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This content excerpted from Wikirules proposal.


corruptissima re publica plurimae leges.Tacitus, Annals 3.27

Over the past four years, Wikipedia has grown from a tiny village where everyone knew each other into an enormous enterprise with thousands of users, hundreds of sysops, and an unknowable number of passersby. As the project grew, so did the number of rules governing Users, so that now, there are an unknowable amount of rules, which are being gamed regularly by some users. This causes frustration and, in turn, new rules, new games, more frustration, more rules, etc. Rules have been created to suit specific circumstances, which may no longer exist, to respond to particular threats, which likewise do not exist anymore, or just for a smaller community. Rules are found in or derived from various Wikipages, in emails, statements by Jimbo or the Arbitration Committee, and various other sources. Rules are often cited and sometimes used as weapons, but sometimes with the preponderance of rules, it seems that we are forgetting the most important principles of Wikipedia: common sense, trust, and wikilove.

This proposal suggests that a committee be established to pare down the abundant rules to a reasonable size (1-2 pages) that every user and certainly every admin can be expected to know. These new rules, based on the principles of common sense and trust, would be easily accessible, and serve as a point of reference for all decisions and actions by community. Their purpose, first and foremost, would be to further the primary objective of this community--creating a world-class online encyclopedia. The rules would be stated in simple language and worded in such a way to allow the Arbitration and Mediation committees, as well as individual sysops, the discretion to enforce them reasonably. They would also contain an option for amendments, based on the specific needs of this evolving community.

The committee would consisted of trusted users and admins, as well as former and current members of the Arbitration and Mediation committees. Their discussions will be transparent, and open to critique by all members of the community, and the final result may be put up for a vote by the community at large. The committee would work in concert with the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Directors to ensure that the rules they create further the Foundation's goals.