Wikiafripedia:Requests for comment

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Requests for comment (RfC) is a process for requesting outside input concerning disputes, policies, guidelines or article content. RfCs are a way to attract more attention to a discussion about making changes to pages or procedures, including articles, essays, guidelines, policies, and many other kinds of pages. It uses a system of centralized noticeboards and random, bot-delivered invitations to advertise discussions to uninvolved editors. The normal talk page guidelines apply to these discussions.

RfC is one of several processes available within Wikiafripedia's dispute resolution system. Alternative processes include third opinion, administrator's incident noticeboard, reliable sources noticeboard, neutral point of view noticeboard, the dispute resolution noticeboard, and, for editors' behavior, binding arbitration.

Before starting the process[edit source | edit]

Before using the RfC process to get opinions from outside editors, it's often faster and more effective to thoroughly discuss the matter with any other parties on the related talk page. Editors are normally expected to make a reasonable attempt at working out their disputes before seeking help from others. If you are able to come to a consensus or have your questions answered through discussion with other editors, then there is no need to start an RfC.

If a local discussion does not answer your question or resolve the problem, then some other forums for resolution include:

  • If the article is complex or technical, it may be worthwhile to ask for help at the relevant WikiProject.
  • If an article content question is just between two editors, you can simply and quickly ask for a third opinion on the Third opinion page.
  • If more than two editors are involved or the issue is complex, dispute resolution is available through the Dispute resolution noticeboard.
  • If you want general help in improving an article, such as achieving Featured status, then list it at Peer review.

For a more complete description of dispute resolution options, see the Dispute resolution policy and the list of noticeboards.

If you are not sure if an RfC is necessary, or about how best to frame it, ask on the talk page of this project.

What not to use the RfC process for[edit source | edit]

Problem Follow the procedures described at
Help needed Help:Contents or {{help me}}
Deletion processes WAP:Deletion process#Deletion venues, or WAP:Deletion review
Did You Know suggestions Template talk:Did you know
Featured Article/List/Topic discussions Featured article candidates, Featured article review, Featured list candidates, Featured list removal candidates, Featured topic candidates, Featured topic removal candidates or Today's featured article/requests
Good Article/Topic discussions Good article nominations, Good article reassessment or Good topic nominations
Merge proposals WAP:Merging
Split proposals WAP:Splitting
Peer review Peer review
Renaming categories Categories for discussion
Renaming pages (other than categories) Moving a page or Requested moves

Request comment on articles, policies, or other non-user issues[edit source | edit]

  1. Edit the talk page of the article or project page that you are interested in. Create a new section at the bottom of the talk page. It is a very good idea to let the section heading begin with "RfC" or "Request for comment", for example "RfC on beak length" or "Request for comments on past or present tense for television series".
  2. Choose a category and insert an {{rfc}} tag at the top of the new talk page section. The categories for the {{rfc}} tag are listed below; the category must be given in lower case.
    • Example: {{rfc|econ}}
    • See details below on the meanings of some of the categories. If no category seems to fit, pick the one that seems closest.
    • If the RfC is relevant to two categories, include them both in the same {{rfc}} tag, don't use two tags. For example: {{rfc|econ|bio}}
  3. Include a brief, neutral statement of or question about the issue in the talk page section, immediately below the {{rfc}} tag. Sign the statement with either ~~~~ (name, time and date) or ~~~~~ (just the time and date). Failing to provide a time and date will cause Legobot to remove your discussion from the pages that notify interested editors of RfCs.
  4. Publish the talk page. Now you're done. Legobot will take care of the rest, including posting the RfC in the proper RfC lists. It may take Legobot up to a day to list the RfC, so be patient.

Categories[edit source | edit]

Template:Wikiafripedia rfc topics

The list of RfC categories is in the adjacent table.

The "Wikiafripedia policies and guidelines" category is for discussing changes to the policies and guidelines themselves, not for discussing how to apply them to a specific case. The same applies to "style", "WikiProject", and the other non-article categories.

The "Language and linguistics" category is for requests related to a Wikiafripedia article (or part of one) about language and linguistics, not for requests concerning the language on a page. If you want comments on how an article should be worded, categorize your request according to the topic of the article.

Example[edit source | edit]

There are many acceptable ways to format an RfC. Below is one example of how a simple RfC could appear when you are editing the talk page. This example will work best for average or smaller RfCs; for major disputes, other, more structured formats may be more appropriate.

You can copy and paste this example, but be sure to change the wording to reflect your particular topic (for example, the "hist" category may need to be changed). A signature ("~~~~") or at least a time and date ("~~~~~") is required. Do not include any opening html tags (e.g., <small>) in the initial RfC statement unless its corresponding closing tag (e.g., </small>) also comes before the first timestamp, i.e., don't "straddle" the first timestamp inside html code, otherwise it may corrupt the entry of the RfC on the topic discussion pages. After you have inserted text similar to this into the talk page, you must publish the page.

