they came from, so long as they are being followed here and are influencing policy/guidelines/editing.- Wolfkeeper 14:34, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Good is not defined by the five pillars. What has spurred you do engage in this edit war when you can see that people don't agree with you? I won't revert any more, but if someone else does, I hope you'll have the good sense to leave it alone.--Kotniski (talk) 14:41, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I've just no idea where you're coming from. What are the values of the Wikipedia? If they're not the values, what things are considered to be good?- Wolfkeeper 14:59, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Well the "community" decides by "consensus" what's good. 5P does a pretty good job of summarizing the main points, but it isn't the source that defines "what's good". A policy can quite reasonably have motivations that aren't set out in the five pillars; in fact, since 5P seems to consist mainly of links to other policies and guidelines, I presume its wording has tended to follow other policies and guidelines rather than the reverse; that's why it does its job well.--Kotniski (talk) 15:06, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The community decides what's good, and writes it in the 5P. 5P isn't a policy, it's principles, it's a value system. If the motivation in a policy runs counter to 5P, then it would presumably be removed from the policy; the motivations are supposed to follow the principles.- Wolfkeeper 15:18, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Or can you give me an example of something that is a generally agreed Wikipedian value, that isn't in 5P?- Wolfkeeper 15:21, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't see anything about, say, avoiding unreasonable harm to living subjects there. But we don't say that WP:BLP doesn't apply because WP:5P doesn't explicitly endorse the values behind that policy.--Kotniski (talk) 15:38, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
IMO that comes under NPOV. It's not that we avoid unreasonable harm at all, it's just we're particularly tough on NPOV when the subject is BLP. I mean if something was true, but caused hurt, we still cover it. That might be worth adding to NPOV though; but that's the point, even if you found something, we would just add it to the principles.- Wolfkeeper 16:03, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
That's basically my point as well - we update the principles page to keep up with the policy. The former is not always the source for the latter. --Kotniski (talk) 16:17, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think BLP comes under NPOV. It is done more for legal reasons than anything else. Dmcq (talk) 16:19, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
BLP just says you really, really need to employ NPOV and verifiability on BLP articles. It's not generally considered to be purely legal reasons, there's also moral considerations.- Wolfkeeper 16:42, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Principles always come from people thinking them up, writing them down and other people agreeing on them.- Wolfkeeper 16:42, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Blueboar has offered an edit as a compromise ... I think it's pretty accurate, in addition to working as a compromise, that is, a statement recognizing important points on all sides of the debate. Just my opinion. - Dank (push to talk) 17:48, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

'Expressed' sounds unspecific enough for me. I like having the five pillars up front so newbies click on it rather than reading through this policy. Dmcq (talk) 17:54, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
It's OK, it's better than what was there before.- Wolfkeeper 18:08, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
All right, if it has the effect of preventing newbies reading this page, I suppose that makes up for the other failings.--Kotniski (talk) 18:14, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
HA!  :>) Blueboar (talk) 19:35, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Not contradict each other

As a side note about this change, I have deliberately not made any statement about policies taking precedence over guidelines. I have three reasons for this:

  1. The community's actual view takes precedence over everything.
  2. There is nothing magical about a policy page that makes it immune to getting screwed up on occasion (and if this clause is relevant, then something is screwed up).
  3. WP:Article titles explicitly works the other way around. (The specific naming conventions, which are "guidelines", normally take precedence over the general rules, which is a "policy".)

Consequently, I think that a label-neutral "y'all fix it", rather than "blindly accept whatever's on the policy page" is the right approach here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:21, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't have any problem with the edit, but I do think something needs to be added either on this page or at WP:ADMIN, and I'd appreciate input. In any organization that relies on volunteer labor, there's conflict between the volunteers and the people who are perceived by those volunteers as calling the shots (who are also volunteers, here). I get the sense that some guidelines pop up and wither like weeds, and some are regularly and deliberately flouted ... which is sometimes okay, that's how an adhocracy works, but I often think that we don't pay enough attention to the downside: uncertainty is very bad for training and retention of volunteers such as newpage patrollers because the answer to the question "Which pages should I report?" is "It depends on which admins wander by"; it changes the job from one of doing stuff you're comfortable with to one of attempting to understand and follow the opinions (sometimes the whims) of the people you perceive as "above" you, and that's not something people like to volunteer to do, that's the kind of thing you put up with at work because you're getting paid to put up with it. Content, deletion and enforcement policies all seem to me to be stable enough to help with the job of retaining our volunteer labor force; guidelines, sometimes yes and sometimes no. - Dank (push to talk) 19:49, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure how we would go about addressing that concern. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:09, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure either. I was originally thinking of some edit at WP:ADMIN, but now I'm realizing that admins are likely to want to treat different areas differently and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. I'm currently most worried about WP:UAA, so I'll keep an eye on WP:U. - Dank (push to talk) 02:00, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Need some eyes

WP:The difference between policies, guidelines and essays needs some other editors to watch it. We've currently got an editor who is determined to introduce wildly inaccurate statements, like "Most Wikipedia policies and guidelines directly contradict each other."

This has been going on for almost three days now, so it's not just an April Fool's Day issue. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:28, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm... The problem is that the statement is only partly incorrect... the fact is, many of our policies and guidelines do contradict each other. We obviously try to fix such situations when we discover them... and doing so often leading to long and drawn out debates. For example, there is currently a debate at WP:Article titles concerning a contradiction between that policy and WP:NPOV#Article titles over using non-neutral names as a title.
Question... is the WP:The difference between policies, guidelines and essays essay really needed? Does it offer our editors a viewpoint that is not already expressed in this page? Blueboar (talk) 14:00, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Same question. I have a feeling that essay is going to draw fire ... not that that's a bad thing, I don't mind arguing those questions, but the (marginally) greater gravitas of this page may (or may not) make resolution on these questions easier here. - Dank (push to talk) 14:48, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
"Most" is simply wrong: An actual majority of policies and guidelines do not "directly contradict" any other page. Direct contradictions (e.g., the main MoS saying that ref tags may not precede punctuation, and REFPUNC saying that that they may) are actually rare.
Indirectly conflicting advice (e.g., WP:NPOV requiring editors to follow the sources ("WikiNeutrality"), and WP:AT suggesting that inoffensiveness ("dictionary-style neutrality") may be desirable) is not a direct contradiction.
Most of the essay was built from a series of time-consuming discussions on this page. I hope that the existence of the essay will result in less effort expended by editors here in explaining the misconceptions to individual editors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:35, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Rules

About this change from "rules" to "policies and guidelines":

I don't actually object, but I've got two thoughts that might lead to someone being inspired for a further revision:

  • What I had in mind originally with "rule" was individual statements, like WP:ELNO#EL6, rather than whole pages.
  • This change, while being more specific, could unfortunately lead to claims that essays (like WP:BRD) and other pages are required to conform to article content standards. As a specific example, WP:OUTCOMES is not a policy, not a guideline, not a procedure, and regularly disputed by editors who want to slap {{fact}} tags all over it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:03, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I have self-reverted... I was attempting to make this clearer for people who misunderstand the word "rules" to mean "The LAW" (ie common sense need not apply). Perhaps a different word? Blueboar (talk) 02:18, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
If I had a better idea than what you did, I would have improved it myself... Maybe "advice pages"? I've used that term in some recent discussions, and it doesn't seem to generate confusion. I'm not sure it really applies in 100% of cases (e.g., essays about Wikipedian philosophies).
(For the record: I don't actually object to your original change, and this was not a request for a self-reversion.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:50, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I myself think the word rule should never ever appear in Wikipedia policy pages for the very reason Blueboar gives about it being construed that these are rules that cant be broken or laws (and then extrapolating that the 5 Pillars are our Constitution and the various other legalistic "out there" things I've seen editors claim). Of course stating "policies and guidelines" and other wordy sentences to mean basically our "current best suggestions for how to do things" are very wordy but do allow us to cover the spectrum of policies thru essays. I wish we could generically call everything policy, but that gets people in an uproar too ("that's not a policy, its a guideline!"). I would love a short way of saying "a written version of the best way we know to do things so far, and remember it may change tomorrow as we find a better way, and if you have a better way today please ignore the current wording and go ahead and be bold and change this page". That of course is VERY wordy, but I think it sums up what exactly a policy, guideline, essay, procedure all have in common. Perhaps the English language has no one word for that, I say we copy the German language and just string together a big long word that means this complex idea, like how they have Schadenfreude.Camelbinky (talk) 03:19, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
If I can throw out a suggestion, how about replacing 'rules' with 'administrative pages' or some such? That gets across the idea that we are taking about authoritative stuff, but leaves it more open. --Ludwigs2 03:47, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
that works for me. Blueboar (talk) 15:02, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and tried a revision, here. I also changed the footnote, which seemed a bit odd to me - does the new wording work for you all? --Ludwigs2 15:50, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Advertising policy proposals

It is important for policy or guideline proposals or for promotions to be advertised broadly to the community so that the consensus formed is representative of the community's view. I would suggest to add in the proposals section that RFCs for promotion should be added to WP:CENT, and notification should be made at WP:VPR and WP:VPP. This is already done most of the time. Cenarium (talk) 14:07, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

A logical addition. Blueboar (talk) 15:00, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I've added it, it may need rewording. Cenarium (talk) 20:37, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I wonder if we're overstating things. There are something like a hundred pages in Category:Wikipedia proposals at any one time, and even more if you include the subcats. Does anyone really think that CENT will be functional if there are 100 possible guidelines listed there?
I think that we might be better off listing CENT as an option that should be used at the editors' discretion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:16, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm... many of the pages in that cat have been there for over a year. They should be either be adopted, rejected, or re-formatted as Essays.
I would say that the fact that we have so many just sitting there with no on paying any attention to them is itself a problem that needs centralized discussion. It tells me that there is something broken in our policy promotion system... that few people are paying any attention to it. Perhaps listing all these discussions at CENT would help the community to reach a final decision on them. If we are worried about being overwhelmed, we could list the backlogged proposals in small batches and work our way through them. Blueboar (talk) 18:40, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
My estimate is that if we list five at a time (CENT currently has about 10, so that's a 50% increase), starting with the oldest, and change the list every week, then the backlog will be cleared in about two years.
This does not seem like a sustainable project. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:15, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I am not sure that the policy correctly describes the 'life cycle' of proposals. Most of the proposals have not, or never, reached the stage of being 'formally' proposed. Most of them die out from inactivity or are marked as rejected when receiving too much opposition. But most of the time proposals don't actually reach the stage of a RFC to determine if it should become policy or not. For the few who do, a wide exposure is necessary and it's at this occasion that it should be added to WP:CENT and so on, although for major proposals it may be added before that. As for the category, many of them are long inactive so can be marked as failed or essay, or consensus has not been in favor, and several are not proposals for policy or guidelines. Cenarium (talk) 22:50, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
IMO listing the page in Category:Wikipedia proposals constitutes a 'formal' proposal.
I've been thinking this over, and the text as written doesn't work for me. For one thing, it implies that inclusion in CENT is (nearly) mandatory. The entire proposal process is supposed to be a suggestion that editors can adapt as they deem appropriate. When we move in the direction of "follow these numbered steps", we end up with WP:BURO problems (e.g., the 'losing' side says that the decision is invalid because the True™ procedure was not followed).
I do want CENT to be recommended here; I just think we can probably do a better job of it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:41, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I did some copyediting, and tried to return a basic sense of "editors must use their best judgment" to the proposals section. Among the problems I attempted to eradicate was the low visibility of guidelines (they, too, should be proposed), the lack of information about writing essays (anyone can, unless and until challenged as being truly anti-consensus), and the notion of a one-size-fits-all-100-proposals process.
I think it would be interesting to know how many formal proposals are made each year. Also, one of us should probably start cleaning out the truly antique proposals in the cats. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:16, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Honest q re 5P

Aren't they special and the basis from which policy springs? Unomi (talk) 17:10, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Depends on the policy. Some of the 5P are policy. And one or two policies have been created as exceptions to 5P (such as the limitations placed on BLPs) Blueboar (talk) 17:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
No. BLP is just carefully applied NPOV, it's in no way an exception.- Wolfkeeper 18:38, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Made some changes to the intro

It seems slightly better to reflect the article and put it into context, but if somebody wants to revert it, go right ahead! I don't think I've changed anything policy wise. - Wolfkeeper 17:29, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

I find it odd that you say "go right ahead" and revert, but when I do revert... you immediately un-revert to your version and accuse me of edit warring. Judging by your edits here and your comments at WT:Consensus, you seem to be editing with an agenda to push the 5P into some sort of "super rule" status. This is not their purpose. I don't see how your edit improves the explanation of what policies and guidelines are. Blueboar (talk) 18:06, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
It seemed that you were simply edit warring, and were failing to assume good faith. And basically you've just admitted it^.- Wolfkeeper 18:29, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
When one sees the same editor involved in pushing the same point on multiple policy pages, it is natural to begin to question good faith. Blueboar (talk) 18:49, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The thing is, you only see what you want to see, and you used revert tools inappropriately.- Wolfkeeper 18:54, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it was inappropriate to revert at your invitation. But let us start again... please explain why you think your edit is better that what we had before (my preference)? Blueboar (talk) 19:59, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
To be strictly precise, it's unwise for a rollbacker (i.e. you) to use automated tools to undo edits as if they were vandalism, which is what you did initially. You haven't apologised for that, and I can only assume that this misuse was deliberate.- Wolfkeeper 20:08, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

FWIW there is an error on the intro: "its policy and guideline pages describe its principles and best-known practices", whereas the principles are actually at 5P, and the policies elaborate on them (or some such language).- Wolfkeeper 18:59, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Not really. For example, the policy at WP:NPOV describes the second pillar. It is therefore accurate to say that the policy describes the principle. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. Blueboar (talk) 19:59, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Wolfkeeper, what is your personal view on the role of the 5P? Are you aware they are, relative to alot of the older policies, new? Are you aware that they, though well-respected laid out and edited today by consensus, were actually the brain-child and first created by one regular editor and not something handed down by Jimbo, the Foundation, or concieved at the village pump or other forums where most policies and procedures are concieved? The Trifecta (its been awhile I hope I got the name right) is a slimer and just as well-respected precursor that MANY still prefer to the 5P (especially those who have been here longer at WP) And most importantly- are you aware that they describe our principles as set up by our policies, not that policies were created to elaborate on the 5P? We have no constitution, and we have no laws. The 5P is more of a summary of all our policies, procedures, beliefs, and ideals in Wikipedia than they are anything else. They are unlikely to be changed basically because they are the most fundamental, broad worded, basic, commonsensical, and elementary beliefs of ANY encyclopedia (NPOV and V are probably just as important for the paper encyclopedias as they are for us, though they probably dont care much for IAR). You are free to disagree with me, in fact if you do I am more than curious to learn your philosophical beliefs on this aspect of Wikipedia; but please remember just as what I have written is largely MY personal beliefs (though some are indisputable facts that can be verified in talk page archives and history summaries) so are yours just yours, there is no one Truth regarding what the role of 5P is, it is what the Community-at-large decides at any given time. We should not attempt to write into policy philosophical ideas regarding "rules".Camelbinky (talk) 23:36, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I knew they were, to some extent slightly newer, but they're also condensed from things like Jimbo's principles which are similar, and principles that others collated. The point is though that they are elementary beliefs and ideals, and so they are a list of values, whereas the policies are much more detailed and less consistent.
It doesn't really matter, whether it's 3P or 5P, so long as we have some principles that are broadly agreed; if nothing else it cuts down on arguments. 5P seems to be it right now, and quite stable. (To be honest, Trifecta seems to be essentially the same as 5P, just phrased slightly differently).
A lack of principles for agreeing things really does cause loads and loads of problems. The Wikipedia needs consistent values to come to consistent decisions. If we agree on what we value then we should be able to agree what is better and what is worse, and that guides articles and policies and guidelines. Failing to agree on values might seem freewheeling and sexy, but things tend to thrash. Right now we're getting to the point where the rate of growth of the articles is slowing (probably mainly because we've got the low hanging and mid hanging fruit now) and quality is going up instead. We need the policies really stable now to help give us consistency and achieve true excellence.- Wolfkeeper 01:53, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Thats the thing though, you may believe it is important that we have strict consistent "rules" to achieve excellence, but MANY (I'm not saying a majority) of editors believe as I do that, that kind of thought has bad aspects that outweigh any good that will come from it and STRONGLY believe that there is no "law", no "right way", no "one interpretation" to the "rules", and as such we do commonly clash with those like you who tend to see the 5P as more than just "good ideas that are shared among most Wikipedians". I'm not saying any one side is correct, I'm just pointing out that your philosophy shouldnt be encoded in policy. I've been on many discussions on this very talk page, at the 5P talk page, and just about every major policy talk page including WP:V and IAR, keeping such language out. There have been discussions I havent exactly won, but at the same time I havent lost any at all, compromises have always leaned more in favor of erring on the side of caution regarding such language giving the 5P any precedence or "power" and always making sure people understand IAR has teeth (see IAR's talk page for the latest discussion and evidence on how IAR has teeth and has been recognized by ArbCom as real, and of course as always I'd like to remind everyone Jimbo himself has said IAR always has existed and He has intervened at least once I know of to keep it from being watered down). Such thinking as you have put forward would condemn us to abandoning IAR in favor of conforming to arbitrary "standard operating procedure manuals" (SOP manuals) with little wiggle room for experimentation and individuality. That will kill Wikipedia.Camelbinky (talk) 02:29, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
"Death of the Wikipedia predicted, more news at the top of hour?" Sorry, nah.- Wolfkeeper 02:42, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
But I am puzzled by what you say, since IAR is the fifth pillar, and it would be strengthened by this, not weakened.- Wolfkeeper 02:42, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Can you give me a clear example where a lack of common principles as applied to policies has helped build a better encyclopedia?- Wolfkeeper 02:49, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I think we've got a prescription/description problem here, so perhaps a little review of the basics will help:
  1. This page is not the real policy. The real policy is whatever the community does/believes/practices.
  2. This page attempts to describe the real policy, although we assume that, at best, this page is an imperfect description.
  3. Changes to this page do not change the real policy. Changes to this page only change the community's description of the real policy.
  4. Any given change can make this page be a more accurate or less accurate description of the real policy. The primary task of editors here (and at other policy and guideline pages) is to attempt to make this page (and other pages) more accurately describe the real policy.
    • Therefore they support changes that cause this page to better reflect what seems to be the community's real policy. We call this "descriptive", because it results in a better description of the real policy.
    • Therefore they oppose changes that tell the community what it should be doing (but isn't). We call this "prescriptive", because it prescribes something that the community is not doing, but that the editor believes might be helpful (just like a healthcare professional might prescribe medication to a sick person).
IMO Wolfkeeper wants to prescribe shared values as a solution to a problem that concerns him.
Although most of the community does share certain values, the elevation of shared values to a special place is not part of the community's current real policy. Therefore any effort to enshrine Wolfkeeper's solution here makes this page a less accurate description of the community's real policy. Therefore the addition here is opposed.
(Wolfkeeper is invited, however, to share his views in an essay.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:21, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, setting aside Wolfkeeper's approach to the issue (which strikes me as problematic), I do have to say that he echoes something I've seen as a long-standing problem on wikipedia. If we toss the basic operating structure of the project (i.e., Neutrality, Civility and Consensus) down to 'whatever the community does/believes/practices', then we are eventually going to end up with a yellow press version of an encyclopedia. We can't sit back and hope that consensus will decide what 'consensus' means, because people will decide it means different things at different places (as suits their momentary needs), and the result will be something about as far from consensus as you can imagine. It's the same process by which egalitarian political systems collapse into despotisms (as they usually do: someone decides that s/he 'knows' what everyone else wants regardless of what they say, and shoots anyone who disagrees too loudly). You need a soid foundation to build on, or you can just watch the whole thing sink down into the muck. --Ludwigs2 20:47, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I believe that the community already has shared values that will largely prevent such a dismal outcome, but the fact remains that we cannot force those values on to the community: either they've got those values of their own free will, or they don't have those values. Delcaring on this page the Wikipedia community will hold certain values sacred is either impotent bluster or wishful thinking. The community will do, and believe, whatever it wants to. (Happily for me, "whatever it wants" appears to be creating an encyclopedia.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:54, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
well, we edit in different sections of the encyclopedia, then. I can't count the times I've seen some cranky editor use the word 'consensus' like a billy club to beat down opposition instead of actually discussing the matter. the irony... it's very Keystone Kops, if you take the right perspective on it (editors chunking policy soundbites at each other in inept efforts to make their own POV look authoritative). Of course, there's smooth sailing in most of wikipedia, where people have an inclination to be reasonable, but it aint the reasonable people you need to worry about. --Ludwigs2 21:26, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
This is exactly the point, I can't imagine it being put better than that.- Wolfkeeper 02:54, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's the exact kind of problem there is, if you don't have a set of shared values then you inevitably have some kind of wikiality, the nature of the Wikipedia can change over time in random ways; yellow journalism for example. Over time the wikipedia can walk step by step in any direction, or even worse, can be walked by people with vested interests. If you have shared values then they/it can't move so far.- Wolfkeeper 23:07, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
As What has stated if the community decides to ignore whatever "shared values" you try to enforce on this page, then the community is going to ignore them and there isnt anything you can do about it whether its enshrined in policy or not. While "majority rule" isnt how we do things, you do need a vast majority to reach a consensus, we do still work by consensus here and it will NEVER happen that you will be able to get enough of us to agree to scrap consensus in favor of fixed set "values". I dont see why you are opposed to Wikipedia walking step by step in any direction, that's actually GOOD! We want to change, evolve, and become better. We dont want to enshrine our current way as law and not have innovation and stiffle new thinking. As What pointed out, our REAL policy is whatever the Community-at-large actually DOES, if it doesnt conform to what is written then it is what is written that gets changed because consensus already has determined what the policy is. Policy lags behind actual process.Camelbinky (talk) 01:31, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
You seem, ever so, very, very confused. I fully support consensus, and unlike you above^ I have never suggested its removal, I'm just saying that consensus where it is not aligned with the principles of the wikipedia, the principles that people here already agree with, is not true consensus, and am merely suggesting that this needs to be made clearer.
In fact I find the entire suggestion that I am trying to get people to 'agree to scrap consensus in favor of fixed set "values"' highly offensive; that's a completely ridiculous and highly insulting, and apparently deliberate misrepresentation of what I was asking for. I just want a single sentence or perhaps two mentions in the whole policy, that emphasises the need or at the least, extreme desirability for wiki-consensus to be aligned with the principles of the Wikipedia. That's all.- Wolfkeeper 02:54, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Wow, seriously? Ok- firstly AGF ok? Secondly you just proved my point right there! "extreme desirability for wiki-consensus to be aligned with the principles of the Wikipedia"... its not a consensus if we are FORCED to align our decisions with anything that is written. You seem to be under the misguided notion that our policies and even more so the 5P are things that MUST be adhered to in whatever decision is made by a consensus in Wikipedia... not true at all. Each consensus reached is based on the facts "on the ground" with guidance by our shared beliefs, core values, and policies. The current 5P and any other policy or principle CAN be changed at ANY TIME according to what the consensus of the Community-at-large in Wikipedia feels like deciding; and in fact any time in which the consensus of the community DOES disagree with any of the above those things WILL change to meet what consensus had determined to be the NEW core values and principles. Please understand that these things are not set in stone, ONLY Jimbo and the Foundation can decide what MUST stay forever, and even They may change their minds if we so convince them with good arguments and a clear voice that we truly want something to be some way. Your thought appears to me (and I may be wrong) that you want encoded here something to stop "bad" consensus decisions from changing Wikipedia in a "bad direction"; too bad! If a clear and sufficiently large consensus decides something and makes a bad decision to, for some reason, get rid of NPOV and Jimbo/Foundation does nothing to stop us, OH WELL! You can edit elsewhere or convince the Community to change its mind. Am I correct that is the type of extreme bad decisions you are trying to stop?Camelbinky (talk) 03:20, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Something like that, only probably over a long period of time; and it's not stop changes to principles, if people really do agree that's fine, after RFCs and so forth. I'm more concerned with the small groups who tend to get group-think blinders on.- Wolfkeeper 03:49, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
But you said: Each consensus reached is based on the facts "on the ground" with guidance by our shared beliefs, core values, and policies.. I completely agree with that; or rather I agree that that's what this WP:consensus policy should say, but it doesn't actually say that. It doesn't say anything about guidance from shared beliefs and core values. It talks about guidance from policies and guidelines and that's that. Particularly where we're talking about consensus on what policies/guidelines should say, this is a really big problem.- Wolfkeeper 03:49, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree that it would be useful to have a page which properly and fairly formally sets out Wikipedia's core values and the principles by which it operates, genuinely arrived at through community discussion and consensus. Then such a page could be considered authoritative enough to take precedence over what appears to be local consensus. But 5P isn't that (and neither is the Wikimedia page that people sometimes refer us to as an alternative). 5P is useful to refer newcomers to, but all it is is a summary of, and link farm for, most of our more "important" policy and guideline pages.--Kotniski (talk) 06:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Nicely put. I think most editors have pictured 5P as the page you refer people to as a basic introduction, and that's probably why there's historically been very little action in the edit history at 5P. - Dank (push to talk) 11:40, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I still dont see the need for, nor what the "really big problem" is! Our policies and guidelines ARE our shared beliefs and core values. What is the point in spelling out that we get guidance from our shared beliefs? The problem with such wording is that we really dont have shared beliefs beyond the policies themselves. You've admitted you want to stop Wikipedia from possibly moving in a wrong direction due to small groups... if no one speaks up to stop these small groups then thats our problem for not standing up to them. You are going about your "problem" (which I dont see as a problem) in all the wrong way. You want to stop bad things, then speak up in forums and noticeboards and RfCs. Enforcing standards and statements about "common principles" isnt the way to go. I for one (and many who agree with me) dont share the same standards as you do. Dont cram down your personal standards on me.Camelbinky (talk) 11:50, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
So basically you don't think that 5P are principles that apply to you? Wow! That's awful.- Wolfkeeper 14:46, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Wolfkeeper, are you on the right page? You refer above to "this WP:consensus page". This page is Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines, not Wikipedia:Consensus. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:11, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Consensus is a general decision making process, but there is a question specifically here I think, about what the relationship between the principles of the Wikipedia (in their various expositions elsewhere, notably at 5P) and the policies which are described here. If, as Camelbinky apparently believes he is correct that there is no relationship, then I think we need to state that. If it isn't then I think we need to explain what the relationship is.- Wolfkeeper 16:42, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
No: There is no consensus on that point. Specifically, the community at large has not yet decided whether there is, or should be, a relationship between some (or any) values and principles, and some or all of its policy and guideline pages.
Therefore, this page -- whose purpose, once again, is to be an honest description of the community's actual views -- must remain silent on that point. When/if the community ever figures it out, then we can document whatever it decides. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:35, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
You appear to be claiming that there are not in fact any fundamental principles of the Wikipedia, but WP:5P does appear to be clearly consensus, and claims to be so. If you don't think it is, then I suggest you correct it.- Wolfkeeper 18:42, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I dont think that's exactly what WhatamIdoing is saying; what What is saying (I believe) is that there are no fundamental principles, right now, that all Wikipedians, present and future, believe in and will always agree to for all time and agree that they are not allowed to change them ever in the future. If you change your perspective on what the 5P are from being "principles" to the page just being a nice summary of what we believe in then maybe you'd understand things better. The P stands for pillars, not principles btw; and per the originator of the page it was simply the best name he(?) could think of and he never seemed against a name change or for the inclusion of a greater or lesser number of "pillars" (and it had nothing to do with the 5 Pillars of Islam, just a coincidence); this all being based on his comments on the archives of the 5P talk page.Camelbinky (talk) 21:57, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Camelbinky is basically correct in his estimation of my view.
I believe that the community has some fundamental principles or values.
I do not believe that the community has decided either:
  1. how to best express said principles or values (Trifecta? 5P? Another page?), or
  2. how these principles or values do or should relate to policy and guideline pages.
Until the community actually has a coherent view on point 2, this page cannot write anything sensible about what the community's (currently non-existent) view on point 2 "is" (or "should be", in the view of a couple of editors). WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:31, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
The 5P page itself says: The fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates have been summarized by editors in the form of five "pillars":. That's what it says.
I checked the links to the Trifecta, I found that a lot of people have adopted it as personal, unofficial principles, which is fine with me, but it has no links from policy or guideline pages at all. So I don't think that need concern us on this page. On the other hand, the 5P is linked from all the introduction pages, as well as from this policy.- Wolfkeeper 00:01, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
As to your second point, given the above, it seems self-evident at this point that these 5P pillars are considered to be the principles of the wikipedia. The wiktionary has a good definition of 'principle', which I suggest you read. Are you saying that these are not the principles of the wikipedia or that a principle is not what is defined at wiktionary?- Wolfkeeper 00:01, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Even if we granted, for the sake of your argument, that 5P were the perfect embodiment of the community's principles (a claim that would be strongly contested by some editors), the fact that some principles exist does not tell us how the community chooses to apply them to the specific context of pages that describe the community's policies and guidelines. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:52, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
But we're telling all new people that these are the principles of the Wikipedia, there's no ifs or buts mentioned at all. If they don't apply to the policies of the Wikipedia what do they apply to? Are the policies and guidelines somehow not part of the Wikipedia??? What makes you think they don't apply? This policy already says that the key principles of the wikipedia are at the five pillars, and that clearly implies that they apply to these policies.- Wolfkeeper 01:04, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I think part of this problem is that you arent understanding that policies: one- do not perfectly represent the feelings of Community; and two- these policies and the 5P are the result of painfully long, heated, divisive arguments that result in imperfect compromises and sometimes those compromises are more along the lines of "one side gave up fighting" and then over time the "winning language" gets declared "sacrosanct" and unable to be removed even though there may actually be a slight majority opposed to it, because a sizable minority will fight to protect it (as they should, we arent a democracy and the 49% view SHOULD win against the 51% view roughly 49% of the time). Because of principles like our right of "being bold" language gets put in and its hard to pull it out once its there if that 49% of editors speaks up to keep it; or reverse 49% of editors may hate it but not be able to do anything about it. There is no one view on how Wikipedia should be and we just have to do our best not to force views on people when those views dont actually have anything to do with better editing of an encyclopedia.Camelbinky (talk) 03:34, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
In other words- you are taking policy wording too literally.Camelbinky (talk) 03:51, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
No, you're not taking it seriously enough, the Wikipedia is ultimately controlled by being an Encyclopedia, and that comes with certain automatic assumptions and ways of looking at the world and various style guidelines.- Wolfkeeper 20:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Trust me, I take Wikipedia very seriously, if I didnt I wouldnt be here fighting against the same things over and over and fighting for what I believe. Ultimately its what I believe in, just like what you fight for is what you believe in. PLEASE understand that not everyone sees the world as you do! The world, and Wikipedia, is not black and white and Wikipedia is controlled by the consensus of the Community within the bounds set by Jimbo Wales and the Foundation NOTHING more, there are no set universal overriding "laws" inherent to being an "encyclopedia" that we MUST follow. If you refuse to believe that point then there is no use in arguing with you anymore and because your philosophy will fail to get consensus ANYWHERE in any discussion whether I'm around or not.Camelbinky (talk) 20:44, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Demotion of WP:NOTDIC

I've left a pointer over at WT:NOTDIC. I'd like to float the idea of demotion of that policy page, but I don't feel strongly that Wikipedia would be better or worse without this change. It seems like the perfect example of the moment to go with a lot of the discussion we're having above.

It used to be that most of the fights at WT:NOTDIC were about the status of the page; it had been marked as policy for a long time, and it's a page that is sometimes quite useful at AfD, so we went with "policy". The rub was that it was and always has been a spin-off of WP:NOT, which is where most people went if they wanted to argue the policy, and which is the page most people consider authoritative on the question. In the last edit of March, this was added to NOTDIC: "Each article in an encyclopedia is about a person, or a people, a concept, a place, an event, a thing etc.; whereas a dictionary article is primarily about a word, an idiom or a term and its meanings, usage and history." This contradicts WP:NOT, which has always implied (by omission, and by lots of discussion on the talk page) that it's okay for a Wikipedia article to be about a word in some cases. I try not to get involved in these things, but since it was the last edit of the month, I had to make a call on whether it had consensus or not for WP:Update ... I decided it didn't, and mentioned that over at NOT, along with the point that NOTDIC is our policy page on the subject, so if no one reverts, then that's the policy. The problem is that no one has reverted ... and I can guess why; people simply think that NOT, and prior experience, covers the issue, and there's no need to get into a fight over the issue at WT:NOTDIC.

