Wikipedia talk:Trifecta

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Hmm, while having a triumvirate (I mean trifecta) of policies to guide us is very nice in theory, I'm not sure it delivers what it promises.

Original research could very tentatively be described as following from NPOV, for example, but deletion explicitly does not deal with neutrality of topics (POV forks are the rare exception, as this are indeed blatant violations of NPOV); most of what goes on as deletion has nothing to do with being neutral, but with making sense, or respecting copyright. Similarly, style advice on neutral writing obviously follows from NPOV, but the rest is just rules we've picked because we've found them to work in most cases—this has little or nothing to do with NPOV. Claiming that all of this follows is not very enlightening. Wikipedia is an NPOV encyclopedia—some things follow from the "encyclopedia" part, not the NPOV part. Britannica does not claim NPOV (though it would love to be seen as "objective", of course, whatever that's supposed to be), but it arguably has style and verifiability and all that jazz. Encarta... no, let's not lower our standards like that.

Likewise, implying that consensus follows from everyone not acting like dicks (as opposed to voting) seems to require a very strenuous line of reasoning. You'd have to turn "don't be a dick" into "don't put your own interests ahead of the encyclopedia". In this form, you could conceivably claim this as the root of all social policy, although it's worth pointing out that the individual rules (stay cool, assume good faith, no personal attacks) are individual inventions: they prop up the policy, but do not follow from it—rather they follow from things observed in practice to work better than their alternatives (edit warring does not improve articles more than staying cool; assuming bad faith does not match reality; being rude is less likely to keep discussion open than being polite).

Ignore all rules, finally, is the most special rule we have, because it emphasizes the fact that, in spite of all trappings of order and regularity, this is still a wiki, and everyone is fundamentally free to act as they see fit (notwithstanding that every action has consequences). Does "be bold" follow? Not quite. IAR does imply you should be bold rather than do nothing for fear of disturbing an imagined balance or breaking rules you haven't yet seen applied, but it does not encourage you to edit outright. "Be bold" does. Without "be bold", people could talk endlessly over changes without ever implementing them, rules or not (and they do!)—IAR says nothing about that. IAR is the speed boost you need to get over hurdles; BB is what gets you moving in the first place.

Am I overanalyzing it? Of course! I don't suggest you start seriously thinking about it now—that this page presents exactly three cardinal principles from which to have everything follow is the appeal, not that everything lines up just right. JRM · Talk 21:53, 2005 Apr 29 (UTC)

Yeah, JRM, you're way overanalyzing things. Notice that these are only suggestions, and the first two should be interpreted in light of Wikipedia:Ignore all rules. The whole idea is that Wikipedia policy is far too complicated, and, by gosh, wouldn't things be a lot better if everyone just understood a few basic ideas and was nice to each other for a change. That's also why these aren't policy suggestions. It's a rough philosophical framework. Wikipedia is a state of mind.-- Seth Ilys 05:34, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Sure. I just compared it to mine and wrote down the differences. If it works for others, then it works for others. You can even adopt it as policy for all I care—I disagree with the structure, but of course the individual suggestions are fine. Then again, I'm not in the audience; I have no problem working with a lot of rules in the background, nor with determining when not to apply them strictly. JRM · Talk 10:43, 2005 Apr 30 (UTC)
Additional note: While NPOV doesn't follow from us being an encyclopedia (although our style conventions sorta do), it is a basic stylistic policy. "Don't be a dick" doesn't necessarily follow from us being a community; there are plenty of marginally functional communities where people are dicks to each other all the time. But we think that these are generally good ideas, and we take them seriously, but not too seriously... so if you're not enjoying yourself most of the time on Wikipedia, you probably shouldn't be here, and if you don't follow these rules, you don't have to. (Adopting WP:IAR recognizes other people's right to do the same.) - Seth Ilys 05:43, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
IAR is a paradoxical rule because you cannot apply it without understanding why you would need to apply it, and if you can do that, you don't need IAR as a rule in the first place. Which is probably why it's so appealing. JRM · Talk 10:43, 2005 Apr 30 (UTC)

From above and from below[edit]

This is an independent observation and shouldn't be on this talk page, but since I got it while writing the above, I'm going to stick it in just to prove I can ignore all rules and hijack talk pages for my own personal drivel whenever I want.

There is a big difference between NPOV and not putting yourself ahead of the encyclopedia (or not being a dick, if you prefer). The former is a given, imposed from above. Right or wrong, this is how Wikipedia works; if you don't like it, you're free to fork, but Wikipedia itself won't budge. The latter is not imposed, but trickles up from below. We codify this in policy to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. There were times when each of these was not policy, and Wikipedia worked—but as it grew, so did the opportunities for engaging in unproductive behavior with others, and it needed to curtail some of it to prevent efficiency from dropping off too far. Again: I stress that without such policies, Wikipedia would still work (this is important, because you'll often hear people claim that Wikipedia would explode without additional rules—this is not true, IMO; Wikipedia will work without them as long as everyone is still convinced it should be an NPOV encyclopedia). Productivity would just go way down without these basic rules, but it wouldn't drop off to zero.

