Forums > Senate Hall archive > SH Archive/Trash compactor revamp

As you may have noticed, the trash compactor preload template no longer has the "keep", "merge", "redirect", and "delete" headers.

This was a deliberate decision. Please do not re-add them.

First, these are vague. Merge where? Redirect where? People have a tendency to just vote under one of these without specifying where.

Second, it makes no sense for some articles (for example, if merge is proposed, not deletion), and more options may arise.

A single list, ordered chronologically, is enough; furthermore, it forces people to actually type their decisions and reasoning, which requires more thought than simply voting under an appropriate header. Voting is evil, it encourages sockpuppetry, and makes people adopt inane policies requiring a specific number of edits, which merely deals with the symptoms instead of dealing with a larger problem: the problem of voting vs. discussion.

To anyone who says "We are not Wikipedia": we aren't. But stating a knee-jerk rejection of a process change just because "it's Wikipedia" makes even more sense than mindlessly adopting everything from Wikipedia. I'm not adopting mindlessly; I'm comparing their best practices with ours, and adopting whatever feels more reasonable.

Going by the "a discussion, not a vote" routine, please read Wookieepedia:Arguments to avoid in trash compactor discussions. - Sikon 11:52, 6 May 2007 (UTC)


  • This was a deliberate decision. Did you decide on it or did somebody somewhere agree on it? Were we informed about this before the vfd was put up? If so, where?
  • First, these are vague. Merge where? Redirect where? People have a tendency to just vote under one of these without specifying where. Well, "keep" and "delete" are pretty clear. These were not included in the argumentation. So, what's ambiguous about "keep" and "delete"?
  • A single list, ordered chronologically, is enough; furthermore, it forces people to actually type their decisions and reasoning, which requires more thought than simply voting under an appropriate header. The thought of forcing people into doing something is not particularly appealing. Headerless vfds do not logically prevent voting without reasoning. All it takes is to write "keep" and "delete" and signing unless a policy is implemented which proscribes argumentless voting.
  • Voting is evil Somehow a worrying statement :-P
  • encourages sockpuppetry, and makes people adopt inane policies requiring a specific number of edits, which merely deals with the symptoms instead of dealing with a larger problem: the problem of voting vs. discussion. Ah, okay. Well, the solution you propose does not logically prevent sockpuppetry anymore than voting encourages it. It is still possible to create a bunch of sockpuppets and come up with some arguments for each of them. I'm not sure I fully grasp the part about inane policies and stuff.
Please don't get pissed off or annoyed with these comments and questions. KEJ 12:31, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
  • When saying "inane policies", I refer to the proposal which, sadly, passed, and which could only arise on a wiki where votes are considered more important than the arguments behind them. (I'm not against filtering out single issue voters, but I'm against elevating this to policy status with arbitrary numbers.) Sockpuppets providing arguments are still better than sockpuppets not providing arguments, and it requires extra effort that may encourage the sockpuppeteer to simply not bother. Obviously, nobody can force users to clearly state an argument (and there should be no policy forcing people to do so), just like on Wikipedia, but it does encourage discussion and compromise-seeking. As for "voting is evil", see m:Polls are evil and Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion. - Sikon 13:00, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Thank you for the answers. I fail to see how sockpuppets providing arguments can be better than sockpuppets just providing votes, though. Oh, and I guess, at least on a theoretical plane, there's still the potential for 'single issue argument providers'. KEJ 13:40, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
      • As I said: it requires extra effort, and so the sockpuppeteer is less likely to bother. So a system based on arguments instead of vote counting naturally discourages sockpuppetry. After all, the sockpuppeteers can just state all these arguments themselves instead of creating sockpuppets just for that purpose. - Sikon 13:43, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
        • How, if not by counting votes, are we going to settle whether an article is to be deleted or not? KEJ 13:48, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
    • (If you think that policy is no good, why not set up a new CT to get rid of it?) —Silly Dan (talk) 13:14, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
      • It was only recently adopted, and starting a new CT to get rid of it would mean turning CT into a nomic. And I don't want it to end up like this. The community adopted this policy; I'm not particularly happy about it, but I have no choice but to abide. - Sikon 13:18, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Against how Wookieepedia OperatesEdit

The thing is, this is totally against how Wookieepedia operates. We *do* count votes here, on every issue that matters, and it's worked sufficiently well for us since we started. Look at the Consensus Track - it's setting up options and counting votes for them, with arguments typically handled in the comments area. The same is often the case on disputed talk pages (e.g. the recent Vader's Apprentice debate), on our Requests for user rights page, and pretty much everywhere else where more than one person is making a decision; the only thing that separates our decision making processes from a standard, run-of-the-mill democratic voting system is we require an amorphous, ill-defined supermajority that we can label "consensus" instead of hard and fast numbers. I think, if changes are truly needed, we're better off codifying those numbers and being a democracy de jure, since we already ARE one de facto, rather than trying to emulate Wikipedia's system. jSarek 04:20, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

  • I agree with jSarek, that Trash Compactor should be changed back to the format it had earlier. I still think that the Single issue voters policy is seriously flawed, but this is patently silly. Atarumaster88 04:23, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
    • I think switching to this system should have been voted on.... or discussed with comments that are indicative of our opinions. -- Ozzel 04:33, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I think the best possible way to do this would be to return to the previous format, but import WP:NOT#ANARCHY, WP:NOT#DEMOCRACY, and WP:NOT#BUREAUCRACY. This would retain the voting system so that we have a strong gauge of consensus, but would also keep decisions from being strictly restricted by vote count. Admins would, in short, be free to implement late-added options, such as a particular merge, if they seem the best way to go but were added to late to garner a majority vote, or could settle on a keep or delete vote if it was strongly argued by a few users but opposed by a majority of users who seem to be basing their votes on poor criteria or a misunderstanding of the situation. It would allow latitude and increase the importance of argument, but it would also retain votes as a means to gather consensus. Havac 04:45, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Well said, Havac. I fully agree. --School of Thrawn 101 04:56, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
      • It also puts final decisionmaking power in the hands of the admins. I'm not sure I prefer that to a straight vote. That kind of locus of power is something we generally try to avoid. jSarek 06:12, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
        • Well, I suppose my one stipulation would be that it would have to be a consensus of admins for any additional changes to be made to a user-made decision. Thanks for pointing that out jSarek. -- 06:21, 7 May 2007 (UTC) (Mine. --School of Thrawn 101 06:22, 7 May 2007 (UTC))
        • Yeah, I tend to agree with jSarek too. Also, this new experimental system seems like a total mess to me. Glad I'm not going to be the one trying to sort out what the general consensus is. KEJ 15:02, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
          • Havac, is this a coup? Seriously, I strongly doubt that the majority of users would like to implement a system that give admins that kind of power. Whether or not this site is a democracy, it has thus far worked along democratic principles, and I, at least, would prefer it to continue doing so. Evir Daal 11:40, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
            • I'm not arguing for it to be used willy-nilly. I certainly wouldn't expect it to be used on highly contentious votes or in cases where there's a vast consensus in one direction, and not simply by one admin, especially if that admin is heavily involved in the vote. I'm not trying to replace consensus. I'm suggesting that it be supplemented with some latitude for decisionmaking. It's policy on Wikipedia for a reason. Havac 17:33, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
            • The main change there is a consensus-based system vs. votes only. This has been done before when an admin closed an important CT issue where the votes are nearly equal and no progress is coming. -Fnlayson 18:54, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Sorry I'm late to the party (I've been away for a bit), but I see that yet another change has been made to the system without informing the community. I thought WP:BOLD applied to articles, not policies and procedures. If that's the case, then I'll abuse my powers and go change the userpage policy to allow 10 subpages of fanon and 100 user images, and then tell people they can't change it back because I said so. StarNeptuneTalk to me! 23:04, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Continue with new system?Edit

  • Well, we've now had two weeks of experience with the new Trash Compactor system. Does it warrant continuing in the new fashion, or should we go back to the old way? In my experience, the lack of headers makes the process much less structured in a bad way and makes it harder to see new arguments. jSarek 22:18, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Agreed. Let's go back to the old way. -- Ozzel 22:20, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
      • Couldn't agree more. Green Tentacle (Talk) 22:27, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
        • In fact, is there even more than one person here who actually likes the new way? -- Ozzel 04:12, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
          • If you go back to the old system, I'm leaving. - Sikon 11:34, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
            • You can't just change procedures and expect everyone else to go along with them. If you have something gnawing at you, go through a CT like everyone else here does. Don't be a dictator about it. If you want to leave because we won't bend to your will, then so be it. StarNeptuneTalk to me! 17:37, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The new system is more confusing for the average user to use, IMHO. A more categorized format like we had still allows for extended discussions on the page while providing an easy way for admins to check for the nebulous phenomenon known as "consensus." And I strongly object to the way this was implemented without community discussion/voting/input/whatever first. Atarumaster88 13:14, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Don't be so hasty, Sikon. Continued use of the old system wouldn't necessarily contradict a "consensus, not simple vote-counting" policy, or an amended single-issue "voters" policy. The old way, as Ataru points out, helps to organize the discussion. Silly Dan, not logged in and thus not verified, but it sounds like the sort of thing he'd say 13:43, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
      • The old system was just easier to follow. I do see Sikon's point about tendency to just vote but this hasn't changed that (people are still just putting delete and signing their name) and surely we could go back to the more structured format and still try to get everybody to put a reason rather than just signing. Having said that, I'd hate to see anybody leave over this. Green Tentacle (Talk) 13:58, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
        • It has become clear to me that the old system, by its very nature, prefers vote-counting over decision-making. And if the current system is good for Wikipedia, it's good for us. - Sikon 14:17, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
  • There has to be some way to maintain a level of order that we're comfortable with, without boiling every issue down to a vote. -- Darth Culator (Talk) 14:47, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete the new system. It's messy, confusing, and the way it was implemented is disagreeable, as pointed out by the "stellar god of the seven seas". KEJ 13:41, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Vote counting was fine, I think, "concensus" has a distinctly undemocratic ring to it, but even if that's the way things'll be from now on, I'd really advise a return to the old system. This new thing is just confusing and, as has been pointed out earlier, a major change such as this should have been discussed before it was implemented. Evir Daal 06:33, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Rant about "determining consensus" and a "vote" being the same thingEdit

Definitions of "consensus" from wiktionaryEdit

consensus (plural consensuses)

  1. General agreement among the members of a given group or community, each of which exercises some discretion in decision making and follow-up action.
  2. A specific method of community decision making where consent by all parties is required.
  3. Average projected value, as in the finance term consensus forecast.
  4. (Working definition) The lack of active opposition to a decision among key stakeholders.

Why voting works fine for each of these definitionsEdit

  1. Voting comes down to an agreement, a decision based on "the most people though this was the best idea.
  2. Voting is a pretty specific method of doing this, requiring input from enough people to achieve consensus.
  3. Not really relevant. But voting tells us each person's projected value of a subject.
  4. If we make a decision based on votes, it's because they outweigh votes for another option by a significant amount.


I don't think voting and discussion are contradictions of each other. What we are doing now is the same exact thing we were doing before, just with a different set of decorative formatting. Look at the trash compactor. Every single entry currently has discussion with pretty much a definite opinion of keep, delete, merge or whatever else we would have chosen as headers under the old system. The only difference is that the conversation and the "votes" are crammed together rather than organized into easily-interpretable columns of users with a definite number of how many people think that one thing is a good option compared to how many people think the next thing is a good option. I'd say that we should go back to the old system because it's the Same (but more organized) thing we have now. And simply because (here's a paradox for you) no one voted on it. And anyway, under this new system, do my arguments have any more weight than a simple vote of "go back to the old system" because I wrote a crap-load of stuff about it? :) I would say "no". So therefore, this is simply creep toward bureaucracy. Wildyoda 19:33, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Compromise idea Edit

Here's my idea for a compromise (maybe). Instead of having keep, delete, and merge headers that we "vote" under, why not have headers such as Arguments for keeping, Arguments for deleting, and Arguments for merging? This wouldn't be exactly the same as voting, but I think it would drive discussion and keep things organized. This would work best if we didn't have deeply nested "counter-arguments" under each bullet. Not ideal, but what compromise is? - Esjs(Talk) 23:49, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

  • Not a bad idea. Chack Jadson 23:51, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Agreed, not a bad idea. However I could go both ways. I actually like the deeply nested counter-arguments because it puts all objections to a single topic in one place. But the headers, even if not directly for voting, at least organize it better than the mess we have now. Wildyoda 03:08, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
      • Actually, in general, I like this better than either prior system; it keeps the organization of the old with the emphasis on discussion of the new. However, it needs some way for someone to add new and possibly complex ideas beyond the basic default headers - in the old way, you'd just add a new header with the appropriate suggestion, while you'd just say it outright in the new system; but an "arguments to merge the top half with dog and the last half with cat" header seems downright awkward. Suggestions? jSarek 05:25, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
        • I don't like it. I believe arguments should be presented in strictly chronological order. - Sikon 06:41, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
          • I believe that's a bad way of (dis)ordering things. Without structure of some sort, it just becomes one big furball that nobody *wants* to read the arguments within. It actually hinders dialog in that way. jSarek 07:46, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Having stayed out of this until now, I have to say I like Esjs's idea. Might it get messy? Sure. But it's always gonna be messy no matter what, and if we can encourage actual discussion (which was Sikon's well-intentioned original goal), then we should. And I know there have been a few threads where the topic was so multifaceted that I yearned for argument headings, sub-headings, and sub-sub-headings. This may also make it easy at-a-glance to see whether everyone objecting is doing it solely because of personal taste—in other words, if the TC for Luke's left eyeball has more votes in Delete than Keep, but there are no actual arguments for Delete and a whole lot of well-reasoned arguments in Keep, well, that says something. And as far as Sikon's preference for chronological order: in each sub-heading they'd still be relatively chronological, and I don't see why we need absolute across-the-board chronology when our timestamps will tell us when User X made Argument Y. Gonk (Gonk!) 13:54, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I support this compromise. I usually give a reason why I'm voting on an issue, and if I don't it's because a person before me said the same thing or had the same idea that I had and I couldn't add to much to it. -- Riffsyphon1024 02:06, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Ditto, Gonk and Riff. I support the compromise. WhiteBoy 17:08, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Don't support it here; support it here. jSarek 09:05, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
  • After some discussion on IRC, I have agreed to this compromise. However, whoever tried to turn this discussion into a vote, shame on you. - Sikon 09:45, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Say what you will, but I stand by that completely. It should have been voted on from the beginning. That we were voting on voting isn't the point; the problem was that a major site-wide change was implemented without community approval. -- Ozzel 06:17, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

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