CIS-A2K/Policies and guidelines

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Introduction to policies[edit]

Policies and guidelines are a set of rules proposed, discussed and developed by the Wikipedia communities to describe —

  1. Community-approved procedures to carry out work, and how the community intends to do a work;
  2. Standards and best practices;

Types of policies[edit]

Indic Wikipedia policies and guidelines handbook

There are different types of policies such as—

  1. Content: which explain the scope of Wikipedia and the content that is appropriate for it. Example: Neutral point of view, Verifiability, No original research.
  2. Conduct: which outlines the standard of behaviour expected of editors and how they can successfully collaborate. Example: Civility, No personal attacks, Harassment, Ownership of content etc.
  3. Deletion: which describes criteria and different processes of deleting content that is not appropriate for the encyclopedia. Example: Criteria for speedy deletion, Proposed deletion, Attack page etc.
  4. Enforcement: which narrates the process and means by which standards may be enforced. Example: Blocking policy, Banning policy, Protection policy etc.
  5. Image: which describes image-related policies and guidelines including non-free content usage guidelines.
  6. Project-specific policies: Some Wikipedias may have project-specific policies.

Features of a policy page[edit]

A policy page should:

  1. Be clear: It should be written in direct and simple language. It should not contain unclear or ambiguous direction.
  2. Be concise: It should be concise but comprehensive. Repetitions of same points should be avoided.
  3. Explain purpose and scope: Purpose and scope of the policy should be properly explained.
  4. Reflect the community’s view: It should reflect the community’s view and consensus.
  5. Not contradict each other: A policy should not contradict any other existing policies.

Necessity of policies and guidelines[edit]

Policies and guidelines are useful because editors can easily refer to these for help, guidance and reference. Policy pages are also important to enforce the best practices of a Wikipedia community. We conducted a study on Indic Wikipedia policies and guidelines portals for little more than a month. We also talked to 30 Indic Wikipedians. Almost every Indic Wikipedian we talked to agreed that the policy portals of their Wikipedias needs to be improved.

Creating policies[edit]

If a community or an editor wants to propose a new policy or modify an existing one, these are the suggested steps.


To create a policy or modify an existing one, editors should propose it first. Creating or making major changes in policy pages without informing or discussing with the community members is generally discouraged.

A proposal may be made in these places (in decreasing order of preference):

Village pump[edit]

On Wikipedia, discussions on policies generally take place on Village pump. Village pump is a community-wide discussion board and in many Wikipedias this is the central and the most important discussion place. A Village pump page is generally watchlisted and frequently visited by active editors of Wikipedia. Hence, a Village pump is the best place to start a discussion on policy.

Here is a list of some Indic-language Wikipedia Village pumps (these Village pump pages may also be accessed using shortcut WP:VP):

  1. Assamese Wikipedia: as:ৱিকিপিডিয়া:ৰাইজৰ_চ'ৰা
  2. Bhojpuri Wikipedia: bh:विकिपीडिया:चौपाल
  3. Bengali Wikipedia: bn:উইকিপিডিয়া:আলোচনাসভা
  4. English Wikipedia: en:Wikipedia:Village_pump
  5. Goan Konkani: gom:विकिपीडिया:समाजाचे_मुखेल_पान
  6. Gujarati Wikipedia: gu:વિકિપીડિયા:ચોતરો
  7. Hindi Wikipedia: hi:विकिपीडिया:चौपाल
  8. Kannada Wikipedia: kn:ವಿಕಿಪೀಡಿಯ:ಅರಳಿ_ಕಟ್ಟೆ
  9. Maithili Wikipedia: mai:विकिपिडिया:चबुतरा
  10. Malayalam Wikipedia: ml:വിക്കിപീഡിയ:പഞ്ചായത്ത്
  11. Marathi Wikipedia: mr:विकिपीडिया:चावडी
  12. Nepali Wikipedia: ne:विकिपीडिया:चौतारी
  13. Odia Wikipedia: or:ଉଇକିପିଡ଼ିଆ:ଆଲୋଚନା_ସଭା
  14. Punjabi Wikipedia: pa:ਵਿਕੀਪੀਡੀਆ:ਸੱਥ
  15. Sanskrit Wikipedia: sa:विकिपीडिया:विचारमण्डपम्
  16. Tamil Wikipedia: ta:விக்கிப்பீடியா:ஆலமரத்தடி
  17. Telugu Wikipedia: te:వికీపీడియా:రచ్చబండ
  18. Urdu Wikipedia: ur:ویکیپیڈیا:دیوان_عام

On some Wikipedias the Village pump may be divided into multiple sub-pages such as Village pump/Policy, Village pump/Technical, Village pump/Miscellaneous etc. If there are multiple Village pump pages, a discussion should be started on the policy or proposal sub-page.