And now, by Jimbo, I have to go edit some damn articles, because if I gaze at my navel any longer I'll go blind. JRM · Talk 21:53, 2005 Apr 29 (UTC)

Quick thoughts[edit]

Nice idea. I agree that the first two principles are fundamental to how Wikipedia works, but not convinced about the "bedrock" nature of the third. I'm also not at all clear about a couple of the corollaries: how are style conventions (for example) meant to flow from NPOV? — Matt Crypto 01:36, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Matt: They don't strongly follow, because we've ignored all rules in drawing corollaries, except of couse for common sense, which is a corollary of WP:DICK, which is one of the rules we aren't ignoring because ignore all rules tells us that we have to ignore that rule too, so there have to be at least some rules we don't ignore. Are you seeing how this works yet? Besides which, the third is only a suggest policy for personal action, rather than being foundational. We must have freedom to act as we see fit, after all. -- Seth Ilys 05:34, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Seth, I just wanted to say "thank you". This is a very well-put document, and perfectly accurate. Thanks.

James F. (talk) 23:43, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Seconded. Just linked it on my userpage. - David Gerard 14:38, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

UC's changes[edit]

Uninvited Company's changes have greatly improved this page, IMO. But now shouldn't User:Seth_Ilys/Trifecta be updated to include these changes? I am reluctant to do it because it is in someone's userspace, though. Taco Deposit | Talk-o to Taco 23:38, July 24, 2005 (UTC)

I've reverted the change replacing WP:IAR with WP:BOLD. BOLD is not a substitute for IAR, and IAR more clearly describes the attitude that Seth, myself, and others who subscribe to the Trifecta believe in than does BOLD. (For example, WP:BOLD doesn't describe our common dislike of instruction creep as well.) After a discussion on IRC, I've decided to leave the replacement of "don't be a dick" alone; while I still like that formulation better, it does break WP:BEANS and it is taken the wrong way by many people. "Be civil" isn't quite as catchy, but it'll have to do. Kelly Martin 15:36, July 27, 2005 (UTC)

I prefer Don't be a dick - it is fundamentally true, and gets the point across. Looking through the comments above it's clear the original three choices were very popular. Dbad also survived the meta RfD, by the way. Dan100 (Talk) 14:58, July 28, 2005 (UTC)


Everything old is new again[edit]

Apparently Kosebamse had it over a year ago: [1]. Just stumbled across this again. Mindspillage (spill yours?) 20:17, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Re: Don't be a dick[edit]

Do we have to call it that? While I realize that Wikipedia isn't censored for children, the trifecta could be a bit cleaner. I think the policy would have more power if it was a bit more appropriate in that regard. McKay

What do you suggest as an alternative? --JWSchmidt 14:23, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
Good question, well, you could chose a contraposition, like "Be nice" or "Choose the Right", or something a little less mean, "Don't be a jerk" or "Don't be mean" It happens to be a corollary of Wikipedia:Ignore All Rules. You could pull the definition: "Don't be a highly contemptable person" Following links around, we could do something like "Don't be a hinsist" or something like that." We already have a page at "don't be unpleasant." McKay 06:14, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you McKay. The idea is good, but the language to convey it (dick) is immature. Improves community while subtly detrimental to community at the same time in my opinion. --ElectricEye (talk) 08:56, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
I strongly agree with rewording it to "Don't be a jerk" or "Don't be mean". (though, according to m:Don't be a dick, dick was originally itself a euphemism for "fuckhead". so at least we've improved past that, and also have precedent for rewording) --Quiddity 17:29, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm not usualy one for censorship and am certaily not afraid of strong language but seeing the word dick used offended me a little in the way that it insults the spirit of the poject DJW2tone 15:30, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
The article itself suggests a good rewording "Be Civil". The phrase "Don't be a Dick" is offensive (to some), and you're trying to ask someone to not be offensive. Personally, I just think that the use of crude language is unprofessional in this context, and could be avoided. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:19, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

I think the issue is less the offensiveness of the term per se, as the presence of an uncivil term in the title what's supposed to be a call for civility (among other things), which leads to its popularity as a "clever" way of calling someone a dick (or fuckhead, or jerk, whichever is chosen). That the page itself points out (to paraphrase) that one would be a dick to go around calling people dicks seems to prevail not. (Or maybe it'd be much worse were this not there, who knows.) As it's a metawiki page we're discussing it in the wrong place, of course (unless what's at issue is whether it's linked to/what's linked to). Alai 06:41, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

As far as I'm concerned any rewording would do. I was recently a target of such personal attack, in which someone poked the WP:DICK at me. While in theory such remark could perhaps be defendable (I didn't call him a fuckhead, I merely noted he might have violated WP:DICK), the difference is close to none. Any commonly-acceptable non-offensive term would do. //Halibutt 12:38, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
For those who don't understand, Halibutt refers to this edit of mine. I will post a refutation on Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Halibutt. --Ghirla -трёп- 17:28, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
No, Ghirlandajo, I wasn't referring to that edit of yours. Sorry to disappoint you. And yes, I'm still in for any change in the wording that would prevent people from poking offensive vocabulary at others. //Halibutt 20:24, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

