Wikipedia talk:Polling is not a substitute for discussion

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Editing guideline to just guideline?[edit]

Revert me if I'm wrong, but I'm trying to get consistency in the editing guidelines cat as part of a plan to get more volunteers to watch it; this seems like more of a miscellaneous guideline. See CAT:G for all the guidelines, then click on "Category:Wikipedia editing guidelines" and see if you don't agree that this doesn't seem to fit. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 22:31, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

  • Agreed. This is not a guideline that should be applied to editing, since in no aspect does editing directly require the use of a poll.--WaltCip (talk) 21:18, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
WP:3RR means that it does in revert wars. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 22:17, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

General polling policies[edit]

We need to modify this guideline in such a way that an editor can start a poll with a defined polling process (such as to gauge the support for different versions of the lead paragraph) and then have authority to maintain those rules in a given section of the talk page. For example, such polls for support are more managable and resolve more quickly when oppose votes are disallowed. However, there is always some (l)user who refuses to abide by the rules clearly stated in advance. It should be permissible to remove those !votes from the poll, and there should be a canned warning which could be put on the violator's talk page warning that ignoring the pre-stated polling process is disruptive and as such may be reverted. The editor who started the poll should not be tasked with preserving the disruptive added content. The editor who violated the polling process should be responsible for expressing their opposition in another way, such as adding their own proposal and supporting that, not the creator of the poll. This M.O. is frequently used by editors to disrupt polls that they think will go against them, even though polls are only used for data gathering and the result would require another level of discussion before implementation. Yworo (talk) 01:52, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

See WP:ANI#Editor removing others' comments at Talk:C. S. Lewis and Talk:C.S. Lewis for context. Yworo wishes to set up a process to declare dissent disruption if it upsets a given set of unilaterally-imposed rules. Such a poll is meaningless; while we might indent a comment in an AfD, for instance, under some circumstances, removing or declaring good-faith dissent disruption is something we don't do. Acroterion (talk) 02:32, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Such a poll is not meaningless. There are different types of polling to suit differing situations. If allowing people to disrupt polling polling processes limits the types of polls that can be conducted, then something is wrong. Polling is simply a way of gathering information about preferences. Seemingly, specific polling styles can be selected for arbcom elections, new admins applications or other situations and such rules are enforced in those polling situations. But not for gathering data about content preferences? Something is surely wrong with the current combination of rules if one cannot choose a particular polling style and have other editors respect it. Yworo (talk) 04:08, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
As you've been told at WP:AN/I, editors lack the authority to "own" a thread and remove good-faith responses that fail to comply with their rules. Despite your assertion to the contrary, this is no accident. —David Levy 05:10, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
And that this restricts the types of poll possible to the least useful isn't a problem in your opinion? I don't at all believe that this is not an accidental result, and I don't think you know this for sure either. If so, please point me to the discussion that decided this specifically to restrict the types of polling possible. Specifically, besides support/oppose polls, there are multiple choice polls, multiple round polls, ordering polls, and grading polls, to name a few. Again, please point me to the discussion which discussed the types of polls and concluded that types other than support/oppose had no useful purpose for Wikipedia and were intentionally excluded by allowing other editors to treat them as support/oppose polls. Yworo (talk) 05:12, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
You're begging the question and attacking a straw man. I said nothing about a rule restricting the types of polling possible. (We have rules about polling, but not the sort to which you refer.) I said that "editors lack the authority to 'own' a thread and remove good-faith responses that fail to comply with their rules."
Notice that I wrote "thread," not "poll." You're mistaken in your belief that a poll is a special type of thread in which the initiator is authorized to dictate and strictly control good-faith contributions (thereby preventing "disruptive" deviations that supposedly interfere with a numerical tally).
If you regard a response as unhelpful, simply say so. If most others agree with you, it will carry little weight. —David Levy 06:07, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Wow, I'm talking about making changes to facilitate other polling type, even if that requires that the "initiator is authorized to dictate and strictly control contributions". You're talking about whether a poll is a thread or not. Your characterization of poll-subverting comments as being in "good-faith" beggars belief. Yworo (talk) 06:11, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
In asserting that the proposed change would rectify a situation in which it's impossible to conduct the types of poll mentioned above, you assume that such a problem exists. As explained above, it doesn't.
Your belief that anyone participating in a poll in a manner of which you disapprove is acting in bad faith is highly disconcerting.
A response along the lines of "Banana, banana, banana, banana, banana!" or "SCREW YOU AND YOUR POLL!" obviously isn't intended to be constructive. A sincere expression of opposition is, irrespective of whether you attempted to prohibit it. —David Levy 06:36, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
But such opposition should simply be expressed outside rather than inside the poll. If there is disagreement about methodology, one shouldn't put the metaconversation inside the poll, but rather in a new thread about that topic. A simple "A poll constructor may move out-of-process comments and metacomments about the polling method completely out of the poll into a subsequent section" would do the trick. Mayhaps there is an even more limited statement that would suffice? Yworo (talk) 06:38, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
A poll constructor has no special authority to exert control over the responses. Anyone may relocate meta-conversation (ideally by placing it under a subheading), but direct, good-faith answers to poll questions shouldn't be removed, stricken or otherwise formally labeled invalid.
You've proposed a solution in search of a problem. You seem to envision a scenario in which certain responses pollute a poll, rendering it worthless. As noted above, if there is agreement that a response is unhelpful, it will carry little weight (and simply be discounted/ignored). No blind tally will be derailed. —David Levy 06:56, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Get this straight in your mind Yworo, as soon as you post a poll, it's controlled by the community not by you. You were seen off at AN/I and some forum-shopping isn't going to help. Nobody agrees with your position, you will never get any consensus for such a change and any attempt by you to enforce such a rule on articles will be seen as disruptive and ultimately dealt with by the community. --Cameron Scott (talk) 10:50, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Write in an overbearing manner much, Cameron? You clearly don't understand my argument or my reasons for suggesting a mechanism that allows for preventing polling disruption. There is a work around, though. I'll simply make the poll in my user space, moving it into article talk space after it closes. Ciao! Yworo (talk) 18:47, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
1. There is no consensus that a "polling disruption" problem exists.
2. Please see Wikipedia:Gaming the system. —David Levy 19:14, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Guideline status[edit]

