Wikipedia talk:Simplified ruleset

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Safe Wikipedia behaviour[edit]

I'm thinking of maybe having a small set of rules that if followed will result in an editor having a pleasant experience at wikipedia. It might be nice to display this message to new users somehow, either just before editing, or at least when they make a login. This might solve the large number of misunderstandings that seem to be creeping in with new generations of editors. I've picked the things that cause most of the disharmonious situations on wikipedia to write these behaviour rules about. Note that as written now, SWB leaves a little breathing space between reccomended behaviour and the point where people actually transgress the rules. The Safe Wikipedia Behaviour guidelines themselves are intended to be graceful. :-) Kim Bruning 10:42, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

RFC 1123 is graceful? :D --iMb~Meow 10:52, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Ah I was looking for that!

section 1.1.2 Robustness Principle: "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send"

In humans, graceful behaviour is what makes the community robust :-) :: See also RFC 1855 (netiquette guidelines), section 2.1.1, 6th paragraph down, which quotes the same. Kim Bruning 10:58, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
(ps. Imagine trying to tell people to Be Robust instead ;-) Kim Bruning)
Around here, "robust" is usually how they describe coffee. Coffee is good. --iMb~Meow 11:39, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

In fact... let's apply the KISS principle. Perhaps we could make do with just Safe Wikipedia Behaviour (after editing, after editing , I'm an eventualist :-P ) + Foundation issues alone as our entire simplified ruleset. If we do so, some small things might slip through the cracks though. Here's my checklist:

  • What would we be missing if we did so? *Can we afford to miss those things?
  • If we can't, before adding a rule, could we maybe make a the thing we're missing a side effect of some other rule? Kim Bruning 11:17, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
A wise man once said, "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Seems like a fine goal here as well; I will be thinking about it: I think what currently exists on the page in addition to the foundation issues makes things clearer -- and also simpler. I definitely support this page. Mindspillage (spill yours?) 17:26, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The foundation issues leave a big hole. We're supposed to rely on the wiki process, but nowhere is it explained what a wiki process is. That might be where this safe editing page fits in. --iMb~Meow 11:39, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This is working![edit]

In the meantime, I'll Be Bold (1) ignore the fact that these are rules (2), and change the lot. I'm leaving a note here (3), but the edit summary was getting all complex, which distressed me, so I skipped making a decent summary (applied (2) to ignore (4)) and used (3) (leaving this message) since I'm supposed to do something sane after all.

Heh, this is working! :-)

(8) -> Kim Bruning 11:30, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

And this from the *simplified* ruleset. :-) I do like the method of sorting as well.Mindspillage (spill yours?) 17:26, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Explicit inclusion of foundation issues[edit]

I think that it would be easier for the novice (for whom this is intended) if the Foundation issues were included here explicitly. And I would lead with them because they are fundamental. --Theo (Talk) 19:24, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The objective is to keep someone following these behaviours out of the way of wikipedia dispute resolution (and vice versa), hence "safe behaviour". That's a very tough objective as is, especially if you want to minimise the ruleset.
The foundation issues don't mandate any behaviours per se, so they are not very useful to include here. They are important, and do provide a solid context for these behaviours however, and that's why I'm mentioning them at all. If you disagree, please elucidate! :-) Kim Bruning 10:49, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Hmmm, actually the first revision did have foundation issues in there, but it didn't do much. Hmm... Alright, what did you have in mind? Could you show your idea of a simplified ruleset below? We might want to look at several versions :-) Kim Bruning 13:19, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

In the event, the changes needed to realise my vision were less dramatic than I thought so I have been bold and applied them directly. Feel free to revert if they subvert your vision too greatly. [Isn't the wiki process great?] --Theo (Talk) 14:44, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Jolly good show! Kim Bruning 14:58, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • Tidied and modified a bit.
  • NPOV does lead to a number of disputes, so striving for NPOV can at times cause conflict. I wonder if there's a way to solve that?
  • Decent edit summaries was reworded to make it sound slightly more strict. People tend to get oppose votes on their RfA if they make bad edit summaries. (RfA is a great acid test)

Kim Bruning 15:15, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

All your changes enhance my revision with one exception. I was seeking a synonym for "godsend" because I know that some people find this word uncomfortable in a secular context. I do not share these views but I would still wish those who hold them to feel welcome here. --Theo (Talk) 15:23, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • Ah! Yeah. Good point. Hmm. Kim Bruning 15:28, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    • I have been bold and reworded, complete with edit summary, trusting that someone will come by and change it if something better comes along :-) Mindspillage (spill yours?) 15:43, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Kim invited me over here, so I'll add my 2 cents. To me, this page seems to overlap a lot with Wikipedia:Wikiquette (which could need a rewrite). I wonder if it may be better to just merge the two pages (newbies already have way too many pages to read in wikipedia).

My other point is more fundamental. "Foundation Issues: There are only 5 actual rules on Wikipedia, the foundation issues. These are the law." This is simply not true. The page itself states it more clearly: "Wikipedia as a community has certain foundation issues that are essentially beyond debate. People who strongly disagree with them sometimes end up leaving the project."

The foundation issues page is a factual description of the status quo, and it says correctly "if you don't like it, you will probably leave the project". But not all points mentioned there are set in stone. NPOV and free are foundation principles, yes. but: the ability of anyone to edit and the wiki process are a mean (to create a free, neutral encyclopedia), not an end in themselves. The goal is the encyclopedia, the way is the wiki. But the wiki process is certainly not "the final authority on article content". It is correctness, backed up with good sources and formulated in good style. We just hope that the wiki process achieves this, and at the moment it does it reasonably well (apart from some revert wars and constant vandalism). If one day it fails, this may change. Now, trying to be constructive: leave out the foundation issues part and phrase more clearly what it is about: "Wikipedia has certain fundamental principles upon which its success is based: NPOV, a free license, the wiki process, the ability of anyone to edit and the ultimate authority of Jimbo and the board on process matters. If you fundamentally disagree with those you won't get happy in Wikipedia." --Elian 03:54, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hmm, interesting, thank you for your insights! Please Be Bold and show us what you mean. :-) Worst case we can just revert, right? :-) Kim Bruning 09:31, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I have been bolder yet and done it myself. As for newbies swamped with reading material... I may write a welcome message with this, Wikipedia:How to edit a page, and Wikipedia:Community portal; I usually don't swamp people with links anyhow, since I think that by the time newbies need a labyrinth of links they will probably have figured out how to find them.... Mindspillage (spill yours?) 23:09, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

summary[edit]

For folks just joining us: The idea (hopefully!) is to compress the whole of the wikipedia policy pages + netiquette and the kitchen sink into the tiniest summary possible. If folks voluntarily choose to follow just these behavioural guidelines, and are a bit reasonable about it, they should (hopefully) be able to squeek by their first 2000 edits & maybe even their RfA without too much trouble.

(feel free to modify this summary and make it more accurate)

JRM's rule-guideline-thingies[edit]

First of all, these are not general guidelines. They are not an attempt to adequately summarize the existing rules, or the supplant the current SR. They are probably inaccurate, irrelevant or incomplete for other people, and do not belong in policy. It's just my personal set of rules I (up to now implicitly) use, and they're only here because Kim asked for them. :-) It works for me. Your mileage will vary.

