Wikipedia talk:Policies and guidelines/Archive 4

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Archive 3 | Archive 4 | Archive 5


use subheads sparingly

There is a link for this that redirects to a policy page on headings, which doesn't mention this policy. There was a proposed policy along these lines but it didn't gain a wide consensus. I'll remove the link from the page unless there are objections Zeimusu | Talk page 03:59, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Difference between a policy and a guideline - overhaul time?

This page is, IMHO, a bit of a mess. There were (until an hour ago :)) policies and guidelines mixed together down the bottom of the page (undistinguished from each other), style guidelines in the content section, and some really dubious guidelines. Meanwhile, most of the serious, meaty policies aren't even linked.

So I ask: what is this page about? What should it be about? What should be here? What should not be here?

Tentative answer: It should be a meta-policy for policies and guidelines. It should explain why we have policies and guidelines. It should explain what the difference between a policy and a guideline is. It should give guidelines for creating policies - what should not be enshrined in policy, what should be a guideline, when a guideline becomes a policy, and when a policy becomes a pile of crap.

I've seen a few discussions about policy around the place and there is considerable disagreement about whether policy articles describe or prescribe, and what that means. Do policies describe what people think people should do, or do they describe what people actually do. A rather subtle point, but important: If people break a given rule regularly, should the policy document the fact?

Lastly, should this page actually attempt to list all the policies and guidelines? There are already other pages that do that, and that do it better (notably WP:SR and Wikipedia:List of policies and guidelines). Stevage 21:51, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree, this page is in sore need of an overhaul. It was originally drafted over three years ago (by me, among others), and hasn't changed much since then, while Wikipedia policies have expanded and changed significantly.
What should this page attempt to achieve? I agree it shouldn't be just a "list" of policies and guidelines. I think it's goals should be:
  • To give a concise overview, particularly aimed at new users, of the main Wikipedia policies. In other words, someone having read this page should come away with some understanding of the key policies, without having to click on lots of links to get the information.
  • To give a concise overview of how policy is formed and the Wikipedia "culture". Again, we shouldn't have too much detail on this, in order to make the page accessible to new users.
  • To give an idea of the "importance" and "acceptance" of different policies (the page fails to do this at the moment, as it fails to mention some important policies at all, while still giving space to some old "guidelines" that no one much cares about).
  • To give clear direction on where to find more detailed information.
A couple of other key messages to get across are:
  • Wikipedia's policies are all made with the goal of creating an encyclopedia in mind. The goal producing a really great, detailed, reliable, readable, comprehensive encyclopedia is the driving force behind everything we do here.
  • It's not necessary to know much about Wikipedia policy before you start editing. Anyone who is contributing in a good faith effort to improve articles, in a non-controversial way, should feel free to go ahead without reading pages and pages of policy.
Enchanter 01:44, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Most of those goals seem to be covered by WP:SR. You seem to be suggesting that this page should downplay its own importance. Should it not attempt to define exactly how seriously a policy should be taken, and what the difference between a policy and a guideline is. Also, if we are avoiding giving "too much detail", where should that detail be? Stevage 18:30, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, this page should aim to define how seriously different policies should be taken, and the distinction between policies and guidelines. And WP:SR and Wikipedia:List of policies and guidelines are in many ways better (albeit less "official") summaries of the rules than this page; I think a lot of the material from those pages could usefully be copied in here. Enchanter 01:00, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, the more I delve into this page, the more staggered I am :) There were links to some rather esoteric style guidelines, and yet not a single link to WP:OR. The four "key policies" are rather strange, as they're not policies: they're synthetic amalgamations of policies, except aruably point 2 "avoid bias". Does anyone actually ever end up reading this page? Stevage 21:13, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

I get the impression that lots of people read this page, but that people are reluctant to be bold in editing and give it the real overhaul it needs. Your edits are a big step in the right direction!
The "four key policies" were orginally written with the aim of being broad and vague; it can sometimes be better to have a wooly general principle that people agree over (eg "respect other contributors") than a list of specific rules that people endlessly argue over and often don't bother reading anyway. The idea when drafting them was to cover the most important policies of Wikipedia, as they stood at the time, in a concise and friendly way. In some ways, they are more statements of principle than policies.
The Wikipedia:List of policies is an excellent summary of policy and I would favour merging it into this page. A lot of the guidelines could be removed from this page altogether and perhaps instead summarised in something like Wikipedia:List of guidelines. What do you think? Enchanter 01:00, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Oops, I didn't see your comment until now. I'm not sure whether it's better to have the policies themselves listed on this page, or separately. Originally I made it a separate page to avoid polluting this one while building up the list of summaries. Now that they are complete they could arguably be remerged back here. The argument against would be that this page would serve as the meta-policy page ("this is why we have policy, this is what it should and shouldn't do") but would restrain itself from referring to specific policies too much. What do you think? Stevage 02:23, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Goal of Wikipedia

to create a reliable and free encyclopedia —the largest, in both breadth and depth, in history