I guess there's a principle I use at Wikipedia that trumps even IAR: "It is what it is." Even if we put a big label on a page declaring it to be policy, if people don't act as if that's the page where the question gets decided, then that's not the page where the question gets decided. I don't want to "pile on" to Wolfkeeper; he has some good ideas, he's put quite a lot of work into NOTDIC, and the page is much better in many ways. I'm discussing this here instead of at WT:NOTDIC because I think the governing question isn't over text at NOTDIC ... it's clear the text doesn't work ... the governing question is, how do we know when a policy page has stopped being a policy page? If the environment has become difficult and people who know better have just stopped trying to maintain the page, how much arm-twisting do we do to get people to pay attention? Or is it just better to say "it is what it is"? - Dank (push to talk) 16:23, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

P.S. Added later ... I forgot to mention that I also left a pointer to this discussion at WT:NOT. - Dank (push to talk) 18:30, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
FWIW "Each article in an encyclopedia is about a person, or a people, a concept, a place, an event, a thing etc." was already in the policy, and has been there for a considerable length of time. I just copied it into the introduction to better summarise what was already policy, and had been for years.- Wolfkeeper 16:49, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I hear that that's not what it means, I understand that NOTDIC now supports the position that articles shouldn't be about words according to, well, you, many times, in the talk page discussions at WT:NOT and WT:NOTDIC. I don't want to argue exactly which edit was the decisive one; it happened through incremental edits you've made to NOTDIC over many months. The current wording has been moved up to the introduction of NOTDIC, and seems to me to exclude "words", which seems to be your interpretation as well. - Dank (push to talk) 17:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I didn't introduce that to the policy, and similar text by Larry Sanger existed back to 2001.- Wolfkeeper 18:27, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Also, I wasn't aware that there was any such guiding principle as 'it is what it is', that's not in 5P or Trifecta. You appear to have completely made that up yourself dank. Can we really make up new fundamental principles from scratch and then use them to try to delete very well established polices that date from the earliest days of the wikipedia?- Wolfkeeper 17:23, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I didn't say that. - Dank (push to talk) 17:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
You said that in your opinion 'it is what it is' overrides everything. The whole point about policies is that they try to guide what it is. If you start from the idea that you don't need to do that... well I can understand how that would lead you to want to remove entire policies; but I don't see how you expect us to go along with that. The wikipedia isn't an experiment in anarchy or democracy.- Wolfkeeper 18:25, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with demotion. In my opinion WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary should be demoted as policy creep. It merely functions as an essay explaining a passage in WP:NOT, and it doesn't make much sense to have this kind of duplication within our policies. I am surprised it has ever been a policy in the first place. It currently has only 85 watchers, as opposed to WP:NOT, which has 830 watchers. Some essays have less watchers, of course, but the relatively well-known ones such as WP:DENY (88), WP:DTTR (71), WP:FANCRUFT (103), WP:SPIDERMAN (105), WP:LAWYER (81) have roughly the same number. It's a guideline at best. Hans Adler 17:39, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
No objection to demotion to guideline... as long as WP:NOT remains a policy that includes a strong statement that Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Blueboar (talk) 18:01, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Agree with demotion to guideline. The problem is that WP:NOTDIC is supposed to complement and elaborate upon what is already at WP:NOT, but due to POV finagling and plain old entropy, the two now say some very different things. The word issue is the most obvious example; while WP:NOT specifically says "In some cases, a word or phrase itself may be an encyclopedic subject...", WP:NOTDIC makes no mention of this, and has even been written to imply that that is not the case. This creates an obvious issue where two policies contradict each other. Whether WP:NOTDIC is a policy or a guideline, what we need to do is synchronize it with WP:NOT.--Cúchullain t/c 18:08, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Contrary to popular belief we actually very little content on words. Out of 3.2M articles it looks like well under a thousand articles are on terms, and many of them are easy to rewrite to encyclopedic style, the wikipedia just hasn't got around to it yet. It's a tiny percentage, if I push the random button, I've never landed on a term-based article, and I tried it hundreds of times. Besides, policies are things that only mostly need to be followed anyway.- Wolfkeeper 18:37, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Even the categories you would expect wp:Words contain mostly articles that aren't word-based articles, they're articles that use a notable word, but aren't directly about the word and its usages.- Wolfkeeper 18:37, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
And if a deletion criteria isn't policy then what the heck is?- Wolfkeeper 18:37, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
  • To not dance around the subject: If the problem is Wolfkeeper's edits drifting it from what it used to mean, then I think that problem should be addressed directly, instead of demoting it. Gigs (talk) 18:20, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it's not my edits, the policy has always pretty much said the same thing; the number of articles rewritten or deleted before I even got here is extremely large.- Wolfkeeper 18:24, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Oppose WP:ISNOT is only a quick summary and doesn't even define what an encyclopedic definition is, in fact it specifically links to WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary for that; that policy in ISNOT isn't self-sufficient. And the full policy is a deletion criteria, not ISNOT summary. The policy also contains instructions about how to rewrite material that appears to be dictionary-like and gives clear guidance on what is, and is not expected. Policies at their best help build encyclopedia and reduce arguments, we're not trying to build a battle ground. I really don't think 'it is what it is' cuts it in policy pages.- Wolfkeeper 18:24, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Okay, I'd rather not make the change myself; WP:POLICY has suggestions for how to promote and demote pages if anyone is interested. - Dank (push to talk) 19:33, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

I would very much think that you would need to do a full RFC before doing this change; this is very fundamental and very old policy.- Wolfkeeper 19:59, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I've got what I needed here, which was a sense of whether people want me to keep updating NOTDIC as a policy page; clearly, they don't. I won't fiddle with the cats, though. - Dank (push to talk) 20:05, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
So you think you can decide what is and isn't 'really' a policy based on 4 hours on one talk page?- Wolfkeeper 20:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree with demotion (or at least a substantial reexamination/rewrite), but suggest we wait until the forthcoming RfC on words/Wolfkeeper has concluded, before pursuing it. -- Quiddity (talk) 00:18, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree with demotion. I'd just as soon see it demoted to essay status, but calling it a guideline is more accurate than policy. olderwiser 18:48, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
    • Hey, let's just rewrite it to Wikipedia is a dictionary; you know, you've persuaded me, I've changed my mind, we have quorum don't we? (Gets popcorn). Has anyone got a bot handy that they can use to suck in all the words? We seem very short of adjectives at the moment.- Wolfkeeper 20:12, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
      • You really don't get it. No one thinks Wiktionary is a dictionary or that WP:NOT should be abandoned. But there is a place in wikipedia for encyclopedic articles about words. There is a big difference. olderwiser 20:38, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
        • Saying 'some words are allowed' without specifying what it is that makes those words allowed basically just means we can suck them all in from Wiktionary as long as you rewrite them in text form rather than that stupid point format they use in Wiktionary, just point at the word articles and say the magic words; look: words are allowed!!! All the verbs and adjectives, we're very short of verbs and adjectives right now; there's that silly WP:MOS thing that says only nouns are allowed, but I'm sure we can change that. We need to get going; time-is-a-wasting! There's a million words burning a hole in Wiktionary, and we could bump up the article count to over 4.5 million here!!!- Wolfkeeper 23:21, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
          • It's no different than any other article. Editors constantly try adding unencyclopedic topics, and these are routinely deleted. Other articles are kept because there is consensus about the encyclopedic content. Your're slippery slope logic is unamusing. olderwiser 23:45, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
            • Whose amusing? I am persuaded. It's exactly that, no different. All words in all languages are fundamentally notable; all words have been referenced from notable sources at some time or another. All words are in all dictionaries; these are reliable sources, albeit tertiary ones, and it's simply a question of notability. Even latin phrases like annus horribilis, these are exemplary phrase articles, these also have inherent notability, and this must obviously be extended to all languages and all idioms in all languages; Wikipedia is a dictionary as well as an encyclopedia- Wolfkeeper 01:26, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
              • The fact that it is possible to write encyclopedic articles about some words does not make wikipedia a dictionary. Your assertion that all words are notable is nonsensical. olderwiser 14:14, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
                • But things are so chaotic right now, the WP:MOS says that only nouns are allowed, so that would seem to suggest that only words/phrases that are nouns should be here. But a lot of phrases aren't nouns! So should the Wikipedia, at the end of the day, only have a strange subset of the phrases and words? No I say! It all makes sense now! We need to become a full dictionary. Who's with me?- Wolfkeeper 14:48, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
                  • For those editors who cling to their dogmatic views of policies yes, things can be seen as chaotic as they don't understand why the community doesn't agree with their position. For the rest of us, it's business as usual. --NeilN talk to me 15:14, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
                  • MOS is not an inclusion guideline. The meaning of the line in the MOS is "Please name the article Running, not 'To run' or 'Run' or 'Runs'." MOS does not tell you whether Wikipedia should have an article about this form of locomotion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:13, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
                    • In fact, WP:Title is a Wikipedian policy. We clearly need to overturn this so that the Wikipedia can have the terms and phrases in the form of articles that everyone wants to have. The verb 'run' is massively popular and useful, we could have whole books on that word alone, it's terribly notable. As I say, you've completely turned me around on this; it's a big win! We're also going to need new rules about what words and idioms are allowed, basically most of the policies from Wiktionary or similar. Don't think of it as a complete rewrite or massive addition to the policies of the Wikipedia or duplication of another wikiproject to make it into a dictionary as well, no, think of it as gaining some really fun terms!- Wolfkeeper 03:08, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
                      • Cool! With your newfound enthusiasm can you write up an article on the word run similar to the article Yankee? We await your efforts with anticipation. --NeilN talk to me 04:38, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't strongly care about whether WP:NOTDICDEF is demoted or not -- what's more important is that a) it is kept in sync with the essentially redundant advice at WP:NOT#DICDEF and b) that it accurately describes the community's stance on the issue. Currently I'd say it fails on both counts -- those who have ever commented at WT:NOTDIC will know why. The best way to fix this problems would be to rewrite NOTDICDEF from the ground up to accurately document the community's stance on the issue. At this moment, my time is spoken for, so I cannot tackle that task. Anyone else want to give it a whirl?--Father Goose (talk) 21:08, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

See Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia is not a dictionary#RfC on Wolfkeeper and words. Diffs are given, names are mentioned, assistance is requested particularly from admins. I truly hope this helps. (This is the only pointer to that thread that I shall create, for now. I'm off to do some gardening). -- Quiddity (talk) 22:52, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

I made a small and hopefully helpful change at WP:NOTDIC; see WT:NOTDIC#The intro for some discussion. - Dank (push to talk) 22:42, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose demotion completely, and there is not enough discussion here one way or another. Wikitionary exists for a reason - to provide a dictionary source. Wikipedia is not a dictionary and having a clear policy stating that is necessary. There are already too many "word" articles floating by because they exist. I've also reverted the "small" change which completely altered the meaning of the policy, noted by Dank above, as there was no discussion and is clearly some opposition to the change on the talk page. I also agree with the remarks above, that a policy cannot and should not be "demoted" with so little advertisement nor discussion - there is no proper RfC, and really, for the demotion of a policy, I'd think a banner notice would be necessary. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:19, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
    • I started a discussion on this page (WT:POLICY) to explore the question: when a page (NOTDIC) is labeled "policy" but people don't feel any need to follow the page or keep it in sync with the page it spun off from, WP:NOT (even after much prodding and poking), does that maybe suggest that it isn't policy after all? We didn't get a definitive answer to that question; one the one hand, no one agreed with Wolfkeeper in the discussion above that it was important to keep the page as policy, but OTOH, no one took any action to demote the page, either. On the meat of the question, what the policy is and should be at WP:NOT and WP:NOTDIC, discussion is ongoing at those two pages. - Dank (push to talk) 16:39, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
      • Well, I've called for the policies complete removal at WT:What Wikipedia is not#Removal of WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary, clearly the policies at wiktionary are getting in the way of writing long (essay-like?) articles on words and terms, rather than the compact and pithy reference materials on words and terms at Wiktionary, and so we need to remove the unnecessary policy in WP:ISNOT and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a dictionary to fully allow them here, and the wiktionary needs to go. Having a specialist wiki on terms clearly isn't working out for us. Please vote delete and end this madness once and for all, and let the move bots roll!- Wolfkeeper 17:11, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

The problem isn't really with the principle of WP:NOTDIC, it's with the fact that it contradicts WP:NOT. As this very page says "When apparent discrepancies arise between pages, editors at all the affected pages should discuss how they can most accurately represent the community's current position, and correct all of the pages to reflect the community's view." We've been engaging in exactly those discussions at the relevant pages, but it has been made more difficult by Wolfkeeper, who seems to think that any such discussions are irrelevant by principle.--Cúchullain t/c 18:26, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Not really, it's the fact that WP:ISNOT is different to everything else, we need to change everything else to match this half sentence. That sounds hard, but the easiest way is just to delete all the other offending policies, since nobody can come up with any rule for when words or terms are allowable, they clearly just always are. I mean anyone can quote the policy from ISNOT in a deletion review, so WP:NAD clearly isn't really a deletion criteria anymore; so everything else is redundant and unnecessary, it's all just notability, and at the end of the day, almost all terms are very probably notable anyway. Game over!- Wolfkeeper 18:52, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

in-universe policy is rubbish

I found this policy after looking up "Will Bailey," a character in the television series "The West Wing." As far as I can tell, one needs to re-write the entry to make very clear in every sentence that it relates to a fictional character. (The whole premise of "in-universe" is very wiki-belly-button gazing to begin with.) This is absurd at best. Of course the entry is describing a fictional character. That's all that needs to be said. No convoluted re-write is necessary. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dleary1 (talkcontribs) 14:14, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Trial policy and guideline

We'll need a special policy and guideline status for the trial of pending changes, policies and guidelines which will be in effect for the duration of the trial. Wikipedia:Pending changes should probably become such a policy, and Wikipedia:Reviewing such a guideline. Cenarium (talk) 17:18, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

We don't need a special status. The original wikipedia method of changing policy covers such trials very well, and this has been extremely successful over time. They are explicitly permitted under WP:IAR/WP:WIARM. --Kim Bruning (talk) 13:57, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Rewording to include documentation of existing practice/experimental practice

Somehow existing and proven experimental process (the things that are really really easy to write policy pages about), have somehow managed to vanish from the page again. I think someone has been playing politics again? ;-) I only recheck a few times a year these days.

This is a more strict wording than we've had before:

"On the other hand, it is obviously not wise to write something other than accepted practice, as you will soon find yourself reverted."

This describes 2 things that are true but somehow erode out of this text over time:

  • Political wrangling and gameplaying in wikipedia: namespace (by way of making edits that support your particular wikipolitical viewpoint) leads to much wikidrama, and the effectiveness of this approach suffers for it.
  • Documenting existing/proven practice is not particularly controversial (because if you're doing it right, everyone already agrees), thus leads to little wikidrama, and is therefore likely to be effective.

I think it would be quite a challenge to argue against those points ;-)

--Kim Bruning (talk) 13:36, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Would it were so... I find I get reverted (on much watched pages) when I don't change the meaning of anything, just say things in clearer words (which really annoys some people who like to keep their doctrine mysterious). But if you're editing a page that no-one's watching, you can write pretty much whatever you like, and you won't get reverted, but it's still a Bad Thing to do if you're writing made-up stuff. --Kotniski (talk) 13:55, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, if you're really just improving wording, you usually at least get away with it in the end ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 13:58, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that these recent changes should be in the lead. I think that they might make more sense in the "Changing policies" section (perhaps with a slightly more extensive explanation). WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:08, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Ok, fair enough, let's do that. --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:14, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Looking at sections A and B. A is the more general (Everything said in A implies B; but not everything said in B implies A) ... hmm, so can I word it that way? Or is it better to have 2 sections? <scratches head> --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:20, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

@User:AnmaFinotera I didn't quite understand your RV rationale, could you go into more detail? (In general: you should always explain yourself on talk if you are reverting good faith edits... "I find it hard to understand" is not a very good reason to revert. It might be a good reason to inquire or clarify wording though! ) :-)

I'm afraid I didn't understand all that either but to make the policy look okay I took out the A so it is the main text of the Content changes section and then put in a subtitle Substantive changes for the longer bit. Seems okay to me though I appreciate one should try cutting down the size of policies. Dmcq (talk) 19:02, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

There's just a fundamental disconnect with reality on this page.- Wolfkeeper 01:50, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

The idea that policy always describes previously accepted practice is pretty much just wrong. A lot of policy is just written in, policy is something you set; nobody goes around and checks that everyone is already doing it.