Article or project talk page[edit]

Article or project talk page is an alternative place to propose a policy change. These talk pages are used to discuss changes to its associated article or project page. Sometimes these discussions may lead to some policy change related proposals.

Policy page and its talk page[edit]

Alternatively an editor may go ahead and create a basic policy page and continue discussion on its talk page.

Initial proposal[edit]

It is important to draft a well-written initial proposal. The draft should clearly explain the changes it is proposing and its purpose.

First, a new proposal should be created using level 2 header == Header ==. Second, the editor may alternatively click on “Add topic” or “New section” too to start a discussion.


== Stub policy ==
Hello, as we know that there are many stub articles on this Wikipedia and I feel that we should concentrate more to create full-length articles. Articles with one or two lines are adding no value. I propose to create a norm to delete too short articles without references if those are not expanded after two-weeks of creation. Regards. --~~~~

This is not a well-written proposal:
== Stub policy ==
I don’t understand why do we have so many stubs on this Wikipedia, It is meaningless. --~~~~

Highlighting important discussions[edit]

Sitenotice or watchlist notice: Important Village pump discussions may be highlighted using sitenotice or watchlist notice. A sitenotice is a short message displayed at the top of all pages. It generally asks to visit any particular page or join a discussion. A watchlist notice is a similar notice that is displayed at the top of the watchlist. Generally only admins of a Wikipedia can edit or modify a sitenotice or watchlist notice.


Once a proposal is made to the community, the members will discuss it and share their feedback, opinion, and suggestions. Here the participants should discuss the scope of the policy and the extent of the area or subject matter that the policy (or the changes) will cover.


In this example the names and comments are imaginary. Here you’ll see that—

  1. An editor proposes to create a policy;
  2. Community members discuss the proposal and suggest changes;
  3. An editor initially opposes the proposal but likes the revised idea.
  4. Also note, a couple of editors did not write any statement but just voted

== Proposal on Stub Policy ==
Hello, as we know that there are many stub articles on this Wikipedia and I feel that we should concentrate more to create full-length articles. Articles with just one or two lines are adding no value. I propose to create a norm to delete too short articles without references if those are not expanded even after two weeks of creation. -- Proposer123 (talk) 12:53, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Endorse: I like this idea, actually I was going to suggest something similar. I totally agree that these stubs have no value, and most of these articles are in the same condition for a long time. -- Supporter01 (talk) 17:53, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Question: So you are asking to set a minimum prose size for new articles? -- AskerD (talk)18:37, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, that should work. We can have a guideline that suggests to add 1500 bytes and at least two references. If after 2 weeks of creating an article, it does not meet this criteria, it will be deleted. -- {{Blue|Proposer123 (talk) 19:32, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose: No need for such a policy. We have only a few editors and if we introduce such a policy, I am quite sure that we’ll lose a few editors. More importantly 1500 prose characters requisition is too much. regularly create articles, and most of these articles have 1200-1300 prose characters. -- {{Blue|OpposerABC (talk) 10:07, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Actually for a long time we have been trying to solve issue. Currently either we try to expand these articles ourselves or we go to an article creator’s talk page and request them to expand. And many of these articles are never revisited. I have seen in past that some of these articles were nominated for deletion with rationales like “Article is too short” or “Article lacks sufficient context”. So, I feel before we delete or don’t delete an article we should have a policy first. -- Proposer123 (talk) 8:09, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
  • That’s a good point. I have struck-through my !Oppose vote. But I still feel that 1500 prose character is too much. -- OpposerABC (talk) 18:29, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Revised proposal: I agree with both Proposer123 and OpposerABC. Both of them have some good points. I am slightly revising the proposal—
  1. A new article should have at least 500 prose characters and one references.
  2. Articles of 1-2 sentences with no meaningful content will be speedily deleted.
  3. A bot/a few senior editors will monitor newly created articles and notify creators to expand the article.
  4. Articles not meeting requirements after 15 days of creation will be deleted.
  5. If there are doubts, the standard deletion procedure may be used. -- WhatAnIdea (talk) 19:33, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support: These make sense. I am not sure about the bot review procedure, but let’s go with it. -- OpposerABC (talk) 12:00, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support: Good suggestion. -- IdeLo (talk) 12:20, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support: Thanks for revising the proposal. -- Proposer123 (talk) 12:20, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Endorse: -- BRB (talk) 15:32, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