There are really only two guidelines I have, and everything follows from them:

  1. Egoless editing. You're here to build an encyclopedia that's much bigger than you. Taking pride in and being mindful of your edits is only natural, but treating your edits like an extension of yourself is not. Don't elevate your personal outlook to incontrovertible truth and your edits to the most appropriate expression of that truth; this is the primary cause of avoidable edit wars. Don't be afraid to be question yourself—no matter how dearly you enjoy being a Wikipedian, don't imagine that you are Wikipedia, and that if you don't get it right, nobody will. Keep things in perspective.
  2. Respecting others. You don't have to agree with them. You don't even have to like them. You can spit on their opinions. But you must be willing to make an effort to understand their position. If you don't, communication is impossible, and you'll never be able to resolve conflicts. Being right is important, but knowing why others think they are right is possibly even more so. Anyone can cooperate with people they agree with—but learning to cooperate with those you disagree with is much more valuable to the encyclopedia, and the encyclopedia is why you're here—right?

Now, the rules I respect are fairly simple compared to that:

  1. Be bold. No article ever got improved without someone editing it. Don't say what has to be done, do it. "If not us, who?"
  2. Stay cool. Edit without ego. Respect others. Defer to the encyclopedia.
  3. Assume good faith. Respect others, again, and remember Hanlon's Razor. It's not about being nice, it's about being practical.
  4. Respect the 1RR. Never revert a revert, because there's no reason it will stop there, and the 3RR can only delay edit wars, not solve them. Always use the talk page. Try constructive edits, but if it's not working, tolerate the Wrong Version while you discuss.

You'll notice that things like NPOV, citing sources, edit summaries, factual accuracy, signing your comments etc. etc. are missing, for the simple reason that these are not codes of conduct but part of the editorial process. That's solvitur ambulando for me—we'll get it right as we go along, "as if by magic". I respect all of it, of course, but it's not something I need to consciously remind myself of when the going gets tough—it's all "given", and I don't ever expect to have to justify it.

"Ignore all rules" isn't part of my conduct rules either; it's a corollary of "be bold". "Ignore all rules" is a useful escape for when even "be bold, but not reckless" is depressing you, and there is something poetic about it being the ultimate rule we have, but it's not one I find myself needing in practice—and that's a good thing, too. JRM · Talk 12:46, 2005 Apr 26 (UTC)


Seth's simplified ruleset[edit]

Today on IRC, I proposed the following:

"In terms of editorial policy, our fundamenal rule should be WP:NPOV. In terms of social policy, our fundamental rule should be WP:DICK. In terms of personal action on Wikipedia, I follow WP:IAR. I think those three ideas in that order are a resonable trifecta."

and I'll add that out of these follow such other good policies as WP:POINT, WP:BOLD, WP:FAITH, WP:1RR, etc., etc. -- Seth Ilys 16:54, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I've stated this publicly at Wikipedia:Policy trifecta. I like to think of this as a simplified version of the simplified ruleset. -- Seth Ilys 19:08, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Have I already told you that you're great? ;-) --Elian 04:19, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Time to start trimming back[edit]

Now's the time dig up cases for each of the rules where breaking them got someone on WP:AN/I, WP:RFC, WP:RFAr, or lost people votes at WP:RFA.


We can then weigh which behaviours are really THAT bad, and those that could basically be left out to get a smaller set :-)

Kim Bruning 16:33, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

Sadly, breaking BE BOLD never seems to have got anyone into trouble. Sigh ... --Theo (Talk) 23:34, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

People who break BE BOLD do fail RFA though. :-) Kim Bruning 00:16, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

Numbers?[edit]

Given that the principle guiding the sequence of clauses is intratextual, and implies no hierarchy of importance, should we not use bullets rather than numbers? Especially since no-one is ever likely to refer to individual rules by number. --Theo (Talk) 09:37, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

(4)*kerblink* I do! :-) Also, it helps keep track how over-complex the page has become NOW :-P (10) Kim Bruning 10:04, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

No original research[edit]

Any simplified rule set ought to mention Wikipedia:No_original_research I would have thought. :ChrisG 22:45, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

Ok, can disobeying it once get you blocked, banned, or loose you an RFA? Kim Bruning 01:36, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
Like a lot of the rules here, a single instance will probably be ignored (it'll get deleted, but won't count that much against you), but repeated violations are likely to get you into trouble; IIRC, there have been a few RFAs that have been about original research. Thanks,
Luc "Somethingorother" French 01:57, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

Status of this page[edit]

Since this page isn't really a policy, but a summary of other policies, I've removed the "proposed" tag and added it to the category of pages intended for first-time users. I hope this is satisfactory. -- Beland 01:52, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Nice work! I've added a link to this page at Help here. -- Sitearm | Talk 15:33, 2005 August 20 (UTC)

Examples and counter-examples[edit]

In looking over the list here, a useful amalgum of the most impactful rules, it occurs to me that a couple of things might be added to each entry, something like a case list:

  • case where following the rule was very beneficial
  • case where following the rule was very problematic
  • case where ignoring the rule was very beneficial
  • case where ignoring the rule was very problematic

The content could consist of links to "cases" of various kinds, typically abritration proceedings or RFC's or Villiage Pump discussions that are particularly illuminating.

This is food for thought rather than a formal proposal for an addition to the page. Regards, Courtland 00:14, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Rule 1 is BE BOLD, you know! I'm curious to see! Kim Bruning 02:22, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

#8 is wrong[edit]

"It is against copyright law to copy what someone else has written (unless they have written it on Wikipedia)." is factually incorrect. E.g. It's legal to copy Linux or BSD or Firefox or Hamlet. (Heck, copying Viagra is legal in India!) Editing accordingly.

"Sources" section[edit]

I removed the following "Sources" section. Aside from the RFCs for internet protocols, which I think hardly qualify as a serious source for this article, each of the other links were already linked to on the page. Why list them again?

(placed here at random for now, please wikify as appropriate!)
* The discussion for this page
* This page's edit history
* m:foundation issues for foundation issues
* RFC 1123 and RFC 1855 for be graceful
* Wikipedia:Be bold in updating pages for be bold
* Wikipedia:Ignore all rules for ignore all rules
* Wikipedia:Harmonious editing club for when in doubt take it to talk and don't revert good faith edits.
* Wikipedia:No personal attacks for no personal attacks
* Wikipedia:Assume good faith and Wikipedia:Wikiquette generally

Starwiz 02:03, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

RFC 1855 is netiquette, RFC 1123 is a historic source it draws on for inspiration. (one is human process, the other network process). Also, while redundant, it's important to list sources used for an article, hmm... Kim Bruning 12:19, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Come to think of it, originally this page was very short, and we really needed that sources section, just to prove we weren't making things up. OMG, What Happen? :-) Kim Bruning 20:09, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Foundation issues[edit]

I was going through Wikipedia policy, I stumbleed upon this Foundation issues. Upon clicking link, I was taken to meta page for Foundation issues. I could understand all five issues except "3. The "wiki process" as the final authority on content". Big question for me was "What is wiki process?". I typed "wiki process" as a search term and then was redirected to the article about wiki. On this basis, I made guess that "wiki process" refer to editing by wiki based software. However, while I was investigating further on Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines, I came across definition of process which say, "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)". So does the process in "wiki process" refer to the former case or the later case? Later definition of process makes more sense to me. And if this is the case, "wiki process" article should not be redirected to wiki article. It should be something like "wiki process is a central and organized way of doing things, according to wikipedia policies or guidelines." Since this is somewhat "policy" issue, I did not want to make edit. Plus, I really didn't know where to take this question so I came here. This place appear to be the only place where "Foundation issues" is mentioned. This is rather important because I'm currently perticipating in a debate about direction of policy and guideline in japanese wikipedia. You help is greatly appreciated.FWBOarticle