People just don't do that level of research by and large. And if they did, they would find that people weren't usually already doing it. How would you even do that (well, OK I know how you would do it, but I've never heard of anyone doing anything like that). At best people do it on a few articles and then try to change the policy. If there's consensus on it, then it gets kept.

Yes, I'm saying that people simply make up policy (or in some cases get it from somewhere off-wiki) and then try adding it. That's how it works; that's probably how it should work as well. I laugh at anyone that claims that wikipolicies capture existing practices. The policies try to capture ideas that are intended to improve the Wikipedia. That's all.- Wolfkeeper 01:50, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Case in point: The edits at Elephant and Cat 90 minutes beforehand.
(As I understand it) Wolfkeeper, and to lesser extents 6-10 or so other editors, believe that almost all word-as-a-topic content (eg Chemistry (etymology), Thou, Negro, Craic, etc etc) should be moved to Wiktionary (the problem being that Wiktionary doesn't want that much quantity, they're not an "encyclopedic dictionary" in that way), and believe that words are fundamentally unsuitable as encyclopedic topics. He in particular, is willing to edit-war about it until his views are either enshrined or forbidden, in policy form. (eg. See the articlehistory (and talk:) of Slam dunk). Years and years of it is listed elsewhere (a stalled rfc draft), and argued about some more.
There is a current running RfC at Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia is not a dictionary#Proposal where the feedback is strong, so far, but not overwhelming. The Proposal's wording doesn't really get to the very heart of the matter (it's just over whether to retain or remove a single key sentence), but it would really help if additional editors weighed-in there (whatever your opinions may be). We need some sort of consensus out of that.
Sorry for the tangent, but it does at least relate to Wolfkeeper's aggressively-phrased and hyperbolic, but still somewhat accurate views, above. I think. -- Quiddity (talk) 06:00, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Introduction

The proposed change put in the nutshell

This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are pages that serve to document the good practices that are accepted in the Wikipedia community.

and first paragraph

The Wikipedia project has pages called policies and guidelines, whose purpose is to document the good practices that are accepted in the Wikipedia community – mostly about what the encyclopedia should contain, how it should look, and how editors should interact. They are not absolute rules, since improving Wikipedia is considered more important than adhering to rules (and anyway, policy and guideline pages cannot be guaranteed to reflect accepted practice with full accuracy), but you should normally have a good sound reason if you are knowingly doing something contrary to what is written on one of these pages. There is no need to read any policy or guideline pages before starting editing, although it is worth reading the Five pillars page, which contains a summary of the most pertinent principles.

I removed them for a number of reasons:

  • Nutshell: I liked directing them straight away to 5P if they are newbies. Also the nutshell did't describe what this policy is only what policies and guidelines are.

The first paragraph got overlong and waffly in my estimation. I also would very much like it to include the purpose of Wikipedia which the policies and guidelines serve and which has been a guiding line for so long. I think the current sentence

Wikipedia policies and guidelines are developed by the community to describe best practice, clarify principles, resolve conflicts, and otherwise further our goal of creating a free, reliable encyclopedia.

is a far better story about what the policies are in aid of. Dmcq (talk) 15:49, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

The only bit I liked in the rewrite was

There is no need to read any policy or guideline pages before starting editing, although it is worth reading the Five pillars page, which contains a summary of the most pertinent principles.

Dmcq (talk) 15:52, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't see a need to include the "purpose of this page" in the nutshell (we never usually do that). Nor to direct people to some other page (5P). We;ve agreed in the past that it's better to send newbies to 5P than to make them read anything on this page, but my aim with the new paragraph was to write the things that newbies need to know in terms that are understandable to them, so if we do that, we don't need to send them off to 5P until they've read that paragraph. And we'll wait for other opinions, but I believe my version was far, far freer of pointless waffle than the version you've restored; on the other hand, it does actually contain information that people might want and need to know, in simple, accurate, unpretentious terms (which is not true of the present first paragraph, which reads like self-justifying officialese).--Kotniski (talk) 16:22, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Nutshells do give the purpose, for instance for WP:OR we have:
This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia does not publish original thought: all material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source. Articles may not contain any new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources.
It does not say 'Original though is material that editors think of rather than is published somewhere'. That is what 'Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are pages that serve to document the good practices that are accepted in the Wikipedia community.' is like. Compare that to ' This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia's policies and guidelines exist to help editors contribute to Wikipedia, following the principles expressed in the Five pillars. This policy describes how WP policies and guidelines should normally be developed and maintained.' Dmcq (talk) 16:29, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
But the OR nutshell does not say "the purpose of this page is...". And the rest of this page's present nutshell is bad as well - many things "exist to help editors contribute..." - how do policies and guidelines do it specifically?? And as we know from previous discussion, it's a lie that policies develop from 5P. So really there's nothing of value in the nutshell at the moment at all.--Kotniski (talk) 18:49, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Well I'd be happy with the bit about the 5P being removed from the nutshell and your statement about it stuck in instead of the one currently mentioning it in the leader. The current nutshell doesn't say 'the purpose of...' either. It does however say what the policy is in aid of just like the WP:OR one does. Dmcq (talk) 19:04, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
The nutshell doesn't seem very good right now, policies and guidelines are not simply best practice, they do contain best practices, but they mainly serve to actually shape the Wikipedia to make it an encyclopedia. I mean, best for what? Best for who? Some of the policies are not practice at all, they serve as setting goals or principles. Goals and principles are not practice. An encyclopedia without goals and principles is just a wiki.- Wolfkeeper 02:56, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Which policies do you have in mind when you say they are "not practice"?--Kotniski (talk) 09:25, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
WP:ISNOT doesn't set practice, it defines what the wikipedia isn't.- Wolfkeeper 14:46, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Practice is something you do. Is not is something you don't do; it's the polar opposite of practice.- Wolfkeeper 14:49, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Weeell... the reason for having such a policy (which I find rather strange anyway) is presumably because it translates fairly readily into practice (e.g. the practice of deleting certain types of talk posts, articles etc. because they don't belong on Wikipedia, given what it is not).--Kotniski (talk) 15:09, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, whatever. The point is that the nutshell isn't correct, the policies are not a collection of practices; practices are how-to's.- Wolfkeeper 15:55, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Wolfkeeper, it should be apparent by this point that your views about policies in general, and WP:NOT in particular, are not supported by the community.
To address your current concern: wikt:practice#Noun defines a practice (in the sense used here) as "A customary action, habit, or behavior; a manner or routine." Policy and other advice pages certainly are documentation of the community's customary actions, habits, or behaviors. The definition of "practice" does not actually include anything even remotely like "how-to".
Practices can certainly be defined according to what they aren't: e.g., a person who practices non-violence does not use violence to achieve his goals. You can define many things according to their outer boundaries/what they aren't: e.g., Outer space comprises the entire universe except celestial bodies. Many other things benefit from partial definitions in the negative: e.g., Consensus is not a forcibly imposed judgment. When the only options are "A" and "not A", either approach to a definition works.
In the larger picture, however, let me suggest that because your views are so different from the community's views, the time you spend advocating for changes on policy pages is really being wasted. The community does not agree with you, and it will not agree with you, no matter how many times you put forward the same rejected views. While you are permitted to continue these fruitless efforts, I think you might prefer finding something more productive to do with your time and energy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:14, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia's policies are not practices, they largely try to define what the Wikipedia is. Practices are by and large things you do, not things you are. They are not written as practices, nor are they really derived from practice, somebody has an idea, or gets an idea, and adds it to the policy, and if it's not reverted then they stick. Nobody really trawls through the wikipedia looking for best practices and adding it to the policies. The nutshell is superficially plausible, but not how it's actually done.- Wolfkeeper 07:02, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
You may have confused "Wikipedia's policies" with "Wikipedia's content policies". WP:Deletion policy is very much what Wikipedia does, not what Wikipedia is. The same can be said about WP:Blocking policy, WP:Bot policy, and many others. The list of policies is much longer than merely WP:V, WP:NPOV, and WP:NOT. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:41, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
Strangely though, those policies exist, and are not practices.- Wolfkeeper 03:50, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
You think you speak for everyone else in the Wikipedia, and get to decide what they think and get to state it on these pages as fact? Don't you think that it might be proper to describe that as very arrogant of you?- Wolfkeeper 06:40, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I think "and otherwise further our goal of creating a free, reliable encyclopedia" is just about enough goals for this top level policy and says it all. It doesn't have to go in the nutshell as it isn't expanded on and isn't what the policy is all about, it is the impetus behind it. For principles we've go WP:5P and suchlike. Dmcq (talk) 16:56, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
That bits OK, I would prefer it to be linked to the pillars, which in turn connects to creating an encyclopedia, but it more or less comes to the same thing.- Wolfkeeper 07:02, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

"In the event of a contradiction between [guideline] and [policy], the guideline should be changed."

Where has this come from all of a sudden? I'm seeing it on several guidelines and, basically, it's just wrong. Policies don't really have automatic precedence over guidelines; I'm a firm believer that policies are more "what you should do" and guidelines are more "how you should do" (I.E., you can be civil by assuming good faith), based on community practice. I'm not opposed to guidelines and policies being kept in sync, but I'd prefer it to be "the page that best describes community practice" than policies changing guidelines by fiat. Sceptre (talk) 19:47, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

I agree with you Sceptre and unfortunately the discussion regarding this got quite heated and I'm totally willing to back you but am letting you know that those who are putting in that wording are putting it in good faith and truly believe that is the way Wikipedia should work as opposed to the philosophy you and I happen to share. Who is the majority in Wikipedia? Probably evenly split, however with the way policies are written and changed the philosophy we share is probably the way things are actually done the majority of the time by most editors. Its part of a deeper philosophical discussion regarding whether policies PRESCRIBE what we must do or if they DESCRIBE the way we already are doing things. In the first philosophy we change policies in order to force people to do something or not do something, in the second philosophy we change policies in order to make those policies reflect how we have already been doing things in opposition to how policy was previously written. The second philosophy has the draw back of every policy by definition will be outdated quickly and ignored and why have "rules" that are outdated or quickly ignored, the first philosophy has a draw back of being totalitarian and easily manipulated and being too strict for Wikipedia. Most really heated disputes on Wikipedia no matter what their local reason for starting always boil down to these two philosophical camps interpreting Wikipedia. Both are right, and both are wrong, and many editors flip between the two depending on circumstances. Its politics and its high school wrapped in one.Camelbinky (talk) 20:59, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
The right answer varies, but in general, there's nothing wrong with a related set of pages declaring which takes precedence. For example, WP:V trumps WP:RS. There aren't actually very many direct conflicts in the main policy/guideline pages (e.g., excluding essays and unapproved advice pages). The more common issue is that page X recommends X in X situation, and page Y recommends Y in Y situation, and the article is about X+Y, but you can't do both X and Y (and so which do you follow?).
Did you have a particular problem in mind? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:27, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Guidelines and Policies should work in harmony. When a conflict does occur, this conflict needs to be brought to the attention of editors on both pages, discussed and resolved. Most of the time the combined consensus on both pages will indicate that the guideline should be changed to match the policy... However, we should allow for the fact that, even with policies, consensus can change... and there are occasional, rare situation where consensus says "you know, this guideline has it right... let's change the policy". Blueboar (talk) 01:19, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
For example WhatamIdoing recently changed WP:EL to make it so that it disagrees with WP:CONSENSUS. WP:CONSENSUS says that any change should meet consensus, but WP:EL now says that you can delete any external link at all, at any time, unless you can prove that there is a consensus that it should be kept. In other words, even if you hold an RFC and it fails to find consensus to remove a well established link, then it's still gone because some people disagreed with it in the RFC. I'm not making this up. You couldn't make this stuff up.- Wolfkeeper 01:54, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
WP:ELBURDEN says that if consensus cannot be reached, then disputed external links should normally be removed. Establishing a default does not violate WP:CONSENSUS. In the absence of a consensus to do otherwise, Wikipedia removes unverifiable material and disputed external links, and keeps articles.
But let's try to have fewer than six conversations about this link to a comic strip, okay? Pick one, and let us know where you want to talk about it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:52, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree with What on every point plus this is getting off topic for this thread.Camelbinky (talk) 06:02, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
It's off-topic, but unsurprising. Wolfkeeper has been hounding What for a few days now over an external links disagreement (see here, here, here and, well, here) It's getting ridiculous. --132 14:15, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Just saying what I've found, but I always think it's funny how people that are up to no good, accuse others the most.- Wolfkeeper 20:30, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, because I'm so totally involved in this issue, let me tell you. By the way, you might want to read over WP:ABF. --132 00:04, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm starting to have this rule of thumb that anytime anyone uses the words "Should be", in policy/guidelines/essays or when discussing p/g/e, they are likely doing something wrong. ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 21:06, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Okay, since there were no objections, I've added a more descriptive section, Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines#Conflicts_between_advice_pages. My overall goal for the section is "Fix it already!" instead of "But I've invoked the magic word 'policy'."
Please feel free to improve. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:36, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Perfect additionCamelbinky (talk) 03:10, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I have tweaked the bit about newspapers (I think it may need more tweaking)... IRS does not "recommend" newspapers, it simply states that they are generally considered reliable. That said, I think the example is a good one... as it highlights the fact that two guidelines may seem to conflict, when in fact they do not. We should probably explain better why there is no conflict between them (IRS is broadly focused, giving general advice to be applied in most situations... while MEDIRS is narrowly focused, giving advice about specific situations). Blueboar (talk) 13:15, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I've been thinking about adding a sentence to the effect of "If an essay conflicts with a policy or guideline, then who cares?", but I think that's WP:CREEPy.
Blueboar, thanks for that improvement. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:03, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Ownership of WP:?

I just noticed a redirect to WP:OMT. This was done by creating a redirect under "OMT" to "Operation Majestic Titan" apparently a sub-Project under Military. I had thought that "WP" prefixes were reserved for simple policies and procedures. It is confusing enough keeping up with even those few abbreviations, highly useful in discussions and edit summaries. I hope someone can claim "ownership" for the prefix and request these folks to drop their pseudo-policy pointer. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 11:57, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

No... the "WP:" prefix is used for many types of "non-article space" pages. If you look at Wikipedia:List of shortcuts/Project shortcuts, it seems standard to use the "WP:" prefix in shortcuts to WikiProjects. It would only be a problem if we wanted to use the shortcut "WP:OMT" for an actual policy or guideline page. At which time, I would suggest that "WP:OMT" can be redirected to that policy/guideline page, while the WikiProject adopts a different shortcut (perhaps WP:WPOMT). Blueboar (talk) 14:59, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Yup. Shortcuts are mostly just handy tools. See eg: WP:CAT, WP:CATS, and WP:WPCAT. For the full list of related topics (on a damned huge page, browser warning ahead...) see WP:EIW#Shortcuts (in the Editor's index to Wikipedia). -- Quiddity (talk) 21:00, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Shortcuts masking essay status

Shortcuts masking essay status. "Essays do not speak for the entire community and may be created and written without approval." But their warning banner may go unseen if a user is given a shortcut to a section lower down the essay page. Should policy mandate visibility that an essay or one of its sections is being linked to, perhaps using namespace/shortcut naming conventions to achieve this? PL290 (talk) 09:12, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

NOTE: The "Threaded discussion" below, was begun 12 days before this RfC template and section were added. Please read that first, for context. -- Quiddity (talk) 17:52, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

RfC responses

Please use this section for basic yes/no-type responses, and the Threaded discussion section below for detailed discussion. PL290 (talk) 09:12, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Comment. Currently it's all too easy to be referred to WP:THIS or WP:THAT, arrive at a section halfway down a page, and gain the impression that it's a WP policy or guideline. Policy should mandate visibility that an essay or one of its sections is being linked to, ideally using the link name itself, so that instead of WP:THIS and WP:THAT, we link to, say, ESSAY:THIS or ESSAY:THAT. PL290 (talk) 09:12, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
  • RfC Comment. I would have low enthusiasm for this if it meant repeating the essay disclaimer lower on the page. That would make a mess (in terms of layout) of essay pages, and I'm reasonably confident that misunderstandings tend to get pointed out in talk. The question for me then becomes whether there would be a gain in requiring that shortcuts only go to the top of essay pages. To the degree that this would make things clearer, I'd support, but to the degree that it is sometimes useful to direct people to a particular section of an essay, I'd oppose. On balance, a mild oppose. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:33, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Alternative I think it would be too much to ask people to do this. However it might be reasonable to ban shortcuts to essays or sections of essays. It uses too many shortcuts and exhausts the supply. This would have much the same effect. Dmcq (talk) 16:46, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Threaded discussion

From this policy:

Essays are the opinion or advice of an editor or group of editors, for which widespread consensus has not been established. They do not speak for the entire community and may be created and written without approval.