Searching google for bits of this phrase I only seem to find pages that refer to this, or have been directly copied from it etc. Is this really the mission statement of Wikipedia? Is there a reference for this somewhere? If not, could we replace it with something official? Even the wikipedia in 8 words might be more useful in this context. Stevage 21:30, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes, this statement is pretty "official". It has been around on this page for a very long time, at least in a similar form - see for example (from 2001) I believe the original version of it was written by Larry Sanger, who played a major role in founding the site, so I think this is as as close to an "official" statement as we will get. I also think it does capture the "founding spirit" of Wikipedia - that is, that it was a site founded with the explicit goal of building a top class encyclopedia (rather than, for example, being founded by people who enjoy messing about with Wikis), and that it does belong here on the policy page. Enchanter 00:41, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I see that the goal is expressed slightly differently there: Our goal with Wikipedia is to create a free encyclopedia--indeed, the largest encyclopedia in history, both in terms of breadth and in terms of depth. We also want Wikipedia to become a reliable (probably, peer-approved) resource. My only complaint is the very odd grammar of the goal as stated. For starters, the lower case "t". Then the odd use of the em-dash. Lastly, the rather awkward subordinate clause "in both breadth and depth" which breaks "in deth and history".
Suggestions for expressing it better? 11:43, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
For the moment, I've replaced the goal on the page with something close to the original goal as stated above, which I think truer to the original goals of Wikipedia; suggestions for improvements still welcome. Enchanter 00:00, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Policy adjudication suggestion

I find that a proportion of contents disputes are due to misunderstandings of Wiki policy. The number may be small, but is significant if you have been inovolved in such disputes. In these cases, where it is quite clear that policy has been compromised, I would like a way to quickly get an independent adjudication.

Often a small consenus of just two or three people, are able to ignore or "interpret differently" Wiki policy, making constructive criticism not possible.

I'd like to see Wiki "adjudicators" who on request, will judge on whether a policy has indeed been broken. Of course where an issue is more complicated, or more appropriate, an adjudicator will defer to the dispute resolution process.

I believe that this will help alleviate the negative cycle of bickering in some disputes, and ultimately resulting in a better quality encyclopedia. --Iantresman 13:49, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a game of nomic. You're probably better off posting on WP:RFC. Stevage 20:10, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't understand the reference to nomic. Am I game playing? I'm trying to make Wikipedia policy work better, because I think it will improve discussions about content. Isn't that a good thing? --Iantresman 21:49, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, except that there's no real need for a formal system for it. If you perceive a policy being broken, the first thing you should consider if it was in fact a useful thing. Policies have exceptions, and if the only argument against an action is that it's against policy, the matter deserves to be dropped. Second, yes, getting outside opinion is always good. Might I suggest our existing processes WP:3O or WP:ANI for simple matters, and WP:RFC if someone is persistently breaking policy? You're also welcome to drop a note on my talk page regarding policy matters. I don't mind being an "adjudicator" but I don't see the need for a title for it. Radiant_>|< 02:27, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
But surely some aspects of some policy are unbreakable. For example, there is no except to break Neutral Point of View? --Iantresman 14:56, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
  • NPOV is non-negotiable, but you are being rather vague here so I really don't understand what you're getting at. >Radiant< 15:06, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

The difference between policy / guideline / essay / etc

You tell me, I think that if this showed up in an encyclopedia article it'd be "original research". I certainly have trouble figuring out which should be which, an articles in the project namespace are tagged randomly anyway. Kim Bruning 22:35, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Suggesting IRC Network / Channel Policy

I believe Wikipedia needs a policy on adding IRC Networks and channels. There are hundreds of IRC networks, and not all of them should be allowed to create a Wikipedia article. If they are, then any IRC channel could use the same logic and make an article. Clear guidelines and policy for adding IRC Networks and channels needs to be created. 3H 03:22, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

What is Wikipedia "process"?

Is this wikipedia "process"?

Just as America has legislative, judicial, and administrative processes, so too, Wikipedia has consensus processes (talking), which when they fail, become democracy processes (voting), which when they fail to help in the goal of building the encyclopedia, become administrative processes (dictatorship) whereby Jimbo and the board (that is legally responsible for the real world hardware Wikipedia runs on) act unilaterally. That is the process, not just the talking or the voting. WAS 4.250 08:27, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Changing policies and guidelines

For those not reading WP:VPP, there is a proposal at Wikipedia:Changing policies and guidelines for a new policy on how changes to policies and guidelines should be conducted. Feedback is desired. --TreyHarris 03:21, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

A change to the proposal bullet-point

I have added the same proviso to proposal as guideline. "Amendments to a proposals should be discussed on its talk page, not on a new page - although it's generally acceptable to edit a proposal to improve it" Because in at least one case there has been a straw poll about changing a policy to a guideline were the page holding the staw poll, (Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Wikipedia:Naming conventions (hockey)) was not advertised on the proposal's talk page by the person who created the Rfc subpage. (see Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (hockey)#No consensus (yet)). --Philip Baird Shearer 18:17, 28 March 2006 (UTC)


I keep coming across articles that seem to be simply a cut-and-paste from another online source. can someone drop me a line on my talk that points me towards policies and guidlines that cover how this is to be delt with? Thanks, Mike McGregor (Can) 05:36, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Proposal: wording change (minor)

As this article contains widely-reviewed policies, I thought it better to raise this for discussion first. An early paragraph reads: Our policies keep changing, and their interpretation as well.. To my ear, the first four words suggest policies outlined in the article are in such a state of flux they cannot be relied upon? I propose changing the first part of the sentence. The new wording should give the impression policies can be relied upon; it should indicate policies are not, however, cast in stone. It should indicate policies may be further enhanced in the future for the benefit of the community; and, if necessary, should be. Something like: continue to be developed / are continuously developed / are continuously enhanced? Whitehorse1 19:35, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Fresheneesz 09:59, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

wikipedia is an almanac

Wikipedia is often used as an almanac, but this goes against the key policy that "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Its goals go no further". I think that since wikipedia is obviously used to list tabular information, this key policy should be reworded to reflect that. (note that this isn't a proposal for policy change, but a proposal for wording change to reflect what is obviously policy). Fresheneesz 10:01, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Affiliates/ Direct links

Are other sites allowed to affiliate with Wikipedia or contain a direct link to wikipedia? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jynx (talkcontribs)

Proposed clarification

I suggest adding the following language to the article. Nothing new, really, but it clarifies a bit about the hierarchy of policies which now exists.

