Talk:Founding principles

Active discussions


no creating articles for anons, as of the past few months, tho, a? yaaaa Schzzly 05:51, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Personal opinion?Edit

I note that the content page is widely referenced from the en wikipedia, and probably elsewhere. It has been cited in a number of arbcom decisions as well as a number of lesser matters. I do not believe that a characterization of it as "personal opinion" is in any way accurate. UninvitedCompany 16:22, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

One of the questions that were raised on Talk:Wikipedia policies is regarding "Wiki Process" (which also appears on Simplified Ruleset). Is it the same thing as "process" as defined on Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines ("a central and organized way of doing things, generally following certain policies or guidelines"), or "the steps of clicking 'edit this page,' editing the text, and clicking 'save page'" like Kernigh suggests? Hermeneus 22:47, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Even if it is not a personal opinion, it is not well a debated one, especially in regard to "wiki process". I have simply translated it as "3. Wiki: Wikipedia is baseed on wiki." In this way, it could refer to software process as well as editing process, as well as any policy or guideline which has been derived from it. Vapour 04:55, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
en:Wikipedia:Consensus has now been updated with a chart depicting wiki process. --Kim Bruning 12:13, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


In Japanese wikipedia, I have attempted to reformulate the foundation principle as 1. Wiki, 2. Encyrcopedia, 3. Copyleft 4. Freedom to edit. This cover both editing and reading wikipedia, which ought to be explained in "Introduction to Wikipedia". Principle 3 relate specifically to use of wikipedia as encycropedia while Principle 4 specifically refers to editing wikipedia. On this basis, I have created separate editing (key) policy which is 1. Freedom to edit, 2. Encycropedia, 3. Copyleft 4. NPOV. "What wikipedia community is not" and "Respect other contributors" "arbitration" are incorporated under "Freedom to edit". In my view, "freedom to edit" is the basis of wikipedia community. Vapour

Can this be changed?Edit

This page claims that the principles in it are inviolate. This seems to imply that the page itself is inviolate. I have come here on a quest to get something done about anonymous editors on en wikipedia. Can anything be done?

Moreover, what about the Jimbo principle? This page claims that Jimbo's level of authority is changing, but the linked pages give me no clue as to how this is the case. But it would seem this principle can be negotiated, or? Mgekelly 01:31, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

What do you want done. Are you sure it's a good idea? I used to edit anonymously on en.wikipedia. en:User:Kim Bruning / 22:50, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I am 100% in favor of requiring users to register before editt Wikipedia. It is harmful to the community to not be able to reliably leave a message for someone and know that the correct person will receive it, vs. someone else who happens to share the same IP. I think it would buld a better community if all people have a registered account. Johntex 00:30, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Ditto the user account requirement. For one thing, I just realized that I'm not logged in (the Warning isn't very big); so how would you respond to me? I have a user account here; I'm not required to use it.
The vandalism I'm referring to is to articles I've either created or contributed to; the answer isn't to let someone else deal with the vandalism while I write articles or do editing that contributes to the content of Wikipedia rather than restoring the content that's been corrupted. Letting go of my past work when good faith edits are made is one thing. Letting go of articles I've worked on to vandalism is quite another; I've seen quite a bit of vandalism missed because the editor doing the revert wasn't familiar with the article and didn't recognize it as vandalism, reverting to a version that was vandalised as well.
Frankly, for there to be "issues beyond debate" runs contrary to what I have seen Wikipedia to be. This content should also be governed by the "wiki process". I just don't understand what the thought behind this was. If someone actually wants to be anonymous, that's not a problem. A valid e-mail address isn't required; create a user name and a password and you're set. This gives other users the opportunity to communicate with the user; it also give admins the opportunity to block them when their vandalism warrants it. Not requiring users to register may have been a good idea when Wikipedia was young and not well understood, but now it creates major headaches. Are any of the decision-makers for these policies actually monitoring the amount of vandalism by IP users? Or correcting it? Do you realize what is involved? It doesn't stop with reverting the vandalism; then the progressive vandalism tags need to be placed on the user's Talk page. Which is a total waste of time when it's a shared IP address. At least if the user were registered, we could be sure that we communicated to the vandal, whether they read it or not.
The amount of time I've spent dealing with vandalism by anonymous users has eaten up my article creation time. I don't have an unlimited amount of time to spend here; if I wind up spending it all on reverting vandalism, I guarantee you I'll leave. I wonder how many good editors have been lost because of this? 20:33, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
It turns out that a large amount of our edits are done by anonymous users.Kim Bruning 20:18, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, 97% of vandalism comes from IPs. I'm in favor of moving it down a peg to number 3. Richard001 09:15, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

GFDL not used on WikinewsEdit

4."Copyleft licensing of content; in practice, GFDL (working on changes via GFDL 2.0)" While all the projects might use the "copyleft" concept, Wikinews does this with a Creative Commons license( currently Attribution 2.5). -- 06:56, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

This page is almost curt. What is the rationale for each of these issues?Edit

What is the reasing behind each of these issues? Saying that they cannot be discussed seems opposed to the wiki-spirit. Even saying that they will never be changed seems strange to me. Things evolve and that is why people have discussions.

Especially the part about Jimmy Wales seems strange for a community website like this. Please note that I am a new user/member of Wikipedia and have missed all previous discussions. I could check the web, but i think our community should be mature enough to talk about all these issues without resorting to censorship/rudesness or just ignoring the issues internally. Hicham.vanborm 03:55, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

"Beyond debate"?!Edit


I can't understand why these are "beyond debate". Things should be _allowed_ to be debated. Saying it's "beyond debate" implies perfection -- a sort of infinite perfection that is impossible to attain (except for God, but He did not make these rules, people did.). If someone has a GOOD point then they should be allowed to express it. -- 02:36, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Well, to assert that something is beyond debate is simply to indulge in a rhetorical trick meaning: “I’m up for a fight! Are you?”
Huh? 23:28, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Most organizations have a creed or dogma that they agree upon. To say that something is beyond debate is not to say that the organization or idea is perfect, but rather that we agree on these things in order to accomplish something. If you disagree, it doesn't necessarily mean you're wrong, but it does mean you can't partake in the organization. Consider the example of a puritan attempting to participate in an orgy as one instance of this principle. Vectro 03:58, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

No responseEdit

Has any one besides me noticed that there are no responses to the questions asked here? Why are we bothering? ChiDom 18:39, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes. Very annoying. I guess oldtimers don't want to have the same discussion over and over again. But then they should have made better pages and explanations then this. I was looking for the background of Wikipedia (ownership, why in america, copies,descisionmaking,...), and most of these things are not explained very well. Especially the reasoning behind the current situation is lacking. Hicham.vanborm 21:40, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Heh, cool! I'm trying to get people to write these things down, but see what luck I've had :-) Would you folks want to help me? Kim Bruning 14:53, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Sure, but I have no idea how we can help. Thing is to find people who know the reasons behind it and are willing to make the whole thing public. I am sure we could find out by digging through forums and 'complaining' websites, but it should just be here on Wikipedia (or Meta-wiki). If it isn't it seems like somebody wants to keep it secret or at least talk as little about it as possible.Hicham.vanborm 15:10, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Why is Jimbo God?Edit

Why does Jim Wales have absolute, ultimate authority on every matter? If he can be shown to be God, or even a lesser deity of some sort, I would completely support this. But I'm just wondering who came up with this policy (if it was Jim himself I'd be a little worried) and why it is so. I can't seem to find the answer anywhere.--K-UNIT 20:34, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

On a related topic, why does the Foundation issues page say that Jimbo Whales is the ultimate authority, and the authority of the Board of Trustees is merely delegated, while the Board of Trustees page says that the Board of Trustees is the ultimate authority. As a former trustee of a (non-Florida) non-profit corporation, I would find these pages more convincing if they closely mirrored the wording of the relevant Florida non-profit law regarding the authority of various corporate officers. -- 22:11, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Bear in mind that both the page and the policy itself predate the formation of the Board of Trustees. Also, Jimbo's role in the selection of trustees probably says more about his authority than does his role as a trustee or officer. UninvitedCompany 02:48, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

The second sentence of the article, "people who strongly disagree with them sometimes end up leaving the project," is borderline offensive to me. Not only does it say that the issues are above debate, it all but says that if we don't like it, we can go find another hell-hole to hang around in. I would edit the page to soften the language a bit at least, but I guess that's beyond reproach, just like Jimbo. I have no inclination to leave, but this article does make me mad as hell. (en|fr|commons) 06:31, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree. It is basically saying that this is totally set in stone that not even the slighest change is acceptable. This is supposed to be a consensus-based "society" (or whatever the heck it is), and consensus can change, and even a slight change means that some of these things may need to be changed. The wording also seems to imply that they are FORCED to do it, even if they follow the rule regardless of their disagreement... (which is wrong wrong wrong!) 23:28, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Now that Jimmy Wales is no longer the chair of the WMF, it really would worthwhile to consolidate and make consistent the assorted references hither and yon that make various contradictory statements regarding the role of "Jimbo Wales", or "the chair of the foundation", or indeed "Jimbo Wales, as head of the foundation". (I just wish I knew what to make them consistent with.) It would be even better were JW to declare when he's acting in an "official" capacity at all, but that may be more than one can hope for. Alai 00:05, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

I still didn't yet receive an answer to my original question...--K-UNIT 03:58, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, "why" is to get us into "making windows into men's souls" territory. But as a pragmatic observation, JW directly appoints (or is) 60% of the Foundation board, so if he wishes by that route to affirm that he is Lord High Editor in Chief of any and all wikimedia projects, he certainly has the means to do so. In practice, it's a combination of the top-down, the bottom-up, and the good-old-fashioned "completely muddled". Alai 06:00, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Well put. Very well put. Moreover, I'm not posing this question to challenge any dogmas, I simply am seeking answers. And it seems utterly ridiculous to me that I can not get the answer to a very simple, clear, and reasonable question on, arguably, the most important page in the entire Wiki community. For over four months I have been waiting, yet still, nothing. If that doesn't cause one to lose faith in the various Wikimedia organizations then I don't know what will.--K-UNIT 05:11, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Given that the situation is rather non-transparent, I'd doubt you'll get any answer that significantly improves on the one(s) I've given, at least until such time as said underlying situation changes to some degree. (Such as the role of "leader of en:wikipedia" being altered, or becoming more clearly defined.) Nor do I think that "why" is an especially simple question. Broadly speaking, the "what" is that JW began with complete control, as instigator of Wikipedia and the person ponying up the funding, and has variously delegated portions thereof; retained portions, but not necessarily been active in exercising them; or actually relinguished portions. (The tricky part is working out which is which, and when any given function is actually being exercised.) Alai 03:43, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
At Jimbo's say-so "no follow" was recently added to en.wikipedia links without question, despite the community at large rejecting this idea repeatedly, despite Jimbo having announced his own profit-making search project in the preceding week and so having a fairly clear conflict of interest and despite there being no need for the change. So although Jimbo no longer has much to do with Wikipedia in a day-to-day sense, 5) is still true after all these years. 5) sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the more noble rules. Is 5) something that Jimbo will be able to pass on in his will? It should be junked.
On the last point, I assume that the Foundation would be able to appoint a "issue #5 successor" (even if it's not entirely explicit that the WMF determined the present one, rather some unspecified other process). Control of the board of trustees I shall leave as an exercise. Alai 13:00, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Why is this page editableEdit

Apologies for the trite question, but if "The Wikimedia projects as a community have certain foundation issues that are essentially beyond debate" then why is this page even editable? 16:07, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

All pages are editable. It's a foundation issue. UninvitedCompany 02:49, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
It's paradoxical if this page is editable, though.--K-UNIT 22:17, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
w00t for t3h oxymorons! 19:49, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Edits that change the meaning so as not to reflect consensus will likely get reverted. Edits that improve the wording might not. --Damian Yerrick 21:00, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
That's a good one to add. Be Bold and All pages are editable (yes even this one) :-) -- sj | help translate |+ 17:48, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Copyleft Licnsing of ContentEdit

It seems that some users on Wikipedia are using this foundation issue to ban any "fair use" images of living people. I think this compromises the quality of Wikipedia, as it prevents the use of cast photos and screenshots in articles about movies and tv shows. I suspect that most wikipedians view the "free" in the name to mean "no cost" not "free lisence". This was my interpretation until recently, and I don't support the idea that "fair use" photos of living people are not allowed on Wikipedia. I suspect most wikipedians would agree with me, but will never speak up on this or any other issue. That said, I would never violate Wikipedia policy on this matter.

The question that needs to be asked is this: Does this foundation issue require that all policies relating to "fair use" images, not allow them for any living persons? 08:50, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

See Licensing policy FAQ draft. --Damian Yerrick 21:02, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

"Without registering"Edit

Someone seems to take issue with this and keeps trying to remove it. Ironically, they do it without registering. 15:40, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I think it's good that you decided to start up discussion about this, since it's obviously an important and touchy issue. Personally I think it's good to stress that you don't need to register to edit, since that's an arbitrary roadblock to editing that some people won't bother to do, which could potentially cost us good editors. Being registered doesn't really make you any less anonymous. What do others think? Delldot 17:57, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
In principle, yes, I think it would be, since the problem with it is that it implies open-ended commitment of manual labour to dealing with ever-increasing amounts of vandalism. In practice, probably not, given the "essentially beyond debate" preamble, the "leaving the project" hint, and issue #5. Having said that, I think it's also fair to say that it does enjoy fairly wide support. It's probably most useful to address this via measures somewhat short of requiring registration (such as stable versions, anti-vandalbot measures, and whatever else). Alai 17:02, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
On English Wikipedia today, non-logged in users can not create pages, and many pages are "half protected" so they can not be edited by anons. Considering these restrictions, it does look a bit strange to mention the importance of being able to edit without registering. // habj 16:47, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, to be fair, it does say "ability of anyone to edit articles", not "ability of anyone to edit any article". (Of course, the former isn't strictly speaking absolutely true either, since after all, some people are blocked or banned...) I suppose these are best regarded as "guiding principles", rather than rules per se. Alai 05:45, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Title of pageEdit

I find this title not very descriptive. "Foundation issues" could be about anything, really. Anyone who can come up with something better? // habj 12:51, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Last sentenceEdit

The last sentence, about accusations of cabalism, is difficult to understand. IMHO it needs more explanation. // habj 12:51, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

ultimate authority?Edit

Among the issues: "Jimbo Wales as ultimate authority on any matter (although some authority has been delegated to others; see Arbitration Committee and Board of Trustees)". Is this still precisely true as of now? The Foundation is now robust and Jimbo is no longer its president, but he is still the ultimate authority?—Nat Krause 06:13, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Even if it is not true legally, it is true in formality to most extents, if you catch my drift. Cbrown1023 talk 00:30, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Personally I think now it can only apply for English Wikipedia. For other projects he hasn't acted in this way anyway and after the Foundation settled, the Board of Trustees is the ultimate decision-maker. At least I understand this situation. This part was supposedly copied from English Wikipedia or written by its participant. --Aphaia 01:39, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
It seems to contradict #3 ("wiki process as the final authority") which is also untrue since the introduction of en:WP:OFFICE. Angela 02:36, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
It seems like we need policy standardization... but to do that, we we need the board to tell us what they want us to go by. :) Cbrown1023 talk 03:32, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
The juxtaposition of the two is especially confusing, since as I understand it, they're quite different. In the case of the (en:)ArbCom, the functions are delegated only insofar as he wishes them to be, on a case by case basis, makes all appointments to same, etc, etc. In the case of the Board, exercise of those functions has been permanently transferred (though rarely exercised on that basis). However, there's clearly a residual "semi-ultimate authority" role that JW in practice exercises, but which isn't really clearly defined anywhere, and which as Aphaia says, differs in practice from project to project. Ideally, someone with a clear understanding with the exact state of affairs would refactor #5 (and #3, as Angela says). In practice, I suspect we might have to make some Brownian edits and see where it eventually stabilises. Alai 05:06, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Personally, before noticing this page, I had been under the impression that the Wikimedia Board of Trustees was the ultimate authority.—Nat Krause 08:11, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
I think that's in theory true. But in practice, while JW is fairly evidently a "more ultimate" authority than the ArbCom (say) -- he says it, they say it, everyone else says it -- the relationship with the Board is a closed book to most 'pedians. Alai 04:02, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
The additional question which is implied by this conversation, then, is, what justifies Jimbo's authority on en.wikipedia (or all wikipedias)? My understanding is that ArbComm has its authority because it is delegated by whoever owns the servers—which, I thought, was the Board of Trustees. If Jimbo has more authority than ArbComm, does that mean it has also delegated by the Board of Trustees?—Nat Krause 17:50, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Arbcom had said authority delegated to it at a point where Wales was unambiguously the person in charge, and it hasn't subsequently been 'undelegated'. So one can only suppose it still has that authority, and it's still subject to being overruled or dissolved by him, as he said it was at the time. Note that it's still appointed by JW (despite the use of the term "election" in the annual vote-fest).
But JW's own current role is where things become entirely murky. Basically, it seems in effect to not have changed at all on en:, just the rationale for it: initially he was Ultimate Authority as the site's actual owner, then as Chair of the WMB, and now as... well, himself, seemingly, on the basis that his "role hasn't changed". The trouble with this is that our 'single point of failure' issues are unnecessarily worsened, as 'recent events' have surely illustrated. (JW makes series of unilateral decisions, and disappears up a Himalaya for several days; chaos ensues, with no-one sure whether the WMB can do anything to resolve this, or whether the Arbcom can -- much less the mere 'community'.) Such statements as he's made himself on the matter, such as at one point implying he only had such leadership role as the community wished, but mainly by his occasional actions asserting such authority, and his general silence on the matter, have increased the confusion on this point. If he or the Board would make some sort of clarifying statement about what decisions can be made only by him (so the community can understand and accept this), and which aren't conditioned by such "reserve powers" (so that these decisions can then be made independently of him where necessary), things might run a bit smoother in a number of respects. Alai 22:34, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
  • If the Wikimedia Foundation owns the wikmedia sites, and if the board care enough, they can even pass resolutions rectifying or abandoning these policies. Jimbo Wales' opinons are important, but the board has official authority.---Hillgentleman | |2007年03月17日( Sat ), 05:11:50 05:11, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Changed the note to something less alarming. The previous note accidentally made it seem like the page was deprecated, which is (hopefully) not the case. --Kim Bruning 12:42, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I assumed that was indeed the intent. As to whether it's accurate on that basis: who knows? Similar caveats would apply to the caveat, as that which the caveat applies to the rest of the page... Maybe it should say something to the effect of, "the degree to which JW is the ultimate authority is ultimately vague". (The 'constitutional monarchy' model seems to be a little imprecise about what country it's comparing itself with... and in which century. (I'm hoping sometime after Magna Carta, but post-Glorious Revolution seems a bit much to hope for.) Alai 05:58, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

WP:NOR and WP:VEdit

So are the core principles of No Original Research and Verifiablilty in English wikipedia actually not considered foundation issues?Hillgentleman 06:45, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, because they relate specifically to Wikipedia's mission, and are not applicable to some other projects. For instance, Wiktionary engages in certain limited forms of original research (or at least what would be regarded on Wikipedia as original research), and likewise I think WP:V would not apply in certain parts of Wikibooks. (although I'm not very familiar with Wikibooks; perhaps that's not the case). -- Visviva 16:05, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Contributor access to deleted contribsEdit

What if a contributor wants access to his or her deleted contribs and it's blocked because someone else's contributions on the same page violated GFDL? That's what's been occurring with BJAODN over on Wikipedia. 19:51, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

