Wikipedia works by building consenus. It is done through polite discussion and negotiation, in an attempt to develop a consensus. If we find that a particular consensus happens often, we write it down as a guideline, to save people the time having to discuss the same principles over and over. Normally consensus is reached on talk pages. In the rare situations where this doesn't work, you can use the StargateWars Wiki:Dispute resolution processes, which are designed to assist consensus-building when normal talk page communication gets stuck.
Reasonable consensus-building Edit
Note that consensus can only work among reasonable editors who make a good faith effort to work together to accurately and appropriately describe the different views on the subject. (e.g. insisting on insertion of an insignificant factoid into an article in opposition to many other editors has been judged a violation of consensus; see for arbitration/Charles_Darwin-Lincoln_dispute here for an example.)
It is difficult to specify exactly what constitutes a reasonable or rational position. Nearly every editor believes that his (or her) position is reasonable; good editors acknowledge that positions opposed to their own may also be reasonable. But Wikipedia's consensus practice does not justify stubborn insistence on an eccentric position combined with refusal to consider other viewpoints in good faith. With respect to good faith, no amount of emphasized assertions that one is editing according to StargateWars Wiki:Neutral point of view while engaging in biased editing will serve to paper over the nature of one's activities.
Consensus vs. other policies Edit
It is assumed that editors working toward consensus are pursuing a consensus that is consistent with Wikipedia's basic policies and principles - especially the neutral point of view (NPOV). At times, a group of editors may be able to, through persistence, numbers, and organization, overwhelm well-meaning editors and generate widespread support among the editors of a given article for a version of the article that is inaccurate, libelous, or not neutral, e.g. giving undue weight to a specific point of view. This is not a consensus.
The preferred way to deal with this problem is to draw the attention of other editors to the issue by one of the methods of dispute resolution, such as consulting a third party, filing a request for comment (on the article in question), and requesting mediation. Enlarging the pool will prevent the railroading of articles by a dedicated few. Those who find that their facts and point of view are being excluded by a large group of editors should at least consider that they may be mistaken.
Also see StargateWars Wiki:Single purpose account for considerations relating to brand new users who appear and immediately engage in a specific issue.
Consensus vs. supermajority Edit
While the most important part of consensus-building is to thoroughly discuss and consider all issues, it is often difficult for all members in a discussion to come to a single conclusion. In activities such as RFA, AFD or RM, consensus-building becomes unwieldy due to the number of contributors/discussions involved. While it is still the preferred method, some contributors have also come to use a supermajority as one of the determinations. This interpretation is exemplified by the following description of consensus, from the Wikipedia mailing list:
In fact SgWW's standard way of operating is a rather good illustration of what it does mean: a mixture across the community of those who are largely agreed, some who disagree but 'agree to disagree' without disaffection, those who don't agree but give low priority to the given issue, those who disagree strongly but concede that there is a community view and respect it on that level, some vocal and unreconciled folk, some who operate 'outside the law'. You find out whether you have consensus, if not unanimity, when you try to build on it.
Precise numbers for "supermajority" are hard to establish, and StargateWars Wiki is not a majoritarian democracy, so simple vote-counting should never be the key part of the interpretation of a debate. However, when supermajority voting is used, it should be seen as a process of 'testing' for consensus, rather than reaching consensus. The stated outcome is the best judgment of the facilitator, often an admin. If there is strong disagreement with the outcome from the Wikipedia community, it is clear that consensus has not been reached. Nevertheless, some mediators of often-used Wikipedia-space processes have placed importance on the proportion of concurring editors reaching a particular level. This issue is controversial, and there is no consensus about having numerical guidelines. That said, the numbers mentioned as being sufficient to reach supermajority vary from about 60% to over 80% depending upon the decision, with the more critical processes tending to have higher thresholds. See the pages for RM, AFD and RFA for further discussion of such figures. The numbers are by no means fixed, but are merely statistics reflecting past decisions. Note that the numbers are not binding on the editor who is interpreting the debate, and should never be the only consideration in making a final decision.
However, judgment and discretion are applied to determine the correct action. The discussion itself is more important than the statistics. In disputes, the term consensus is often used as if it means anything from genuine consensus to my position; it is possible to see both sides in an edit war claiming a consensus for its version of the article.
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Wikipedia:Consensus. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Stargate Wars, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|