Some policies and guidelines apply to all Wikimedia projects (in all languages), and are officially stored on meta. Examples of this type of policy include No open proxies. Other policies, such as no original research, apply to all language editions of Wikipedia (being necessary for the construction of an encyclopedia), but do not necessarily apply to non-encyclopedia projects. Individual editions of Wikipedia may, in addition, institute their own policies and guidelines; for example, the style guide for the English Wikipedia does not apply to the the Wikipedias in other languages.
Note that for meta-policies, the English-language versions are official and binding upon all Wikimedia projects, regardless of language. Translations may be provided into other languages, however the policy applies regardless of whether or not a translation into a particular language exists.

Wordsmith as appropriate. --EngineerScotty 18:11, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Gennaro Cristiano

Born in Caivano (Naples) Italy, in 1937 decessed in 1997. Cristiano has been defined by many politics and businessman, like one of the Puppet Masters pf the 20th century. Cristiano was involved in many of the


Copied from the beginning of the article:

Our goal with Wikipedia is to create a free encyclopedia—indeed, the largest well.

What does that mean? The largest well? Rracecarr 06:23, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Offensive language on talk pages

I have come across offensive language on talk pages. Should we edit it out? I was doing so because I think we need to uphold some values and standards. Remember, this website is publically-viewable by people of all ages. We are supposed to be an open forum of human knowledge. Let us not degrade ourselves. Stovetopcookies 04:47, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

How can i become a wikipedian?

How do i become a wikipedian can someone explain please i am new, thanks very much. --Joshuarooney 15:44, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

By improving the encyclopedia. Welcome btw! :-) Kim Bruning 15:46, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Style Guides

A number of pages are headed with 'This page is a style guide for Wikipedia', with a link to this page. However, in the run-down of the different types of policy and guideline on this page, style guide does not seem to be among them. Should it be? If so, where and with what explanation?

This may seem abstruse, but I came here because someone had argued to me that the Principle of Least Astonishment (which appears in a Style Guide) should take precedence over Consensus (which appears in a Guideline); and, while the point seems to me intuitively absurd, there's nothing here to say that it doesn't.... TSP 02:49, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Organising Wikipedia:List of guidelines

Could someone give me a hand? I'm trying to organise Wikipedia:List of guidelines the same way Wikipedia:List of policies. Thank you. CG 11:14, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Guidelines vs policies

Is it ever acceptable for a user to refuse to follow a guideline? In particular, some users seem to think that since "guidelines" are not "policies" they do not need to be followed. I think this issue needs some clarification, and perhaps an explicit mention on this project page. Exploding Boy 03:30, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Ilinks for the Board, or the Developers

I realized that in the very important statement 'Jimbo Wales, the Board, or the Developers' we don't have links for the Board or the Devolopers. I assume that the Board is m:Board of Trustees (certainly notable and should have an article on Wikipedia at Wikimedia Board of Trustees. Similarly, I have piped the developers to m:Developers. Developers of Wikipedia are proably notable, too. On a related note, it would be interesting to have a list which policies have been changed/influenced by whom.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:28, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Portfolio Analysis and it's Pros & Cons

Can anyone? or anyone know what is the portfolio analysis, what are the pros and cons of this portfolio analysis? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Fhyap (talkcontribs) 16:28, 4 July 2006 (UTC).


Thanks for this. We've needed some Policies and Guidelines for along time. Please, please don't tell me that this has been here all the time - I've been contributing to Wikipedia since at least early 2004 and never seen any of this before. It's the first time (as far as I know) that it's been flagged - so I'm grateful.

It's very hard to find your way around all the various policy, admin, and the legion of debating of issues pages - they appear to go on for ever, but never seem to tell you what you want to know.

So, it's good to have a place to go for definitive guidance on policy. I may soon be coming to you for help in the resolution of a dispute regarding articles - I'm sure you'll be able to point me in the right direction. Cheers – Agendum 11:52, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Quotation source

Someone requested a source of the quotation on this page. I don't think attribution is necessary in the Wikipedia namespace, but for the time being have credited this to Larry Sanger, per the old Wikipedia policy page. I'd be happy for it to be removed if it is considered unnecessary (I think it is). Ziggurat 00:47, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


I quote verifiability as a key policy while answering questions at the help desk many times. I was surprised to find that it does not even find a mention anywhere in the page except for the table. Any reason for that? -- Lost(talk) 21:13, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Because people made that up fairly recently. Kim Bruning 11:35, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Just to seek clarity, do you mean the policy of verifiability was made recently? Can it be added now? -- Lost(talk) 11:42, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
The bit that it's so fundamental? Kim Bruning 16:06, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I meant that the key policies section does not have any mention of verifiability. Shouldn't we add it to the secion? -- Lost(talk) 03:51, 16 September 2006 (UTC)


I thought people followed our guidelines because they're a good idea. Could we alter the wording?