User:Tomd89 edited it today to change to "Don't be inconsedirate". I undid the edit, as the link didn't go anywhere even if the spelling was corrected (but wasn't red... why?). I tend to agree that a less-offensive term would be better: using this as part of Wikipedia common language seems to enforce the stereotype that most Wikipedians are (going for stereotypes) probably male and under 30! But I object more to broken links than to the language, so was happy to revert the edit. PamD 11:23, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

And a userbox to go with it[edit]

I created this userbox. Feel free to use it. -- Michalis Famelis 23:06, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

The userbox looks great! --Siva1979Talk to me 03:41, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Merge discussion[edit]

I'm asking for feedback on some merge-related suggestions, please come give input at Wikipedia talk:Simplified Ruleset#Merge suggestions?. Thanks :) -Quiddity 22:09, 2 June 2006 (UTC)


I think WP:V is more fundamental than WP:NPOV, because if a fact is objective and verifiable, it's hard for it to be biased. NPOV is a bit unclear to take as the iron-clad base, but they both aim for the same goal of including only objective knowledge in an unbiased fashion. Maybe it's just me not liking to push it to secondary status. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 14:04, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Interesting, might I suggest taking a peek at Wikipedia:Five pillars where there's not even a need for this sort of debate? (Netscott) 10:57, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Interesting concept. The way I have it in my head is that m:Foundation issues has NPOV as the end towards which to strive. Verifiability and reliable sources are necessary means to reach NPOV, but they are not sufficient by themselves.
See what happens if you bring your ideas up on meta? --Kim Bruning 02:26, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

m:Don't be a dick?[edit]

How is that part of the policy trifecta? It is not even labeled as policy. (Netscott) 09:45, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm liable to shortly submit this page for MfD as a POV fork of Wikipedia:Five pillars. What purpose does this page serve that isn't already covered by Wikipedia:Five pillars? (Netscott) 09:55, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Um, it's just another viewpoint on reducing Wikipedia's complex rules to a small set of principles. What's wrong with that? The idea of this being a "POV fork" is silly, because NPOV is a policy which applies only to the main article space. (And this page is actually older than Wikipedia:Five pillars.) — Matt Crypto 10:10, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm, slightly older than Five pillars but with less than 50 edits total on it... there's ~ 540 links to this page with the overwhelming majority of them stemming from user pages (via a userbox). This page has the official sounding name of "Trifecta Policy" when effectively a third of it relies upon non-policy in its construction. Wikipedia:Five pillars has more than 60,000 links to it, cites only official policy/guidelines, has been edited over 350 times and has actual official recognition. Again, what puprose is this page serving that can't be more effectively served by the official Wikipedia:Five pillars page? (Netscott) 10:35, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
A diversity of ideas is healthy, and an alternative construction of a set of fundamental principles for Wikipedia is not harmful. The "official-sounding name" notwithstanding, the page quite explicity states that it's not defining policy. — Matt Crypto 10:53, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry but I disagree... particularly when this page has such an official sounding name. Presenting a non-policy as though it was policy is just bad and sets up confusion particularly for new users. Citing WP:DICK tends to be frowned upon as the citation of it can be itself a "dick move". Not a good idea to be setting up new users to be citing it as though it wasn't a dick move to do so. I have to be honest and say that if this page were renamed to something less official sounding then a more forgiving view of it would be warranted. (Netscott) 11:01, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Citing WP:DICK tends to be frowned upon as the citation of it can be itself a "dick move": you've misunderstood this. That sentence is in respect to telling an individual that they're in violation of WP:DICK. That can certainly be a "dick move" in many circumstances (perhaps not all), but that's altogether nothing to do with a general page making reference to it. But back to the point, this page can hardly be said to present non-policy as though it was policy not least because of the sentence that reads, "this is not proposed policy" (emphasis not mine). — Matt Crypto 11:14, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I'd recommend something like "Principles trifecta" or an equivalent name... again the word "Policy" is too official. (Netscott) 11:20, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
It's a policy trifecta, because it is a summary of policy, and can, in fact, with some thought, be used as a drop-in-replacement for the largest part of it. I've gotten by fine. :-)
Note that WP:DICK is generally considered to be policy, in such circles where they make such hair-fine distinctions.
Finally, I typically use this page to question "young whippersnappers" who are up for admin. I ask them to give their opinion, and based on that , you get a pretty good idea if they're admin material at that time or not. So, do you think you pass? :-)
Kim Bruning 02:20, 20 January 2007 (UTC)