On Wikipedia, ask an administrator to e-mail it to you. See w:Wikipedia:Deletion review#Temporary review. --Damian Yerrick 20:57, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

"View source" instructions changed recently?Edit

The "View source" page for semi-protected pages, I'm fairly certain, has recently changed. It used to suggest using the w:Template:editprotected template, just as the current wording is for "View source" for fully-protected pages. That version seems to have been more in keeping with Foundation Issue #2, and while editing the English wikipedia as an anon user, I've used the template repeatedly to suggest useful changes to a semi-protected page; further more, semi-protection is often longer term (because of simple vandalism) that full-protection (because of edit-warring), so the suggestion to use the template to suggest changes on the talk page seems even more important for those pages.

I have no idea who makes decisions about the content of the "View source" pages; if it's wikipedia specific I can't find it. Can someone here at meta point me in the right direction? Or use your muscle if I'm making sense with my concern? Thanks -- 23:39, 7 October 2007 (UTC)


There's an interesting analogy between these foundation issues and Euclid's axioms: five statements that are essentially considered to be beyond debate -- four succinct ones and a fifth one that's much longer and more complicated and generates a lot of debate, and everyone wonders whether it's really necessary. After a couple of millenia of trying to prove it, people instead discovered non-Jimbonian geometry. Joriki 16:11, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Items to add to the list?Edit

  • "Personal affairs and interactions of editors off-wiki are usually not relevant to the community unless they impact on the project"
  • "Good respectful civil interaction for interpersonal communication"

FT2 (Talk | email) 07:29, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

  • IAR

-- sj | help translate |+

IAR: yes - but not the others. IAR has its own page already, so a link for a fuller explanation seems suitable.  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 01:12, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Copyleft and CC-By?Edit

I‘m not able to see a connection between the issue „copyleft“ and the actual licensing as CC-by which actually is no copyleft license. Maybe this issue should be reworded taking the term „free cultural works“ into account. Regards, Code·is·poetry 14:39, 19 March 2008 (UTC) 

Clarification soughtEdit

Over at enwiki, we're trying to clarify i. what Jimmy's authority with the project is, and ii. whence comes this authority (i.e. Foundation or community). This page suggests that his authority on "certain projects" is retained "by convention". My interpretation of this is that this authority is not Foundation-imposed, although of course this invites the question of why it's mentioned on this page. Is there a clear answer to this question? Sarcasticidealist 16:13, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

I came across this while reading Bastique's talkpage (I was leaving him a note).
Jimbo's relationship to the English Wikipedia is specific to that project, so your question would likely be best asked on that project.
My personal opinion is that he holds the position on the English Wikipedia by virtue of solid community opinion. I have not found any of the bylaws which disagree with my opinion. It is, however, an opinion.
Bastique is a Foundation employee, so asking him to answer the question is a bit inappropriate.
The best person to ask would be Jimbo himself. Try his talkpage instead?
HTH. Kylu 21:57, 31 July 2008 (UTC)


I think "issues" is defined mostly (or at least often considered) in the sense of "problem" or "challenge to overcome". I know that for no other reason than inertia, changing this to something like "guiding principles" is going to be hard, but it just strikes me as odd to call the central tenets of Wikimedia 'issues'. Cheers Ingolfson 08:43, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Changed the title to "founding principles", which seems more appropriate. This page was rather ignored in the past as can be seen from its nonstandard title... so take it with a grain of salt. -- sj | help translate |+ 17:48, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I would have preferred "Foundational" rather than "Founding" -- this makes it clear that these principles are the foundation of our community, rather than that they were the principles our community was founded with which may or may not be relevant today (ie it reduces ambiguity in the meaning of the word "founding"). Thoughts about another move for additional clarity?  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 18:06, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

"The wiki process"Edit

Note that this process, and therefore point 3 of the 'issues' (principles?) is currently undefined. Guido den Broeder 15:08, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, this should refer to consensus-building  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 01:05, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
I've added that again. Hopefully, we now have consensus about the role of consensus... Guido den Broeder 23:51, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Incredible to me that a gaping black hole like this can persist for ten years. If one of the five legs on the stool is so incapable of definition that no one is prepared to provide so much as a hint as to what it stands for, it ought to be removed entirely. It seems that some think it means en:Wikipedia:Consensus, so why is that not wikilinked on the buzzword? sirlanz 12:54, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Thoughts on "foundation issues"Edit

See my post to Foundation-l. Mike R 21:25, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

You say 'the idea of the existence of "Foundation issues" that can never be contravened is largely false.' -- I don't agree with that, though those issues change slightly over time, in that these issues are quite useful rules of thumb in understanding how large-scale decisions work within the community. If the world ended tomorrow, these principles would not apply, it's true. And we could refine them. But all wikimedia projects currently abide by them, and were indeed founded under them (and perhaps one or two others). For newcomers it's helpful to see something like this or the 5 pillars of the en:wp to grok where other ideas, motivations, policies, processes come from. -- sj | help translate |+ 17:48, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Until 'the wiki process' is defined, one cannot claim that projects follow that principle. Guido den Broeder 00:17, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

beyond debate and leaving the project.Edit

this edit -- does it have consensus here. i think removed statements are needed.

maybe it should be clear to new visitors and users of wikimedia projects that if they come here trying to change foundational principals, they will be met with a very strong resistance, and they may have to decide to leave the project. until this point is discussed here, i will revert the 'not needed' change. furthermore, i think that serious semantic changes to this page should be backed up by a wide discussion promoted at village pump and other appropriate places. 21:49, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

ps. i did a partial revert. 21:53, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

That's probably not going to work, is it? Which village pump? Wouldn't it be better to have that checked at this wiki?

rm "And discussion with others"Edit

Actually, only the wiki-process can be the final decider of what goes on a page, effectively. No matter how much you discuss on talk or wherever else, at the end of the day, it doesn't change the page you're editing ;-).

Sj, what prompted you to make that particular change? --Kim Bruning 23:25, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Unopposed for over a year ( :-P ), so executing. --Kim Bruning 14:12, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Relation to Animal Farm "7 Commandments"Edit

Looking this over, and looking at the initial revision, the first thought to come to mind is that it seems to mutate in a way not entirely dissimilar from the 7 Commandments of Animal Farm:

  1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy
  2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
  3. No animal shall wear clothes.
  4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
  5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
  6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
  7. All animals are equal.

Riffraffselbow 02:31, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

And then there was:
8. Some animals are more equal than others. Guido den Broeder 11:31, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

New founding principlesEdit

Some big changes were just made. I'm skeptical that the new 'founding principles' are as fundamental as some of the old ones, but I only removed the one that struck me as most controversial-- 'selective inclusion'. I would agree that our existing projects do have selective inclusion and that they wouldn't function as well without it.

But, looking forward, we could one day host a project that didn't have selective inclusion. If a free-licensed w:Wayback Machine got started, I don't think it would be violating a founding principle to host it. Some projects (like the oxford english dictionary) have selective inclusion. Some projects, like the World-Wide-Web, don't have selective inclusion.

In the abstract, there's no reason to favor one approach over the other. Indiscriminate collections of information can sometimes be very good things-- they just aren't Wikipedia. A library that had a copy of EVERY book would always be more useful than any other type of library. --Alecmconroy 12:15, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Excellently handled, FT. --Alecmconroy 12:38, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

I removed a whole bunch of stuff that clearly isn't founding. (else it would have been there at -say- founding) ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:29, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Removal of itemsEdit

Given this page is intended to be informative on founding principles, I'm concerned by this removal and would like eyeballs.

The edit removes principles such as:

  • With the exception of content actually illegal under the laws of the United States, Wikimedia's educational content is managed by the community; it is not otherwise censored due to objectionability or pressure from external groups or individuals, whether related to a category of content as a whole or to specific matters.
  • Privacy of individual editors' non-public information is to be preserved where possible, with very limited exceptions.

The former is acknowledged in the project-wide controversial content study which concludes:

"In the first category is the overriding principle that animates all Wikimedia efforts – the unrelenting, unremitting and rigorous commitment to non-censored openness ... The belief in providing open information and complete knowledge to the world’s inhabitants is not only a slogan for Wikimedians – it is the principle that animates virtually every decision and activity taken over its many platforms every day. We have been told time and again as we conducted this study that Wikimedia’s commitment to intellectual freeedom is not merely its mission statement – it is the key to its success in the world".

The second is the subject of WMF's privacy, non-public information, oversight, and checkuser policies, which are mandatory on all projects and holders of privacy-related rights.

Other founding principles removed in that edit are founding to most but not all projects. Verifiability is founding for all projects where applicable, selectivity is founding on most if not all projects (most if not all projects have some founding principle that says the scope or suitable content is limited by reference to given criteria), and BLP has acquired similar foundational standing for some years now.

The page feels less educational and informative lacking these. Could we consider adding them back. FT2 (Talk | email) 17:19, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Support adding them back. I very much agree that the page is less informative without this material. -- OlEnglish (Talk) 19:42, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
As there has been no further discussion (pro or con) I have put them back in.
[I must say that I hardly ever encountered the "commitment to non-censored openness ... is the principle that animates virtually every decision and activity taken over its many platforms every day." The most common principle I encounter, dominating many decisions, are a belief in some uniformity or other (the weirder it is the more fanatical its adherents) and a consistency with other Wikipedia pages which after all hold The Truth (with capitals), even if they are completely in contrast with reality.] - Brya 17:15, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

I just removed a large amount of extraneous cruftiness a second time. It really needed to go. I have no idea how it got there. I think some en.wikipedians were allowed to run wild here just a little too long ;-)

  • What's with "With the exception of... ref-> although... , also... , case-by-case...". I think whoever wrote that pretty much proved it's not a principle. I'll rest my case without a need to speak my own mind. :-P
  • Verifiability is an important principle on en.wp, but it is not a founding principle even of that wiki, as en.wp worked just fine without it before. I would argue that currently V is actually detrimental to en.wp.
  • I do believe that BLP is a rather en.wp specific policy, until someone disabuses me of that notion with a stick.