The first paragraph clearly points towards adhocracy, while the 2nd and further points towards bureaucracy.

Yes I'm aware that there's a number of people in favor of bureaucratisation, but that's really a bad idea for an online project, and it's also not really what we're here for, so I'm not sure if that's an accurate description.

--Kim Bruning 11:35, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Authority of Jimbo

Per this [1](point 5) and this [2], should we not mention on this page somewhere that Jimbo Wales as ultimate authority on any matter? HighInBC 13:52, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

You miss "has been delegated" (earlier the text was "this is changing") in the foundation issues. So it's not quite so clear-cut, though you do have a bit of a point.
The second document is the wikimedia foundation bylaws, and pertains the powers of the board of trustees wrt the foundation; it does not refer to the en.wikipedia community. Kim Bruning 14:50, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I believe the foundation bylaws refers to all foundation projects. And point 5 says

Jimbo Wales as ultimate authority on any matter (although some authority has been delegated to others; see Arbitration Committee, Board).

This does not seem ambiguous to me. HighInBC 14:59, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Removed section on differences

The differences between policies, guidelines, essays, etc.

Someone has been making much of this up, so I've moved it here for now. I've already stated in many places that the difference between policy, guideline, essay is mucked up.

The example I typically give is where people have never even seen the arbcom for things like WP:CSD (policy), have been taken to RFC or arbcom for Wikipedia:Consensus, and people have been community banned for violationg WP:5P (an essay). I once suggested just merging the templates and categories, when this differentiation was just new... but ... *sigh*...

well anyway, now hopefully there'll be some discussion on this. Hopefully we can get rid of several of the categories at least.

Kim Bruning 21:49, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

  • The main thing that is vital is the difference between consensually accepted things (pol/guide) and the rest (essay/howto). There are probably some pages miscategorized, I've been trying to fix that. By the way, people get troutwhacked for violating CSD all the time (and yes, that includes some of the nastiest RFCs I've seen). >Radiant< 21:58, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Like the 5 pillars (summary of consensus over a large area, but marked as essay for a long while. Try breaking any of those rules and see how long you stay on the wiki :-P ) , and consensus (marked as guideline only, while it's part of m:foundation issues #3 ?) ? I've given it many months, and the cat system never became sane. I'm now convinced that it's a mission impossible. We need to take slightly better measures to clean up our guidelines. Kim Bruning 22:08, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
    • Well, no. 5P is not a policy, it's a list of policies (which, yes, one should not break). 5P is also a retcon, having been created far after the policies were written, and there are several dozen such lists in WP with different number of pillars and such (heck, you can go by WP:FLOW and it has roughly the same effect). Foundation issue #3 refers to the "wiki process". If you can convince me that this equates to consensus (not that hard probably), I'll personally tag WP:CON with 'policy' until it sticks. Like I said, some pages are mistagged. You would have a valid point for merging 'policy' with 'guideline', except that you already say that foundation issues are more important than 'mere' policies. You can't blank them, that would put all our consensually accepted things on equal foot with the wild variability that is CAT:E. >Radiant< 22:21, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

(It doesn't work that way. The distinction is common practice, and has a good purpose.)

Radiant, you just reverted me with this summary. Could you expand on that? Kim Bruning 22:18, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Sure. Like I said, it is vital that we distinguish our consensually accepted pages from random musings by random 'pedians. That's the difference between 'guideline/policy' and the rest. "Proposed" and "historical" should be obvious. "Rejected" is sometimes necessary to get someone who just doesn't get it to stop beating dead horses. "Howto" is just a classification by what's written there, and MOS and such are simply subcats of guidelines because we have WAY too many guidelines. >Radiant< 22:21, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Sure. Can we cut down?
Have descriptive for pages that are actually descriptive (note that this is incidentally a tougher requirement than merely local consensus, especially these days ;-) ) , and delete the rest?
If thas sounds familiar... well... actually thats the original en.wikipedia design, iirc, before all the templatecruft crept in. :-) Kim Bruning 22:49, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Well, Meatball:CommunityMayNotScale is kind of relevant. Cutting down is hard at this point, people have a tendency to codify, because not everybody has your intuitive grasp of wikiness. >Radiant< 22:53, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Suggested text move

I noticed that "The differences between policies, guidelines, essays, etc." does not have a summary section. Would be okay if I moved

*A '''process''' is a central and organized way of doing things, generally following certain policies or guidelines (e.g. the "deletion policy" tells us how the "deletion process" works)

up to the lead of the section as

A '''process''' is a central and organized way of doing things, generally following certain policies or guidelines (e.g. the "deletion policy" tells us how the "deletion process" works). The following is a list of different forms a process may take:

because it describes all the items listed there and doesn't seem to do anything per se at the moment. I was about to be bold and make the move per the mentioned style guide but noticed that the same section says editing policy needs consensus. Would anyone object to this move? --DavidHOzAu 03:48, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure if I understood that, but you seem to imply that all other listings (policy, essay, MOS, etc) are forms of process. I don't think that's true. >Radiant< 22:26, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
I thought they described the process of editing at least. or something.
Perhaps we should separate the men from the boys and list stuff that doesn't describe a process (a way of doing of things) under a separate paragraph. Anyway, to me that section is really burning for a summary section of some kind. It would be nice if guidelines and policies followed the Manual of Style. --DavidHOzAu 06:51, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Is there a guideline about Internal Consistency?