Weak support: I generally dislike restrictions, but I think this is needed here. -- WeakSupporter (talk) 17:44, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Support with a suggestion/question: Of course we should we have such a policy. But let only human editors/admins allow to delete articles. I mean, bots can tag such articles or notify editors, but an admin will make decision. -- AnotherEditor (talk) 16:11, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

Endorse: -- Supporter01 (talk) 17:53, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Good point. --Proposer123 (talk) 19:39, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Closing comment: YesY There is a consensus among editors to create this stub policy. A new article should have at least 500 prose characters and one reference. Bots may be used to find and list such articles and notify editors, however any article should not be deleted automatically using bot. -- Admin990 (talk) 20:01, 19 June 2015 (UTC)


Consensus means a general agreement. Generally a discussion is allowed to run for at least 7 days. Sometimes no conclusion is reached with either no discussion happening at all or endless discussions without reaching consensus point, even after 7 days. In that case, an admin, or senior editors may allow to run it for a few more days to reach a consensus by pushing people to discuss towards a feasible argument. There is no rule on what should be the maximum timeline of completing a discussion, but undoubtedly it can not go on for months.

Consensus for guidelines and policies should be reasonably strong, though unanimity is not required. A proposal's status is not determined by counting votes. So, each and every comment should be carefully read.

Who should close a discussion?
In large communities generally admins close important discussions. But any experienced/senior editor, who is aware of Wikipedia policies and guidelines and knows how to reach a conclusion in such discussion, may close it as well. In general, an editor should not act as closer if they are involved as participants. If there are not too many active admins/editors on a Wikipedia, a participant (not the proposer or thread starter) may also act as a closer, especially if there is a clear consensus.

Should the discussion be formally closed? OR What is the procedure to close a discussion?
It is recommended to formally close a discussion. Templates like Archive top and Archive bottom may be used, but these are not mandatory. A closer should carefully study all the arguments, and add a closing comment.

YesY Good practice: A closer should add detailed closing statement with a clear note on what is the consensus, or what should be done.

Discussion is an alternative to voting: There is no formal voting procedure (i. e. they don't use Support, Oppose, Endorse etc. in their comments) for a few Wikipedia projects. Here discussions should be considered as alternative to voting.


The last part is implementing and working on the community consensus. Any editor, including the proposer, may go ahead and make necessary changes (like creating a new policy page or update an existing one). But, he/she/they must follow the consensus or the decision and suggestions of the community members. The changes should reflect the consensus of the discussion.

Modifying or updating an existing policy[edit]

To modify and update an existing policy, editors need to follow the same procedure, i.e. proposing, discussing, reaching consensus. Amendments to a policy may be discussed on the policy talk page too.


Consider a Wikipedia has a policy on stub articles already. In this imaginary example you’ll see that:

  1. An editor proposes to modify a policy;
  2. An editor initially supports but later changes the vote;
  3. Community members discuss the proposal but suggest not to implement it immediately;
  4. No consensus is reached;
  5. The discussion is closed accordingly.