The {{Essay}} banner rightly reflects this disclaimer:

However, the banner may go unseen if a user is given a shortcut to a section lower down the essay page. And since essay shortcut names have the same format as WP:AGF, WP:CIVIL and so forth, it's all too easy to be referred to an essay section and mistakenly assume it's part of a Wikipedia policy or guideline. For the same reasons that the disclaimer is important, I suggest policy should mandate visibility that an essay or one of its sections is being linked to. What opinions are there about this, and about the idea of using namespace/shortcut naming conventions to achieve it? PL290 (talk) 10:12, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

WP:CREEP. Dmcq (talk) 10:49, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Dmcq for giving us an example of linking to an ESSAY in a discussion. Now, for newbies and less experienced editors coming here they might think that this mention of wp:CREEP is something official declaring that this discussion is unnecessary. But WP:CREEP is just an opinion, and it would beneficial to point that out in discussions whether something is an opinion or a policy. Weight matters.Camelbinky (talk) 03:45, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't say this is creep, especially as the person is looking for OPINIONS. Discussing this would be very beneficial. I do think it should in fact be stated somewhere relevant that "when linking to a policy/guideline/essay it is good etiquette to state the status of the link, for the benefit of all in the discussion, especially newbies." or something to that effect. I dont see it as falling under WP:CREEP since this does not involve adding any layer of bureaucracy or undue burden, it is a suggestion, and a very good one. Opinions?Camelbinky (talk) 22:37, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
We could have an E: pseudo-namespace for essay shortcuts - eg E:RECENTISM (compare P: for Portal: and MOS: for WP:MOS pages). Requires no software change, just a new convention. Existing shortcuts would remain, and nothing require moving: just an easy way to flag what type of thing is being referred to. Someone will say "what about people not knowing what E: is?" - well they'll click on it the first time they see it, and find out, and after that they'll know! Rd232 talk 22:47, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Good idea. Maybe bring this to WP:Village pump (proposals)?Camelbinky (talk) 23:13, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
It really depends on the context of the discussion. Just because someone cites a shortcut to an essay doesn't necessarily mean they're leading you to believe this is policy. Also, if a particular essay fits a situation well, then why not cite it if it will educate newbies into better Wikipedia practices, as all essays in Wikipedia space are supposed to be established and vetted by the community anyways. Now if people are citing shortcuts leading to userspace essays that's a different story. -- œ 08:54, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Correct - Userspace essays would be the only real problem. It is reasonable to expect people to look at entire pages in projectspace as well -- I know I do. Collect (talk) 10:22, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
While essays become essays through consensus it is not the same type of consensus we require for additions to policy or new guidelines. The fact of the matter is that essays can, and routinely do, reflect minority opinions that are in fact contrary to the prevailing procedure. I know the anti- and pro- IAR-related essays were combined not too long ago, but the "There is no commonsense" essay was a prime example, policy, consensus, and our general way of doing things all agree that common sense must be used, but we had a essay that was often thrown about being linked to saying there is no such thing as it. The essay was useful, in its entirety, however not in the linking manner in which it was commonly used. Frankly I wish we'd get rid of all essays, at least those that are in fact minority opinions on how some wish Wikipedia would be; and instead just keep those essays that do reflect true consensus on Wikipedia and our actual way of doing things and are simply extended commentaries to shed more light on guidelines, but for length or other reasons aren't incorporated into the guideline.Camelbinky (talk) 20:45, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Or we could spare the essays and just get rid of the shortcuts... -- œ 04:14, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
In another topic, another editor inquired, "What problem does this solve?" I guess I would ask what problem does it solve for me. I have been using a "certain" WP pointer to get rid of (uh) stuff that most editors would agree shouldn't be there. I probably could use another pointer but might encounter resistance and argument, which I don't care for. While I wouldn't fool you guys, it has been sufficient to handle newbies! So it would create a problem for me! You might want to reflect on how this would better your life! Also creates more work for people attempting to establish these things. And let's face it, this policy stuff takes forever. It isn't simple. Why make policy (or pseudo-policy, in this case :) any harder? (I know. You are sticklers for honesty. That is what policy is all about. IMO policy should be about producing a product - Wikipedia. What works better and faster). Student7 (talk) 12:56, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, while I assume your motives are good while you are attempting to decieve the newbies intentionally so you can improve Wikipedia, I think it actually proves the point I and others made regarding why we should in fact label essays. Newbies shouldnt be taken advantage of, they dont learn the "right way", and WORSE- they begin to take a dogmatic stance on essays and turn them into something they aren't. We have already have this happening with the WP:5P being turned by newer editors into a stagnant "Constitution" that must be adhered to when in fact they are nothing than a summary to point to, but... because we quoted them so much to newbies for them to learn our ways because we were to lazy to point them to several separate policies the newbies got the wrong idea and now those newbies are all grown up and like converts to any religion or philosophy they are more fundamentalist than the cynical skeptical old-timers. Give another "Wikipedia-generation" (roughly 2 years is my guess) and we'll see essays begin to be quoted as dogma and enforced roughly as much as guidelines are today. Do we want that?Camelbinky (talk) 15:51, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
A generation of fundamentalist essay converts? c'mon! I'm sorry but that all sounds alarmist and exaggerated. Let's think reality here. First of all, it doesn't take much to politely correct a newbie in the right direction if they start preaching a certain essay as policy. Secondly, you're not giving new Wikipedians much credit by assuming they won't soon learn for themselves that essays are just essays and not policy. I'm sure most newbies aspiring to be future editors will take the time to read the whole page, including the banner atop every page that explains what an essay is, and are intelligent enough to realize they shouldn't be quoting these as policy. -- œ 00:18, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
OlEnglish, you might want to have a look at how 5P is referred to... It's much more likely to be presented as "Wikipedia's fundamental, non-negotiable principles" than as "a nice essay some guy wrote" (=it's actual status). While it may not be widespread, I think the basic concern is valid. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:28, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
OK let's have a look at it then.. It looks like a summary of Wikipedia's fundamental, non-negotiable principles. That's what it is. It's not an essay, it's a summary of Wikipedia's core principles. Why is this a problem that newbies are referring to it? Once again, it depends on the context of the discussion. If a newbie wants to point out that someone is violating two or more of Wikipedia's core principles, let's say NPOV and Civility, I don't see it as a problem for them to try to get their point across by citing WP:5P. It'll still lead the reader in the right direction. -- œ 06:26, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
OE it is a summary of what is in common through out Wikipedia's policies and procedures. It is not non-negotiable nor is it all of our "principles" nor have our principles ever been codified. The 5P is not where policy flows from nor does anyone have to listen to the 5P! Please see User:Kotniski's very elegant points on that on the talk page to the 5P itself. The 5P is NOT anything more than an essay originally written and conceived by ONE individual (and it wasnt Jimbo or anyting from the Foundation either) with the intent of being able to greet newbies and point them in the right direction. How OE and many others keep putting the 5P in a place above that of a simple essay is proof right there that I am correct.Camelbinky (talk) 06:34, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
But it IS a summary of our most important principles! How can you say otherwise? And I wasn't saying that the page itself has any kind of power, that's just silly. I'm not trying to put it "above" anything. I and everyone else, including the newbs, are well aware that it's just a summary meant to summarize, for the purpose of facilitating discussion.. ie. What's easier to state? "Sir, you are violating policy, please read WP:NPOV, WP:CIVIL, WP:NOT, etc. etc." or "Sir, please read WP:5P". If you have evidence of people citing 5P for anything other than to quickly and efficiently direct the reader to Wikipedia's fundamental principles so that they may learn our ways then I'd like to see some diffs. -- œ 07:02, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Wow, how long have you been around Wikipedia?! Seriously? You need some diffs! Read the archives of the 5P talk page and find them yourself, there's plenty there. There's two threads on the current page right now with individuals not understanding this. There have been multiple discussions on this talk page along those lines as well. The village pumps have been full of this crap of editors considering policy to be equivalent to law and the 5P our constitution. It is one of the biggest policy enforcement problems we have. The fact that you havent seen this is disturbing, because I've seen your name around and I would imagine you couldnt have missed them. And yes, if you are going to accuse someone, especially at AN/I or in a talk page warning of violating policy then you should in fact list the actual policies they are violating and NEVER simply tell them to read the 5P. Please, and this is the third time I've asked you this, read User:Kotniski's responses on the 5P talk page on the threads regarding this very issue of the 5P being our principles or not. They are not our principles, they dont even fully summarize them, they are NOTHING. Good grief we should probably at this point just delete and salt the whole page because this is ridiculous that every couple weeks someone is confusing the 5P for where policies come from and that policies must conform to the 5P (and if you havent seen someone state that philosophy then... wow! You are lucky.) As for me personally delivering you some diffs- no, not my job I'm not your researcher nor do I have the time nor responsibility in providing you with anything. I find it arrogant, rude, condescending, and frankly uncivil to demand diffs from anyone in a discussion; if you dont believe something someone said, fine dont believe them, but the burden is on you to prove them wrong, they dont have to show you squat.Camelbinky (talk) 17:31, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah... but. Wolfkeeper has retired, and most editors are less stubborn than he.
I still advocate WP:NOTAG, for the 5P and other places.
If editors can't grok that on first go, then we can give them gentle explanations. That's how all communities pass on their norms.
Or if tangents are wanted: Wikipedia is not nomic. Editors often need a measure of WP:ZEN. Shortcuts are not for the WP:DAFT. etc :) -- Quiddity (talk) 20:06, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The 5P page being our principles or not wasn't the issue I was trying to communicate to you. You seem to think that these users don't understand, or won't soon understand, that this is just a summary of principles and not some holy document, and that it's a crime to refer to it in a discussion when one is wanting to easily explain our core principles. I understand and agree with Kotniskis arguments (I read them the first time) and I have seen users that are misguided but I just don't see the point of getting so irate over it to the point of deleting the whole page! I'm happy that newbs are learning this stuff and showing such enthusiasm. The fact remains that the page lists and briefly summarizes the foundations (or pillars if you want) of Wikipedia. I don't see it as a bad thing. I think the problem you're having is people are focusing too much on the word "pillars" and the connotations that brings (ie 5 pillars of Islam) making it sound like it's a religion. I wonder what kind of effect a simple name change would have. As for me demanding diffs, who's demanding? I said "I'd like" not "I demand". But I'm going to drop this now here, I sense this discussion is taking on a bitter tone and don't want to turn this into a WP:BATTLE. -- œ 22:29, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Most of the logical suggestions above would, correctly, I suppose, diminish the affect of essays. Then the point arises: why have essays in the first place? Right now, I can hit a newbie over the head with one (that I am thinking of) which obviously did not receive sufficient consensus, but which "probably" should have (!). With disclaimers or ESSAY THIS, I can't wield that club anymore. I think you are trying to take the club away. That is fine. But why allow clubs in the first place? Student7 (talk) 00:29, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
No, we are not taking away the club... because Essays were never designed to be clubs in the first place. An Essay is not some form of "junior status rule"... it is merely a presentation of an editor's (or a group of editors') thoughts about some aspect of Wikipedia. Essays are not supposed to be used as weapons ... they are supposed to be mental nourishment... ie "food for thought". Blueboar (talk) 13:50, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
See now we're getting into defining precisely what an "essay" is, and codifying that, leading to more and more WP:CREEP. We need to drop the pedantry. If it makes sense, good. Use it. -- œ 13:49, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

I have a question

Is it OK for a wiki to copy policies from Wikipedia and use them for their own site? I mean, would that violate any rules or something? --79.153.20.255 (talk) 03:44, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't see why not. But if you copypaste the text word-for-word you should attribute Wikipedia. -- œ 04:07, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
Remember that editors adding any WP content are informed that by submitting the edit, "You irrevocably agree to release your contributions under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL". So any reuse of policy of other content would be subject to those terms. PL290 (talk) 07:43, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Spirit of a rule

Hi, new to wikipedia, and I have a few questions regarding "reprimanded for violating the spirit of a rule." What in Sam Hill is that? I mean... seriously? So, one can obey all rules, but if they show opposition to a rule, or stubbornness in apologizing, they violate some undisclosed portion of a rule that says you must abide by not only the letter of the law, but the spirit as well??? That seems a tad unreasonable to punish someone for sharing a different view. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Joshua Torelli (talkcontribs) 13:37, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

No one will reprimand you for having or stating a view... they might reprimand you for your actions. This is to deal with people who look for loopholes in our rules, and people who "game the system" by "Wikilawering" over the letter of the rules... To give the most common example: Technically, the WP:3rr policy allows for up to three reverts in twenty-four hours before action is taken... but... if you show a consistent pattern of reverting twice, and then waiting till the clock "resets" and reverting again, it can be deemed a violation of the spirit of 3rr (ie "don't edit war")... and you will be reprimanded. Blueboar (talk)
One more question, BlueBoar. I noticed articles about Christopher Columbus, and the Murder of Meredith Kercher. I'm not entirely sure of the details of the MoMK case, but on the Christopher Columbus one, it seems he had verifiable research. However, his edits were undone, and he was warned not to use the talk pages of the article to discuss his evidence? So, the discussion pages are not to discuss the article, but ways to improve the article. But what if you are trying to improve the article with verifiable facts, but your ideas aren't "popular"? How do you prove the research you or someone else has done if no one lets you? I'm seeing this all over the site, and it kind of scares me from even trying to improve the quality of the encyclopedia... It seems the admins have a little to much power..Joshua Torelli (talk)
You will probably find the answers you are looking for by reading and understanding our various content policies and guidelines... WP:Verifiability, WP:No original research, WP:Neutral point of view (especially the section on Due Weight, WP:Fringe theories and WP:Identifying reliable sources. Blueboar (talk) 23:54, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
The basic point to remember is that editors on Wikipedia are not qualified to peer review peoples research, all we can do is check that it has been published in a reputable place where it would have been checked. You should not need to know the details of the MoMK case, only check that what is said in the article corresponds with the citations. WP:Original research is the important one about this. Dmcq (talk) 02:05, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
There has been an editor at Christopher Columbus, and Origin theories of Christopher Columbus, who uses the talk pages to discuss his own personal research, posting long arguments on his own ideas. This is original research and inappropriate for Wikipedia articles and even discussion pages when an editor seems to be using Wikipedia mainly for that purpose. I'll note he's also edited from IP addresses and other accounts, something we generally frown upon - except in certain circumstances, we prefer editors to use just one account. The idea that you can't use 'verifiable facts' to make an argument is sometimes hard for editors to grasp - basically, Wikipedia articles should reflect what other writers have said about the specific subject, and Blueboard has pointed you to the relevant guidelines and policies. If you want to write about your own research, you should look somewhere else I'm afraid. Dougweller (talk) 20:44, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Just as a clarification (sorry doug, but it's an important point) using multiple accounts is not a problem in itself; it only becomes a problem when you start using the accounts in a coordinated fashion, as though they were different users. if someone wants to do some wikignome work using an IP or aseparate account, or if someone wants to have two accounts that work in broadly unrelated topic areas, there's nothing wrong with that. just so long as the two accounts don't start giving each other the glad-hand, it's not really a problem. --Ludwigs2 21:05, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm confused. From what I read, he said he was posting something other people have written about? Joshua Torelli (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 21:59, 30 September 2010 (UTC).