This page was moved back to the current name for the reason that "it's a summation of all policy" even though it rather obviously isn't. More importantly, this page isn't policy, and thus shouldn't be called policy. Wikipedia is byzantinely confusing enough for novice users without such inaccuracies. >Radiant< 16:06, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes it is a summation of policy. And you've got it backwards. This is one of a small subset of pages we've been using to summarise and REDUCE the amount of work it takes in teaching newbies the ropes.
Just because you don't use it that way, doesn't mean that others don't.  :-P --Kim Bruning 17:38, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
100% agree with User:Radiant! here, in fact I'd go so far as to support an MfD of this page as being an unecessary duplicate of the much more recognized (and official) Wikipedia:Five pillars. (Netscott) 17:43, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Nice try :-P. All your points were covered in the discussion above. See there. --Kim Bruning 17:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

So why are there lists of the Five Policies and the Three Policies? Are there five or three principles that guide WP? Why does the site need both? --Milo H Minderbinder 18:18, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

That's your choice. It's 2 different approaches. 5 Pillars tries to cover a lot of ground, and is more suited to new users. The trifecta is more rigorously minimalistic, and is something more advanced users use. At any rate it is utterly impossible to deny that people use the trifecta. About 200 people link to the trifecta, thereby stating that they subscribe to it as their own "personal policy". --Kim Bruning 18:30, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I'd support a move to Trifecta principles, or even simply Trifecta. It doesn't really seem appropriate to have "policy" in the name when it doesn't actually consist of policies. And why was the rename tag removed, shouldn't it be discussed first? --Milo H Minderbinder 19:40, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

not proposed[edit]

This text below is in line with the KISS principle to kill all muckups with all kinds of templates, proposed vs not proposed, and all the rigmarole. You choose to either follow the trifecta as your personal policy or not. Entirely up to you.

This is very different from "this is not policy". Subtly different wording. :-)

This page doesn't represent policy, pure and simple. Why allow this masquerade of it not being proposed (and thereby possibly established)? (Netscott) 18:30, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
It's my "personal policy", and that of >200 other people, at the least. Whether or not you understand why or how it is used may well be irrelevant to the discussion. It is in use, pure and simple. :-) --Kim Bruning 18:32, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Right... now you're supporting a concept like POINT... and we can all just start running around operating under our own notions (ie: "personal policy"). Wrong. (Netscott) 18:34, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
No, I'm not disrupting wikipedia, and I'm not making a point. I do not support the concept of disrupting to make a point either. Your statement does not make sense.
Next, Ignore All Rules explicitly states that if you do not harm the encyclopedia, you may proceed. If I wish to adopt a set of rules that go past the basic m:foundation issues, and I choose to hold myself to them, then that is my personal option. In fact, since I'm only adopting additional rules, I'm well within actual wikipedia policy, and may simply do so. --Kim Bruning 18:39, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

"you misunderstand the purpose of the wording." Actually, I don't understand the point of the wording or what it's trying to say. Right now I think that last bit is an unnecessary mess. I doubt most newbies would figure it out either. So what is it trying to say, and can it please be rewritten to actually say that? --Milo H Minderbinder 19:17, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

"don't stick a tag on this page, because we're using a different mechanism." --Kim Bruning 22:25, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Which is? --Milo H Minderbinder 22:33, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
"We're letting people choose for themselves whether they want to apply this. They can put a tag on their page if they want to let other people know, but even that is optional". --Kim Bruning 23:45, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Not an essay[edit]

Dangit! It said so in the text of the page even. I wish the 3 revert rule had an exception for "patently clueless edits". I also wish it had an exception for "refusing to discuss". *Sigh*.

You can't really call it an edit war if people aren't even discussing though. Just plain --sillyness--. --Kim Bruning 19:14, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Speaking of 3RR, it looks like you've broken it on this one. --Milo H Minderbinder 19:22, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I was keeping a count, I generally go for WP:HEC. My sole exception being when someone does not take it to talk immediately, I revert again to remind them. In this case I did an additional revert in a row, and talked to the person on their personal talk page. They should have responded earlier, but did not. It happens. --Kim Bruning 19:39, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
If you include the RM tag which was posted in the wrong location, you're probably even right. Wow. Darnit. (though RM counts as spamming in some quarters, including mine) --Kim Bruning 19:41, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Revert counting expresses entitlement to 3 reverts (an edit warrior trait if ever there was one)... obviously doing that is wrong per WP:3RR. (Netscott) 19:42, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Ah, not quite. More like "hello, wake up, you're being reverted, take it to talk already!" --Kim Bruning 19:44, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
RM counts as spamming? What is that supposed to mean. I guess the RM tag goes on the talk page, not the article page, but it's a bit harder to AGF on the "wrong place" thing when you removed it from the talk page as well. So why did you remove the RM? --Milo H Minderbinder 19:47, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
RM is not policy, and has had a long standing reputation of violating the polling guidelines. Many people have tried reasoning with the owners, to no avail. Possibly radiant is applying RM more nicely than the procedure itself warrents, but it's still spam. --Kim Bruning 19:52, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Kim Bruning, now you're just talking nonsense..... you've totally thrown the assumption of good faith out the window if you're describing Radiant!'s requested move tagging as "spam". (Netscott) 19:53, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
The procedure does advocate spamming templates and polls violating the Wikipedia:Polling guidelines across much of wikipedia, and is not to be recommended. My standard MO is to delete RM tags and polls on sight. I'll admit that Radiant applied it more deftly than most however. Hmmm. --Kim Bruning 19:57, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

