Wikibooks:Decision making/Unstable

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Wikibookians may not always agree with each others decisions and sometimes decisions which effect the Wikibooks community come up which need to be discussed beforehand. This proposal tries to address these concerns and provide guidelines on how to resolve them.

Decision making[edit source]

The best way to resolve a dispute is to avoid one in the first place.

Textbooks are created by making bold changes and through cooperation between users. People naturally feel protective about the work that they create. When someone makes changes you consider biased or inaccurate, do not simply revert the changes, improve it instead. The revision you would prefer will not be established by reverting. Wikibookians are strongly encouraged to follow several basic principles:

  1. Following the NPOV policy can help you write "defensively", and limit your own bias in your writing.
  2. Provide a good edit summary when making significant changes that other users might object to.
  3. Assume good faith and treat changes as reasonable and positive.
  4. Be civil and respectful of the opinions and decisions made by other Wikibookians.
  5. Discuss changes you disagree with on the talk page. If you encounter rude or inappropriate behavior, resist the temptation to respond unkindly, and remain civil.

When disputes cannot be avoided. The most important tools Wikibookians have for resolving disputes are compromise and consensus. By following a general decision making process disputes can be resolved more easily.

High impact decisions[edit source]

High impact decisions involve the adoption, adaptation or rejection of policies and guidelines and other decisions that have a long term effect on the culture and structure of Wikibooks. These decisions must always be made through the process of building a community consensus. Such decisions include:

  1. Making a Wikibookian an administrator or a bureaucrat
  2. Giving a Wikibookian checkuser rights or bot rights
  3. Modifying official Wikibooks policies and guidelines
  4. Changing the status of policies and guidelines (such as from proposed to official)
  5. Establishing the voting rules for low impact decisions
  6. Determining whether a page containing substantive content that is not unambiguously outside our inclusion criteria should be deleted

Low impact decisions[edit source]

Low impact decisions involve proposals that express the community's preferences and feelings about issues that fall well below the level of policies and guidelines, and do not affect the long term culture or structure of Wikibooks. For these sorts of decisions, Wikibookians are welcome to employ multiple means for decision-making, including consensus, majority votes or 3rd party arbitration. Consensus is the manner in which a dispute should be settled if no another method is agreed upon by all Wikibookians involved. The manner in which a dispute is settled may change if the majority of involved Wikibookians agree to the changed.

Examples of low impact decisions are:

  1. Determining what books should be listed as featured books.
  2. Determining the content, structure or scope of a single textbook or project.
  3. Creating a new policy or guideline proposal.

Process[edit source]

Anyone may start a good faith discussion to discuss any issues and voice their opinion. Decision making relies upon Wikibookians engaging in negotiation and compromise through civil discussions that ultimately leads to a vast majority of involved Wikibookians agreeing on some decision. There is only one allowable voice per person, not one voice per username. Wikibookians with multiple accounts should not post opinions from more then one account. Remember: comments are judged on their quality, not on their quantity. Comments that are suspected of being cast in bad faith may be discarded.

There is no single "right way" to achieve consensus, however discussions should last long enough that all Wikibookians who may be interested are given an opportunity to join in and voice their opinion. One possible step-by-step process for discussions and working towards consensus is:

  1. A clearly publicized proposal is made and discussion about the proposal is invited by all interested Wikibookians.
  2. The proposal is discussed and initial concerns may be raised.
  3. If initial concerns are raised, these are discussed. The proposal may be modified during these discussions.
  4. A call for consensus regarding the proposal is made in the form of a discussion and subsequent measurement of the degree of consensus with a straw poll.
  5. If there are no objections within a reasonable timeframe, the proposal is accepted and affirmative "community consensus" has been reached on the proposal.
  6. If there are still objections, the objections should be discussed and:
    1. The proposal may be dropped. Affirmative "community consensus" for the proposal was not reached.
    2. The proposal may be modified to address these objections and resubmitted for discussion.
    3. A call for determining any consensus regarding the proposal may be made, disregarding objections. A call for this second measurement of the degree of consensus should not be made lightly if there are still objections and should only occur after substantive good faith discussion of both the proposal and objections has taken place. The community can:
      1. Accept the proposal in spite of objections, and affirmative "community consensus" has been reached.
      2. Not accept the proposal as "community consensus" has not been reached and repeat the process if necessary.

Discussions once started must not be forked, but may be moved if the vast majority of Wikibookians agree to it or the dispute has been resolved. Discussions which have been moved should be clearly indicated so that anyone wishing to add to a discussion can find it. Each comment in a discussion should be signed (using four tildes: ~~~~), to identify the Wikibookian. Anonymous comments will not be given any weight or consideration, and may be removed altogether. Important discussions should be publicized in the Wikibooks:Staff lounge and on the Wikibooks:Bulletin board, or other high-traffic areas. For high-impact decisions, discussions and debates should be left open as long as progress towards reaching consensus is being made.

User responses[edit source]

Wikibookians who strongly disagree with the community consensus may consider the following options:

  1. Propose alternatives or alterations to existing decisions.
  2. Concede to the community's decision.
  3. Take a wikibreak to cool off.