Untagged pages are not essays

There's no "general assumption" that untagged pages in WP space are essays. There's information pages, noticeboards, old untagged projects, policy proposals, etc. I'd venture to say that most essays are tagged. Most of the untagged things are not essays. Gigs (talk) 15:11, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

I have to agree with Gigs on this. I think the sentence in question is trying to address the status of untagged pages (by noting that an untagged page has the same "unofficial" status that an Essay has... or at least not the same "official" status that a policy or guideline has)... but it mixes up two distinct concepts. Not all untagged pages are Essays, and not all Essays are untagged. Blueboar (talk) 15:40, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Agree 100% with Gigs. -- œ 17:14, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Agree—and in fact, the very next paragraph ("Other pages") makes the necessary point. This sentence is just confusing in the Essays para. I've deleted it. PL290 (talk) 17:29, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Good edit... resolves the issue completely. Blueboar (talk) 17:35, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
But, unfortunately, re-creates the original problem. We need a statement that amounts to "the fact that a page is in the WP: namespace, and hasn't been tagged as an essay, doesn't mean that you are required to follow its advice." WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:55, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
No one is "required to follow" anything. The Policies para says that that all users should normally follow policies, the Guidelines para, that editors should attempt to follow guidelines, the Essays para, that consensus has not been established and they do not speak for the entire community, and the Other para, that the other pages in the Wikipedia: namespace are not policies or guidelines, although they may contain valuable advice or information. Nothing more to say. PL290 (talk) 19:44, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

RfC notice

There is a RfC at Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources#RfC on the relationship between the sourcing policies and guidelines that partially impinges on the content of a section here: Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines#Conflicts between advice pages. Tijfo098 (talk) 11:59, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Specifically, SlimVirgin would like each of the content guidelines to contain a sentence that says, in effect, "If this guideline conflicts with a policy, then the policy (always) takes precedence, and this guideline should be changed to match the policy." It would be a direct contradiction of this policy, which says that all inaccurate and broken advice pages should be fixed to match the community's current consensus, regardless of whether the pages are labeled "policy" or "guideline". WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:53, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Oddly, however, attempts to fix guidelines to match policy—something the spam text specifically encourages—here and here for example, are swiftly reverted (see here and here). It would appear that only good policies count and unknown to the rest of Wikipedia (which regards this page as one of the key procedural policies) this policy page has apparently been abandoned. One guideline page even had a little edit war over the issue (original edit, restored, restored, restored). Which is strange, because policy is quite clear on the matter: "If policy and guideline pages directly conflict, one or more pages need to be revised to resolve the conflict so that all of the conflicting pages accurately reflect the community's actual practices and best advice." Sigh. Colin°Talk 18:38, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't believe anything but a short reference to the policy being supplemented is needed. This policy explicitly says 'maintain scope, avoid redundancy'. This policy says what should be done about things like this, it should not be repeated in every guideline and policy. Redundancy leads to bits contradicting each other when one changes and bloats policy and guidelines with irrelevancies. People just want to read them, and see what they say, if there is a contradiction they'll start saying something anyway. Dmcq (talk) 10:09, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Clarify please: Blogs as independent reliable sources

In the discussion about The Affiliate Marketing Awards at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:The_Affiliate_Marketing_Awards SummerPhD states, "At present, this article has 9 sources. However ALL of them are either theaffiliatemarketingawards.com or blogs. This article needs substantial coverage in independent reliable sources to meet notability guidelines."

In the Internet Marketing industry which includes Affiliate Marketing, all of the notable independent reliable sources I can think of ARE blogs:

Blogs such as these ARE our "independent reliable sources", aren't they? Most high quality sites today including major media sites are blogs:

We need clarification of what blogs qualify as independent reliable sources and which do not. As TomSF100 added in that discussion "They may be blogs but they are corporate blogs. Adrants is a blog with editoral guidlines — Preceding unsigned comment added by TomSF100".

Some blogs are promotional; some are associated with businesses; and many of us write the truth in our blogs as we see it - unhindered by having to kowtow to advertisers. Blogs are not all the same and ethical bloggers are different than run-of-the-mill bloggers.

Please clarify for us what information you favor on Wikipedia and which is a waste of time because it will be summarily deleted anyway. We do not wish to waste your time nor our own. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Please clarify (talkcontribs) 19:39, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

You're at the wrong place, the guideline is at WP:RS and there is a noticeboard for questions like this at WP:RSN. The answer is not totally straightforward, it depends principally on whether the blog is from a reputable source e.g. a newspaperman or a working scientist writing about his field would I think be okay and some newspaper blogs are fact checked, but the reliable sources noticeboard is the right place to go. Dmcq (talk) 08:53, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you Dmcq. I will ask there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Please clarify (talkcontribs) 05:20, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Naming guideline regarding label?

There's an absence of consistency in the naming of Wikipedia policies and guidelines concerning whether the label "policy" and "guideline", whichever is applicable, appear in the page names. Are there concerns about remedying the inconsistency by adopting one format or the other? I'd propose a guideline that the label generally be omitted, unless doing so would cause ready confusion with other pages. I expect that the label is generally immaterial to people viewing the page, since most are there for the content itself without considering its authority relative to other pages, and the heading on the page itself suffices in providing that information. Agree? Disagree? Cheers. --Bsherr (talk) 20:16, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Very well. Added to the policy. --Bsherr (talk) 22:13, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
While the rule as currently stated is correct, bothering to state this fact seems a little unnecessarily WP:CREEPy to me. (Apparently not enough to remove it, though.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:43, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Proposal to add Doctrine of Absurdity to WP:POLICY

Proposal to add Doctrine of Absurdity to WP:POLICY on policies (guidlines already has it implied). PPdd (talk) 03:35, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

I believe this principle is enshrined in its own policy, at WP:IAR. Repeating it here would therefore be redundant. WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:05, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
One can argue that WP:IAR is the most ignored policy we have. Just saying. Blueboar (talk) 16:32, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I never heard of IAR before. My point is that at WP:Policies and guidelines, absurdities are almost guaranteed against re guidelines via "common sense", but this is not specified re policies. (Incidentally, Scalia wrote a dissent re Doctrine of Absurdity, and that was before Bush II appointed more "Scalias".) PPdd (talk) 16:41, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
If you can find an absurdity, fix it. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:23, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I can't link to the specific examples, but, like Scalias, I have encountered WikiLawyers on talk pages who argued for absurd strict constructionist interpretations of policies, arguing something like "that is a policy, not just a guidline", citing the different descriptions of the two in WP:Policies and guidelines, where "commonsense" is specifically and only applied to "guidelines". I know the policy definition there links to WP:Ignore all rules, but WP:Ignore all rules is generally ignored, especially in the case of a dispute, in which case it implies that the dipute cannot be resolved, which, when applied to itself, means ignore WP:Ignore all rules. PPdd (talk) 16:44, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I think WP:IAR is very important for WP, and the fact it is being ignored seems to correspond to an increase in the types of wikilawering and absurdity that it specifically aims to keep out.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:34, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I find myself using IAR all the time, usually when someone is trying to make some absurd claim through a policy reference and I want to force them to explain why policy would ever have been meant to apply to such an absurdity. IAR is very useful (so long as you use common sense about it). --Ludwigs2 17:39, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Even when IAR is not invoked, it's mere existence has helpful effects on situations. North8000 (talk) 18:40, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Back to the proposal, WP:Policies and guidelines overtly states something akin to the Doctrine of Absurdity for guidelines, but not policies, so I propose adding the content of the Doctrine of Absurdity to both, with an explicit mention of it by name in WP:Policy, so it can be handily referred to as such in editorial disputes about policies, without having to involke WP:IAR for policies, but invoke WP:Policy for guidlines, as if the way of approaching the two using the Doctrine of Absurdity was different, when it is not. PPdd (talk) 14:10, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

I do not see why you can't explain what you mean in English rather than referring to doctrines and absurdity. My guess from looking at a sction about that is you want commonsense to trump strict interpretation of policies. That is already in this policy and is one of the principles in the five pillars. Plus this policy expressly says policies should not be duplicated, putting a duplicate of WP:IAR in this policy is against policy, and it is also a bad idea for the very good reasons explained in this policy. Also I see no reason why referring to a section here with another name would be better than referring to WP:IAR, you have just asserted that without giving any good reason for it to be true. Dmcq (talk) 16:51, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Explicit simple proposal - Change in WP:POLICY from this -

    "Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply."

To this -

""Editors should attempt to follow policies and guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply."

PPdd (talk) 17:33, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for actually saying what you are proposing. The line you are quoting is explicitly for guidelines so it would be wrong to start talking about policies like that. As to WP:IAR that is already covered in the policies bit immediately above 'Policies have wide acceptance among editors and describe standards that all users should normally follow'. Notice the 'normally' which is linked to WP:IAR. having less emphasis on using common sense with policies is deliberate as they have even stronger consensus. Dmcq (talk) 18:39, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Essays in userspace

There seems to be some confusion about essays in userspace. There are two significant circumstances in which an essay is placed in userspace:

  1. The editor does not want anyone else to edit it.
  2. The essay has been found (usually at WP:MFD) to directly contradict existing consensus, and the author has a choice between wholesale deletion or WP:Userification.

We need to mention these two instances because they have implications for how editors should behave. First, if you see an essay in userspace, you should be wary of editing it without an invitation, and you should probably follow 0RR standards (just like you would with someone's user page).

Second, editors are not absolutely entitled to write an essay in the Wikipedia namespace. If you write an essay that significantly contradicts current consensus (e.g., saying that edit warring is a necessary behavior and the mark of a good editor is how much edit warring they do for the Truth™), the community reserves the right to remove it. (Moving the page into the author's userspace is an intermediate step; the community sometimes tolerates significant minority views (WP:BLUE vs WP:NOTBLUE), and it deletes the truly outlandish ones outright.)

This second point is the meaning behind the phrase "found to contradict widespread consensus". WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:12, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

There is, by the way, a third reason why some essays are in userspace. These are essays that the author thinks of as something more like a personal message from an individual, and doesn't want anyone to think that it represents even a small fraction of the community. User:WhatamIdoing/Fundraising is one such example. As these are both relatively uncommon and voluntarily held in userspace, I don't think that it's necessary to call them out in this page. I suspect that they also overlap significantly with the first category. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:20, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Essays are quite often userfied because they badly contradict consensus and this policy quoted. Perhaps we could have the editor wanting to change get onto the D part of BRD rather than getting to 3rr? Dmcq (talk) 21:13, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
The edits appear to be related to a specific dispute: WP:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Editnotice required, apparently... and the previous WP:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Hardcore images (closed by User:Atmoz). Flatscan (talk) 05:19, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Geographical coverage allowed by title of an article

If this is not the right place to post this question, please tell me where to do so.

Is there a guideline that excludes from the article about Malvern, Worcestershire mention of entities such as:

1 the Malvern College Preparatory School, which contain the name "Malvern" by dint of proximity to entities in the town and close relationship with them,
2 the Colwall Brass Band which has a 1910 photo in Around Malvern in Old Photographs, that are described and/or pictured, in books about Malvern (that contain "Malvern" in the title) as part of the Malvern scene,
3 mention of Nobel Laureate Sanger's Order of Merit award in the Malvern Gazette and other newspapers that contain "Malvern" in the title as local news items

because the entities are located or based in the village of Colwall that, whilst being part of the Malvern conurbation, is across the border in Herefordshire and is the subject of a separate article.

My concern is that users who thinks that brass bands played in Malvern, or that Sanger and Hodgkin went to school in Malvern, and are seeking more details, might be frustrated without the mention or links I would like to put in. This would be unfortunate. I realize that the injunctions to be bold and to ignore all rules can be trumped, or at least tied up indefinitely, by "experienced editors" who choose to do so, and I thought it would be helpful to find if there are guidelines precluding what I think reasonable in this circumstance. I try to meet guidelines scrupulously, but find the time needed to make substantive contributions is often exceeded by the time needed to refute alleged legalities that turn out to be irrelevant or non-existent, hence this posting in advance. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 14:00, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

I believe this is covered under WP:TOPIC which is the city proper. If the school is there, it could be listed under "Education." If it is not there, it is not listed. Not WP:TOPIC. Is the Brass Band sufficiently part of Malvern's history? The articles sound sufficiently credible. But simply having a brass band for a year might not be sufficiently noteworthy. Sanger should have lived in Malvern. Colwall's stuff belongs in Colwall.
Your concerns are important. We don't want stuff in two places to maintain. We have clear geography for these two places. The material clearly belongs in one or the other.
Exception. Naturally, being Wikipedia there could be an exception. There could be a "Greater Malvern" article or a Herefordshire article that contains all of this. A bit of a nuisance to maintain and maybe not sufficiently noteworthy for that level. I am not suggesting creating a "Greater Malvern" article artificially. Just if there were an exceptionally good reason for doing so. Like the name is in general use, for example.
Going to school in Malvern is insufficient reason. Okay to be in school article as a notable but not "automatically" in city article where he did not live.!
To mention a band's merely playing, as opposed to residing in, a town they are not from, it should be notable. I would think very notable. Like John Philip Sousa or equivalent. Student7 (talk) 20:54, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

BLP, ethnicity, gender

Resolve arguments about differences between guidelines. Add "ethnicity, gender," to BLP, matching all other guidelines.

A couple of years ago, I attempted to maintain some diverging sections by transcluding them from a common source. (Wikipedia talk:Policies and guidelines/Archive 9#Wikipedia:Categorization of people/boilerplate fact policy) There was an objection here, and the solution resolved as "put all the eggs in one basket and watch that basket" using {{main}}. As predicted, that has diverged again! There have been some problems where folks are declaring that WP:BLP "policy" trumps WP:EGRS "guidelines". So, I'm trying to re-integrate them again, by adding the E & G parts into BLP.

But I also will need one uninvolved editor with policy experience to flag the final tally and close the discussion. Is somebody here willing to volunteer? Are Dank (talk · contribs) or Kim Bruning (talk · contribs) still around? Or should we find a current Bureaucrat?
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 07:00, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Raul654 (talk · contribs) has agreed to officiate! I'll encourage the rest of you folks to at least visit the main link and confirm the policy language update, as it's your transclusion removal request here that got us into this hot water in the first place.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 19:48, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

To avoid repeating myself ad infinitum:

  • All categorization is required to be both notable and relevant.
  • Certain quibblers have noted that ethnicity and gender are not specifically listed in WP:BLP.
  • WP:BLP is a "policy", while Wikipedia:Categorization, Wikipedia:Categorization of people (WP:COP), Wikipedia:Category names, WP:EGRS, and Wikipedia:Overcategorization (especially WP:OC#EGRS) are "guidelines".
  • Certain quibblers argue that policy trumps guidelines for these special cases.
  • Thus, (non-notable or irrelevant) ethnicity and gender might be allowed for living people, but removed for the dead, undead, or incorporeal.
  • This is difficult to enforce or implement (and was certainly never the intent of the policy).

Category names do not carry disclaimers or modifiers, so the case for each category must be made clear by the article text and its reliable sources. Categories regarding ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the information in question; and this information is relevant to their notable activities or public life, according to reliable published sources.
...
These principles apply equally to lists, navigation templates, and/or {{infobox}} statements that are based on ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or suggest that persons have a poor reputation.

Please visit the Talk section above to certify the slight wording change.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 14:50, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

A reminder to all here, we're on the 6th day. Traditionally, these polls go for 7; unless there's no obvious consensus, when we go for an additional 7 days. We're seeing the usual obfuscation and poisoning the well, from some of the usual such editors.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 16:33, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Vulgarity as a policy

Can we add some rules of engagement regarding the use of vulgarity? Quotations that are of significance that use vulgarity seem ok to me (I defer to others to comment), but in general discussion or even articles, can this not be avoided? This is an encyclopedia read by all ages, of people of all ethnicity and all countries. --74.107.74.39 (talk) 03:07, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Does WP:Civility not address your concern? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:48, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Policy based on precedent and common application/behavior

I recall long time ago there was a section (here?) that policies are created by Jimbo, the Board, consensus and common use, or something to that extent. I wanted to cite it in a recent argument, where a (naming) policy suggests there is no agreement on something, yet a simple glance at categories listing articles suggest that doing something is very common. Hence, even if there is no agreement on the policy talk page, there is a clear agreement among editors who create content (plus, there is evidence of numerous RMs that reinforce the consensus in individual cases). I'd like to change that policy to reflect the reality, but I cannot find a policy to back up my change. I'd appreciate your advice, --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:11, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Proposal: Instead Of Linking To WP:UCS, I Suggest We Just Leave Out That Word And The Word Preceding It

wp:ucs is an essay, so I think instead of having the sentence read:

Policies and guidelines should always be applied using reason and common sense.

I suggest it read:

Policies and guidelines should always be applied using reason.

This is because common sense is not common, another essay.