It seems that I, Kim and JJay agree that the essay tag isn't really needed. but JJay is concerned (I think) that "Policy Trifecta" could be read as "A trifecta that is a policy" rather than "A trifecta of policies." To me, this is an unimportant distinction, and the latter meaning is clear enough. Thought? I'd like to hear from others before removing the tag again. Demi T/C 20:08, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, the problem (as mentioned above) is that this is not a trifecta of policies... WP:DICK is not policy. Demi, if you have not already done so, please read the above discussions as they are directly pertinent to this last discussion. Thanks. (Netscott) 20:09, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
As far as I'm aware, WP:DICK *is* policy. Read the tagging on meta most carefully as well. --Kim Bruning 20:19, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
What exactly about that tagging makes you think it's policy? --Milo H Minderbinder 20:21, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
No tagging, just it's been policy for as long as I remember. Why wouldn't it be?
And "for as long as you remember", what made you think it was policy? Did it used to be policy? I'd have to assume it's not policy since it doesn't say that it is. Why would I assume anything marked as an essay is policy? --Milo H Minderbinder 20:56, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Search me, I didn't invent tagging! :-) And of course it's policy to not be a dick, um, you think it's ok to be mean to people? --Kim Bruning 21:12, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Kim Bruning, both Radiant! and I (long time experienced editors) know the difference and have expressed as much. Your awareness is a bit off. On January 9, Radiant! changed the m:Template:essay tag to try to say that an essay on meta could be a policy or guideline elsewhere (while Radiant!'s edit was BOLD there was no consensus for such a sweeping change). (Netscott) 20:26, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, Radiant and I have roughly the same goals, but we seem to be working at crosspurposes (again) atm. I'm working along the WP:SR->WP:TRI->WP:5P axis, while Radiant is working along a template axis. This sometimes collides, and we'll have to sort that out. --Kim Bruning 20:51, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Just commenting a minor part here: the closest to a definition or description of "essay" in Wikipedia context that I've found is on m:Category:Essays. It describes an essay as a description of thoughts about Wikipedia etc. An essay, in the normal use of the word, is not usually a bulleted list, but a text that discusses and explains things. This page is hardly an essay. // habj 20:28, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Assuming it's not an essay, someone needs to suggest some sort of tag (I'd be fine with a custom one) that gets across what it is, and that it's not policy. Anyone have a suggestion? --Milo H Minderbinder 20:35, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
This is a none-of-the-above page. By design, surely! Whatever categorization rules we are trying to apply here, perhaps we can make an exemption, hmm? That's also my feeling about the attempt to take the word "Policy" out of "Policy Trifecta" as well. Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 20:40, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
As I expressed on User talk:Kim Bruning there's two reasons the name "Policy trifecta" is bad. 1. It leads to new user confusion as to what pages in fact do constitute officially recognized policy and 2. It lessens the "punch" of actual offically recognized policy pages. (Netscott) 20:45, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't understand either point. What confusion has this caused, and what other pages has this lessened? Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 21:07, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
This page gives the mistaken impression that it is policy, and that the things listed are all policy. --Milo H Minderbinder 21:09, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, try violating any one of the concepts on this page, and see how long it takes for you to go straight to arbitration, not pass go, and not collect $200 ;-) --Kim Bruning 21:17, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
That just means that the essays on this page agree with policies (like DICK/CIVIL). That doesn't make them policies. --Milo H Minderbinder 21:29, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Gosh, but it's such a short page to need that sort of thing, and when the last sentence is so clear. How about now, does it stand out enough? Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 21:36, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
The last sentence is a complete mess. If the page didn't have "policy" in the name and the last line was rewritten, that would help. --Milo H Minderbinder 21:47, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Um, Milo H Mindbender: WP:DICK antedates WP:CIVIL, by quite a distance. In fact, IIRC an earlier discussion about WP:TRI actually spawned WP:CIVIL, but I'm not entirely certain if my memory serves. --Kim Bruning 21:51, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Whether that's the case or not, does that make it policy? --Milo H Minderbinder 21:56, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
If the rewording is policy, then so is the original wording. :-P --Kim Bruning 22:00, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
And how is it apparent to the novice user that one is a rewording of the other? --Milo H Minderbinder 22:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
That's the next problem we're going to have to deal with, and that's in fact a bit of an older problem. We're going to have to talk with the policy/guideline/essay tagging folks. --Kim Bruning 22:23, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Good grief![edit]

My god, you're all overanalyzing this. I invented it, so I think I'll Be bold and move this to Wikipedia:Trifecta just so all of you will end one of the most pointless arguments I've ever seen on Wikipedia. If you still want to fight over it, though, don't... just drop it into my userspace instead of the Wikipedia namespace.