It's a good question. Try asking on the mailing list too! Kim Bruning 20:07, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

15 ![edit]

Oh gosh, this is getting long. :-/ Maybe we can trim down a bit again? Kim Bruning 20:07, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Ignore all rules?[edit]

Could that section please be rephrased? I have seen it taken out of context before to support harmful decisions made to Wikipedia.--Conrad Devonshire Talk 19:42, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Merge trifecta and 5 pillars and wikipedia in 8 words?[edit]

Bumping topic, and creating redirect-to-here comments at each mentioned talk page -Quiddity

Heh, the result is here. The idea was to split off even simpler versions of the simplified ruleset, not the other way around ;-) Kim Bruning 03:20, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

So you mean they should both redirect here? The idea was to create less pages that do the same thing in slightly different ways, because of the resultant confusion. Radiant_>|< 13:10, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, merge here, if at all. However, trifecta and 5 pillars are spinoff pages of this miniproject, sooo... maybe not. They were considered superior at the time, at least. In any case, discussion should be here :-) Kim Bruning 13:13, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

This does not work for me[edit]

... sorry but... what about WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NOT. These are policies that need to be respected. Without these, WP is not worth the pixels and bytes it uses ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 01:22, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

A remainder of Wikipedia content policies:

{{Sofixit}}? You can edit this page. Radiant_>|< 01:41, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Why to fix what is not broken. What I am saying is that this simplified ruleset is superflous. We have already Wikipedia:Five pillars, that does a really good job, and if you want the minimalist approach, we have also Wikipedia:Policy_trifecta. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 02:14, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
See my point? We have too many such pages, and it's confusing people. There's also the list of policies and the eight words version, and I'm probably missing a bunch. Radiant_>|< 09:06, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Please provide evidence of people being sanctioned for failing to follow the guidelines that you mention. Kim Bruning 18:25, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Confusing people? Which people? ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 03:27, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, Kim for a chance, because I said this page is confusing people and she thinks I said that people are being sanctioned for failing to follow those guidelines. I'd say that he's confused, thus proving my point. Radiant_>|< 12:06, 29 January 2006 (UTC) ( :P )

Merge suggestions?[edit]

  1. Simplified Ruleset
  2. Policy trifecta
  3. Five pillars
  4. Wikipedia in eight words
    (more? debatably:
  5. Jimbo's Statement of principles
  6. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia
I strongly agree that there are a confusing/redundant/repetitive number of semi-official summaries of ourselves, and that we ought to merge at least some of them, and give those some sort of official policy/guideline/essay template status.
We obviously need and want a minimum of 2 alternatives, to cover useful alternative styles of prose/list/formality/length. But which get combined into what, seems like the key question.
Wikipedia in eight words has had merge tags for a long time, and seems the most important to remove/clean, to me. (At the very least it should be renamed to "...in six words", and have all the redundant definitions of notability below the "Facts" section removed...)
So, i suggest:
  1. A duo, or trio, of styles would be easier to us plan, and simpler for readers to browse all of them in turn. Would anyone like to describe the pros/cons of the current pages (re: prose style/list/formality/length/comprehesiveness/etc), or other potential better combinations of those factors that we could aim towards?
  2. We could also make an infobox like the template:policylist, to place on each of the remaining pages. Like a 3-page tutorial for groking wikipedian culture. Similar to what Gareth Aus has done with Template:Writing guides.
suggestions/feedback? -Quiddity 22:07, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
My specific proposal/idea, is that we should merge "W in 8 words" into the rest; stress the informality of "Policy trifecta"; and officially approve the 3 listed at Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines#Other concise summaries of key policies. Then we could create a 5-item infobox (as described above) listing those official 3, and the informal "policy trifecta" and "Jimbo's principles" underneath. -Quiddity 02:23, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
I have a headache already.... good luck with the attempt to merge, which I support in principle. Once you have some proposed merged text, let me know and I would gladly comment. Thanks for the heads-up. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 02:08, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

The problem of course being the history of all of these, as well as their intent.

  • Simplified ruleset: Keep you out of trouble. It's gotten bloated though. Keep to use as a reference page, I suppose.
  • Policy Trifecta: Simplest possible set. Use if you're an admin.
  • 5 Pillars: Simpler simplified ruleset. Don't actually use SR, use this one.
  • 8 words... hmm
  • Statement of principles. This was the original statement of principles. Historic.
  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. A page which we discoverd must unfortunately exist. (Some people just don't quite get it :-P , Originally in all caps, it was hoped that maybe the user was simply deaf, and TYPING REALLY LOUD might do it). It's a summary of What wikipedia is not


Note that the policy/guideline/essay distinction is fairly nonsensical. Basically, take any page marked as policy with a bucket of salt (unless it also exists on meta). Pages marked as guidelines are usually central to wiki-operation (such as wikipedia:consensus). Don't break any rule on an essay page (see above for examples). Finally, untagged pages typically expound the laws of wikiphysics. :)

This is also historical.

Originally, project namespace pages were either descriptive (no tag) or a guideline (still no tag, but you could tell the difference, because a guideline told you to *do* stuff).

Later on, new people came along and wanted to make policies. Newer wikipedians also seem to enjoy graffiti-ing tags all over the place. Hence tags, and tag inflation.

None of this has anything to do with any real wikipedia process or procedures. It's just a game of nomic being played in the project namespace.

For day to day work, don't get depressed though. Just Ignore All Rules, and go about your business.

Kim Bruning 07:48, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

To an extent, Wikipedia thrives on multiple perspectives, essays, views, and so on. Why not one article: Wikipedia:Rulesets, with a section for trifecta, a section for 8W, a section for 5P, and so on :) FT2 (Talk) 18:36, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
Kim: Nomic! oooo, danger danger! must... resist...
I've started to merge 8words, as consensus seems to exist that this is the most redundant. -Quiddity

Guidelines Box Template[edit]

Below, i've placed two sample templates that could be included on any/all of the relevant pages. Feedback appreciated.

My main aim, is an attempt to clear up the mess of "see also" links at the bottom of each of these pages. -Quiddity 20:32, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Option 1[edit]

Wikipedia's principles
Five pillars Simplified Ruleset List of policies Wikipedia is an encyclopedia Statement of principles
Overview of our foundation Synopsis of our customs Full list of official policies Short and to-the-point Historic beginnings

Option 2[edit]

Principles of Wikipedia
Formal

List of policies
Five pillars
What Wikipedia is not

Informal

Policy trifecta
Simplified Ruleset
Statement of principles

2a: See box on right.

2b: See box on left.