It is also illogical to be linking to a page that does not have consensus, from a page that does; I thought protocol describes what the community does, not what to do.Curb Chain (talk) 00:25, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

My changes included removing instances of the phrase "common sense" and associated grammar. (On top of the changed discussed above)

I have 2 reasons for these changes (not including the discussed proposal (above)):

  1. Common sense is not something we have defined
  2. The link removed is a links to an essay. Any other changes are punctuation issues.Curb Chain (talk) 02:43, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Curb chain, you've now taken this battle against common sense to a lot of pages, and I want you to stop. So far, I've seen your anti-UCS battle on these pages:
Every time, your proposal has been ignored or directly rejected. Please stop asking the other parent: the answer is no, and will remain no, no matter how many times you ask someone else. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:17, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Your comments are not constructive to a discussion. As I have started this discussion, I will continue it. According to Johnuniq, he states that "while "common sense" is undefinable, consensus knows it when it sees it, and it is important". Johnuniq, what do you mean "consensus knows it when it sees it"? And why is it important. I can say that the discussion cycle (some people cite the bold, revert, discuss cycle) is a better test of consensus and "common sense". Think of it as the mechanism in which we determine "common sense". Our current policies bind our behavior determining what is acceptable and what is not. Discussion is what determines what-is and what-is-not "common sense".Curb Chain (talk) 06:15, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Just because editors who have common sense are not as common here on Wikipedia as they should be, is no reason to remove the requirement that policies be read with common sense. True, we have a relatively high percentage of editors who lack it, and therefore locally they sometimes reach critical mass. But this problem is addressed as disputes go through the dispute resolution process. Once a dispute reaches Arbcom, it can't avoid being judged with reason and common sense.
All our policies and guidelines arise to solve specific problems, and not a single one of them has been formulated in such a way that it cannot be completely misunderstood by an editor who chooses to read it without common sense, or an editor who for whatever reason does not have common sense. (I know that apart from young age there may be physiological reasons for that. We generally try not to discriminate against such editors, but they still have to work with the intended interpretations of our policies and guidelines, even though it's sometimes hard for them to find out what that is.) Hans Adler 08:05, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I reverted your change and two other editors have supported retention of "common sense"—that should be the end of the matter unless you are suggesting that the three editors supporting the existing wording are somehow lacking in common sense. Re "consensus knows it when it sees it": it is a well known philosophical conclusion that there are terms that cannot satisfactorily be defined (the color "red" is often mentioned as an example), yet most of us can readily identify an instance when presented with an example. Wikipedia is not built on precise rules that have to be followed to the letter (see WP:BURO); instead editors are supposed to follow the spirit of policies and guidelines, and all actions should lead towards an improvement of the encyclopedia. That requires common sense. Johnuniq (talk) 08:24, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I think this whole discussion is a good example why common sense is more important than reason in applying the policies and guidelines. I think a little reason is good but too much can be a very bad thing indeed. Lets just keep some common sense here. Dmcq (talk) 09:50, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Curb Chain, you are asking two things. First, you propose that Wikipedia policies and guidelines stop recommending that users apply common sense because the phrase is not meaningful. It is true that the phrase, like most descriptions of human behavior, is not precise. However, that is not the same as saying it is not helpful. Compare wp:NPOV, which is a policy (is any viewpoint truly neutral?). Second, you propose that policies and guidelines stop linking to essays because essays do not have consensus. However, essays are not automatically elevated to policies when they reach some magical level of consensus. So there may be widely accepted essays - and I suggest that wp:UCS is one of them - that are not policy or guidelines. Reasons may include a sense that we should avoid over-legislating or, perhaps, a simple matter of no one nominating a proposed essay to policy or guideline status. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:59, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Butwhat makes a good point... there are really two separate issues here... 1) whether to tell editors to use reason and common sense and 2) whether to link to the specific essay WP:UCS. Personally, I feel that we should continue to tell editors to use common sense, and don't really care if we link to the essay or not (its a good essay, and linking to it does not harm the policy, but I don't think it is vital to the policy that we do so). Blueboar (talk) 13:57, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
If we're agreed it's a good essay (actually UCS is only one section of a page, so I'm not sure if you mean the whole essay or just that section), why not just merge it into the policy? --Kotniski (talk) 08:51, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Sounds a bit recursive to me, use common sense in applying common sense. I wonder what that tends to in the limit ;-) Dmcq (talk) 09:56, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
How do you mean? If we added it to the policy, we would be saying "use common sense in applying policy" and explaining what we mean by that - nothing recursive there. The only recursion comes from the fact that we have a policy on applying policy, which is the case already. --Kotniski (talk) 10:17, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Well if you really feel it should reference a policy instead of an essay IAR is the right place rather than trying to duplicate or rewrite it. Dmcq (talk) 11:33, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
That sounds like a good solution to me. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:17, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
But IAR doesn't mention common sense, so that would make it a confusing Easter-egg link. In any case, applying a rule with common sense doesn't always mean ignoring the rule.--Kotniski (talk) 12:55, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Curb Chain already tried that, at the {{Policy}} template. The result was a template on WP:IAR that said, effectively, "If you need help figuring out how to apply IAR, then see IAR."
UCS itself gives one reason why the essay should not be a policy: "Why isn't "use common sense" an official policy? It doesn't need to be; as a fundamental principle, it is above any policy." The difference between policies, guidelines, and essays is obscure; some of our most important pages (e.g., WP:Five pillars) are "mere essays".
The other reason is this: We do not write one policy to explain another policy. UCS's full name is WP:What "Ignore all rules" means. We might write a guideline to explain the policy (WP:RS explains WP:V), but more commonly, we write an essay. So its current status is consistent with standard community practice. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:02, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Well no; we write each policy (or should do) to explain what it itself means. Or in other words, the page that explains "what the policy means" is the policy. Or if a page is so badly written that it needs another page to explain what it means, then it has no business being marked as a policy. This whole setup gives the distinct impression of smoke-and-mirrors by a self-satisfied clique who take pride in their ability to confuse and bemuse people by resisting all attempts to set out the facts in a clear and straightforward manner. --Kotniski (talk) 08:20, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Well IAR is the policy and UCS explains in more detail what is meant and they are both referred to, so is there anything that really needs fixing here? Dmcq (talk) 09:09, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes - establish what the consensus view is about common sense and ignoring rules, and write it into the policy. Anything that isn't the consensus view can remain in an essay; but we shouldn't write policy in a way that implies that the terms used therein are dependent on definitions given in an essay (or even a guideline, for that matter) - that would be illogical. If we're going to have these distinctions between types of pages, let's stick to them. Or else just stop trying to make these distinctions and say that every page in the Wikipedia namespace ought to (but in practice may sometimes not) represent community consensus.--Kotniski (talk) 09:29, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't think linking to WP:UCS from a policy implies that 'common sense' should follow that precise definition; the WP:UCS page is clearly labeled with "This essay contains advice or opinions" and "Consider these views with discretion. It is not a Wikipedia policy". Also everyone will have a clear preconception about what common sense is, so they will find themselves agreeing or disagreeing with what's written in the essay. I see this linking as a recomended further reading for those interested: "editors should use common sense. Oh, by the way: see also what some Wikipedian has written about common sense". Maybe what this policy page needs is actually linking to WP:COMMON SENSE with a "See also" hatnote, instead of with a direct wikilink (which I agree can be read as a "definition of common sense"). Diego Moya (talk) 09:46, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
The policy on common sense is IAR. This policy is about policy and its says 'maintain scope and avoid redundancy'. This policy should not say more about common sense as it would then as a policy be encroaching on IAR. Referring to common sense is a slight overstepping but WP:IAR already refers to that and using IAR itself it is a good idea to explain a bit more, but any extra explanation should not appear in this policy. Dmcq (talk) 09:56, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Er, IAR has nothing to say about common sense. And since this (WP:POL) is the policy about policy, and one of the aspects of policy is the application of policy, and one of the key points in the application of policy is that it is done with common sense, then common sense (and what in particular we agree we mean by it in this context) is most definitely on topic for this page.--Kotniski (talk) 16:15, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
IMO, Wikipedia should set a good example in stating it's own policies. Linking to a non-policy in a policy statement is a bad idea, and a really bad precedent. Using the words "common sense" is fine with me since it appears to have consensus, maybe even a Wikitionary link, if appropriate. But why define it at all? If an "essay" or explanation is essential, why not raise the level of the essay to policy or incorporate the essential words inside the policy. My feeling is that editors don't want to do this for fear it would fail or the challenge of doing this! This is dodging the issue, IMO. Either do it right, or don't do it.
And CurbChain's technical idiosyncrasies are quite beside the point. Maybe he fails to dot i-s, but none of that eclipses the overall argument here that essays should not be brevetted on the Wikipedia battlefield to policy level! Student7 (talk) 12:19, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Why? Why should we artificially create some sort of walled garden, in which useful, helpful pages can't be linked because they currently say "essay" at the top instead of "policy"? Why should we encourage bloat in our policies, just so we can avoid linking to widely-supported pages like WP:Bold, revert, discuss and WP:Five pillars?
The policy on this point, as measured by actual community practice, is that most policies should link to essays. WP:NPOV and WP:NOT for example, each link to no less that six essays. My quick survey shows that a majority of policies do, and among long policies, the practice is very close to universal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:16, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

I fail to see again what's the exact problem with linking to WP:UCS. Objections seem to be based in that linking would somehow make that essay part of the policy, or that a policy should include only external links to other policies. The first one is absurd IMO, and the second one is against the idea to wp:Build the web: if there's relevant information about the topic somewhere at Wikipedia, it makes sense linking to it within proper context. Since WP:UCS is "particularly relevant to the topic" of this policy (even in its current state as an essay and not a guideline), it makes all sense to include a link to it so that readers interested will find a way to discover those ideas. If you're worried that someone might mistake it for a policy, put a clear label explaining that the link points to an essay. Diego Moya (talk) 12:55, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

So why not link to our article on common sense? At least that's subject to sourcing requirements. Or if we think UCS is better because it says what a consensus-worth of Wikipedians think common sense means in this particular context, then resolve the doubt by making UCS part of policy rather than part of an essay. --Kotniski (talk) 16:15, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
hmmm, I like the idea of linking to the article as opposed to the essay at that point. We can link to the essay in the "see also" section. Blueboar (talk) 16:20, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Personally I view WP:IAR as the policy which covers common sense, it references UCS both directly and via the essay in which it appears Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means. They are expressions of the fifth pillar 'Wikipedia does not have firm rules'. Dmcq (talk) 16:37, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
We've had the link-to-articles debate before. I don't have a particularly strong opinion myself, but I can tell you that for every person who wants to link to mainspace articles in policies, there's at least one who thinks this so undesirable that it should never be done. The usual reasons are that the mainspace is more likely to change dramatically, and that the essays tend to show the specific connection to Wikipedia. In this instance, it's the difference between the (currently badly written and) very general common sense article and a couple of paragraphs that explain how this well-known concept applies to Wikipedia. (Additionally, but not relevantly, there simply are no mainspace articles on the subject of most essays, e.g., WP:BRD.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:25, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Discrepancy between this page and Consensus

I started a discussion at consensus about the editing of policy pages and a discrepancy between the two pages. Any input there would be welcome. Crazynas t 04:23, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Policy/guideline search tool

FYI - This new tool allows you to search through a user's contributions for edits made to policy and guideline pages. —SW— yak 23:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. Perhaps that page might spell out what the definition of "policy and guideline pages" is (presumably some categories). Johnuniq (talk) 01:39, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

WikiProject advice

Some WikiProjects have written advice pages. There are about 2,000 WikiProjects (many inactive and most no more than semi-active) and perhaps a quarter of them have some sort of advice page. The quality of the pages is highly variable, but some of the very best subject-specific advice pages were written by WikiProjects, and a few of them (e.g., WP:MEDMOS) have been formally adopted by the entire community as official style guidelines.

A few WikiProject members have become concerned because the advice from their little group of editors isn't being given automatic official status as something they can make non-members obey on "their" articles. It appears that they would like to create a new, hierarchically placed category of advice pages that makes the advice of their groups less mandatory than a "guideline" but more mandatory than a "mere essay". Apparently, the sole criterion for achieving this stronger-than-essay status is you declaring your advice to be the product of a WikiProject.

Please join the discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Create_a_special_status_for_project-level_style_guidelines if you have an opinion about whether Wikipedia needs a fourth official label for advice pages (to supplement policies, guidelines, and essays). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:30, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

Minority opinion essays

Re WP:ESSAY: "Essays that ... are found to contradict widespread consensus, belong in the user namespace." Not sure if this is entirely correct. I find minority opinion essays to be quite useful. I think that as long as a minority opinion essay acknowledges that it represents the view of a minority and actually states that it does contradict widespread consensus, there is nothing wrong with having such an essay in main space. Blueboar (talk) 22:45, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Unnecessary iteration

After the current sentence:

Consequently, you should not remove any change solely on the grounds that there is no formal record indicating consensus for it: instead, you should give a substantive reason for challenging it, and open a discussion to identify the community's current views, if one hasn't already been started.

and editor is insistent on inserting:

When reverting changes you dislike, avoid uninformative, vague edit summaries like "not discussed in advance" or " no consensus". Instead, explain why you dislike the change.

This seems to me like unnecessary reduplication and over the top in this policy. Do we really need this sort of duplication? Dmcq (talk) 01:37, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Consensus for change

A 'no consensus' response to a change means the person reverting doesn't think much of the change and there for there is no consensus. The action recommended by WP:BRD then is for the person wanting the change to pen a discussion and explain the changes and try and establish a consensus for them. If a person says no consensus it will normally be pretty obvious it is a big change or something like that and they believe it needs wider consensus checking. Dmcq (talk) 15:41, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

That may be your meaning, but it is not the "official" meaning according to Wikipedia:Ccc#No_consensus. If the reverting party gives no more information than "no consensus" then, even following BRD, there is nothing of substance for the proponent to respond to. Sure, "no consensus" is quick and easy, but a better approach would be to give at least a hint regarding why the reverter thinks the proposed change is a bad idea. For more, see WP:REVEXP. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 22:53, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Let's be clear here... both bold changes and reverts are OK. What is not OK is edit warring, either individually or in groups. So, if a revert occurs is then up to everyone to go to the talk page and discuss. It does not matter who starts the discussion. If an edit summary is included with the revert, the discussion starts with: "Change XXX was reverted with the edit summary YYY given as the reason... what do people think?" If no edit summary is included with the revert, the discussion starts with: "Why was change XXX reverted?" Simple. Blueboar (talk) 23:15, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
The difference, I think, is a matter of courtesy: " A reversion is a complete rejection of the work of another editor and if the reversion is not adequately supported then the reverted editor may find it difficult to assume good faith. This is one of the most common causes of an edit war. A substantive explanation also promotes consensus by alerting the reverted editor to the problem with the original edit. The reverted editor may then be able to revise the edit to correct the perceived problem. The result will be an improved article, a more knowledgeable editor and greater harmony." - wp:EXPREV. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:59, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, an edit summary of "no consensus" doesn't mean "the person reverting doesn't think much of the change". It sometimes (far too often) means "This is a purely procedural reversion. I personally like this change, but I thought that every single change to a guideline had to be discussed in advance". A vague edit summary doesn't let anyone know what the reverter's issue is. Being unhelpfully vague is permitted, but the community has a practical interest in discouraging it.
Oh, and if you haven't actually read BRD (which is a strictly optional approach anyway) in the last couple of years, then you'll want to take note of the sentences, "The talk page is open to all editors, not just bold ones. The first person to start a discussion is the person who is best following BRD." BRD does not impose the duty of beginning the discussion on the bold editor. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:34, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
What's your point as far as this policy is concerned? Dmcq (talk) 00:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
My point is that, as a direct consequence of the fact that bold efforts to improve policies and guidelines are permitted, if you find yourself reverting an undesirable bold change, then you need to give some reason for the reversion that doesn't amount to "In direct defiance of the community's policy, which explicitly permits bold edits to policies and guidelines, I am reverting this because I personally refuse to permit bold changes to this page". To give the most common manifestation of this error, the edit summary or talk page objection to a bold change should not merely be "undiscussed change" or "no consensus for this change". (You should object to any change, bold or otherwise, that you believe makes a policy or guideline worse. You just shouldn't give a procedural objection that this policy declares to be invalid on its face.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:10, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Further discussion