-- Seth —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sethant (talkcontribs) 23:48, 22 January 2007 (UTC).

Much better... :) Thanks for the rational move there Seth. (Netscott) 23:54, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

<Falls over laughing> --Kim Bruning 23:59, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

That last sentence[edit]

I still don't get it. Why mention IAR? Why does it say not a proposed policy or guideline? Why not just say what the page is, instead of some odd attempt at defining it by what it's not? And it seems odd to me for a page like this to have a line about using a template. Any explanation for that particular wording? --Milo H Minderbinder 00:01, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Don't think too deeply about it :-P. It says what it's not, so it's not. It says to use a template if you like, so use a template if you like. Easy. --Kim Bruning 00:04, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I still think "not a proposed policy" can be misinterpreted, it's not really clear that it's not a policy (what's the objection to pointing that out?). --Milo H Minderbinder 00:06, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
You're still thinking too deeply. Leave the poor tags out of at least one corner of my poor, tortured, wiki experience, please? --Kim Bruning 00:43, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
It should be tagged as an essay, which is what it is. And while I'm clearly not a deep thinker, I do think whoever wrote the last sentence needs to review our basic social principle as soon as possible.--JJay 02:38, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Define essay. --Kim Bruning 03:00, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
See the comments above about deep thinking. --JJay 03:01, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, the people who are doing policy, guideline, essay seem somewhat confused amongst each other about which is which. (see: Wikipedia talk:Don't cite essays or proposals as if they were policy) You will have to define either there or here. --Kim Bruning 03:11, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Essay. --JJay 03:14, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
By that definition, this page is not an essay. --Kim Bruning 03:24, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Is that the word on IRC? --JJay 03:37, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Um, no. On that page, essay is defined as the personal opinion of one author, etc etc. Does not apply here, I don't think. --Kim Bruning 03:56, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Sure looks like it to me. Did you say yourself it wasn't WP policy but some sort of "personal policy" that some people subscribe to? I'm not sure why you're so afraid of calling it an essay, the refusal to say what it is is starting to sound a bit like wikilawyering. I think it needs some kind of clear tag, preferably at the top. I'm fine with either "essay" or "collection of policies, guidelines, and essays" (which sounds at least as good as anything else I've heard suggested), and I'm open to other suggestions. --Milo H Minderbinder 13:36, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
One or two people subscribe to it... only some significant portion of active contribs O:-) How about "Is not a (proposed) policy, guideline or essay" ? Saves us all trouble. Also no extra template to make things not simple. I like pages without templates.
Hang on, let's check something...
So... from my viewpoint it looks like there's people going "Oh gee look! Some last holdout against the evil bureaucracy. Ooohh pretty, let's bureaucratize it!" And I'm naturally reticent ;-)
Likely my viewpoint is somewhat silly. Let's hope so!
What's your own viewpoint? Maybe we can figure a way to get them to work together.:-)
--Kim Bruning 15:39, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Not every page fits neatly into the pigeonholes, and that's not particularly problematic either. Please note that many pages in Wikispace are not p/g/e. >Radiant< 16:07, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd say that the lack of pigeonholing will confuse any newbies that stumble over this page. If a page is a statement of opinion, it should be clearly marked as such. (NB, it would be nice if the article gave some etymology for the name "Trifecta". Presumably, the "tri" bit is a reference to three, but I'm sure many people whose native language isn't Latin-based would miss that; and the "fecta"? --Dweller 09:37, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Why not read trifecta? Carcharoth 01:44, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Even simpler[edit]

I love the Trifecta, but I've made it even simpler. My motto is: "keep it simple, civil, and neutral." To me, this has the potential of highlighting WP:BURO/WP:BOLD/WP:CREEP (KISS principle) and WP:CIVIL rather than WP:IAR and WP:DICK, which is my personal preference. The order is not important, that is it could be more in keeping with the Trifecta as "keep it neutral, civil, and simple". I just like the way it rolls of the tongue, and KISS is dear to my heart. "Stay" could be used in place of "keep it", or "Wikipedia" could be used in place of "it". The "Mind NPOV - don't be a dick - ignore all rules" user template is great, but it's kinda jarring, especially to newcomers. I think my motto is simpler, friendlier and easier to understand. heqs ·:. 20:03, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Good grief[edit]