== Proposal to modify Stub Policy ==
Hello, our current stub policy states that a new article should have at least 500 prose characters and one references. I am proposing to make one change that only biographies of living articles must have one references. Other articles may be unsourced. -- ProposeModifier239 (talk) 12:53, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Support: BLP articles are the most important ones. - InitialSupporter (talk) 15:32, 17 August 2015 (UTC) Striking through this vote per OpposerBB. Let’s wait. --InitialSupporter (talk) 12:56, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Question: I am confused. Why are you suggesting to make these changes? -- Asker 01 (talk) 19:53, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

I think many articles are getting deleted because of this rule. So, I propose to make it valid for biographies of living persons articles only. -- ProposeModifier239 (talk) 10:53, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose: I think it is a good idea, but just not now. -- OpposerAA 18:22, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Weak oppose: We started this policy page just 2-3 months ago and the page is serving its purpose wonderfully. No need to make any change right now. -- OpposerBB (talk) 2:21, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Closing comment: NoN No consensus to make these changes now. Consider discussing in future. -- Admin124 (talk) 13:59, 24 August 2015 (UTC)


Editors should follow policies and guidelines. If an editor violates the community standards described in policies and guidelines, other editors can persuade the person to adhere to acceptable norms of conduct, over time resorting to more forceful means, such as administrator actions.

These steps may be taken:

  • Notifying/General note: First, notify the editors of their mistakes and ask them to follow policies and guidelines.

This is an example message where an editor has been politely asked to follow Wikipedia guidelines:

Hello Username, You have recently added a few blogspot links to a few Wikipedia article. Unfortunately these links seemed to be inappropriate for an encyclopedia and don’t comply with our Reliable sources and External links policies (add policy page link if available). Take a look at these two pages to learn more about contributing to this encyclopedia. Thank you. --~~~~

  • Warning: If an editor continues to make disruptive edits event after notifying, warn them of the same.

This is a warning:

Hello, please stop adding blogspot links to Wikipedia. None of the links you are adding are following Wikipedia guidelines. If you continue to add such inappropriate links to Wikipedia, you may be blocked from editing. Thank you. --~~~~

Difference between notifying and warning
The initial notification is generally politely written where the aim is to talk to an editor and make her/him understand the mistakes. On the other hand, a warning message basically asks her/him to stop making disruptive edits. It also mentions the consequences like blocking.

Last warning
If an editor does not stop making disruptive edits even after general note(s) and warning(s), a last or final warning may be given.

This is an example of a last or final warning message:


This is the last warning. You may be blocked from editing Wikipedia without further warning the next time you insert an inappropriate link. -- Tito Dutta (talk) 09:20, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

  • Reporting: The next step is reporting. If an editor does not stop making disruptive edits still, action should be taken against the editor. Admins may directly block the editor (see the next point for more details), and non-admin editors should report the disruption. These are the placed where a report can be made: (in decreasing order of preference).
  1. Administrators’ noticeboard: If a Wikipedia has an administrator's’ noticeboard, it should be the best place to report, as many admins frequently watch this page.
  2. Village pump: If a Wikipedia does not have a separate administrators’ noticeboard, a report may be made at a Village pump too.
  3. Administrators’ talk pages: Another option is contacting an admin directly on his or her talk page and inform about the editor.
  • Blocking: The last step is blocking. This is the method by which editors may technically be prevented from editing. On Wikipedia only administrators may block other editors and IP addresses. Even after giving the last warning, if an editor does not make changes to their editing pattern, they should blocked from editing.
  1. Temporary block: Initially an editor may be blocked temporarily, e.g. for 48 hours or 72 hours. Other temporary blocks such as blocking for 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month etc. may be tried as well.
  2. Indefinite block: If an editor shows no sign of improvement in performance and behavior even after temporary blocks, they should be blocked indefinitely.

Generally after blocking, an editor is notified on their talk page that they have blocked temporarily or indefinitely. Such a message generally contains the following information:

  1. Blocking reason: What was the reason of the block.
  2. Blocking period: Is it a temporary or indefinite block? If it is a temporary block, when is it going to expire?
  3. Unblocking procedure: The way an editor can appeal to get unblocked.

Example This is an example message notifying a block:
You have been blocked for 72 hours from editing Wikipedia for adding spam links. Once the block has expired, you are welcome to make useful contributions. If you think there are good reasons why you should be unblocked, you may appeal this block by first reading the guide to appealing blocks, then adding the following text below this notice: {{unblock|reason=Your reason here ~~~~}}. --~~~~