On that basis, I've brought the text back to something resembling sanity. --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:40, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Doublechecking on the BLP issue, on some wikis it actually *is* accepted policy, fair enough. On a number of others it is proposed-but-not-accepted. (on nl.wp for instance it has been proposed since 2007, idem fr.wp). Looking through the translations, it is far from universally accepted. Therefore it is clearly not a founding principle.
I understand that some people feel very strongly about some of these issues. Maybe they could be taken out of page history here, and given their own page? --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:51, 14 August 2012 (UTC) (I am not a fan of argumentum-ad-bacculum where I am the argumentee)
Surely you will have to do better than just voicing your personal dislikes. BLP should be accepted policy, as per WMF resolution, although that does not make it a founding principle. Something can easily be a founding principle even if there is not a page on the project saying that it is a founding principle; it is in the nature of principles that they underlie things, rather than being explicit. The nl project does not / did not have policy pages because there was great resistance to any wording (there being a vocal minority which likes to obstruct anything that it can obstruct), rather than principles not being accepted: it was just not worth it to expend effort writing a page and getting it accepted.- Brya (talk) 06:43, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I have checked some of the additions you have made, and on each removed them with adequate removal reasons in the edit summaries.
(Apparently you just blanket reverted in a substantial addition to policy which was not discussed in the wider community. That's generally not the best idea ever. ;-)
Still, since this is meta and we have to stick to decent standards, I'll give my reasons again, in detail.
Short version:
Each of the items removed is removed because it is either off-topic for this page, not demonstrably true, or both.
In detail:
  • "On Wikipedias, Wikisources, Wikiquotes, and Wiktionaries, verifiability is a founding principle. On some projects such as Wikinews original reporting may be communally endorsed, and in many cases Wikispecies uses original classifications.". This appears to be false, based on the evidence, unless you want to claim that wikipedia was founded in 2003 [1]. Perhaps there is an argument to be made that people were following this principle earlier, but then evidence for that must be found first.
  • "A number of other principles are widely held but derive from these, such as the expectation that contentious material will be cited to a source (to ensure verifiability), or that personal attacks and legal threats are unacceptable (they disrupt the collegial environment). Wikimedia's educational content is managed by the community; it is not otherwise censored due to objectionability or pressure from external groups or individuals" (emphasis mine). The moment you state that certain principles are derived, they are evidently not founding principles themselves. They do not belong here. I'm not denying they may be important, but if you want to mention them, it is best to add a link under see also.
  • "On most current wikis, selectivity of content is a founding principle. This does not apply to Commons." , this statement failed to actually document any links to the actual policies. Perhaps something could be said in a short separate paragraph even on this page, but then it should be linked directly to the relevant chapter and verse (and it should not be given undue weight over the more universal principles).
  • " In addition, the Terms of use apply to all projects, as do certain WMF policies, such as the Privacy policy (privacy of individual editors' non-public information is to be preserved where possible, with very limited exceptions.) and the Resolution on biographies of living people. And, of course, content actually illegal under the laws of the United States is not allowed on any project." (emphasis mine). If it's in addition, it's not a founding principle, it does not belong here. It might yet be very important of course. If so, link to it under See Also.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 02:06, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

NPOV is not mandatoryEdit

Just a note to explain the reversion: back in 2010, somebody said that NPOV is "mandatory". It's not. It's hugely, incredibly, unbelievably important at the Wikipedias. However, a large fraction of the non-encyclopedias have rejected it (Commons, for example) or have declared it irrelevant (Mediawiki, for example: there's no "neutral" or "non-neutral" for code. Instead, there's "working" and "broken"). So I've returned the statement to its original (2004–2010) version. NPOV is a great guiding principle, but the WMF doesn't require that every single project adopt this principle. If you're looking for more information, then see NPOV. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:10, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks! Definitely better now. PiRSquared17 (talk) 14:53, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Is this page in Wikipedia binding or can it be ignored by administrators there?Edit

See heading.--RöntgenTechniker (talk) 20:55, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

These are ideals or values. They are not "binding" but they should not be completely "ignored" either. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:23, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
It's generally a very bad idea to ignore these. They form the basis of the rules/guidelines/patterns/etc. on your wikipedia or other wikimedia wiki, if all is well. --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:16, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
What can still be done if one of the rules was repealed by edit war in a local wiki. And the administrators and the highest authority of a wiki has declared its formal jurisdiction for such cases?--RöntgenTechniker (talk) 22:14, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
Most of your edits are at the German Wikipedia. Was the edit war at the German Wikipedia? WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:03, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes.--RöntgenTechniker (talk) 00:24, 6 February 2015 (UTC)


I don't think MediaWiki should be listed among exceptions, because the founding principles are about content projects. I also don't think EDP is an exception to the principles: an EDP is only allowed as long as it's functional to a future expansion of freely licensed works; wherever EDP happened to be undermining that aim, it would be contrary to our principles and illegal under the WMF licensing policy. --Nemo 09:33, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

@Nemo bis: But there's really an on-going discussion on Wikidata about the exception of #2 rule: d:Wikidata:Project_chat#Does it make sense to allow anonymous editing on Wikidata?. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 23:43, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Ability to edit without registeringEdit

How long into an editing career should this ability remain?