See box. Formerip (talk) 18:16, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Result: Demote to essay status.

3 editors supported the status of this page as a guideline, 8 opposed it and 1 was neutral. Surely that's all anyone needs to know? However, just in case...

Demoting a guideline is not a minor step, particularly if the guideline has been in place for a long time. So, it should require a very clear consensus. On the other hand, it has been pointed out that this guideline was created without consensus and has been persistently controversial. That doesn't erase its legitimacy, but might mean that a less cautious approach can be taken with regard to altering its status.

One support vote simply stated that it was a legitimate guideline and the user was comfortable with that. This is not an invalid viewpoint, but it also doesn't offer a very strong argument. The second support vote was made on the basis that "Polling is not a substitute for discussion" reflects consensus on en.wp. That's very arguable, but other editors in the discussion seem to wish to add caveats to that statement, and it is not self-evident that they are wrong. I'm also not sure that we should take a position that a guideline should be preserved merely on the basis that the page title rings true, without considering the contents of the page. A third support was made on the basis that removing the guideline would mean we wanted everything to be decided based purely on numbers. That seems to me like a false premise, because WP:NOTDEMOCRACY is policy. Moreover, it seems completely obvious that this is not the view of the community and that removing the guideline would not make it so. No-one in this discussion, for example, appears to take such a view.

Overall, the supports, as well as being inferior in number, do not offer compelling arguments.

Opposes suggested that the page is written like an essay. This is a fair point. It is much longer and more detailed than we usually expect a guideline to be, offers more in the way of observation and, quite possibly, more that might be contentious. It is also argued that polling actually plays a significant role in the development of the project, so it is not desirable to be very prescriptive about its use. On the one hand, this may not be entirely fair on the guideline, which does make clear that there is a place for polling. On the other, a number of users in the discussion express a desire for flexibility where prescription is not needed. From this perspective, it can again be observed that the guideline contains greater detail than guidelines normally have. It is more in line, perhaps, with what the community expects from an essay. Some participants to the discussion indicate a feeling that the guideline strikes a tone which is too cautious about voting and fails to reflect the reality that voting (with or without a !) is something many Wikipedians value. This also seems to me to be an opinion with validity.

Please note that this RfC close is not a funeral rite. Content from the guideline may be suitable for canibalisation or adaption for other policy and guideline pages, which is something that editors who might be unhappy about this close can pursue if they wish.

I just read this page, and was surprised to find such a guideline. I then wondered how this could get a guideline status and proceeded to spend an hour reading discussions. I haven't read all discussions, but skimmed over them and am trying to give a summary of the situation.