For heavens sake. Summarising and generalising I've just had someone cite Trifecta to me, as justification that it's OK to call people Dicks. While it remains in the Project space, this page must be labelled as an essay. --Dweller 09:11, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Why not use the tag at the top of Wikipedia:Simplified ruleset? Template:Policy Summary? Carcharoth 09:42, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
!?!? That'd make it worse. WP:DICK is neither a guideline, nor a policy. Thank goodness. --Dweller 09:53, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Good point. I now see that there are two MfD discussions in progress over these issues. Personally, I never cite WP:DICK or WP:CIVIL (other than cases like this), as it is much more productive to actually be civil and demonstrate by example how you want others to behave. A general finger wagging never really helped anyone. Maybe we need a tag that says that this page summarizes policies, guidelines and essays? Carcharoth 10:53, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
The fact is that Trifecta itself is an essay. It's the opinion of a group of editors that this summarises what Wikipedia is all about. I virulently disagree and so, from the looks of the WP:DICK MfD, do many others. That's fine if it's an essay. Not fine if it's dressed up to look like anything other than an opinion piece. --Dweller 10:58, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. Do you agree that "encyclopedia created by a community using a wiki" encapsulates the three key characteristics of Wikipedia, and that many of the guidelines and policies are a consequence of this? I think that is the key point, rather than argue over which policies, guideline or essays should be said to flow from these principles. There are other key principles of course, namely the "free content" one, which is a Foundation issue. Five pillars adds "consensus" to those four. Is it the absence of the "free content" bit that causes virulent disagreement? Carcharoth 11:15, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I closed the mentioned MFD as invalid. Letting your emotions get in the way of common sense (and in fact wikipedia guidelines) is probably not a good idea.

On the other side of the balance: who cited this page to you? Perhaps we can clear up their misconceptions.

--Kim Bruning 22:31, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, more on the content: I think DICK is just a shorter version of the civility guideline, for us cynical internet hardened and calloused folks. We just don't panic about mere words anymore, I suppose :-/ A problem with WP:DICK is the fact that it violates WP:BEANS.

Note that the trifecta is a prototype for our 5 pillars, where WP:DICK has been replaced in the 4th pillar by Wikipedia:Etiquette --Kim Bruning 23:13, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Can you rustle up a tag that says that this is a prototype of the five pillars? That might feel like marking it historical, but might also avoid the calls for it to be marked as an essay. Carcharoth 10:10, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Gritted my teeth, and modified the tag that someone put up. Did I mention I hate tags? They are very misleading. --Kim Bruning 20:08, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
User:Cyde put up an {{essay}} tag, and I tried to modify it to reflect what I understood the page to be. I wouldn't mind if it came down altogether, personally. The page didn't have a tag in the first place, and probably doesn't need one. --Phirazo 00:46, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

"Don't be a dick"[edit]

Posting here before my revert to explain myself...

  1. The phrase "Don't be a dick" has been here since the beginning of the page. It is also an established part of Wikipedia's culture, like it or not.
  2. User:Cyde isn't exactly an uninvolved editor here (Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:Cyde/Don't be a fucking douchebag).
  3. I happen to like "Don't be a dick". I think it is a lot more intuitive and easy to follow than "Wikipedians define incivility roughly as personally targeted behavior that causes an atmosphere of greater conflict and stress. Our code of civility states plainly that people must act with civility toward one another." (Wikipedia:Civility) That some people misuse it as a personal insult is unfortunate, but the page on meta clearly says calling someone a dick is, itself, a dick move. --Phirazo 03:25, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Don't be a dick is itself uncivil indeed. Wikipedians used to have a certain sense of humor and irony (morisettan or otherwise). ;-) --Kim Bruning 20:04, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

The real problem with "don't be a dick", is that it is a culture-specific phrase. Many people won't understand it, and may misunderstand it. The correct approach might be to simplify (or produced a simplified version of) Wikipedia:Civility. Carcharoth 02:46, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm no prude, but "don't be a dick" is just self-defeating in its wording. Now that that friendly little girl is telling me "don't be a dick!", it's even more jarring. Sigh.--Father Goose (talk) 18:56, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not censored? ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:05, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it makes more sense from the point of view of how wikipedia was, way back when. :-) People thought that injecting some amount of humor (and irony: the guidance is mildly self-contradictory :-P), would make sure that people wouldn't take guidance too seriously, and be distracted from the really important things, such as writing encyclopedias. Which is actually seriously needed in these days of IAR-is-not-actually-IAR, and such. ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:17, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, the thinking behind DBAD is clear, but unfortunately it's the kind of thing you can only say to a friend and have it taken the right way (maybe). Yes, it'd be stripped of some of its delicious irony if it were "don't be a jerk", but I think it would also get the message across better.
You know what it is? I can't say "don't be a dick" without feeling like a dick. So fuck it, I'll just use "jerk" in my own correspondence in the future.
Poor Wikipe-tan. She's turned into a real dick lately.--Father Goose (talk) 07:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Random sayings and analogies[edit]