I was wondering if there was any guideline about internal consistency within Wikipedia. IOW is it okay for articles to have contradictory definitions? Examples:

  • The A article says all A's are B, but the B article says some A's are not B.
  • Article A says A is a proper subset of B; article B says B is a proper subset of C; article C says C is a proper subset of A.
  • Article A says all A's are B and all A's are C. Article B says all B's are (not C).

If we find such articles, what should be done? Does maintaining internal consistency override consensus? (Thinking of cases where editors of A, B, and C are all adament about not changing.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hogeye (talkcontribs)

  • What should be done is editing them until they are consistent; I'm sure it's in the MOS somewhere. You can probably find decent sources for which position is in fact true. >Radiant< 08:41, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
I've been told by Wikicrats that we must be consistent with the CIA "factbook", which takes its info from governments. Fourtildas 04:23, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Need clarifiaction on "proposal" vs "historical" vs "rejected"

  • "A proposal is any suggested guideline, policy or process for which no consensus has been reached, as long as discussion is ongoing."
  • "A historical page is any proposal for which consensus is unclear, where discussion has died out for whatever reason."
  • "A rejected page is any proposal for which consensus support is not present."

These definitions need to be better defined. As it stands, this page says that *every* proposal is a rejected page - simply because "no consensus has been reached" - the definition of a proposal *and* a rejected page. This is kinda ridiculous. Also, whats the difference between "unclear" consensus, and "no consensus has been reached" ? Fresheneesz 17:48, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Voting on guidelines

I would like to request assistance at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (television), where a few editors have gotten it into their head that (1) Guidelines are policy, which need to be enforced past all common sense; (2) That Guidelines should be voted on; and (3) That majority rules. I've been trying to point out things like Wikipedia:Consensus and WP:VIE and Wikipedia:Guideline, but I'm getting overwhelmed, and, since I'm in the "minority," I'm being accused of bad faith. Could someone else who understands the way that things are supposed to work, please come in? I'm not asking for help in deciding the issue, but we do need help in clarifying the process. Thanks, --Elonka 23:17, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Esotericism does not imply non-notability

I am proposing a new policy, Wikipedia:Esotericism does not imply non-notability and I need feedback. Thanks guys. --Ineffable3000 22:45, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

I decided to stop this policy proposal due after reading WP:SNOW. --Ineffable3000 23:45, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Can an established Guideline be demoted?

This page explains how a proposed guideline gets promoted to Guideline (it gains consensus), but it does not discuss what to do when someone claims that an existing guideline has lost consensus and wants to demote it. I bring this up because there is currently a debate as to whether WP:RS should remain a gideline or not. I guess the first question is: CAN an existing guideline be demoted? If so, then comes: a) under what circumstances? b) and how should it be done? Blueboar 19:06, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Few policies or guidelines are set in stone. The process for demotion is essentially the inverse of the process for promotion. For example, it may be struck down if it is routinely violated (the inverse of the "codification of current convention and common practice"). How they were promoted is a factor in how they can be demoted; a policy promoted by consensus can easily be removed by consensus, but this is not true for a policy promoted by Jimbo Wales (such as the Prohibition against open proxies). —[admin] Pathoschild 19:39, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
OK... but what constitutes a consensus to demote? In this case, there seems to be a small but insistant group who want to demote, and a larger goup who want to keep but continue to edit. Both sides say there is consensus. Do we follow a similar criteria to that used to determine AfD (where no clear consensus means you keep), or does a lack of unanimity mean we demote? Blueboar 14:06, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
"No clear consensus" means the page loses guideline status, right? — Omegatron 08:15, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
That seems wrong. Then a group of people can just take it upon themselves to demote any guideline, simply by opposing it? So if a handful of people decide to throw away WP:RS, they can? I don't think so. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:13, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Then a group of people can just take it upon themselves to demote any guideline, simply by opposing it?
Um... yes.
Guidelines are not fixed rules used to force the unwilling masses into submission. They're descriptive, not prescriptive. You can't allow a small minority to derail a guideline, but you still have to listen to their concerns and try to make it agreeable to them. If a significant number of people don't agree with a set of rules, it's simply no longer a guideline.
It's spelled out right on this page. "A guideline is any page that is: (1) actionable and (2) authorized by consensus." "A rejected page is any proposal for which consensus support is not present. Consensus need not be fully opposed; if consensus is neutral on the issue and unlikely to improve, the proposal is likewise rejected." And on Wikipedia:Consensus, it says "Wikipedia works by building consensus. This is done through polite discussion and negotiation, in an attempt to develop a consensus. If we find that a particular consensus happens often, we write it down as a guideline, to save people the time having to discuss the same principles over and over." See Wikipedia:How to make policy. — Omegatron 19:32, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the link, but I've certainly read that page repeatedly. It's just that WP:RS isn't the sort of thing that consensus should be able to demote. If we all agree to some naming convention, that's one thing, but agreeing that we can scrap the reliable source requirement actually undermines the basic mission here. I guess I think of WP:RS as being closer to a policy than most guidelines. I hope it's not necessary to say that I don't think of anything on this site as existing for the purpose of "forcing unwilling masses into submission". I'm sure you weren't meaning to suggest that I was saying so. I just don't see how writing an encyclopedia is supposed to work if we're not citing reliable sources. I'm sure I must be missing something, because we can't be saying that it's just ok for people to hijack Wikipedia and change its basic mission. One could disagree over whether "demoting" WP:RS would change the basic mission. One might also point out that none of our core policies would obtain consensus support if submitted to the community for approval today. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:59, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm unclear as to what specifically you're talking about - however, if a guideline no longer reflects current practice, it would be prudent to reword it to again match current practice. Happens all the time e.g. at the blocking policy. There really isn't such a thing as "promoting" and "demoting" pages - those terms imply more bureaucracy than we actually care to use. >Radiant< 00:43, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Ockham's Razor

