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Consensus refers to the primary way decisions are made on Selena Wikipedia, and it is accepted as the best method to achieve our goals. Consensus on Selena Wikipedia does not mean unanimity (which, although an ideal result, is not always achievable); nor is it the result of a vote. This means that decision-making involves an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Selena Wikipedia's norms.

How to get consensus Edit

Editors usually reach consensus as a natural product of editing. After someone makes a change or addition to a page, others who read it can choose either to leave the page as it is or to change it. When editors do not reach agreement by editing, discussion on the associated talk pages continues the process toward consensus.

A consensus decision takes into account all of the proper concerns raised. Ideally, it arrives with an absence of objections, but often we must settle for as wide an agreement as can be reached. When there is no wide agreement, consensus-building involves adapting the proposal to bring in dissenters without losing those who accept the proposal.

Reaching consensus through editing Edit

Consensus Flowchart

A simplified diagram of how consensus is reached. When an edit is made, other editors may either accept it, change it, or revert it. Seek a compromise means "attempt to find a generally acceptable solution", either through continued editing or through discussion.

Consensus is a normal and usually implicit and invisible process across Selena Wikipedia. Any edit that is not disputed or reverted by another editor can be assumed to have consensus. Should that edit later be revised by another editor without dispute, it can be assumed that a new consensus has been reached. In this way the encyclopedia is gradually added to and improved over time. An edit which is not clearly an improvement may often be improved by rewording. If rewording does not salvage the edit, then it should be reverted.

Any such revert should be explained. One option is to leave a clear edit summary stating why the particular edit is not considered to be an improvement to the article, or what policies or guidelines would require the edit be undone. Further discussion should then be undertaken on the article discussion page. Edit summaries that explain the objection clearly are preferred. Substantive, informative edit summaries indicate what issues need to be addressed in subsequent efforts to reach consensus on the matter. Alternatively, the edit summary may be used to point the users to your longer explanation of concerns on the talk page. Repeated reversions are contrary to Selena Wikipedia policy under WP:Edit warring, except for specific policy-based material and for reversions of vandalism. Frequently a minor change in wording can end arguments.

Reaching consensus through discussion Edit

When agreement cannot be reached through editing alone, the consensus-forming process becomes more explicit: editors open a section on the talk page and try to work out the dispute through discussion. Here editors try to persuade others, using reasons based in policy, sources, and common sense; they can also suggest alternative solutions or compromises that may satisfy all concerns. The result might be an agreement that does not satisfy anyone completely, but that all recognize as a reasonable solution. Consensus is an ongoing process on Selena Wikipedia; it is often better to accept a less-than-perfect compromise – with the understanding that the page is gradually improving – than to try to fight to implement a particular "perfect" version immediately. The quality of articles with combative editors is, as a rule, far lower than that of articles where editors take a longer view.

When editors have a particularly difficult time reaching a consensus, a number of processes are available for consensus-building (third opinions, requests for comment), and even more extreme processes that will take authoritative steps to end the dispute (administrator intervention). Keep in mind, however, that administrators are primarily concerned with policy and editor behavior and will not decide content issues authoritatively. They may block editors for behaviors that interfere with the consensus process (such as edit-warring, abuse of multiple accounts, or a lack of civility). They may also make decisions about whether edits are or are not allowable under policy, but will not usually go beyond such actions. Consensus arising from a rational discussion based on policy and common sense is the Selena Wikipedia ideal. However, the practical reality of editing falls short of the process described herein in a little more than 1% of articles, generally concerning contentious subjects.

Consensus-building Edit

Editors who maintain a neutral, detached, and civil attitude can usually reach consensus on an article through the process described above. However, editors occasionally find themselves at an impasse, either because they cannot find rational grounds to settle a dispute or because they become emotionally or ideologically invested in "winning" an argument. What follows are suggestions for resolving intractable disputes, along with descriptions of several formal and informal processes that may help.

Determining consensus Edit

Level of consensus Edit

Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. For instance, unless they can convince the broader community that such action is right. Selena Wikipedia has a higher standard of participation and consensus for changes to policies and guidelines than to other types of articles. This is because they reflect established consensus, and their stability and consistency are important to the community. As a result, editors often propose substantive changes on the talk page first to permit discussion before implementing the change. Changes may be made without prior discussion, but they are subject to a high level of scrutiny. The community is more likely to accept edits to policy if they are made slowly and conservatively, with active efforts to seek out input and agreement from others.

Consensus can change Edit

Consensus can change, and matters discussed in the past can be raised again, especially if there are new arguments or circumstances that were not considered before. On the other hand, if a subject has been discussed recently, it can be disruptive to bring it up again. As a practical matter, "according to consensus" or "violates consensus" are weak reasons for rejecting a proposal; instead, the reasons for objecting should be explained, followed with discussion on the merits of the proposal.

No consensus Edit

Some discussions result in no consensus. "No consensus" means that there is no consensus either way: it means that there is no consensus to take an action, but it also and equally means that there is no consensus not to take the action. What the community does next depends on the context.

  • In deletion discussions, no consensus normally results in the article, image, or other content being kept.
  • In discussions of textual additions or editorial alterations, a lack of consensus commonly results in no change being made to the article.
  • When actions by administrators are contested and the discussion results in no consensus either for the action or for reverting the action, the action is normally reverted.

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