It might be interesting to gather a list of guidelines and essays (mostly essays) that are based on common sayings or parables. Off the top of my head, I can come up with WP:BEANS, WP:KETTLE, WP:SPADE, WP:DUCK, WP:CUCUMBER, WP:CURIOUS, WP:KISS. Then you have the many essays that use analogies to make their points: WP:DICK, WP:CRYSTAL, WP:TEA, WP:BIKESHED, WP:WEASEL, WP:DEADHORSE, WP:COATRACK, WP:DIG, WP:OSTRICH, WP:INSPECTOR, WP:GARDEN, WP:GRAPE, WP:CHICKENS, WP:MASTODONS, WP:HOLE, WP:DUST, WP:LIGHT, WP:MOBY, WP:SPIDER, and finally, but by no means least, WP:WORMS. Wow. I didn't know we had so many essays. That was only the first of three pages! Carcharoth 02:45, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Hmm. I wonder if an "essay" version of Wikipedia:List of shortcuts might fly? :-) Carcharoth 02:49, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
On a whim, I started Category:Shortcuts that are English words, and populated it with the above through Weasel. Feel free to finish it, or decide that it is a horrible idea, whatever. Dragons flight 17:48, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I've expanded it. It probably is frivolous, but there is a logical conclusion to this. Kind of the reverse of WP:WOTTA. Carcharoth 21:59, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Trifecta templates[edit]

Thanks, guys, I've added the float-right Trifecta template to my page. I think these should also have a link to Wikipedia:Trifecta, which has some useful next-level advice. Philcha (talk) 21:49, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Wikipe-Tan Trifecta Image Map[edit]

Wikipe-tan trifecta sign.png Remain neutral Don't be a dick Ignore all rules
About this image

Hey I have created the attached version of Wikipe-tan where the image is instead converted to an image map.

I have been trying to come up with a way to make this useful and realized why not propose that it be put on the WP:TRI page.

If no one is opposed I would like to replace the current Wikipe-tan with a version of this template that I will move to templatespace first that will allow for the direction of the float to be determined through a parameter. -Sykko-(talk to me) 00:35, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

no response so I went ahead and put it in -Sykko-(talk to me) 08:28, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:8 simple rules for editing our encyclopedia[edit]

I decided to expand upon the trifecta concept but I still kept it simple with 8 rules. The trifecta rules were integrated as rules 3, 4 and 5. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 04:23, 22 May 2010 (UTC)


I do find jerk less offensive than dick (I don't know how it is in other English varieties), but is it really not possible to say this without using any insulting term? If the intended meaning is "be a decent person", then can we not say that? Saying "don't be a ****" always carries the implication that people can link back to this page and say (or imply) "stop being a ****", which is the kind of uncivil communication that we want to discourage. Also, if people don't know the norms yet, then they won't know what kind of behaviour is (or is not) considered ****-like around here - saying that one of the norms is "don't be a ****" communicates only that one of the norms is not to deviate excessively from the norms, which is tautological.--Kotniski (talk) 18:19, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

The intent of this bit is to say, essentially: "Don't be obnoxiously self-centered and pigheaded; you don't own the articles you work on, and throwing a tantrum whenever someone disagrees with you makes everyone miserable." If you can think of a nice, uplifting way to say that, I'll be behind you 110%. As it stands, though, "Don't be a dick/jerk" is the way most of us (those who aren't professional psychologists) would handle this is the real world, because we are all pretty much aware that no one will stop acting in an irritatingly self-centered way until they recognize how bad it looks to others.
Me, I'm of the 'call a spade a spade' school - If someone's going off half-cocked on a page it is my experience that they will not stop until (a) they are obligated to take a breather, or (b) they run into something solid enough to bruise their ego. It's unfortunate, but some of the biggest dicks on wikipedia actually see themselves as Righteous Defenders of Principle, and need to be shown that that's not how they are coming across. --Ludwigs2 21:35, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
How about -"If you must be a Dick be a private dick". The world underwater hockey federation referees were having a meeting to decide on hand signals for infractions, They used up most of the obvious ones and then needed one for unsportsmanlike behaviour. The debate became tedious. Finally one referee,commenting on the inane chat moved his fist in and out from his forehead -and another ref said "Yes that's it- perfect. The page says we are all anonymous. we are not> I am going to change that.--— Tumadoireacht Talk/Stalk 17:33, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

I just restored "dick", if only because it didn't match the image it was sitting next to. But really, it's supposed to be attention-getting. "Jerk" doesn't grab the attention half as well. It's possible to be a jerk without being actively disruptive -- if you're being a dick, though, that's another story. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:17, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

But nobody really knows what "being a dick" means, particularly newcomers who have no idea what the norms in a wiki community are or should be. It's just a random insult, which anyone could use about anyone at any time. With the current movement towards encouraging new editors, particularly women, I don't know why some people here are so insistent on restoring wording that serves no purpose, but is quite likely to deter some potentially good editors from joining us.--Kotniski (talk) 11:24, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Can we remove Wiki-tan from this?[edit]

Please? Her time has passed, and it's always been a little creepy. --Xavexgoem (talk) 02:57, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Oh yes please! No moar tans! benzband (talk) 07:09, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Wikipe-tan says[edit]

At the time of this writing, {{trifectaimap2}} links to m:Don't be a jerk with the pictured text “Be friendly.” What’s the feeling on moe these days? I removed the template (since updated) from this page per comments from three years ago, but I have no preference either way. Thanks. — (talk) 01:32, 1 September 2015 (UTC)