Are you still wanting to stick some completely redundant statement into the policy? If not are we done here? Dmcq (talk) 08:57, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I would suggest that this discussion indicates a need to modify the current language to clarify that "no consensus" and similar unhelpful phrases should be avoided. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:59, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
No it doesn't. Please read and follow the policy. This would be just redundancy and what is there already is veerring outside the scope of this policy. This policy says
be clear
be as concise as possible—but no more concise.
emphasize the spirit of the rule
maintain scope and avoid redundancy.
avoid overlinking.
not contradict each other
How is repeating things, sticking in duplicate links to the same policy in two successive sentences, going on about consensus when this policy is about policy content, or specifying stuff that is a duplicate of what is in other documents in any way a good idea? Dmcq (talk) 13:22, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Pages need to be as concise as possible—but no more concise. We're seeing people screw up this way; we therefore need to provide more specific advice on this point. Omitting the specific example is an instance of being so concise that we fail to communicate.
As proof, I suggest that you consider the edit summary from Gandalf61: you say that this is needlessly redundant, and Gandalf61 says, in essence, that it introduces a completely new instruction that he disagrees with. So apparently the meaning behind the existing text ("you should not remove any change solely on the grounds that there is no formal record indicating consensus for it: instead, you should give a substantive reason for challenging it...") is not adequately clear. If it were, then editors like Gandlaf61 wouldn't think that "no consensus" or "not discussed in advance" was "a perfectly good reason for reverting". WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:47, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Well I think we have discussed this enough so I'll just register my opposition to this idea which I see as being in opposition to so mich of what this policy says:
  • Oppose putting in this unclear, redundant, off track, bit with its redundant linking and attempt to duplicate another policy. This is all said in the previous sentence better and it needn't have been said in the first place. 09:20, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
In fact looking at the talk page about the consensus policy I'm getting more and more the feeling that this whole business is a WP:POINTY waste of editor's time. Dmcq (talk) 09:36, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
NOT sure how long these following words have been in the Consensus policy.
Any such revert should have a clear edit summary stating why the particular edit is not considered to be an improvement to the article, or what policies or guidelines would require the edit be undone. Further discussion should then be undertaken on the article discussion page. Edit summaries that explain the objection clearly are preferred. Substantive, informative edit summaries indicate what issues need to be addressed in subsequent efforts to reach consensus on the matter. Alternatively, the edit summary may be used to point the users to your longer explanation of concerns on the talk page. Repeated reversions are contrary to Wikipedia policy under WP:Edit warring, except for specific policy-based material and for reversions of vandalism. Frequently a minor change in wording can end arguments.
  1. NewbyG ( talk) 09:42, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
What's your point? How does that contribute to this discussion except to reiterate how the bit this discussion is about is redundant? Dmcq (talk) 13:29, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, agreed then, to reiterate how the bit this discussion is about is redundant. Also, the WP:CON page is getting a bit bloated maybe? Not making a point, just an observation, really. NewbyG ( talk) 13:47, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The concept has been present in WP:Consensus for a couple of years, but the exact words used change every few months. Consensus is one of those policies at which practically every editor believes his particular writing style is clearer and better than the previous editor's, so it sees a lot of essentially cosmetic churn. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:30, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Writing advice for articles

not as a reply to user:WAID, but we need to be writing the policy pages as advice to article-writers. Only then does specific wording need to come into play as regarding the writing of pages in wikipedia-space. This latest change at [WPConsensus] trims the page in a good way, imo. Peace! NewbyG ( talk) 06:58, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

This is a policy about policies and guidelines, it does not directly affect articles. However if you want to write something in it about policies should be advice to article writers we could discuss that. Dmcq (talk) 09:15, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The best setting out of that notion is at WP:WHATISTOBEDONE. Perhaps a link to that section of WP:NOT is needed, perhaps not. Thank you. NewbyG ( talk) 09:36, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Advice pages need to be written for their particular audience, which is not always article writers. A content-oriented page like WP:V ought to be written for article writers. A non-content page like WP:ADMIN should not be written for article writers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:28, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Phil Gaglardi

Your posting on Personal Life about Phil Gaglardi erroneously names his offspring as Tom and Jim. This is incorrect. They are Bob and Bill. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.183.253.25 (talk) 00:01, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

This is the wrong place. Talk:Philip Gaglardi is the appropriate talk page and I've copied this note there. Otherwise you can edit the article yourself. Dmcq (talk) 00:22, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Content changes change proposal

Proposal

I propose rewording the first paragraph of Content changes to emphasize the importance of talk page discussions before making edits to policy and guidelines that may not reflect consensus:

Policies and guidelines can be edited like any other Wikipedia page. It is not strictly necessaryHowever, users are encouraged to discuss changes or to obtain written documentation of a consensus in advance. However, bBecause policies and guidelines are sensitive and complex, users should take care over any edits, to be sure they are faithfully reflecting the community's view and to be sure that they are not accidentally introducing new sources of error or confusion.

Jojalozzo 03:43, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Question

Can someone explain to me what "obtain written documentation of a consensus" entails? I am leaning towards deleting that unless we can elucidate it, perhaps link it to a description of the process involved. Jojalozzo 03:43, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

I think whoever wrote that probably meant an agreed consensus on the talk page but I don't see the point of it myself. Less is better I think as far as policies are concerned so yep fine by me remove it and the other proposed change sounds okay too. Dmcq (talk) 11:41, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
It is essentially redundant with "discuss in advance".
But I don't support your other changes: the reason it takes that tone is because we have a widespread problem of "encourage" being misinterpreted as "require, and all undiscussed changes must be reverted on sight". WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:50, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Nevertheless, with respect to policy and guidelines, arbcom says: "parties are encouraged to establish consensus on the talk page first, and then make the changes" {my emphasis). Jojalozzo 04:49, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps the phrase could be changed to "document a change in practice". Jojalozzo 16:14, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

That's something separate (proving that what people are doing in real articles is not what the advice page recommends, perhaps by showing diffs as examples of the new practice), and it isn't addressed here. Your proposed change is true, but I don't think it's helpful, because people aren't demanding this now.
About your earlier comment in re ArbCom: that case was lagely about edit-warrig over major changes. This section covers all changes, including grammar, spelling, wikilinks, etc. I don't think that ArbCom really intens to "encourage" you to waste your time with "establishing consensus" for trivial changes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:40, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
You'll probably want to peruse and comment on the proposed change below, WhatamIdoing.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 01:45, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Shortcuts masking essay status

From this policy:

Essays are the opinion or advice of an editor or group of editors, for which widespread consensus has not been established. They do not speak for the entire community and may be created and written without approval.

The {{Essay}} banner rightly reflects this disclaimer:

However, the banner may go unseen if a user is given a shortcut to a section lower down the essay page. And since essay shortcut names have the same format as WP:AGF, WP:CIVIL and so forth, it's all too easy to be referred to an essay section and mistakenly assume it's part of a Wikipedia policy or guideline. For the same reasons that the disclaimer is important, I suggest policy should mandate visibility that an essay or one of its sections is being linked to. What opinions are there about this, and about the idea of using namespace/shortcut naming conventions to achieve it? PL290 (talk) 10:12, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

WP:CREEP. Dmcq (talk) 10:49, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Dmcq for giving us an example of linking to an ESSAY in a discussion. Now, for newbies and less experienced editors coming here they might think that this mention of wp:CREEP is something official declaring that this discussion is unnecessary. But WP:CREEP is just an opinion, and it would beneficial to point that out in discussions whether something is an opinion or a policy. Weight matters.Camelbinky (talk) 03:45, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't say this is creep, especially as the person is looking for OPINIONS. Discussing this would be very beneficial. I do think it should in fact be stated somewhere relevant that "when linking to a policy/guideline/essay it is good etiquette to state the status of the link, for the benefit of all in the discussion, especially newbies." or something to that effect. I dont see it as falling under WP:CREEP since this does not involve adding any layer of bureaucracy or undue burden, it is a suggestion, and a very good one. Opinions?Camelbinky (talk) 22:37, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
We could have an E: pseudo-namespace for essay shortcuts - eg E:RECENTISM (compare P: for Portal: and MOS: for WP:MOS pages). Requires no software change, just a new convention. Existing shortcuts would remain, and nothing require moving: just an easy way to flag what type of thing is being referred to. Someone will say "what about people not knowing what E: is?" - well they'll click on it the first time they see it, and find out, and after that they'll know! Rd232 talk 22:47, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Good idea. Maybe bring this to WP:Village pump (proposals)?Camelbinky (talk) 23:13, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
It really depends on the context of the discussion. Just because someone cites a shortcut to an essay doesn't necessarily mean they're leading you to believe this is policy. Also, if a particular essay fits a situation well, then why not cite it if it will educate newbies into better Wikipedia practices, as all essays in Wikipedia space are supposed to be established and vetted by the community anyways. Now if people are citing shortcuts leading to userspace essays that's a different story. -- œ 08:54, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Correct - Userspace essays would be the only real problem. It is reasonable to expect people to look at entire pages in projectspace as well -- I know I do. Collect (talk) 10:22, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
While essays become essays through consensus it is not the same type of consensus we require for additions to policy or new guidelines. The fact of the matter is that essays can, and routinely do, reflect minority opinions that are in fact contrary to the prevailing procedure. I know the anti- and pro- IAR-related essays were combined not too long ago, but the "There is no commonsense" essay was a prime example, policy, consensus, and our general way of doing things all agree that common sense must be used, but we had a essay that was often thrown about being linked to saying there is no such thing as it. The essay was useful, in its entirety, however not in the linking manner in which it was commonly used. Frankly I wish we'd get rid of all essays, at least those that are in fact minority opinions on how some wish Wikipedia would be; and instead just keep those essays that do reflect true consensus on Wikipedia and our actual way of doing things and are simply extended commentaries to shed more light on guidelines, but for length or other reasons aren't incorporated into the guideline.Camelbinky (talk) 20:45, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Or we could spare the essays and just get rid of the shortcuts... -- œ 04:14, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
In another topic, another editor inquired, "What problem does this solve?" I guess I would ask what problem does it solve for me. I have been using a "certain" WP pointer to get rid of (uh) stuff that most editors would agree shouldn't be there. I probably could use another pointer but might encounter resistance and argument, which I don't care for. While I wouldn't fool you guys, it has been sufficient to handle newbies! So it would create a problem for me! You might want to reflect on how this would better your life! Also creates more work for people attempting to establish these things. And let's face it, this policy stuff takes forever. It isn't simple. Why make policy (or pseudo-policy, in this case :) any harder? (I know. You are sticklers for honesty. That is what policy is all about. IMO policy should be about producing a product - Wikipedia. What works better and faster). Student7 (talk) 12:56, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, while I assume your motives are good while you are attempting to decieve the newbies intentionally so you can improve Wikipedia, I think it actually proves the point I and others made regarding why we should in fact label essays. Newbies shouldnt be taken advantage of, they dont learn the "right way", and WORSE- they begin to take a dogmatic stance on essays and turn them into something they aren't. We have already have this happening with the WP:5P being turned by newer editors into a stagnant "Constitution" that must be adhered to when in fact they are nothing than a summary to point to, but... because we quoted them so much to newbies for them to learn our ways because we were to lazy to point them to several separate policies the newbies got the wrong idea and now those newbies are all grown up and like converts to any religion or philosophy they are more fundamentalist than the cynical skeptical old-timers. Give another "Wikipedia-generation" (roughly 2 years is my guess) and we'll see essays begin to be quoted as dogma and enforced roughly as much as guidelines are today. Do we want that?Camelbinky (talk) 15:51, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
A generation of fundamentalist essay converts? c'mon! I'm sorry but that all sounds alarmist and exaggerated. Let's think reality here. First of all, it doesn't take much to politely correct a newbie in the right direction if they start preaching a certain essay as policy. Secondly, you're not giving new Wikipedians much credit by assuming they won't soon learn for themselves that essays are just essays and not policy. I'm sure most newbies aspiring to be future editors will take the time to read the whole page, including the banner atop every page that explains what an essay is, and are intelligent enough to realize they shouldn't be quoting these as policy. -- œ 00:18, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
OlEnglish, you might want to have a look at how 5P is referred to... It's much more likely to be presented as "Wikipedia's fundamental, non-negotiable principles" than as "a nice essay some guy wrote" (=it's actual status). While it may not be widespread, I think the basic concern is valid. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:28, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
OK let's have a look at it then.. It looks like a summary of Wikipedia's fundamental, non-negotiable principles. That's what it is. It's not an essay, it's a summary of Wikipedia's core principles. Why is this a problem that newbies are referring to it? Once again, it depends on the context of the discussion. If a newbie wants to point out that someone is violating two or more of Wikipedia's core principles, let's say NPOV and Civility, I don't see it as a problem for them to try to get their point across by citing WP:5P. It'll still lead the reader in the right direction. -- œ 06:26, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
OE it is a summary of what is in common through out Wikipedia's policies and procedures. It is not non-negotiable nor is it all of our "principles" nor have our principles ever been codified. The 5P is not where policy flows from nor does anyone have to listen to the 5P! Please see User:Kotniski's very elegant points on that on the talk page to the 5P itself. The 5P is NOT anything more than an essay originally written and conceived by ONE individual (and it wasnt Jimbo or anyting from the Foundation either) with the intent of being able to greet newbies and point them in the right direction. How OE and many others keep putting the 5P in a place above that of a simple essay is proof right there that I am correct.Camelbinky (talk) 06:34, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
But it IS a summary of our most important principles! How can you say otherwise? And I wasn't saying that the page itself has any kind of power, that's just silly. I'm not trying to put it "above" anything. I and everyone else, including the newbs, are well aware that it's just a summary meant to summarize, for the purpose of facilitating discussion.. ie. What's easier to state? "Sir, you are violating policy, please read WP:NPOV, WP:CIVIL, WP:NOT, etc. etc." or "Sir, please read WP:5P". If you have evidence of people citing 5P for anything other than to quickly and efficiently direct the reader to Wikipedia's fundamental principles so that they may learn our ways then I'd like to see some diffs. -- œ 07:02, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Wow, how long have you been around Wikipedia?! Seriously? You need some diffs! Read the archives of the 5P talk page and find them yourself, there's plenty there. There's two threads on the current page right now with individuals not understanding this. There have been multiple discussions on this talk page along those lines as well. The village pumps have been full of this crap of editors considering policy to be equivalent to law and the 5P our constitution. It is one of the biggest policy enforcement problems we have. The fact that you havent seen this is disturbing, because I've seen your name around and I would imagine you couldnt have missed them. And yes, if you are going to accuse someone, especially at AN/I or in a talk page warning of violating policy then you should in fact list the actual policies they are violating and NEVER simply tell them to read the 5P. Please, and this is the third time I've asked you this, read User:Kotniski's responses on the 5P talk page on the threads regarding this very issue of the 5P being our principles or not. They are not our principles, they dont even fully summarize them, they are NOTHING. Good grief we should probably at this point just delete and salt the whole page because this is ridiculous that every couple weeks someone is confusing the 5P for where policies come from and that policies must conform to the 5P (and if you havent seen someone state that philosophy then... wow! You are lucky.) As for me personally delivering you some diffs- no, not my job I'm not your researcher nor do I have the time nor responsibility in providing you with anything. I find it arrogant, rude, condescending, and frankly uncivil to demand diffs from anyone in a discussion; if you dont believe something someone said, fine dont believe them, but the burden is on you to prove them wrong, they dont have to show you squat.Camelbinky (talk) 17:31, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah... but. Wolfkeeper has retired, and most editors are less stubborn than he.
I still advocate WP:NOTAG, for the 5P and other places.
If editors can't grok that on first go, then we can give them gentle explanations. That's how all communities pass on their norms.
Or if tangents are wanted: Wikipedia is not nomic. Editors often need a measure of WP:ZEN. Shortcuts are not for the WP:DAFT. etc :) -- Quiddity (talk) 20:06, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The 5P page being our principles or not wasn't the issue I was trying to communicate to you. You seem to think that these users don't understand, or won't soon understand, that this is just a summary of principles and not some holy document, and that it's a crime to refer to it in a discussion when one is wanting to easily explain our core principles. I understand and agree with Kotniskis arguments (I read them the first time) and I have seen users that are misguided but I just don't see the point of getting so irate over it to the point of deleting the whole page! I'm happy that newbs are learning this stuff and showing such enthusiasm. The fact remains that the page lists and briefly summarizes the foundations (or pillars if you want) of Wikipedia. I don't see it as a bad thing. I think the problem you're having is people are focusing too much on the word "pillars" and the connotations that brings (ie 5 pillars of Islam) making it sound like it's a religion. I wonder what kind of effect a simple name change would have. As for me demanding diffs, who's demanding? I said "I'd like" not "I demand". But I'm going to drop this now here, I sense this discussion is taking on a bitter tone and don't want to turn this into a WP:BATTLE. -- œ 22:29, 10 September 2010 (UTC)