== RfC about the photo in the history section ==
Should the "History" section contain a photograph of the ship? ~~~~

Statement should be neutral and brief[edit source | edit]

Keep the RfC statement short and simple. Statements are often phrased as questions, for example: "Should this article say in the lead that John Smith was a contender for the Pulitzer Prize?"

Legobot will copy the markup of your statement (from the end of the {{rfc}} tag through the first timestamp) to the list of active RfCs. A long statement will make the list harder to read. For technical reasons, statements may not contain tables or complex formatting, although these may be added after the initial statement (i.e., after the first timestamp). Similarly, the statement should not begin with a list – but if this is unavoidable, use the markup &#32; before the list, either directly after the {{rfc}} tag or on a line of its own. If the markup of the RfC statement is too long, Legobot may fail to copy it to the RfC list pages, and will not publicise the RfC via the feedback request service.

The statement should be self-contained, and should not assume that the section title is available (because the statement, but not the section title, will be copied to the RfC list pages). If the RfC is about an edit that's been disputed, consider including a diff in the RfC question.

If you have lots to say on the issue, give and sign a brief statement in the initial description and publish the page, then edit the page again and place additional comments below your first statement and timestamp. If you feel that you cannot describe the issue neutrally, you may either ask someone else to write the question or summary, or simply do your best and leave a note asking others to improve it. It may be helpful to discuss your planned RfC question on the talk page before starting the RfC, to see whether other editors have ideas for making it clearer or more concise.

Multiple RfCs on one page[edit source | edit]

There is no limit to the number of simultaneous RfCs that may be held on a single talk page, but to avoid discussion forks, they should not overlap significantly in their subject matter.

Each {{rfc}} tag should also be added in a separate edit, with a delay between each edit to let the bot assign an id number to the first before attempting to start a second. If you are starting another RfC on a page which already has one or more ongoing RfCs, first ensure that all of the existing {{rfc}} tags already contain a |rfcid= parameter. If one of them lacks this parameter, wait for Legobot to add it before adding another {{rfc}} tag anywhere on the page. If there are two {{rfc}} tags on the same page that both lack the |rfcid= parameter, Legobot will assign the same value to both, with the result that only the lowest one of the page will be publicised; moreover, the incoming link will lead to the higher RfC question, which will cause confusion. To repair this, remove the |rfcid= parameter from the unpublicised one (usually the higher one).

Placing an RfC in a page other than a talk page[edit source | edit]

Normally, RfCs are located in talk pages. But in some situations, an RfC may be placed on a subpage of this page or a subpage of a policy page (for example Wikiafripedia:Pending changes/Request for Comment 2012 or Wikiafripedia:Requests for comment/Categorization of persons).

Publicizing an RfC[edit source | edit]

After you create an RfC, it will be noticed by editors that watch the talk page, by editors that watch the RfC lists, and by some editors subscribed to the Feedback Request Service (FRS), who will be automatically notified by Legobot. However, there may not be enough editors to get sufficient input. To get more input, you may publicize the RfC by posting a notice at one or more of the following locations:

When posting a notice at those locations, provide a link to the RfC, and a brief statement, but do not argue the RfC. Take care to adhere to the canvassing guideline, which prohibits notifying a chosen group of editors who may be biased. When creating a new Wikiafripedia policy or suggesting major modifications to a policy, follow the instructions at WAP:PROPOSAL. Centralized discussion may be used for policy-related RfCs but is not for publicizing any content disputes in articles. Further guidance is available at WAP:Publicising discussions.

About the conduct of another user[edit source | edit]

To report an offensive or confusing user name in violation of Wikiafripedia username policy, see subpage User names.
To report spam, page blanking, and other blatant vandalism, see Wikiafripedia:Vandalism.

The use of requests for comment on user conduct has been discontinued. In severe cases of misconduct, you may try Wikiafripedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. If the dispute cannot be resolved there, then arbitration may be warranted as a last resort.

Suggestions for responding[edit source | edit]

All editors (including IP users) are welcome to respond to any RfC.

  • Responses may be submitted in a variety of formats. Some RfCs are structured as a series of distinct responses, one per editor. Others result in a threaded (indented) conversation involving multiple editors. Yet others offer one or more alternative proposals that are separately endorsed or opposed by editors using a polling process. Other RfCs combine polling with threaded discussions. See the example section above for a suggested format.
  • Edits to content under RfC discussion may be particularly controversial. Avoid making edits that others may view as unhelpful. Editing after others have raised objections may be viewed as disruptive editing or edit warring. Be patient; make your improvements in accord with consensus after the RfC is resolved.
  • Remember that Wikiafripedia is an encyclopedia; all articles must follow the Neutral point of view, Verifiability, and No original research policies.
  • Try not to be confrontational. Be friendly and civil, and assume good faith of other editors' actions.
  • If you feel an RfC is improperly worded, ask the originator to improve the wording, or add an alternative unbiased statement immediately below the RfC question template. Do not close the RfC just because you think the wording is biased. An {{rfc}} tag generally remains on the page until removed by Legobot or the originator. A discussion can be closed only when the criteria at Ending RfCs are met.
  • Mediate where possible—identify common ground, and attempt to draw editors together rather than push them apart.
  • If necessary, educate users by referring to the appropriate Wikiafripedia policies or style page.

Ending RfCs[edit source | edit]

As an RfC is the solicitation of comment in a discussion, ending an RfC consists of ending that solicitation.

There are several ways in which RfCs end:

  1. The question may be withdrawn by the poster (e.g., if the community's response became obvious very quickly). In this situation, the editor who started the RfC should normally be the person who removes the {{rfc}} template.
  2. The RfC participants can agree to end it at any time, and one of them can remove the {{rfc}} template.
  3. The dispute may be moved to another dispute resolution forum, such as mediation.[1]
  4. Any uninvolved editor can post a formal closing summary of the discussion. The editor removes the {{rfc}} tag at the same time.
  5. The discussion may just stop, and no one cares to restore the {{rfc}} tag after the bot removes it.

When an RfC is used to resolve a dispute, the resolution is determined the same way as for any other discussion: the participants in the discussion determine what they have agreed on and try to implement their agreement. Like other discussions, RfCs sometimes end without an agreement or clear resolution. Please remove the {{rfc}} tag when the dispute has been resolved, or when discussion has ended.

Anyone who wants an uninvolved editor to write a closing summary of the discussion (ideally with a determination of consensus) can formally request closure by posting at Wikiafripedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Requests for closure. If the matter under discussion is not contentious and the consensus is obvious to the participants, then formal closure is neither necessary nor advisable. Written closing statements are not required. Editors are expected to be able to evaluate and agree upon the results of most RfCs without outside assistance.

To alert readers that an RfC has ended, you may optionally enclose the talk page section in a box using a template pair such as {{closed rfc top}}/{{closed rfc bottom}} or {{archive top}}/{{archive bottom}}. This is not required, and may be done with or without a closing statement about the discussions results. This example shows one way to do this:

== RfC about the photo in the History section ==
{{closed rfc top|result= Consensus was reached to keep the photo.  ~~~~  }}
.... here is the entire RfC discussion...
{{closed rfc bottom}}

Duration[edit source | edit]

An RfC should last until enough comment has been received that consensus is reached, or until it is apparent it won't be.

There is no required minimum or maximum duration; however, Legobot assumes an RfC has been forgotten and automatically ends it (removes the rfc template) 30 days after it begins, to avoid a buildup of stale discussions cluttering the lists and wasting commenters' time. But editors should not wait for that: if one of the reasons listed above applies, someone should end it manually, as soon as it is clear the discussion has run its course. Conversely, whenever additional comments are still wanted after 30 days, someone should delay Legobot's automatic action. Here's how to do that:

Legobot's determination of age is based on the first timestamp following the {{rfc}} template.

To end an RfC manually, remove the {{rfc}} template from the talk page. Legobot will remove the discussion from the central lists on its next run. (When Legobot automatically ends an RfC because of its age, it will remove the {{rfc}} template.) If you are also closing the discussion, you should do this in the same edit. As an alternative to removing the {{rfc}} template, you may use one of the template-linking templates such as {{tlx}}, as in {{tlx|rfc|bio|rfcid=fedcba9}}. Do not enclose the {{rfc}} template in <nowiki>...</nowiki> tags, nor place it in HTML comment markers <!--...--> since Legobot will ignore these and treat the RfC as if it is still open – and may also corrupt the RfC listing pages.

To extend a current RfC for another 30 days, and to prevent Legobot from automatically ending the RfC during the next month, insert a current timestamp immediately before the original timestamp of the opening statement.

Restarting an RfC[edit source | edit]

Anyone who wants to have more comments on the topic can restart an RfC that has ended, as long as the discussion has not been closed. For example, the original poster of an RfC might withdraw it, but someone else may have become interested in the topic in the meantime and restart it.

To restart an RfC, reinsert the {{rfc}} template. If it was automatically removed by Legobot, then be sure to insert a current timestamp after the RfC statement, and before its original timestamp, or it will just get re-removed by the bot. This will give a thirty-day extension; but if the RfC is to be of long duration, you may instead add the line

<!-- RFCBot Ignore Expired -->

before the {{rfc}} template.

You should mention at the end of the RfC statement that the RfC ended and restarted, and add your signature if appropriate.

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. For this to succeed, however, the {{rfc}} template must be removed and the discussion ended first, since most dispute resolution forums and processes will not accept a case while a RfC is pending.

See also[edit source | edit]