|This page in a nutshell: Consensus is Wikipedia's fundamental model for editorial decision making, and is marked by addressing legitimate concerns held by editors through a process of compromise while following Wikipedia policies.|
Decisions on Wikipedia are primarily made by consensus, which is accepted as the best method to achieve Wikipedia's goals, i.e., the
This policy describes how consensus is understood on Wikipedia, how to determine whether it has been achieved (and how to proceed if it has not), and describes exceptions to the principle that all decisions are made by consensus.
Editors usually reach consensus as a natural process. After one changes a page, others who read it can choose whether or not to further edit. When editors do not reach agreement by editing, discussion on the associated
A consensus decision takes into account all of the proper concerns raised. Ideally, it arrives with an absence of objections, but often we must settle for as wide an agreement as can be reached. When there is no wide agreement, consensus-building involves adapting the proposal to bring in dissenters without losing those who accepted the initial proposal.
Consensus is a normal and usually implicit and invisible process across Wikipedia. Any edit that is not disputed or reverted by another editor
All edits should be explained (unless the reason for them is obvious)—either by clear
Except in cases affected by content
When agreement cannot be reached through editing alone, the consensus-forming process becomes more explicit: editors open a section on the associated
When editors have a particularly difficult time reaching a consensus, several processes are available for consensus-building (
Editors who maintain a neutral, detached, and civil attitude can usually reach consensus on an article through the process described above. They may still occasionally find themselves at an impasse, either because they cannot find rational grounds to settle a dispute or because one or both sides of the discussion become emotionally or ideologically invested in winning an argument. What follows are suggestions for resolving intractable disputes, along with descriptions of several formal and informal processes that may help.
In determining consensus, consider the quality of the arguments, the history of how they came about, the objections of those who disagree, and existing policies and guidelines. The quality of an argument is more important than whether it represents a minority or a majority view. The arguments "I just don't like it" and "I just like it" usually carry no weight whatsoever.
Limit article talk page discussions to discussion of sources, article focus, and policy. If an edit is challenged, or is likely to be challenged, editors should use talk pages to explain why an addition, change, or removal improves the article, and hence the encyclopedia. Consensus can be assumed if no editors object to a change. Editors who ignore talk page discussions yet continue to edit in or revert disputed material, or who stonewall discussions, may be guilty of
The goal of a consensus-building discussion is to resolve disputes in a way that reflects Wikipedia's goals and policies while angering as few contributors as possible. Contributors with
When talk page discussions fail—generally because two editors (or two groups of editors) simply cannot see eye to eye on an issue—Wikipedia has several established processes to attract outside editors to offer opinions. This is often useful to break simple, good-faith deadlocks, because uninvolved editors can bring in fresh perspectives, and can help involved editors see middle ground that they cannot see for themselves. The main resources for this are as follows:
Many of these discussions will involve
In some cases, disputes are personal or ideological rather than mere disagreements about content, and these may require the intervention of administrators or the community as a whole. Sysops will not rule on content, but may intervene to enforce policy (such as
The following are common mistakes made by editors when trying to build consensus: