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There was a Whinge Wars article on Wikipedia. However, due to the aggressive efforts of Wikipedia editors, it was deleted after about a week.

What excuses did the editors make?Edit

The editors who deleted the article claimed that because there was no other information apart from the source website. Apparently Wikipedia only accepts information which is available elswhere online.

The ArgumentEdit

Below is the full debate which was sparked by the deletion of Whinge Wars:

It seems to me that, while wikipedia is presented as the encycleopedia that anyone can edit, this is very misleading. It seems a lot more like an encycleopaedia which only experienced, well connected people who know all the tricks to keep their articles on and delete other people's can edit. And also, the rules are supposed to be all community driven and democratic, but democracy doesn't work when most people are wrong about something. It is the more experienced editors who know how to change things on wikipedia, and these are the people who the unfair, biased, current system benefits. I keep hearing the saying 'When in Rome, Do as the Romans'. I prefer the saying 'Be in the world, but not of the world'. Just because most people are wrong, that doesn't mean I should be wrong as well. It also seems that people on here enjoy deleting people's articles for fun, however much they may make excuss about 'official wikipedia rules'. so I think the whole sysem needs sorting out, but the chances are this will never happen, because of who gets to make the decisions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alicianpig (talkcontribs) 12:42, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

This desk is "to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines." Why did you post the above rant here? ╟─TreasuryTagSyndic General─╢ 14:49, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
You know, I'm really tired of seeing new editors attacked and belittled for not knowing all the rules. This includes the removal of the editor's comments above by TreasuryTag [1] ([2]) after I restored them once before. [3] [4] While I have to assume Bob House 884 just didn't know any better because he is a fairly new editor, TreasuryTag is not a new editor. In the case of TreasuryTag's removal of this editor's comments, this has got to be one of the most blatent disregards for WP:AGF and WP:BITE that I've seen. --Tothwolf (talk) 14:59, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I never questioned Alicianpig's good faith. I said that they posted their rant on the wrong noticeboard, because it is clearly not a proposed new policy or a discussion of existing policies. ╟─TreasuryTagstannary parliament─╢ 15:01, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
On the contrary, it expresses a viewpoint about the way policies ("rules") are applied on WP. Many threads on this page are far more off-topic than this.--Kotniski (talk) 15:05, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Just to say, I removed the comment initially because it seemed plainly outside the scope of the board and didn't seem likely to attract any constructive comment. Perhaps hatting would have been a better idea. Slightly ironically it seems that the cause of Alicianpig's stress is the impending deletion of an article called 'Whinge wars' Bob House 884 (talk) 15:10, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
(Directed at the OP) Instead of making vague generalizations, can you give specific examples of what you're referring to? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 15:11, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I think that the OP may be making a reference to Wikipedians' general scepticism of the WP:BROTHER excuse! ╟─TreasuryTagsenator─╢ 15:14, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Ah, that might explain things; however, I do see Alicianpig was given a dose of good faith there, which is, after all, what we're supposed to do around here. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 15:18, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Tempest in a tea pot, really, hatting would be likely been better. We should go have a refreshing beverage. But am I correct that implying another editor is a troll in an edit summary could be interpreted as a personal attack? --Nuujinn (talk) 15:16, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
It wouldn't be the first time. [5] This also begs the question if TreasuryTag wasn't simply trying to revert my restoration of Alicianpig's comments here because I had warned them for canvassing [6] here on VPP for this section above. Sigh. WP:POINT, anyone? --Tothwolf (talk) 16:16, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
TreasuryTag you did question Alicianpig's good faith, by calling them a troll in an edit summary. GB fan (talk) 15:13, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Don't know the particulars here, but Wikipedia is a vicious place for new editors. Imagine a world with zillions of imperfectly written rules where everything done violates a literal broad interpration of them, and where every person (including social misfits) is given a badge and a gun. That is the WP world to a new editor. North8000 (talk) 15:32, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. TheParasite (talk) 15:34, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Note that North8000 (talk · contribs) and TheParasite (talk · contribs) are the same person [7] – ╟─TreasuryTagconstabulary─╢ 15:56, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
With the exception of the "badge and a gun", wouldn't that be real life? –MuZemike 08:09, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Speaking as an occasional but serious editor, still a newbie in many ways, I have to say that I do not have a problem with understanding and following the rules once they are pointed out to me (which sometimes had to happen repeatedly.) I find the experienced and active editors to be friendly and helpful without exception. I do get irritated with editors who persist, sometimes in very mischievous ways which stay within the "rules", to push their (obviously) biased PoV. I have to work hard at disciplining myself not to retaliate in kind, and I think I have mostly been successful. I love what Wikipedia is doing, and I am pleased and proud to have played a small part in it. pietopper (talk) 22:23, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
  • With regards to the "particulars" in which why the complainant is here, I need to repeat that Wikipedia is not the place to post stuff that is completely unverifiable or otherwise madeup; see Wikipedia:Verifiability for details. This is an encyclopedia which relies on information that is verified by reliable, independent sources and that are neutral. If the complainant cannot understand those very basic things, then there is not much we can do to help. –MuZemike 08:24, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Of course Wikipedia isn't the place for unverifiable material, but we still shouldn't bite and bash a newbie over the head when they attempt to express their frustration with the general unfriendliness of the system. --Tothwolf (talk) 17:06, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • I completely agree with Alicianpig - it's amazing that 'the free encyclopedia' can have such a vicious hierarchy which seems to take great pleasure from removing posts from new editors. How is Wikipedia supposed to encourage more people to start editing, when anyone who accidentally violates the smallest, most inane rule is slapped with an angry notice and sees their article/post deleted? I once referenced an online news story about an event which happened in July 2008. In the article, I accidentally wrote that it happened in 2007. Clearly a typo - but what does the editor at the top of the food chain do? Instead of correcting the obvious, one-character error, he/she decides to delete my article. This is exactly the sort of thing the 'important' people endorse - they assume they have some sort of power and decide to use it to make the whole experience difficult for new editors. — Preceding unsigned comment added by R013 (talkcontribs) 09:40, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    First off, there are differences between your case and Alicianpig's above – you were writing about stuff that were more viable, as opposed to something that was completely unverifiable or otherwise madeup. Second, it is not your article – once you hit the "Save page" button, it becomes the community's article and can be edited at will by others, within common sense and basic policies, of course. Moreover, I highly doubt an administrator deleted the article in question because of one minor typo. –MuZemike 13:29, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • "It seems a lot more like an encycleopaedia which only experienced, well connected people who know all the tricks to keep their articles on and delete other people's can edit."In some way this is true. Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a place where everybody can write whatever he or she wants to. In order for this to work, there have to be some rules, otherwise everybody would just make what he or she wanted to and no encyclopedia would be built.

Also, I think that I am also still a relatively new editor (I started editing in mid 2010). And I have made some mistakes since then. At the beginning, I really had no idea, where to look for anything I wanted to know (rules or policies for example). My experience is, it requires some time to be able to become a "well working editor". You can't expect to simply jump in and know all the nos and goes of Wikipedia. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes in good faith. I have also made a number of mistakes since I began editing here. I think you simply have to take Wikipedia a bit serious and you should always try to improve your knowledge of the working of Wikipedia. If you don't know how something works, don't just give up. If you really can't make sense of something yourself, you can always ask at WP:Help desk. Don't be afraid to ask question you think might sound silly, simply bring up what you have problems with, and try to behave as intended (eg try to avoid coming into the NOs part of Wikipea, such as Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not). For example, Wikipedia is not a democracy. And if there is anything you need help with, you can always ask me on my talk page. I simply try to be a helpful part of this community and while there are editors who bite other people or might seem unfriendly, there are also a lot of welcoming people on Wikipedia. I hope I am one of them. Cheers. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 11:21, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

  • A lot of Wikipedians have problems with the hierarchy, bureaucracy and sometimes difficult to understand, or to access, rules that WP operates on. Sometimes this results in inequity or BITEyness and sometimes we all want to complain about it, but this thread does not contain any actionable proposal. Have a cup of tea and visit the help desk if you need help. Bob House 884 (talk) 14:04, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Actionable isn't the point. There is active discussion going on here and I've undone your close of this discussion thread. --Tothwolf (talk) 16:53, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
  • (edit was simultaneous with the closing) Us who have have been down in the rabbit hole in the Wikipedia alternate universe for some time should realize that newcomers sometimes may have a better perspective than we have. North8000 (talk) 14:06, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

It's time for some massive change I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who seemed to agree with me about the unfairness of the current wikipedia system with regards to the treatment of new editors. I think that if so many people disagree with the way more experienced editors aggressively treat newer ones, maybe it is time for this to be changed. Please leave your opinions about this below (Alicianpig (talk) 17:24, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

Agree that change is needed

I'm not entirely sure this is relevant. However, deleting it would go entirely against what I'm trying to say. (even though your post was actually pointless, thanks for giving me an oppurtunity to make this point)(Alicianpig (talk) 18:11, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

Disagree that change is needed
Other

Right yeah 'change' - are you actually suggesting something? Bob House 884 (talk) 17:27, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm thinking about changing the rules so that it is not so easy to delete other people's articles and so the rules are less complicated (as this gives an advantage to experienced people who learn them). However, I'm interested to hear what other, possibly more experienced editors, have to say about this issue. Thanks for asking, I didn't make it very clear to start with. (Alicianpig (talk) 17:34, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

I'm inclined to think that your experience at wikipedia might be better if you didn't upload obvious copyright violations (File:Vishling.jpg), didn't make personal attacks [8], and didn't write insulting things on people's own personal pages [9] and maybe didnt ask other people to come and sabotage wikipedia on an off-site website [10]. All of these things are real world rules - they're easy enough to stick to with a healthy dose of common sense. People might be more inclined to help you out if you stuck to the more obvious stuff like that - you can then try to get to grips with the more complicated ideas which are specific to wikipedia like WP:Notability (which is why your article got deleted) and WP:Verifiability. Regards, Bob House 884 (talk) 17:43, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
This is nothing to do with the system or policy, just a need for consideration for inexperienced users.--Charles (talk) 17:48, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
The OP appears to be unfamiliar with WP:BITE. --Jayron32 17:53, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Are you referring to me or to Alicianpig? Bob House 884 (talk) 17:55, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Not you. --Jayron32 18:12, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. Regards, Bob House 884 (talk) 18:14, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Oh. so it's bad doing that stuff, but it's ok to do vicious, underhand stuff as long as it fits in with the ridiculous rules on this website. It's ok to repeatedly come up with different excuses to delete someones website. It's ok to call someone a sockpuppeteer and a troll. It's ok to accuse them of breaking copyright laws with a photo they NEVER ACTUALLY ENDED UP PUTTING IN THEIR ARTICLE. I think I'm starting to get the idea. If you're an experienced editor who knows the tricks of the trade, sure, it's fine to do bad stuff, go ahead, as long as you keep within your own stupid rules. But a new editor doing what's necessary to fight his own against repeated harassment and aggression? Who could think such a ridiculous thing?.(Alicianpig (talk) 18:05, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

Are you, Alicianpig, asking for help or are you just here to express anger because you didn't get your way? --Jayron32 18:12, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Both, and more. Not just on a personal level, I do think that there needs to be a certain amount of help and protection for newcomers. However, I am also expressing a certain amount of anger about how I have been treated by certain editors so far, both with regards to my Whinge Wars article, and also to my suggestions of change. Thanks for asking. (Alicianpig (talk) 18:22, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

The main reason for your concern seems to be the deletion of your article Whinge wars at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Whinge wars. I see there is also an attempt to recruit people to keep the article at http://whingewars.weebly.com/news-and-updates.html. See Wikipedia:Canvassing. In [11] (admin only diff of deleted page) you wrote:
"This is not a made up game
Due to the current small scale of this game, there is no information available other than the source website. However, this does not necessarily mean it is made up, just that it has little online presence. As it is not a commercially available or predominantly online game, the internet does not have much information about it. This is why it is necessary for the information to be published on wikipedia, so the information is accessible online somewhere other than the actual website. It is a mistake to say that there is no online information about it, because this article IS the online information. If wikipedia only contains information which is available elsewhere, there is very little point in it existing"
Regardless of how new editors are treated, the above is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Wikipedia is for. The article would also have been deleted if it had been written by an experienced editor knowing all the rules. Nobody would be able to satisfy Wikipedia's source requirements if the only source in existence is the subjects own website. Wikipedia is exactly for containing information which is available elsewhere in reliable sources, but collected here in a free encyclopedic format. See also Wikipedia:Verifiability. You will not get this fundamental principle changed. And there are millions of selfpublished websites. Wikipedia is not the place to duplicate the Internet or advertise almost unknown subjects which "need" a Wikipedia presence to become better known. PrimeHunter (talk) 18:25, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree with PrimeHunter here. I thought several other editors made this clear several threads above. Wikipedia is not intended as a substitute for the rest of the Internet, but rather it is a complement. This all concerns an article you created that was doing to be deleted regardless of how lax we would have been with the guidelines we have. Once again, it is (or was) not your article; once you hit that "Save page" button, it becomes the community's article and can be edited at will, within common sense and the basic rules we have. That is one of the most basic aspects of a wiki-editing environment (its communal nature), and editors who cannot understand that will likely not get along well here.

As far as the perceived harassment is concerned, we have several people who are trying to help you and trying to guide you in the correct direction, but, from what I have seen so far, you have not tried to follow our guidance. If you feel you have a problem with being harassed, then I suggest that you step back a bit and try to put things in perspective.

That being said, when I started here some 3 years ago, to me, it seemed like common sense that we try and build up articles whose content is verifiable, and that not everything under the sun is going to be included; otherwise, Wikipedia ceases to be what its primary purpose is – which is an encyclopedia. –MuZemike 21:27, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

That's what I'm trying to say. If the old rules are wrong, however 'fundamental' they may be, surely they need changing. Nothing is really ever going to be changed if no one is willing to do anything more than modify the most minute rules. (Alicianpig (talk) 06:25, 21 June 2011 (UTC))

I tend to agree with all of this (and the reason that it's being brought up, because the user "lost" at AFD, certainly doesn't help), except... NPP'ers and vandal patrollers still seem to get overzealous or burnt out from time to time. More importantly, I think that many of us who have been around for a while have become somewhat "ossified" in our thinking, which is exemplified by your closing comment MuZemike. I find the whole "Wikipedia is too big!" thinking to be unproductive, and I suspect that it's more of a reflection of some user's need for control rather then anything that is really related to the encyclopedia.

V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 22:14, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I find myself wondering why it is people seem to have already forgotten about the results from Wikipedia:Newbie treatment at Criteria for speedy deletion (related Signpost article)? --Tothwolf (talk) 22:47, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it can (seem to?) be an extremely bitey place, even for an intelligent person. My first 'comeback' edits disappeared insanely quickly, because I was unfamiliar with the rules (obviously! How many people, in all seriousness, are going to read the whole rule book before making a one-sentence or two-sentence edit?) If I had not been me, I might have just never come back, instead of trying to find out what happened and where I went wrong. And we really do need to remember that some newbies can be real youngsters, and what seems mightily important to them may be complete crap to the rest of us - but it doesn't mean that they don't have the ability to turn into really useful members of the community, given the right nurturing. Imagine if the newbie you'd just given a severe bite to turned out to be a very bright 10 year old kid with a load of potential, who spent the next week crying themselves to sleep every night. Hmmmm. I'll bet Einstein himself could have looked pretty trollish as a kid. We really mustn't assume that all our newbies are adults, and likely to respond and react and interact in an adult manner. And DO remember - we have some exceptional young-teen editors on-site; they have to start somewhere! Yes, some people are just trolls. But some really do just need a bit more guidance than others, and could turn out good - instead of just walking away whimpering, or biting back.
Always remember, in your interactions with someone who just doesn't seem to 'get it', that this could be a kid you're talking to. They're not going to 'get it' like a 17+-year-old will! And they may not even know what some of the words and phrases you're using even mean! Pesky (talkstalk!) 05:06, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
With all due respect, I don't get what is so "ossifying" about requiring that content be verified by stuff that is reliable rather than from some "Joe Schmoe forumite" or "I heard it somewhere" source. Moreover, I'm not suggesting that "Wikipedia is too big", as we're already at over 3.5 million articles and increasing daily – including topics from Abraham Lincoln to Toilet paper orientation. However, there is a threshold for what we include and don't include, and that one most basic policy is one of our gauges of that. –MuZemike 15:50, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Proposal: why don't we try and make sure that our rules and guidelines are written in a vocabulary that our younger editors can actually understand without having to have a dictionary on-hand while they read them? Young !=stupid. But it can very reasonably = reduced vocabulary. So, with rules and guidelines, the first one to follow is WP:KISS. This might not only solve quite a few problems, but actually encourage and retain the next generation of Wikipedians. If we can't make our rules easy to understand, then the fault lies with us, not with them. Pesky (talkstalk!) 05:24, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Real proposal - project Re-wording templates, rules, all-sorts.