Wikipedia Principles

Five Pillars
Policy Trifecta
Simplified Ruleset
Policies and Guidelines

Comments[edit]

Good idea. I like it. This is something we want to be very clear and easy to navigate. I've created an simpler alternative, also. - PatrickFisher 00:36, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Your smaller alternative is perfect. I've changed my examples to use "Principles" too. I'll replace the "See also" sections in each page, with this table (which i'll templatise now), in the next few days. I'll leave the additional example links at "Simplified Ruleset". --Quiddity 06:21, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm. It looks odd at the bottom, and would be too large at the top next-to/below the shortcut. -Quiddity 05:12, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm currently most in favour of Option 1, used as a footer on each mentioned page. I'm shortening the wording on a few too, that should make Option 1 a lot clearer. Anyone else in favour, of either of them? I'm just going to forge ahead otherwise... -Quiddity 05:12, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
I've added {{ Wikipedia principles }} to the bottom of Five Pillars, Simplified Ruleset, and Policy Trifecta. Feedback? Thanks. -Quiddity 21:04, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm unsure whether it should be added to the Statement of Principles page, or the Wikipedia is an encyclopedia page? -Quiddity 23:50, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

How do you think this could be matched with Template:Policylist? —Centrxtalk • 22:53, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not altogether sure. The only obvious idea, is to merge option 2b above (the smallest list), with the bottom of the {{Policylist}} template. But that would create redundancy if we used both. Did you have anything specific in mind? -Quiddity 23:50, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Good idea. I've merged it into and reorganized {{Policylist}}. - PatrickFisher 09:22, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Centrx's revert. These should be seperate. They have clearly defined places and uses, that don't really overlap. --Quiddity 18:56, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Ouw, this page no longer meets original requirements[edit]

The way this page is written now, you won't be able to make it to admin anymore ... <scratches head>

That's going to be tricky.

Kim Bruning 20:10, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Drat, I've made it more correct, but messier... Kim Bruning 20:18, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Being verifiable is nice, but it's useless for starting new articles. <scratches head>. You also don't need it so strongly for non-contentuous issues, so putting so much stress on it will likely cause more conflicts rather than less, which is exactly what we want new users to avoid. Kim Bruning 20:21, 15 August 2006 (UTC)


Originally this page listed the least number of rules needed for a person to make it to admin. it's actually a sort of project. Maybe we could clear the page and start over. (you'll see older versions doing just that).

One thing you have to watch out for is rules that affect big contentuous pages being used on all parts of the wiki, which would make it utterly unusable. Kim Bruning 20:25, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

This Page is Not a Forum for Rewriting WP:Policy[edit]

JA: 'Nuff said. Jon Awbrey 20:42, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Actually, it was a reaction to the formation of a committee to do just that.[1] We decided to just provide an additional clarification layer instead, but to leave the old guidelines intact. This was possibly a mistake, seeing as how current rules-lawyering seems to be going out of control.
The current objective is to list some minimum subset of wikipedia guidelines, or refactorings or summaries of them, such that a person can make it to requests for adminship without trouble, and become a useful admin. As a result of that objective, sometimes very odd things might be put in or left out.
Failure to meet any single one of the summarised guidelines should cause a person to fail rfa. If one can fail to meet a summarised guideline, and still pass RFA, then the guideline should not be on this page, no matter how important you think it is.
Finally, you should be able to provide examples of opposition on RFA, RFCs (wikipedia and/or IETF) , RFArs, or descriptions on guideline pages as sources. Verifiability (and to some extent no original research) definately apply on this page! Descriptive, not prescriptive.
If you can meet these requirements, you should be able to edit the page and gain consensus. If you can't, you'll likely fail.
Kim Bruning 10:38, 16 August 2006 (UTC) [1] Wikipedia:Wikirules_proposal (incidentally showing that wikis can out-think and out-pace traditional committees by orders of magnitude O;-)

JA: Yes, I can see that some kinda self-apponted posse is up late on some kinda "Destroy All Rules" (DAR-lex) tear, and any other time I'd be on that bandwagon, but not when you're trying to e-rode outa town on a raillerie the only rules that make WP still (just barely) worth caring about. Jon Awbrey 11:52, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

You might want to look at the date on that proposal. Also note that several of the people involved in that particular proposal now have positions or affiliations with the foundation and/or chapters now. You can assume they had some kind of clue when they made that page. Kim Bruning 12:12, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Ha! I assume good faith, until e-ducated otherwise. I do not assume that anybody has a clue, until e-ducated otherwise. Jon Awbrey 12:30, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Ah well. You can lead a horse to water... Kim Bruning 12:59, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: I'm afraid there's less and less whate'er here all the time. But tanks for all the fish. ><> ><> ><> Jon Awbrey 13:12, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I finally decoded your strange "destroy all rules" message above, I think... I'm not trying to erode any rules, but rather to strengthen them. Making rules too hard also makes them brittle at the same time. You have to retain a certain amount of flexibility .Kim Bruning 16:06, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I much prefer the single list style, without the ambiguous "you can ignore these bits" message. --Quiddity·(talk) 19:09, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Especially when those bits were specially chosen to be those that -if ignored- would cause you to fail requests for adminship (!!!) Kim Bruning 19:15, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

On the scope and purpose of this project[edit]

[KB to JA]:

I'll take a gamble and see what you come up with. Figure out which guidelines can cause failure to pass requests for adminship. Do cite WP:RFA and WP:RFAr, do not cite any other arbitrary guidelines, unless they are significantly referenced on those pages. The set that is required will likely be very counter-intuitive to you, but maybe also to me ;-).

When simplifying further, we've found one set of 3 guidelines and one set of 5 guidelines.

So since this page has been superseded, feel free to mess around. I'm hoping you'll find something new. However, be careful not to introduce your own bias (which I suspect you are doing now.) Kim Bruning 15:50, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Note the sources section above, which had been removed by someone for some reason. It includes citations not ony from wikipedia, but also from some other internet sources discussing human and/or machine interaction. As it was excised, it's likely not being maintained. Kim Bruning 15:54, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Sorry, but I do not understand any of the things that you are talking about above, much less their relevance to a project of gistifying WP:P's & G's for the actual benefit of the hapless WikiParticipant, oldie or newbie alike. Jon Awbrey 16:08, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Obviously, to simplify, we only want people to follow the most useful guidelines. Define useful. Once defined, where should the cutoff be? Kim Bruning 16:46, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: This page is titled WP:Simplified Ruleset, not WP:Wannabe Admins 101. I know this may come as a shock, but not every person who is fatefully attracted to WP has such dreams of world domination. So I think it's best to restrain this to a minimal epitome of the "ropes" and a pointer to further reading for reigny days. Jon Awbrey 18:32, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

So define your own requirements. If yours don't require adminship, but for instance only require that you never get RFCed, we can reduce the number of rules drastically. You could also try for how to get your first article to reach featured status. Actually, that could be a very good ruleset indeed. But make a choice and stick to it. Don't just go around typing at random. In the meantime stick to some existing requirements, until and unless you define your own. I *am* encouraging you to come up with something! Kim Bruning 20:15, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: My personal requirements are not the point. I assumed — what I think most folks would assume from the title of the page — that it's intended to provide the user, especially the new user, with a simplified summary of the set of rules that govern participation in Wikipedia. Certainly we could all use a handy reference from time to time, but I just thought that it was meant as more of an "on-ramp" to the often bewildering WP expressway. Jon Awbrey 21:22, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes. So when you design an on ramp, you need to figure where the on-ramp starts, and where does it connect to the highway? How steep should it be? How sharp should the curve(s) be? There's many parameters to making an on-ramp, and due to safety procedures, you actually need a licence to be allowed to design one, let alone build one.
Now editing wikipedia doesn't quite require a licence, but we do like to actually not make things up out of thin air, if possible. So my question is, how will you check that what you proposing are valid? and how do you know when you're done simplifying?
These can be pretty routine questions if you like. You can check by referencing other guidelines, or showing how people have already acted according to what you propose. (see above for old examples of that). Also you can check to which degree any particular action is referenced by the guidelines you propose.
For comparison with the simplified ruleset when I last looked at it (this seems like a good point. The ruleset as it was then was called "safe wikipedia behaviour")
  • People following the ruleset would not fail to make admin. We were discussing several Requests for adminship cases for some of the guidelines mentioned. ("Edit summaries" still shows up in opposes on requests for adminship from time to time, even today. Obviously the candidate hadn't read up on safe wikipedia behaviour ;-) )
  • People who didn't stray outside the rules didn't get blocked, nor did they appear on RFC or RFAr.
  • We showed that the simplified ruleset covered most parts of day-to-day use of the wiki. (see sections earlier on this talk page for examples, though the numbering has now moved around a lot).

JA: I love it when somebody actually takes one of my metaphors seriously — as I'm sure you can imagine it doesn't happen very often.

JA: I was taking it for granite that the WP:P&G highway was already in place. Yes, I see many potholes, and you might even say a few "dips" in the road, but I gather that the contract for dealing with all that routine maintainance is already in the hands of the community at large. So the subcontract to upgrade the on-ramps has a fairly limited budget (€0 = £0 = $0 = ¥0) and a more narrow scope tham revamping the (w)hole of WP in one swell foop. Are we on the same page and subparagraph so far? Jon Awbrey 01:32, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Now I'm confused. (You've got your on-ramp in my peanut butter...) I'm just a pedestrian onlooker though, curious to see what y'all come up with. --Quiddity·(talk) 01:41, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Back from trifecta[edit]

Interestingly, The trifecta divides rules into editing an encyclopedia, social behaviour, and wiki. And now we already seem to have 2 of the trifecta subdivisions back. Looks like that trifecta was fairly visionary :-)

Maybe refactor the page into the same 3 sections, but slightly expanded from WP:TRI? Hmmmm ...

Kim Bruning 10:43, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Preview button[edit]

11. Use the preview button; it prevents edit conflicts.

Does it? How? I get no notice of edit conflicts until I hit the "save" button...

Hmm, it's vaguely alluded to at Help:Show preview:

Saving only once is also a way of avoiding edit conflicts, as people will not see the article on recent changes, and therefore they are less likely to try editing it at the same time as you.

But this is definitely not the primary purpose of the preview button. --Quiddity·(talk) 01:50, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

So BE BOLD and fix it. Kim Bruning 02:09, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
That line has been there since January, and was added by a sysop. I had guessed that maybe there was something I was missing, like a preferences setting or something, because otherwise it would've been corrected long ago... or not. --Quiddity·(talk) 08:00, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Proposed Move : Simplified Rules → Wiki Precepts[edit]

JA: Maybe it's all that time in AI, but I have strong objections to using phrases like "ruleset" as it tends to make some people — geeks and even recovering geeks — think that it's all about Al Gore Rhythms or something. So let me suggest the term that they often use in medical schools, to wit, Precepts. So what we've got here is a veritable précis of precepts, but even I would not go so far as to actually say that in public. Jon Awbrey 02:08, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Okay, if you're gonna be that drastic, please create a new page for it, and show ! :-) Kim Bruning 02:09, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
COPY, NOT MOVE. Are you brain dead? Do you know how many incoming links you redirected? Sheesh. Make your own, *new* page please. Thank you. Kim Bruning 02:26, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
And please don't get all recalcitrant and think you can move again. You'll break the ability to move for both of us. Kim Bruning 02:29, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: I know how to fix double redirects. I was in the middle of doing it when you reverted. There are Big Rules that prohibit cut and paste moves. Jon Awbrey 02:32, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Don't do that. Don't Move. Just. Don't. It breaks things. Nothing to do with double redirects. Nothing, Not a bit. No Thing. Not.
Oh forget it.
Either make a copy and edit that, or go away. Please.
I am not asking you to do a copy and paste move. You are totally rewriting the page anyway, so if you're rewriting, make a copy to start off with, then do your messing around on the copy. That's just sane version control.
Be BOLD, but don't be reckless!
Kim Bruning 02:36, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: I'll give you a couple days to review current procedures. I did that according to the book and the way I've been told to. If the book was unclear, the people who advised me full of it, or I was just plain dumb — I give it an even 3-way split — then you can splain it to me then. Edios for now, Jon Awbrey 02:48, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't know or care what you've been told or what you've read, I don't care who told you. Use your own brain man! If a page has been referenced from hundreds of places, what do you think will happen if you just up and move it? What happens if you start editing willy-nilly without a plan? Seriously, turn on your brain, and start thinking! (And while you're at it, start typing in english), it's extremely frustrating to have to constantly decode what you're saying) Kim Bruning 02:50, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: I know exactly what happens. This is perfectly routine. All the wikis get turned into redirects and go to the intended target. The only residual problem is fixing the double redirects, which are usually very few in number. Not a problem. Jon Awbrey 02:58, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

See WP:DISCUSS. I think the spirit of that guideline, this is what Kim meant by saying "create a new page for it, and show !"
A potentially contentious and/or complete overhaul of a top-level page shouldnt be attempted on the "live" page. Do it in a sandbox, so that we can discuss changes at leisure. Thanks :) --Quiddity·(talk) 03:04, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Here's a friendly suggestion. When you folks quit trying to communicate in DOUBLETHINK BOLD CATCHPHRASES THAT HAVE BECOME TOTALLY DEVOID OF MEANING FROM CONSTANT SEMANTIC ABUSE, then maybe you'll be ready to write a simplified ruleset, or whatever. Jon Awbrey 03:15, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

How about, you both go have a cup of tea, and calm the hell down. That'd be nice. Yeah :) --Quiddity·(talk) 03:54, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not angry or anything. Just frustrated because on one hand Jon Awbrey thinks he/claims he/actually knows what he's doing, while on the other hand he's so darn clumsy about it! I'm not sure how to respond! --Kim Bruning 04:47, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Here's how I see the present situation:

  1. We were discussing it. We were at WP. Ergo, we were WP:DISCUSSing it.
  2. It did not seem contentious or problematic.
  3. Indeed, you seemed to signal assent to the change with all your encouragement to be bold (emphasis omitted).
  4. If you do not mean for people to be bold, then I recommend that you reconsider how often you say that. It confuses people.
  5. Now I see that I misread you.
  6. The reason that I misread you is that I followed my rule of interpretive charity, which dictates interpereting a person's words in a way that makes sense if at all possible.
  7. I could not guess that you meant what you now say you meant, since I know that to contradict what I have read and been told here time and time again.
  8. In particular, the advice that you now give violates all sorts of established rules, not to mention basic wiki principles.
    1. Rules against POV forks.
    2. Rules against cut and paste moves.
      1. You must realize that a copy fork is always at risk of having the same effect as a cut and paste move, if and when the people involved move on, the survivors forget the folk history, and the new copy gets developed while the old copy withers away.
      2. Now that I think of it, I begin to suspect that something like that may already have occurred here.