In general the 'principles' mentioned are clearly positive in just about all regard.

Question, however, can be raised against:

  • "The ability of almost anyone to edit (most) articles without registration."

In particular in its relationship to the fourth 'principle':

  • "The creation of a welcoming and collegial editorial environment."

Allowing easy access is one thing but I am less than convinced that a provision of easy access to editing with no invested link to an email account and no investment in an identity is helpful.

I believe that unregistered users are invited to register when they first edit. I would suggest that there should then be some requirement after a grace period, of perhaps a combination of a certain number of edits and a certain amount of kilobytes of change, that registration be required.

In such a system, an IP address would clock up a count of edits by both count and volume but, maybe this 'allowance' could be reset or incrementally be reset over a period of time. In some cases several people may use the same IP and want to make an occasional edit.

In this system IPs could he regarded as new or occasional visitors whose positive contributions would still be welcomed.

GregKaye (talk) 05:51, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Broken linkEdit

Under the heading "See also", the link "Wikimedia values " is broken. I would fix it, but I can't see how to Edit the page. The link should be --Ekretzmer78 (talk) 15:54, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Fixed. —Sgd. Hasley 16:02, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Belligerent and non constructive approachEdit


I removed the wording "People who strongly disagree with them are nonetheless expected to either respect them while collaborating on the site or turn to another site. Those unable or unwilling sometimes end up leaving the project.", which looks belligerent and non constructive. nonetheless, it keeps persisting here since 2004, when these "founding" principles were nothing but kind of a joke or personal opinion of a user, apparently from wiki.en. I was reverted, with the justification that this needs to be discussed, so here I am.

Why do we need to tell people that either you accept us exactly as we are, or you can leave to somewhere else? But who are "we"? And do we rally "are" like that? Who decided all this, really? Some stuff makes sense, other not, and some has already been removed long ago, such as the part about Jimbo having a final word here. Has someone asked the opinion of the other communities that existed back then, before an user from wiki.en came here to turn that personal opinion into a kind of "global policy", back in 2006? What was the legitimacy of that?

The text itself says that these principles evolve over the years, and lists a number of projects that do not apply some of them, like Commons and Meta. So why tell people that either you accept us (who?) exactly as we are (are we?), or you can leave and shut the door behind you? Isn't that not only unnecessarily aggressive, but directly against one of the pillars of Wikipedia, that there are not fix rules besides the other 4 stated there?

And why in the heck is some joke posted on meta as a personal opinion by someone back in 2004 still being presented to the world as the "founding" principles of Wikimedia, leading people to wrongly believe they truly existed and were in place when the projects were founded years before?

Can we agree, at least, that saying "People who strongly disagree with them are nonetheless expected to either respect them while collaborating on the site or turn to another site. Those unable or unwilling sometimes end up leaving the project." is unnecessarily belligerent and anything but constructive, if not directly against the 5th pillar of Wikipedia? --- Darwin Ahoy! 14:37, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

I don't know about the strength of the statement, but I do think that there needs to be something here about how people who don't support the free knowledge mission and vision might need to leave. Generally, the projects have goals to them - ranging from creating free enclopedias and dictionaries, to creating the organization needed to produce those. It feels like it is important to say "these projects aren't for everyone" - we routinely ban vandals and so on, and this provides a ground for that. This document also speaks to the limits of this - there are free knowledge projects that don't involved the wiki process, free licensing, etc - and this document makes it clear that those projects shouldn't be hosted here. TomDotGov (talk) 21:27, 8 September 2020 (UTC)
These "principles" have evolved a lot since the essay was created in 2004. Some disappeared, some were created new, and some were simply not applied at all in a number of projects. This is what Wiki is about, this is truly the Wiki spirit, something is not working, so we fix it and move on. Labeling people that do not agree with whatever was written there in 2004,in 2005, 2006 and so on, and either changed it, or just do not followed it because it made no sense to what they were doing (such as Commons, Meta, etc), while continued being full right Wikimedians, as "people who don't support the free knowledge mission and vision", which "might need to leave" simply sounds very wrong, and quite confrontational. That is not what the Wiki spirit is about. I understand that that sentence made sense on the personal essay or joke about Wikipedia posted in 2004, which also told about the Evil cabal and the folkloric figure of Jimbo at wiki.en, but I completely fail to understand what would be the point of keeping it here today in 2020. Unless, of course, this page keeps being the same joke it was back in 2004, and not some sacrosanct "founding principles" some people seem to believe them to be.--- Darwin Ahoy! 21:59, 8 September 2020 (UTC)
Return to "Founding principles" page.