Please look at my new policy proposal. Wikipedia:Ockham's Razor. I believe that it will revolutionize Wikipedia. --Ineffable3000 23:43, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Porn References

If Wikipedia is supposedly an online encyclopedia and not merely a collected catalog of general information, then WHY are there so many references and pages devoted to Pornographic entertainment, as in specific movies, and to Porn Stars? Why would ANY encyclopedia of repute want to include a listing of "Big Bust" pornstars or porn stars famous for "female ejaculation"? I mean, really, a page devoted to "Peter North"? Is that a joke? Are either Danni Ashe or Jenna Jameson worth mentioning in an online learning resource seeking legitimacy? How would that possibly cement the site or the Wikipedia concept's reputation as a valuable scholarly resource? Porn doesn't belong here except as a general heading. Adult Film stars are not notable people to be included in an encyclopedia except in the imaginations of one-handed keyboard surfers.

And the number of comic book entries, whether Marvel or DC, is worrisome, as well. Comic Books in general as a subject is perfect. It is a recognized artform. It is considered popular fiction, but of an extremely juvenile nature and NOT on the same level as the young adult fiction of, say, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter... But do we really need a "Venom" article page? Or a complete list of Batman's villains? Or an article dedicated to "Crisis on Infinte Earths"? Where is the scholarly value in this? Why is THIS included as opposed to the works of, say, horror author Tom Piccirilli who is a Bram Stoker Award-nominated author?

I think Wikipedia has a lot of potential and is a fantastic idea, but until there are set, enforcible limits that are applied to ALL entries, across the board, then this subjective "wiggle room" for articles is going to negatively impact the public's acceptance of the concept as a whole.


Joseph Armstead

That's funny; I haven't seen many of those. I guess it depends on what you search for... — Omegatron 02:03, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Please see WP:NOT - Wikipedia is not censored for the protection of minors. Regarding the comic book issue, we want to 'balance' the problem by having more articles on e.g. Tom Piccirilli (feel free to write those!) as opposed to deleting the comic articles. >Radiant< 10:39, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I suppose WP:NOT balanced. That is not a cardinal sin. Also a "page" is in indeterminate entity, so Peter North gets more coverage than the other Peter Norths, but less than (10%) of Bertrand Russell. Thirdly "we are building an encyclopaedia": whether this constitutes "scholarly" or we are "seeking legitimacy" or "public's acceptance" is another matter. I am unlikely to read these articles, that is not a good reason to delete them. Fifthly there are "set, enforcible limits" (if by "set" you mean "set but revisable") and at least one of the article you mention has been subject to WP:AfD. Sixthly and seventhly are Radiant's points. Eighthly "Wikipedia is not paper" so the normal limitations on space don't apply and ninthly Wikipedia is already one of the busiest websites in the world. Rich Farmbrough, 21:39 18 November 2006 (GMT).
  • If the subject is notable then it should have an article (WP:Notability). Notability is defined by the guidelines that the community of Wikipedia users creates. Please read the notability guidelines on the subject of the articles you think should be deleted. Some of your points are valid, Joseph, but on the other hand, Venom is one of the most famous comic book characters in the Spiderman universe and Jenna Jameson is usually recognized as the most famous pornstar in the world. Entertheinferno 07:56, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Counting error

Could someone replace the number 16 by 15 under "Other concise summaries of key policies"? The real janski 20:12, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Writing about math

Can you please read through a policy I am proposing? It is called Wikipedia:Writing about math. --Ineffable3000 05:20, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Sources sources sources

According to this policy page, Larry Sanger had said:

Our goal with Wikipedia is to create a free encyclopedia. Hence it is common on Wikipedia for policy itself to be debated on talk pages, on Wikipedia: namespace pages, on the mailing lists, on Meta Wikimedia, and on IRC chat. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Did Larry Sanger really say this? No source is given. And looking back through the page history, the quote was originally added here by a user who had only ever made two edits. A few months later someone else requested a source, and another editor attributed it to Larry Sanger. But how can we be sure that Larry wrote this? We seem to have spectacularly failed to ensure Verifiability on our own policy page.

I have now restored to the earlier text, stating: "Our goal with Wikipedia is to create a free encyclopedia--indeed, the largest encyclopedia in history, both in terms of breadth and in terms of depth. We also want Wikipedia to become a reliable resource." While it's not clear who wrote this either, at least this statement of a goal has a long history [3], and I believe it's a reasonable statement of Wikipedia's goals as expressed in the early days. Enchanter 03:01, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

  • I've removed the quote, on the grounds that policy/guidelines are created by the community and not by some higher authority. Note that just about none of our p/g pages contain such quotes. >Radiant< 09:45, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
I thought one of the ways policy was made was through higher authority of Jimbo or the board... Fresheneesz 06:19, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Contested change - codification of common practice

Radiant changed how this page says policy is created with this edit, with a sneaky comment that had nothing to do with most of his change. I liked the classic wording (as it is not just wording, and actually means something different), and so I changed it. Radiant, however, reverted me and labeled me a disruptive editor - when my editing on this page has been far from disruptive.