JA: Jon Awbrey 05:14, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

If you read WP:BOLD, which I believe I linked to, you'll see it does say to use your brain and not to be reckless. :) Since you're being rather reckless indeed, I don't quite trust you, hence I'd suggest that you put what you're proposing on a separate page first. You can make it a subpage, or make a totally new page in the wikipedia namespace. Would you like me to create this for you? Kim Bruning 11:32, 20 August 2006 (UTC)


Kim: Please stop with the personal attacks (brain use insinuations). And don't be condescending, He obviously knows how to create a page.
JA: Whilst slightly more eloquent (Hanlon's razor and all), you need to stop with the personal insults too.
This is a page on ... How to interact with other editors...
How many times have you both read the words "Be civil" and "Be graceful" whilst editing it...? The irony is just dripping...
Go cool off for a few days. This page can wait. --Quiddity·(talk) 12:36, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Dude, I'm sure he knows how to make a page, but sometimes people need to cross a threshold. I'm sure Jon is smart too, he does seem that way. Sometimes I get impatient and frustrated with smart people, because they're not learning as fast as I would like them to :-/
Anyway, I'd really like to Jon Awbrey to pick up on how things work quickly. On the other hand, I fear turning around and finding a trail of destruction left in our mutual wake. ;-) Hence if we could mess around on a couple of new pages which don't yet have any investment in them, most of the tension would be gone. We can then always come back and apply what we learn here. (I find that I'm learning too :) ). Kim Bruning 14:33, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: I'll come back tomorrow. Hanlon's razor may have been the wrong link, or maybe somebody over-sharpened it since the last time I used it. There's a complex of 6 or 7 similar aphorisms on that same tray and I may have picked up the wrong one. For my part, I normally go by Maxwell's razor, which says "don't abduct a demon as a hostage to entropy", but that was a redlink the last time I looked. Jon Awbrey 15:48, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't quite understand that one. Got a link/citation/explanation to throw at me?
My family's favourite motto was always "why be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be impossible" (which i can't find the source of either). --Quiddity·(talk) 19:06, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: We must be related. The Awbrey family motto is: "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." Jon Awbrey 21:22, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a plan. Are we going to make that sandbox then? :-) (note that despite dragging together 100 different guidelines kicking and screaming, it's still ok to make a sandbox ;-) ). Somehow I've become an old fogey, and you're getting me back into the 21st century :-P Let's move along now :-)
That and wikipedia is like a game of go. Lose your first 50 games as quick as you can ;-) That's the other part of BOLD and IAR, I suppose :-) Kim Bruning 01:19, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
That's the first eloquent and rational explanation behind IAR I think I've ever heard :) (okay, and the synopsis at DavidLevy too. I'm tempted to add both of those to the IAR talkpage ;)
Could we not just use Wikipedia:Precepts? If not, then copy&paste WP:SR into Wikipedia:Simplified Ruleset/draft, and have at it! --Quiddity·(talk) 02:22, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Two points:

  1. If folks will read and respond to the specific points that I noted above — concerning what what everybody else who acts like they know what they are talking about has told me repeatedly is proper procedure — then maybe we can move along again. I currently do these sorts of name change moves 4 or 5 times a week, and as long as I do it after coffee and before midnight — oops! too late for today — then eveything works out okay.
  2. I use multiple sandboxes all the time for complex TeX and tables and stuff, but that is because I know that the hours on hours that I spend on them will eventually result in a piece that actually gets pasted into an article. But of all the ways that I've found to waste time at WP, shadow-sand-boxing an article or project that has little chance of being taken seriously is just not going to be one of them. This is just not the wiki way of doing things. Jon Awbrey 05:04, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
    The problem is that a lot of pages link to SR. And I don't quite trust you somehow (rightly or wrongly, that is something I'd like determine). How would you resolve this problem? Kim Bruning 21:28, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Moving Considerations[edit]

JA: Now you guys have got me all jumpy about the move. Here's the thing. I'm not going to do anything that wrecks the edit history, and that goes double for a central policy page like this, so all that copy-cut-paste business is out for me. I will sometimes copy all or most of a whole article to a personal sandbox as a backup against running vandalism, especially when it threatens to be complex, socially appeased, or long-term. So maybe we could do that as a safeguard against accidental disasters, but continue to work on the live copy. I looked at WP:DISCUSS more carefully, by the way, and it specifically excludes this case, as we're not talking about changing the graphic layout in any big way — at least I hadn't planned to mess with that. It's a simple matter of commitment — for my part that means working on the live copy — there's a threshold that you either cross, or else, by definition, you are staying home. Jon Awbrey 12:36, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Exactly. I am not willing to commit an n year old page referenced by x-hundred other pages to a chance of hashing out a better set of guidelines, duh :-). Especially since I'm not yet sure which way we're going to go.
I don't care what rules you quote. I'm not going there. It's not relevant.
I've already offered a compromise, and I've stated I'm willing to cooperate with you. Can we give this a start on the new page, as proposed? I'm curious what we'll come up with. If it works out, we'll certainly apply it back here. But to be frank -rightly or wrongly- I don't quite trust the process you're following (yet), so first show!
Kim Bruning 15:27, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: And I don't trust a tactic that says "It was necessary to destroy the <fill in the blank> in order to save it" — been there, done that — tanks, but no tanks. Jon Awbrey 21:14, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Me neither, but that's what it seems you are suggesting, and you haven't convinced me otherwise. Even so, my offer stands, take it or leave it anytime you're ready. Kim Bruning 21:23, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: If it's just the mechanics of the move that worries you, then the safest way is to put in a WP:RM posting and let somebody else do it. But I get the sense that it's really something else, something that strikes me as a lack of requisite boldness, just to get all ironical about it. Jon Awbrey 21:38, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I think the acronym-accusation you're looking for is WP:OWN. *ducks*
I don't even know what you're/we're arguing about anymore. But the page only consists of a lead section, and 2 sets of numbered lists, so it should (theoretically) be easy to reference what we're talking about. What exactly needs to be changed, or which past revision are you suggesting we should revert to? --Quiddity·(talk) 22:08, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Requested moves is not policy. :-P That and I'm mostly opposed to moving pages in general, as it makes a right darn mess.
In other news, on the one hand I'm suspecting you might be right and maybe I have a mild case of WP:OWNeritis. On the other hand, Jon Awbrey still hasn't given any insight into his plan of action. He's been moving too far, too fast on too wide a front to be tenable, imho (he's also proposing sweeping changes to several other pages) . Hence the proposed compromise, to help us figure out if we're both sane or not. Depending on how he does, perhaps I'd come around to his side. He has many good points, which I've often pushed in the past. Kim Bruning 22:49, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: I just watched an old Doctor Who episode called The Ark in Space, about some astro-refugees who fled Earth's devastation by massive solar flares, and who have all just woken up from cryogenic suspension. Somehow it all seems eerily familiar to the discussion that I'm having here. I would tell you to chill out, but it seems redundant. I hope you don't mind my asking, how long has it been since you actually worked on any articles? In its current state this project is largely redundant — and I mean that in a proper English way — the only question is whether the stub can be recycled into something of use to users. Jon Awbrey 01:54, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Oh, that! Yes, see my #Merge suggestions? thread above.
What resulted from that thread:

I'm Canadian, what's your excuse? ;-) --Quiddity·(talk) 03:01, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: I spend 2 or 3 weeks a year in Ont(ari)*o — maybe it's catching. Oops! there I go violating WP:NAD. Jon Awbrey 03:20, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Have you considered historical? Several of those other pages use this page as a source ^^;; Kim Bruning 09:34, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

n = 1.3[edit]

JA: What are you talking about? This page is 1.3 years old:

JA: Maybe we should have a policy called WP:FOP for Wikipedia:Forbid Original Policies? Sorry, WP:NOP and WP:POP were already taken. Jon Awbrey 16:22, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Interesting. That's almost like an entirely different era by now :)
And since the simplified ruleset is actually tertiary literature, it wouldn't fall under forbid original policy.
A second thing. Forbidding original policy would make the community very brittle indeed, since we'd be stuck with whatever ideas came up on day 1. Namely: these: m:Foundation issues.
(Note that meta was founded way after wikipedia, so these issues weren't actually noted at that location on day 1) Kim Bruning 18:15, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Reverting good faith edits?[edit]

I'm curious about:

Particularly, don't revert good faith edits. Reverting is a little too powerful sometimes, hence the three-revert rule. Don't succumb to the temptation, unless you're reverting very obvious vandalism (like "LALALALAL*&*@#@THIS_SUX0RZ", or someone changing "6+5*2=16" to "6+5*2=17"). If you really can't stand something, revert once, with an edit summary something like "(rv) I disagree strongly, I'll explain why in talk." and immediately take it to talk.

Whilst I can understand that reverting should be avoided if possible, and that edit wars should be avoided, surely there are some reasons where reverting is a reasonable first step, if you give an explanation in the comment? E.g.:

  1. Someone adds something which seems to be rubbish, entirely pov, entirely unverifiable or unsourced. Yes, if possible the section should be improved and sourced, but what if that is not possible? Verifiability, no original research and NPOV are non-negotiable Wikipedia policies, but this seems to suggest we have to leave such material if it's added in good faith?
  2. Someone makes a change to existing material as opposed to adding new material. Much of the information about Reverting on Wikipedia appears to refer to reverting new material, rather than reverting changes to existing material. In many cases, other editors may feel the original was better, and the concept of "Improve rather than revert" doesn't apply - it's either the old version, or the new version. In some cases, people may edit sections (such as introductions) which have undergone vast amounts of discussion in Talk, and a consensus reached. If someone later goes against that consensus, this suggests we cannot revert that edit, at least without having to justify it all again in Talk.

Furthermore, this rule reads to me rather like Zero-revert rule: ""Only revert obvious vandalism. Instead of removing or reverting changes or additions you may not like, add to and enhance them while following the principle of preserving information and viewpoints. If you can't figure out how any part of an edit benefits an article ask for clarification on the article's or the editor's discussion page." yet that clearly states it is an optional policy, not an official guideline. Also see Wikipedia_talk:Revert_only_when_necessary#What.27s_so_bad_about_a_revert.3F where many reasons are given against this strategy (in particular, the example of adding "George Bush live in big house and make laws. We study him in school." which may well be a good faith edit, but clearly there's nothing we can do apart from revert it, and it seems odd to suggest this needs to be discussed in Talk first.

I've seen vast numbers of cases where people revert good faith edits with an explanation in comment rather than Talk, but I've had someone question one of my reversions, pointing to [1] and the policy that we should always improve rather than revert, but the original edit was a change (not new material) where I don't see improvement was possible.

So what is this rule actually saying? Can good faith edits never be reverted (or when should they be)? Does a reversion always need the explanation in Talk, even when the comment box is sufficient to explain the objection? Mdwh 18:58, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: It's my take on it that this wiki precept, read in its original context, says exactly what it says. Did it say "good faith edits can never be reverted"? No, it did not say that. It is a very important piece of common sense. TIFWIW. Jon Awbrey 19:42, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Well it does say in bold "don't revert good faith edits"... I mean yeah, I'm sure I'm reading it wrong, but thought I'd ask for a clarification on this. I'm not trying to be pedantic, it's just that someone's questioned one of my reverts, saying that edits should always be improved rather than reverted. Mdwh 16:10, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
You are reading it exactly right. The objective here is safe wikipedia behaviour. That means staying well away from all the electric fences. The actual advice is based on the Harmonious editing club rules.
I strongly disagree with people who would use wikipedia guidelines as a weapon, mind you. People who are only here to club people around the ears with "the rules", and are not here to help write an encyclopedia, are in the wrong place.
On the other hand, you can always ignore all rules and apply common sense, where appropriate. If you do that for the purposes of writing an encyclopedia, be BOLD, go right ahead!
Note that I disagree with jossi's recent(?) edits to this page, so don't take things like "non-negotiable policy" for granted. (Or whatever the my-guideline-is-more-important-than-your-guideline nomic game of the day is.)
Most important of all is that you have fun editing. Why else would you be here? :)

Kim Bruning 00:01, 31 August 2006 (UTC) Just in case: Note that I'm not saying that Jossi is an Evil reptilian kitten-eater of course, I just happen to respectfully disagree with those particular edits :-)

JA: Re: "I'm not trying to be pedantic" — Please don't, that's my job! The rule is a good one, but often ignored. I know cases where some editors will automatically revert constructive edits made by somebody they've taken a non-shine to, and then you sit there and watch more or less the same improvements being made by someone else, with not a peep. People should not do that, even if they are Admins, but they do. Go figure. Jon Awbrey 03:52, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

typo overlooked or am i missing something here?[edit]

in intro, end of 2nd para "quide us in our constant efort" -> "guide us in our constant effort"? David Woodward 02:46, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

non-negotiable?[edit]

Hi Kim! While I don't particularly care about this page either way, I should point out that the non-negotiable principles mentioned are NPOV, the GNU license and civility. And probably IAR, if you want a little paradox for breakfast. >Radiant< 22:31, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

All those can be negotiated, and those are not what is meant anyway. Kim Bruning 19:49, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • GFDL is hardly negotiable :) >Radiant< 20:05, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
In a sense it certainly is.
  • You retain copyright, so you may also give your content to 3rd parties under a different agreement.
  • Some people already dual-licence under CC-BY-SA or similar.
The above are just examples. I don't necessarily endorse them.
Kim Bruning 15:51, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Be graceful[edit]

I have a copy of these rules on one of my subpages, which I often read through to remind me of how to proceed (many thanks to those who put them together), but repeated reading of them has led me to the conclusion that "graceful" here is not the right word. In theory, it should be, because its root is "grace", and the point is that we should behave on Wikipedia with good grace; we will also have seen the word "gracefully" used with this meaning, as in "to grow old gracefully"; but for some reason "graceful" resists quite that meaning and, in my opinion, reserves itself for physical actions (and occasionally for a style of living which now has implications of wealth). I'm not feeling bold enough to make a change to the text simply on my own instincts, but I feel sure that the mot juste called for is "gracious". What do others think? qp10qp 11:58, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Ok. I've changed it to "be gracious". qp10qp 19:26, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
"gracious" make sense. Terryeo 14:43, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Source for usage edit[edit]

Edit of "consider..." based on Dictionary.com, which grants blanket permission for such links on this page. --Unimaginative Username 04:44, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

What is this page?[edit]