This page's status has been discussed over and over again, as soon as When was this page authorized by consensus?. As I write this, it is presented as a guideline. The issue is complexified by renames and numerous proposals to merge with similar pages. There are many discussions that followed, but here are the main (feel free to add those I missed):

2 general issues were pointed out. This page was created by copying the Meta essay Polls are evil ([1]). First, this was tagged as a guideline from its creation, without following the proper guidelines life cycle. Therefore, this is not officially a guideline. However, as far as I can see, the last time the guideline tag was removed or marked as disputed was 5 years ago (last dispute ended with [2], although the page was then protected). Therefore, this could be considered as a de facto guideline. Second, Polls are evil is and has always been an essay written as an essay. This page was originally titled "Discuss, don't vote". This was further enhanced to the current "Polling is not a substitute for discussion", which I consider perfectly neutral. Nevertheless, the content still reflects the personal tone of the original essay, although the tone is much more moderate now. The current content still looks more like a demonization of polls than praise for discussion. As I write this, the page's first sentence is "Polls lead to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to... suffering.", presented as a quote.

To go forward, we would need to decide whether this should keep the personal and living tone of an essay or if we should continue to turn it into a neutral piece. If there is consensus to make it an essay, the status could be changed. If there is consensus to make it a guideline, an RFC could be opened. If there is no consensus, perhaps this needs to become 2 pages. I am personally not familiar enough with the other pages with which a merge is proposed to say what would be best in the long term. Meanwhile, I have simply restored the disputed tag. --Chealer (talk) 05:23, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Disputes that haven't been touched in a year or more may be fairly said to be inactive. You may not like this being a guideline, and you are welcome to start a new discussion on its status, but I'm comfortable with it being a guideline. -- Donald Albury 14:25, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
To clarify, I didn't mean to say that the dispute is active, nor that this shouldn't become a guideline. As I said, I did not check related pages enough to give an informed opinion on the best course in the long term. I just quickly checked Wikipedia:Straw polls. It could be decided that this page addresses a subtopic of polls and that some content from Straw polls should be moved here. I believe Straw polls would then become an informative page without normative content. In this case, the question of whether this page should become an essay or a guideline remains.
Then, it was also suggested to merge with Wikipedia:Consensus. I don't have an opinion on this at this time. --Chealer (talk) 03:41, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

WP:articles for deletion/Olivia Hack... well, the closer said that "keep" arguments are strong but not strong enough to deal with blurry intersection, and even superior amount of "delete" votes does not overcome the "keep". Even I, myself, voted "delete". Moreover, another closer said that failure to meet one guideline is not a strong reason to delete. I wonder if NOTVOTE guideline (or disputed guideline) applies to this discussion. Nevertheless, this guideline is conflicted by stronger points in renaming discussions. I tend to ignore this guideline because of readers' interests and intentions to read one article or another. See Talk:Doctor Zhivago. --George Ho (talk) 18:31, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I just looked here because I was pointing to it in another discussion, and I was very surprised to see the "under discussion" tag. Although I do realize that a certain amount of discussions are essentially closed by vote-counting, particularly when the responses are clearly one-sided, I really think that there is strong community consensus that Wikipedia reaches consensus through discussion and not through voting. If there ends up being any serious interest in changing the status here, I would strongly urge a community-wide RfC in order to get, um, discussion, from more than just a few editors. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:41, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Support formal adoption of this principle as a guideline (no, I've not fully read the entire page recently). The demonstrated consensus (e.g. in determining AfD outcomes) is indeed that polling is not a substitute for discussion. -- Trevj (talk) 12:00, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Not that with the message traffic here people seem to care all that much, but it's plain that there are many areas of Wikipedia which DO use polls. Aside from those AfDs which are flooded by anon IPs, it is seldom the case where a closing admin will dare to rule for policy over consensus, and most of those cases go straight to DRV. RfA is absolutely a head count, pure and simple; as I documented a couple years ago, almost no admin candidate who hits the 75% threshold and fails to withdraw is ever denied admin status, and almost no candidate who fails to hit 70% is ever promoted. Unless people are willing to truly apply this principle, across Wikipedia, there is no sense in enacting it. Ravenswing 20:17, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Polls are evil - I love that there is a poll about a page on polling. - Anyway, This should be an Essay. It's how it's written. Wikipedia:Straw polls exists for those who want a project guideline. If anything, reverse-merge to Wikipedia:Straw polls. - jc37 20:35, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
    Note:This user actually means Demote to essay.Forbidden User (talk) 14:47, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    This user actually meant what this user wrote : )
    Comments in an RfC need not be emboldened text : )
    (and yes, the irony here doesn't escape me : ) - jc37 22:06, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Demote to essay - Weighing on consensus is very hard, especially for those not familiar with policies and essays. With recent events, such as Justin Bieber on Twitter, maybe majority vote is becoming more important than article quality and rules, as some deletion-ists have good arguments. Also, move requests rely more on vote counts, as rules may change. --George Ho (talk) 20:42, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Demote WP:NOTDEMOCRACY is an adequate explanation of the subject at hand. Yes, it's a bit vague, but so is the (US) Constitution; wiggle room is desirable. Admins are free to give as much or as little weight to poll results as desired, and I certainly wouldn't want this page to discourage anyone from voting because he or she doesn't think it matters. --BDD (talk) 15:38, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Support as a guideline Logic and reason have got to be worth more than how many people sign their name to something. The only reason to demote this would be if we don't believe in that anymore and we want AFDs, RFCs, etc to be closed based solely on majority rule. Does that sound like a good idea to anyone? Beeblebrox (talk) 18:30, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