Personally, I don't think Radiant can make policy on his own - however much he would like that to be possible. I would like some comment on my proposed change reverted here. Fresheneesz 06:19, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

This article needs a lot of work. It is not well-balanced or organized in my opinion. If the top part seems like a brochure, nearly one-half discusses the arguments discourse against JROTC by groups that reflect a small minority of public opionion. All points of view. of course can be expressed. I recommend 3 parts, the beginning of the article should reflect objective, factual information (how its organzied, history, how many school, the different service branches, a brief overivew of the curriculum content. The next section would be benefits (ie teaches teamwork, self esteeem, enhances "emotional intelligence" etc), does not teach military tactics, etc) The Last part would be the arguments against (ie the recruiting issue, concerns about the curriculum) and a mention about the concerns raised in San Francisco and other cities. Steve2345 17:28, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Wrong page, man. Wrong page. — Omegatron 14:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Vote note

There are a few people who believe it may be useful to vote on guidelines, and have been inserting such language into this page. However, this view contradicts WP:HCP, WP:PNSD and WP:DEMO, and hence I disagree with these edits. >Radiant< 11:30, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Recent change to the Essay section

Recently, Radiant added this... "It does not follow that any page that is not a policy or a guideline is therefore an essay; there are plenty of pages in the Wikipedia namespace that are none of the three." to the section on essays, without any discussion.

It seems like this is intended to support the current movement to remove {{essay}} tags from pages that should have them. --Barberio 13:23, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

This is an important part to keep on the page, as a lot of people misunderstand and have this concept that policy and guidelines can be "demoted to essay", which isn't how it works. — Omegatron 14:26, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Verifiable information only

In the sidebar this phrase pipes WP:V. It's not typically how we refer to this policy page however. The most-used pipe in my view is "verifiable" or "verification". Wjhonson 19:16, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Improper Administrative Actions

If an admin is improperly deleting content from an article's talk page because he disagrees with what is being said, where on Wikipedia would they be reported? 03:09, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

See the dispute resolution process. —{admin} Pathoschild 03:02:56, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Do essays need to be consistent with policy?

Just wondering, do essays need to be consistent with policy to be in the Wikipedia namespace, especially if they state in bold that they may be inconsistent? — Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 03:48, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

The reason I ask is I want to know if this essay can be moved back into the Wikipedia namespace. It basically disagrees with current policy, with a warning regarding the contradiction. However, I welcome edits from all editors, and would be happy if all sides of the disagreement were documented. — Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 04:06, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
My understanding is essays can contradict current policies. In fact, many essays are very definitely not consistent with policy - such as Wikipedia:Embrace weasel words or Wikipedia:No Moral Code. I'm not sure if there are any rules regarding what can and cannot be in teh wikipedia as opposed to user space. AndrewRT(Talk) 19:05, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you! I guess I will talk about it to the admin who moved it and deleted the redirect after things calm down a bit. — Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 22:54, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
As long as it is clear that the essay is an opinion (e.g. of what policy should be) rather than The Actual Truth, it's not problematic. Note that when moved to mainspace, other people can and will edit your essay to remove perceived problems. >Radiant< 13:06, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I have tried to make it as clear as I can that it is not actual policy and that others are welcome to edit it. You are invited to make any changes that would make that more clear. Thank you, ArmedBlowfish (talk|mail) 00:18, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
This particular page is not appropriate for project space. ABF is trying to change the self-published section of WP:A, which is policy. Unable to do so, he has created it as an essay page, which could lead to confusion. As this is a very important part of one of our two core content policies, it's important that no one be misled. The page should therefore be created in user subspace. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:26, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Was trying would be more accurate, but I only recently gave up so you wouldn't have known. I believe the essay is as well-disclaimed as I can make it, but if you can write a more obvious disclaimer that the essay does not represent policy, feel free to do so. — ArmedBlowfish (talk|mail) 01:11, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
The best thing is to leave it in user subspace, then no one will mistake it for anything but personal opinion. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:49, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Leaving it in the user space could also have the unfortunate consequence of implying that I do not welcome edits from others. In fact, I would love for others to edit it, should they be interested in doing so. I don't really want it to be my personal essay, although I acknowledge that aside from your move, no one else has actually edited it directly as of yet. — ArmedBlowfish (talk|mail) 03:22, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
The policy on self-published sources is at WP:A, so we have no need of another page about it, particularly not one that contradicts the main page. What is the point of it, as you see it? SlimVirgin (talk) 03:27, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
The essay isn't about the current policy, it's about presenting all of the views on the matter. Since I don't feel I can accurately portray other people's views, it basically just has my view, with some modifications suggested by others. But if others add their views, that will help. Maybe it will help to build consensus to change policy, or maybe it will simply be a way to document disagreement that doesn't change anything. Maybe some people like me who disagree with current policy on the matter will change their/our minds anyways. I added a section for what WP:ATT has to say on the matter, labeled as "current policy", but I do not know if it will stay current for very long, so that has a disclaimer about possibly being out-of-date. (I heard something about a new wiki capability for transcluding portions of pages, but I cannot seem to get that to work in the page previews.) So, in short, it is supposed to be part of the consensus building process, not about the current policy actually is.
Properly disclaimed with links to the current policy, I do not think it is harmful, since essays are not actionable anyways.
ArmedBlowfish (talk|mail) 03:43, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Do you think it would be legitimate for me to post a page called "Point of view editing," and to write it in that point of view editing is welcomed on Wikipedia, then to add the "essay" tag so everyone realized it was only my opinion? The point is that you're trying to contradict a long-standing policy (just because the name changed recently doesn't meant the policy did), and it has the potential to cause confusion if you place that in project space. Also, you're posting about this on multiple pages almost creating a forest fire, which is taking up a lot of time. That section of the policy is firm, clear, and well supported, even though you personally disagree with it. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:38, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Sure, if you want to. (For the record, the essay tag has been in there from the first edit, with a bold warning about the contradiction added in the second edit.) However, I have seen a number of talk page examples where there was consensus for the use of a self-published source, despite the fact that it did not conform to the current policy. And the essay did seem to have rough consensus on WT:RS, even if not on WT:ATT where it mattered. So, I do not think I am the only person who disagrees with the current policy. I don't actually still care about it enough to find links to prove those points, but in any case I don't see what is wrong with suggesting changes on a couple talk pages.
Mostly it would be nice if it could be moved to Wikipedia namespace so I can abandon it knowing that other editors will feel welcome to edit it should they want to.
ArmedBlowfish (talk|mail) 04:52, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Well, if you want to explicitly welcome edits from others in your user page, just add a line to the top of the essay saying so. >Radiant< 10:05, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Done per you. Thanks, ArmedBlowfish (talk|mail) 10:40, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't see what about this essay is any different from any other Wikipedia-space essay that disagrees with policy (of which there must be hundreds!) Why is this userfied, and they aren't? The only reason I can see is that it suggests changing policy; and honestly, policy is anything but immutable. And even if it has been "rejected", why not put it in mainspace and tag it as rejected? —Dark•Shikari[T] 00:44, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
  • It is not a problem per se to have essays contradicting policy in Wikipedia namespace; still, several users have complained about this being confusing, so moving some of those to userspace may be useful. >Radiant< 09:18, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

