|This is a proposed revision to the guidelines on the parent page. This page is still under discussion and it may change as new suggestions are made. You can discuss the proposal on that article's talk page.|
The consensus decision making process is a method that we use to make decisions on the wiki where we seek the agreement of the majority of our editors and try to resolve the objections of the minority so that we can achieve the most agreeable solution possible. The consensus decision making process is the preferred and traditional method for making decisions on the wiki. This article describes the importance of using this process when making decisions on the wiki and provides recommendations on when and how to start a discussion about a proposed change.
In general, consensus is developed silently without the use of discussion pages. An editor will make an edit to an article, then other editors who read the page can revise or remove the edit or leave it as it is. Over time, if most of the content of an edit sticks then you can reasonably assume that it was approved by the community – or at least everyone who looked at the page. This form of consensus is very inherent on the wiki and is a natural part of the editing process.
When disagreements occur based on a change or when a change might be difficult to undo, we might ask our fellow editors what their viewpoints are on a discussion page. We politely share our concerns and address the concerns of others through discussion and negotiation in order to try to come to a consensus. After everyone shares their views and concerns, someone will make a proposal that integrates the ideas of everyone involved. If almost everyone agrees with the proposal, then someone can implement it, and if not, then we can continue this cycle until we have a consensus with the proposal.
The majority of contributions made to the wiki are uncontroversial and easy to revert if doing so becomes necessary, and wikis develop faster and more efficiently when we're bold about fixing articles, correcting spelling and grammar, adding new information, and correcting misleading information. However, some changes can be controversial or difficult to undo, and in these cases it may be best to gauge the community with a short proposal on what you plan to do before you do it. The decision to initiate a discussion before making a change can only be made by the editor making the change based on their best judgement.
Some instances where a discussion may need to be initiated before the change is made include:
- A change that may be against our normal procedures or traditions.
- A change that may not reflect an established consensus.
- A change that would be laborious to undo.
If an edit is most likely uncontroversial, but you would like to clear up any possible confusion, you could leave a note on the appropriate talk page or in your edit summary that briefly explains what you did and why you did it.
In consensus-building discussions, everyone is welcome to give their input. As opposed to many online communities, seniority and adminship do not inherently make an editor's opinion have a greater weight than others. Instead, comments are measured by how much merit they have and how well the community trusts and respects the editor who made them.
When participating in consensus-building discussions, it is recommended that all editors:
- Be nice to our fellow contributors. When everyone is nice to each other, we can then focus on the subject of the discussion without having to be defensive or distracted.
- Focus on the subject at hand. If other related issues arise, it's easier to start a separate discussion.
- Keep in mind that by sharing our views and concerns that support our decisions, it becomes easier for our views and concerns to be addressed.
- Try inviting other editors into the discussion if they might be interested.
- Avoid turning the discussion into a vote.
These discussions work best when everyone involved makes a reasonable effort to consider other views on the subject, including the ones that oppose your own. Keep in mind that everyone, regardless of their viewpoint, has a superordinate goal to improve the subject of the discussion and, more importantly, UESP itself. Even if another editor's viewpoints seem unrealistic or "crazy", all editors are expected to assume good faith and be nice when engaging with other editors.
Keep in mind that persistently insisting on an unpopular position and refusing to consider the viewpoints of other editors is harmful and inappropriate. Doing this is frowned on by the community and may result in your concerns being ignored. Being reasonable and open to compromise is the best way to be heard on the wiki.
Consensus Can Change
Consensus vs. Majority
Although we try to respect decisions that have consensus with the community, there are a few rare cases where consensus may be superseded.
- Daveh, as the founder and the host of the site, has the de facto authority to overrule consensus.
- An administrator may have to take temporary action on an urgent situation without going through normal procedures. The administrator should make it clear that they are performing the action under this authority.
- Consensus does not generally have an effect on foundational issues, such as the name of the site or the subject that the site covers.