Is it a guideline? Policy? Help page? Essay? Hard to tell. It is missing the familiar and comfortable Wikipedia page header that identifies where this fits. —Doug Bell talk 04:43, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Neither do Wikipedia:How to edit a page or Wikipedia:The perfect article or dozens (hundreds?) of others. We're endlessly self-reflective and classificatory (lists of...) ! And there's nothing anyone should object to here, so doesn't require an essay disclaimer. Lastly, in the interests of WP:NOT#BUREAUCRACY, not every page needs a template. :) --Quiddity 06:22, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Historic information[edit]

Wikipedia:Wikirules_proposal <- from whence this came.


timeline:

Ignore all rules[edit]

OK, I decided to be bold and make a modification to a portion of the Ignore All Rules section. I re-phrased the final portion of it to read The spirit of the rule trumps the letter of the rule. The common purpose of building an encyclopedia trumps both. This guidence comes from the Ignore All Rules page and is, I think, a better way to summarize the phrase. Thoughts? Majoreditor (talk) 03:03, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

The previous wording also came from ignore all rules. :-) There's something to be said for either approach. --Kim Bruning (talk) 14:44, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Is RuleSet a word?[edit]

We are isntructed to follow this "ruleset", but what is a ruleset? I do not find this word in any dictionnary (English or Translation).

If it is simply a rule set, why not call it this way?

I encounter this term in programming, but have no idea what it really means and how to translate it in another language.

The rules and regulations for Wikipedia are important. Why use a word that (apparently) does not exist, in its title? Or if it exists, could someone please define it? Suzel25 (talk) 13:50, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

I see your point, but I don't think it's that hard to interpret it as meaning "set of rules". The alternatives, such as "Simplified set of rules" or "Simplified rules" don't seem quite as appealing.--Father Goose (talk) 20:51, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

"5 Pillars"??[edit]

The section says there are five....but there are only three numbered. - ??Skookum1 (talk) 08:18, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Five pillars. NewbyG ( talk) 11:10, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Preview Button - important enough?[edit]

The "preview button" thing seems to stand out compared to everything else on the page. I think there's something to be said for iterating quickly (especially in fast-paced contexts like much of Wikipedia), as well as rereading or rechecking even right after saving, and it's not difficult to get a diff that combines a string of saves. Does it really ruffle editors' feathers enough to be in this simplified ruleset? —AySz88\^-^ 04:38, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Yes. A user making multiple consecutive edits on an article during one edit session, especially with no edit summary, is a big drag for other editors following the article. There are many editors whose contributions look like the following examples because they don't/won't learn to use the show preview function:

[3][4][5]. This makes it tedious to collaborate on those articles. Eric talk 13:00, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Ah, it doesn't seem like the preview button is actually the thing being advocated there - it sounds more like the principle is something like "minimize changesets" or "combine consecutive edits", and using the preview button is just one possible means to that end. That fits a lot better with how the other 'rules' are structured, and is a bit more accurate to the spirit of the thing. —AySz88\^-^ 07:07, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Be Bold - Except when reverted[edit]

I'ld like to add the sentence, "However, if your bold edits have been reverted, don't boldly reintroduce them. Discuss and find consensus for your edits." to the section about being bold. That is following the sentences,

Be bold in updating pages! Go ahead, it's a wiki! No mistake can break Wikipedia, because any edit can be undone. Encourage others, including those who disagree with you, to likewise be bold!

I think it's important to note the proper limits of boldness. LK (talk) 04:21, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Agreed on the principle. Do you think #4 in that section is sufficient?
Undo others' edits with care: Undoing someone's work is a powerful tool, hence the three-revert rule that an editor should never undo the same content more than three times in twenty-four hours (ideally, even less). Try not to revert changes which are not obvious vandalism. If you really can't stand something, revert once, with an edit summary like "I disagree, I'll explain why on Talk", and immediately take it to the accompanying talk page to discuss. If someone reverts your edits, do not just add them back without attempting discussion.
It makes the broader point, just not in the context of WP:BOLD. What do you think? Ocaasi c 07:27, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
It certainly makes a similar point, as does most of the rest of the section on Getting along with other editors. I do appreciate that we want to keep this short, but I still think some caution about boldly re-adding stuff is appropriate. Any suggestions on a succintly worded short sentence essentially saying "no continually bold re-additions please"? LK (talk) 08:34, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Currently WP:BOLD has the tagline --Be bold, (but do it with civility). I kind of like Bold as its own entry, since it takes a lot to encourage new readers to make edits. Then again, Civility is the one of the five pillars. We could try and work in the point that boldness should encourage contributions, not trampling on other editors. Possibly move WP:CIVIL into the section with WP:BOLD? Right now WP:BOLD is in the 'writing good articles' section, but it's not about writing per se. I think Civil could join it or Bold could move to the lower section even. So 3 options, merge, add to Bold to Civil section, add Civil to Bold section. Ocaasi c 09:57, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
I think BOLD fits in the 'writing good articles' section. I just want to note that being bold doesn't mean being tendentious, ie. don't be bold with the same edit more than once or twice. I'm not sure if it's a civility issue, I think it fits as a (short) caveat to BOLD. LK (talk) 11:34, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm still hesitant to corrupt the exuberance of Bold! But I added this: "If you find yourself disagreeing with someone's boldness or they with yours, discuss it on the talk page." I left out 'tendentious', 'edit-warring', 'revert', etc. but think that gets at the basic caveat. Ocaasi c 06:17, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
Looks good, thanks. LK (talk) 09:43, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

The page has been substantially reorganized, copy-edited, and cleaned up. I think is a decent start for a new editor although it still could be a bit intimidating for a new editor. Two questions:

1. Is there a way to structure the header differently? Something about three italicized redirects and a rectangular info box just doesn't say simple.

2. There's a nice template for Key Policies and Guidelines I'd like to include at the bottom, in collapsed form. Is it too un-simple?

Ocaasi c 10:37, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

I went ahead and added these, in collapsed form at the bottom. They're pretty unobtrusive and yet contain most of the important links to the entire community. Ocaasi c

WP:PLAIN[edit]

I was working on a similar document for basic editing mechanics and navigation called WP:PLAIN. I think it's useful. I'm curious if it could/should be merged here, to create a single page where new editors could get all of the basics. Ocaasi c 17:10, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Probably should be. What's going on with Wikipedia:Plain and simple? It looks like basically just a copy of this page. Right now we got 3 separate pages: Wikipedia:Plain, Wikipedia:Plain and simple, and Wikipedia:Simplified ruleset but all saying pretty much the same thing. -- œ 07:09, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Second section[edit]

The second section is headed "Writing high-quality articles". I think it would be better as "Creating and editing articles" because we don't want to give the impression that the guidance in that section doesn't apply to all our articles. People might ignore it thinking "I'm not writing high-quality stuff, so this section isn't relevant". Are there any dissenters before I change it?  —SMALLJIM  11:20, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

No comments, so I've done this.  —SMALLJIM  09:45, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

Formatting issue?[edit]

Anyone know why an empty citation is appearing prior to the beginning of this article's text? I tried to edit it out but I can't find the code behind it. Maybe it is supposed to be there...? Just looks weird. Thanks. Safehaven86 (talk) 20:24, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Fixed was at {{Policy list}} some sort of test edit I would ‎guess. -- Moxy (talk) 21:27, 2 November 2015 (UTC)