English Language standard?

I am a little confused, does Wikipedia accept America spelling over the International standard of Oxford English? Govvy 12:38, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Neither standard is preferred, mostly because either choice would be both arbitrary and unenforceable. See also WP:PEREN. >Radiant< 12:39, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

So how comes most of the world when learning writing use Oxford English? Shouldn't that be a default on wiki? Govvy 12:46, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Because, as I said, that would be arbitrary and unenforceable. >Radiant< 12:49, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

So you're telling me that all American's have the right to spell Color to the article while the rest of the world has the right to spell colour? Govvy 12:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes. Really, it all depends what was used when the article started, or when it was first drafted. It is an unneccesary edit to change color to colour or vice versa, and should be discouraged. For more, see Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_English Tim (Xevious) 16:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)


A comment. If this page is supposed to introduce people to wikipedia's major policies and guidelines (a laudable goal), then I believe that it is sadly out of balance. Well over half of the page is dedicated to discussing the difference between a policy and a guideline. That, like everything else, should be pared down to a few sentences. Awadewit 06:41, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I think that this page should serve as a concise, user friendly introduction to Wikipedia's policies (which was the role it originally served). The information about how policy is formed and the differences between different forms of policy has become rather dominant here, and I think it would be better moved off to a separate page. Enchanter 16:51, 11 March 2007 (UTC)


I would really like to know if fansites to certain shows or series are allowed. Im..getting a little chaos with getting my site removed (by one particular individual) while a lot of other people are telling me its fine to put it in. So, is there really a rule to this? I know wikipedia wants sources to things that get a lot of information, and my site happens to be just that. But I was TOLD that my site gives lies and somewhat, its really giving me a headache.lavierose 16:51, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

  • According to the external links guideline, you should avoid linking to a site that you own, even if it fits the article. If you don't own the site, I would say to only post a fansite if it has relevant and reliable information that isn't already on the official site of the subject or a more reliable site (like in this case). Entertheinferno 07:33, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Another useful procedural question.

Officially speaking, what is the formal manner in which policies are amended? I know we do it by gaining consensus on the talk page usually, but is that formally written anywhere in a context which has to do not with creation, but amendation? Thanatosimii 19:07, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

  • "Official" and "formal" have little to do with it. As this page says, "A policy ... As with guidelines, amendments should generally be discussed on their talk pages" >Radiant< 09:09, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
There is no real policy process. It is mostly chaos, with bullying often winning the day. 6SJ7 00:38, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Recommend adding link to List of guidelines

I recommend adding a link to Wikipedia:List_of_guidelines below the link to Wikipedia:List_of_policies in the section Wikipedia:Policies#Other_concise_summaries_of_key_policies. While the list-of-guidelines page is out of date, it has useful information and it's name jumps out at people who are looking for lists of policies and guidelines. Recommended text: List of guidelines: A partial list of the guidelines with very quick summaries. See Category:Wikipedia_guidelines for a complete list. Comments? Davidwr 21:40, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

  • I would suggest simply linking to the category. At the moment that list is really not representative. >Radiant< 09:34, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

well done

i love wikipedia and congratulate you (whoever you are) thanx for the info and help —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:51, 3 May 2007 (UTC).

Need help navigating policy

Greetings. I am trying to locate the policy for editing, specifically, I am trying to understand why editing is not restricted from anonymous users. If someone could point me in the right direction, or give me some tips on using the search field to find policy, I would appreciate it. I am finding that I am getting articles in wikipedia with the keywords I am search for, not policies.

Thanks, EleosPrime 16:37, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks very much! EleosPrime 17:36, 21 May 2007 (UTC)