  • If you want this guideline to stay as a guideline, must requested moves be exempted from this guideline? --George Ho (talk) 18:40, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
  • It doesn't sound like a good idea ... but it does seem to reflect current Wikipedia practice. There are many areas where headcounts are what carries the day, and there are some areas - like RfA - where majority vote is the tacit rule. If this guideline is enforced, then it should remain one. If it isn't, then it should be demoted. And it isn't. Ravenswing 20:04, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment - While common sense is used to ignore this guideline, I have never seen such demeaning mentality over one simple thing, title X vs. title Y, in WP:move review. Therefore, I've crossed out my vote, so I'll be neutral for now. --George Ho (talk) 15:55, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Demote We can't have a guideline contradicting a policy. 2AwwsomeTell me where I screwed up. See where I screwed up 16:56, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Demote We have voting systems in Wikipedia. Even FA elections are somewhat more like polling than consensus. Meanwhile, this guideline demeans the benefits of voting, such as efficiency and reflection of group intelligence. Per users above, common sense has been used for billions of times to ignore this. It does looks like copied from an essay as well. By the way, should some admins come and close this? This discussion is sooo inactive. P.S. If we use vote-counting here, the result is a perfect tie.Forbidden User (talk) 13:31, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Demote to essay We need fewer guidelines not more. Stuartyeates (talk) 00:13, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Stuartyeates, I'd suggesst using stronger arguments, as consensus concerns about the quality of argument more.Forbidden User (talk) 14:47, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Are you saying that a desire for a small set of consistent rules rather than the current rambling musings of the community is not a strong argument, then you have misunderstood the last 300 years of scientific reductionism. Stuartyeates (talk) 08:09, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
I thought you could explain more on why there should be fewer guidelines, not really saying it is not a good reason.Forbidden User (talk) 09:13, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Demote. Polling is not a substitute for discussion. Discussion is not a substitute for polling. This is trivially true: the two do different things and get used in different ways in Wikipedia. Right now Wikipedia works remarkably well by being flexible about everything (sometimes excruciatingly so!). Anything that acts against this is probably unwise, particularly if it encourages category errors of the kind implicit in the wording of this discussion. (You'll note that my response is a weird hybrid of both a poll response and a discussion response. A pure poll or a pure discussion wouldn't allow this sort of mixed response, but by having both a great deal of flexibility is obtained.) RomanSpa (talk) 06:59, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

RfC: Guideline status[edit]

This RfC was closed because no one leaves comment at all. Forbidden User (talk) 06:28, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

As there is a tied and inactive discussion on whether to retain Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion as a guideline. I would like to have outsiders' opinion here. Thanks!Forbidden User (talk) 14:10, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Update: It looks like a consensus on demoting this guideline is forming. Before requesting for closure, I hope some more people can give their opinion here.Forbidden User (talk) 08:39, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Voting is evil![edit]

If this is true, then what is Wikipedia? A monarchy?! --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 16:44, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

It is a problematic policy. Who decides if an argument is "good"? Wikipedia is a self-perpetuating oligarchy.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:58, 14 July 2016 (UTC)