Meta policy

For official Meta policies, see Meta:Index/Policies and guidelines.

This is a proposed guideline and discussion for meta policy. It is definitely not straightened out yet, but that is the spirit that I propose. Please edit boldly if the spirit is preserved, otherwise be cautious :-). Please comment below in the same page.

What is metaEdit

As stated in Meta:about : Meta is meant to go along with Wikipedia and its related projects. It serves several distinct roles:

  1. Discussion and formulation of the projects themselves, and in particular policy discussion relating to more than one project
  2. A forum for personal essays that are not necessarily NPOV
  3. A place to organise and prepare content, to discuss interlanguage co-ordination issues
  4. A place to coordinate the development process
  5. A place to track and retain the history of the projects and the Wikimedia Foundation
  6. The place to edit the MediaWiki Handbook, master help pages imported from other projects with their own specific add-ons.

To simplify, the focus below is made on Wikipedia itself, but the other projects follow the same principles, so same is applicable.

Wikipedia has three meanings

  • First, it is an encyclopedia. This is the end product, which has to be promoted (via press release, interviews), stabilized (cd and paper version), distributed (in as many countries and as many languages possible) and protected (respect of our copyright, brand name)
  • Second, it is a project. With all its technical requirements, data organisation etc
  • Third, it is a community, rather loose, very diverse, with participants having one common goal : making free and organised content together... and perhaps as many related goals as there are participants

Meta is meant to work on these three meanings, not technical issues only, not drafts for policy only, not compendium of latest Alexa hits analysis only.
These three meanings (and their extension to other wikimedia projects) define what meta is : meta is about a product, about a project and about a community.
That means pages related to each of these three directions do belong to meta.

Now, look at meta main page, and consider the identified blocks displayed. Each of these blocks recovers a reality of what meta is. What are these blocks about ?

  • development of the software and maintenance of the server
  • all means to set a new project, from the language files, to the logo, setting sysop included
  • a central point of information about all projects, and way to contact other editors
  • some governance discussions, draft of policies...
  • Wikimedia association issues
  • participants space (for personal essays, pov opinions, affiliations)

All this is meta. And all this is good. All this is welcome. All this is relevant to meta.

Who are Meta editors ?Edit

All participants to any wikimedia projects are welcome to participate to Meta, under ips, under pseudonyms or under real names.

Most meta participants will not edit all these different spaces. Some will choose to focus on the technical space (and take care of logos, of languages files and such). Others will quietly work on policy drafts and gather evidence about problematic users on their wikipedia. Others yet will focus on a user guide for wikimedia project. Or on updating announcements. Or on fixing donations report. Or copyright issues. Perhaps working on a mapping project. Often, a user comes around just to add his name to a list of sub cultural affiliation. There are also those willing to help by giving time and consideration on smaller wikipedias. And there are also all those writing comments about various attitudes, wikistress, mediation, community. And finally, there are personal essays, which sometimes stay personal or sometimes are edited by other users.

Few editors will participate in all of these efforts. Most will only focus on one area or two, according to their taste. And usually, most will respect the little area in which others are participating.

The only major limits of meta in terms of editing participation are

  • respect of copyright (please do not upload copyrighted images, please do not paste copyrighted material here => instead, use your own creativity and skill)
  • respect of other participants (please try to stay polite, to avoid personal attacks, to avoid lying, to avoid cheating, to avoid threatening => instead, think w:en:wikilove)
  • respect for meta content (please, do not remove meta content, do not deface the place, do not hurt meta image => instead, use the discussion page, or go have a scream in the sandbox, or set your own wiki)

For these reasons, the Meta community will fight what it considers as trolls and vandals, in a similar way as it's handled by other MediaWiki communities.

Pages that are written from the point of view of trolls and vandals -- and attempting to make this position look like the community view -- are not desirable on Meta, as they do not represent community opinion. Such individuals are free to voice their opinion in discussions or in their user space, of course.

And of course it starts to get more interesting when it's unclear whose position is wrong. As always sticking to the technical facts helps where applicable.

Meta contentEdit

Many pages on meta may be divided in categories.

Some of the categories on meta:

  1. Policy pages and other "official" community documents, incl. polling or voting pages.
  2. Interactive pages (RfP, VfD, Wikipedians, RfC, Meta:Babel, Wikimedia Embassy etc.)
  3. Humor pages, personal essays, and other often undefined contents
  4. MediaWiki handbook and related MediaWiki pages

We may define the Community point of view (CPOV) as a point of view shared by the vast majority of the community of a Wikimedia project. Note that the multiplicity of projects, and the various types of policy, procedure and opinion may vary from one wikimedia project to another.

Policy pages and other official documentsEdit

Key pages such as the policy and "official" documents should thrive at being written from this Community point of view. Naturally, most of these pages will be started by only one participant, so it is little likely they will follow the CPOV. Besides, many of these pages are currently not yet written or have been written by only one author.

At any time however, a reader should be able to identify these pages as being representative of the CPOV or not. For this reason, I propose that any of these pages be labelled as a policy (or official...) page. Besides, if any of these pages does not seem to represent yet, or at all, the CPOV, any user may list it on Votes for Community Opinion (VCO, I love trigrammes), where the community will decide

  • Either that the page is following CPOV (nothing will happen)
  • Either put a label at the top of the page to indicate the version is within CPOV, but not fully representative (ie, indicate the page is a pov)
  • Move the page to a user sub page if the page content is acceptable, but varying to much from the current CPOV (hence, not acceptable as a perceive official document)
  • Delete the page if totally outside the CPOV spectrum, or offensive.

Once the page is generally considered community opinion (or at least not widely differing from CPOV), editors should edit it as much as possible from the CPOV. POV comments will be added in the thread mode (discussion below the article, or in the discussion page).

Interactive pagesEdit

Interactive pages (RfP, Wikipedians etc.) should have the general support of the community.

Other pagesEdit

All other pages are welcome provided they are not considered offensive. An offensive page may be listed on vfd by any meta editor, where the community will decide whether they are likely to be detrimental to Wikimedia's goals or not. Depending on the community decision, they will be either deleted, refactored, or moved to the user space

Irrelevant pages, such as encyclopedic pages, may be listed similarly on vfd for community consideration.

Humor pages and personal essay will have to be labelled as "humor pages" and "personal essays" preferably, to avoid confusion from readers. Personal pages will be preferably signed by their author.

I support most of this in principle, but I don't want "CPOV" being scribbled on every single page. I think things like "Votes for Community Opinion" should only be done for pages where there is disagreement, not for every page by default. Like en:Wikipedia:NPOV dispute tags, they are only needed when there is disagreement. Until then, a page should not need a tag to say it is or is not of any particular point of view. Angela 08:33, 2 May 2004 (UTC)

I entirely agree with this. Anthere

MrJones proposed that list of article : Delete: pages of questionable relevance. I would dare suggest that starting the name of the page by "delete" might be a direct proposition of what to do with them. If so, they probably belong more to "request for deletion". According to the above proposal, and somehow less agressively, some might rather go to Votes for Community Opinion. ant

See also Delete: this page does not belong on meta