Suggest adding a "The Simplest Explanation" sentence to the top of each rule page.

Example:

  • NPOV = "Don't take sides. Anyone reading what you've written shouldn't be able to guess which side you're on."
    • (I boldly did that one)
  • Verifiability : "people have to be able to check that you didn't just make it up!" Maybe?
    • Boldly did that, too.
      • ... aaaand ... just got reverted! Oh, well .... Pesky (talkstalk!) 07:07, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Bite: "don't be too harsh on new editors"

Simple stuff. Who do we have who's creative enough and interested enough to make this work? Pesky (talkstalk!) 06:12, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

This sounds like a very good idea. (Alicianpig (talk) 06:26, 21 June 2011 (UTC))

Ahhh, good! I've done two 'simple explanation' things - can you go check them out, please? They're at WP:NPOV and WP:V. :o) Pesky (talkstalk!) 06:36, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
This all seems to me to be a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. If people are unable to read the guidelines as they are written, they are not going to be able to contribute writing of the quality required for an encyclopedia. The "nutshell" versions are concise and clear, and I don't see a need for two one-sentence summaries of the policies. ~ Mesoderm (talk) 07:46, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
There are many things people can do that don't involve writing high-quality prose, but still require understanding the policies. For example, Alicianpig does not appear to have understood that merely uploading a copyrighted picture to Wikipedia is itself a serious copyright violation, even if s/he never linked the picture into an article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:51, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

People who fall foul of the rules, either because they don't even know what they are, that the rules exist, etc., are our target-audience for the policy pages. In order to be able to understand what the policies actually mean, so that we can make sure they don't continue to fall foul of them, there has to be a dead-simple explanation which that target audience can understand. As we're for the main part likely to be talking about newbies, and often young newbies, it's therefore our responsibility to make sure that there's a jargon-free, readily-understandable 'simple concept' thing right near the top of the page. There's almost always a way of describing a concept so that a 12-year-old can at least understand what we mean by what we're saying; and if we write the entire page in language which is hard for them to understand, from start to finish, then we can hardly blame them for our failure to make it clear to them. It may be one's view that 12-year-olds shouldn't be trying to edit Wikipedia in the first place, or that 12-year-olds should come to us ready-equipped with an internal WikiJargon dictionary - but that's not what happens in real life. The target audience for policy pages is going to be precisely those people who don't yet know the rules or understand the jargon. Pesky (talkstalk!) 10:35, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

  • I think you have a very good point. There was a previous small scale study on the readability of user warnings which was covered in the May 16, 2011 Signpost. It might not be a bad idea at all to see a larger study done for all of our guidelines and policies. I seem to remember there also being a bot-generated list of the most frequently cited policies and guidelines but I can't find it now. --Tothwolf (talk) 12:14, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Tothwolf, as and when you can find it, could you please let me have a list of those? If we can improve the understandability of the first thing people see in all the guidelines they get pointed to, that would be a great start :o) Anything we can do which makes the basic concepts really easy to grab will reduce the necessity for subsequent re-explanations, and ultimately potentially save everyone a lot of time and heartache. This is the idea. Pesky (talkstalk!) 21:18, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Template, please? Can someone do this? I feel that the 'simplest explanation' thing should be in a box right under 'this page in a nutshell'. :o) Pesky (talkstalk!) 06:46, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

So we're going to have a "In a nutshell" box with a once-sentence summary of the policy, and then below that there will be another box with a one-sentence summary of the policy for people who lack reading comprehension? ~ Mesoderm (talk) 07:46, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
No, not the point, quite. We need to make sure that whatever summary we have can be understood by pretty much anyone capable of clicking on the link to the page they've been directed to. I'm really hoping that we can get this done - even if people don't yet have the ability to understand the in-depth explanations - or even the 'in a nutshell' explanation (because some of those aren't 'simple'!) they really have to be able to understand the purpose of the rule at an elementary level. We can't just throw people in at the deep end of vocabulary, particularly if they're new - and those are exactly the type of people who'll be being directed to those pages. Anything we can do to recude biteyness has to be a good thing, on the whole. Pesky (talkstalk!) 07:57, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
What does your suggested one-sentence summary do that is different from the one-sentence summary in the "Nutshell" box? Can you give me an example of a "Nutshell" box that uses difficult language? Can you explain why you feel that it wouldn't be better to just rewrite the "Nutshell" box to use simpler language? ~ Mesoderm (talk) 08:06, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Rewriting the 'nutshell' box is certainly an alternative way to go about this. My suggestion - of really dead-simple wording - will get the idea across to absolutely everybody, including the 12-year-old who wants to put something in about thier favourite place / game / whatever. If they can't understand what we mean, and make mistakes because of that, then that's our fault, not theirs. Pesky (talkstalk!) 08:13, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
This is an encyclopedia, not a collection of trivia about 12-year-olds' favorite comic book characters. We don't need to cater to people who can't read. ~ Mesoderm (talk) 08:25, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
"representing all significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias" isn't that easy for a youngster to 'get'. "don't take sides!" they understand from very early on! Pesky (talkstalk!) 08:15, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Now I think I understand what you're trying to say. You're not concerned about the vocabulary, really. You're actually concerned with people not understanding the purpose of the policies. Is this correct? ~ Mesoderm (talk) 08:39, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘ My concern is that at least the basics of each rule, the why and the how, must be able to be understood by the person we've just directed to the page, whoever they are. It seems unfair to expect people to abide by rules which we can't make really clear for them, and all of us should be able to word things in a way in which people don't have to be totally fluent in the jargon to understand. I hope this is clear :o) So, a summary which a 12-year-old can understand will help them not to fall foul of the rule. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:02, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

I just removed "Innocent until proven guilty" from wp:Assume good faith because that is not what AGF means. This a serious danger when you try to explain policies in 6 year old language. Take for example your "don't pick sides", that is not what the actual policy says. For example we write the moon landing happened and only provide a small section about the people who say it didn't. If we didn't pick sides we would have to treat them as equal, but as the undue weight section explains we don't do that. "don't pick sides" completely ignores that section of the policy and would therefore actually cause new editors to misunderstand the policy. Yoenit (talk) 11:34, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
The vast majority of 12 years olds won't understand most of the concepts anyway, not matter how simplistically you break down the content. I understand where you are coming from, Pesky, but I think it is a mistake to equate a lack of clarity (or failure to understand) the policies with the choice of language. Talking simplistically doesn't often have the effect that is expected. The policy pages are primarily there to record, in detail, the established policy of Wikipedia. Making them understandable is probably best done as a separate "project" - perhaps a collection of pages expressing the policies in various simple and effective ways that can be used to link new users lacking comprehension.
Although, at the end of the day, no matter how simple or clear you make something there are still many people for whom it will not "click"--Errant (chat!) 11:57, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

You don't have to get all the small details into a 'The simplest explanation sentence. You just have to get the general point across. for example 'don't take sides' doesn't give you an exact, detailed explanation of NPOV, but it gets the general sentiment across. (Alicianpig (talk) 12:19, 21 June 2011 (UTC))

The problem is that it doesn't really. Such an explanation is useful advice for an editor, of course, but isn't really the NPOV policy --Errant (chat!) 12:26, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
As Mesoderm already pointed out, that's what we have {{nutshell}} for. I think most of them are written pretty reasonably, but if there is room for improvement, then changes are welcome, though care should be taken per Yoenit's points above. It is understood that there is often initial confusion, and that's what we have WP:BITE for. Otherwise, if someone really doesn't have enough competency in the English language to grasp the meaning of the policies (whether it is because they are 10 years old or speak English non-natively, or have a learning disability or etc.), then maybe the Simple English Wikipedia is the place for them. —Akrabbimtalk 12:33, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Anything that gets even the beginning of the idea across has to be better than something which people shy away from. Sometimes you have to do a minor 'not-quite-accurate' version of something, just to give people a foothold on the thing. See Lying_to_children; that explains it pretty well.
I should probably point out here that I'm actually a trained & qualified instructor myself, and have been since (eeek!) 1977! I've taught all ages, and obviously don't teach beginners and advanced students the same way. Beginners progress to more advanced knowledge, and more advanced explanations, as they go along. Pesky (talkstalk!)

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