Forums: Index > Administration > Wiki Policy - Balance Points

For posterity, I'm including the conversation that originally started this change below, as the template and talk page have been deleted. - TarkisFlux 20:43, December 31, 2009 (UTC)

Policy ChangeEdit

I'm proposing the following change to wiki policy:

  • We no longer delete articles that do not meet their intended balance point, or the SGT if none is specified.
  • We delete the Balance Assistance template. Talk pages again become the place where issues are brought up and discussed.
  • We move the authority to delete articles for balance below monk level or above wizard level to the Rating's Committee, and only then with a majority vote with polling lasting at least one week. Alternately, we put it up to the general user base; really it just needs to not be something that any one person can do or threaten by putting up a template.
  • Whoever brings it to the vote should not be able to participate in said vote, aside from arguing their position.

The reasons for these changes are straightforward. Balance levels are somewhat vague, and there is a consistent lack of agreement among members regarding content that falls in between. What is Rogue level for some is Fighter level for others, and neither of these positions can be wrong without more complete definitions of the balance levels (which we are actively avoiding). With neither of these positions being wrong, it is unreasonable to delete an article for having one or the other listed on it. This compromises our goal of providing accurate and easy to use balance levels somewhat, but as that goal seems completely unattainable without more complete definitions of said levels, I think this is as close as we can get.

The Balance Assistance template, which we currently use as a punitive measure against articles that someone feels do no meet their specified balance points, fails because of these edge cases. It largely serves to make authors suffer deletion threats for disagreeing with another user. It's other use, to notify a user of a balance concern, is more effectively realized by actually explaining the concern on the talk page instead of giving a terse note on the main page. Further, if we are no longer deleting pages for not rigorously meeting their indicated balance level, the template serves no notification / tracking purposes either.

I find the idea that one user can determine the fate of an article, regardless of how well respected, frankly repulsive. This was basically the case with the balance assist template, despite its intentions, and another reason I would be happy to see it go at this point. We may still need to delete articles for failing to even be on our balance scales, however, and that is a part of the wiki policy I do not want to see compromised. Moving the authority to a group of users, either the Rating Committee or the general user base, mitigates the one user issue.

Lastly, by allowing anyone to bring an issue up but then disallowing them from deciding the matter we require participation and discussion from additional users. This makes it impossible for one user to determine the fate of a poorly balanced article, and even defaults to the author if there is insufficient interest in the article for the complaint to be taken up.

I'd appreciate thoughts, concerns, support, and whatnot on these proposals, because I can't actually change policy on my own. Well, I could just go and edit this in, but that's not really in the spirit of things. - TarkisFlux 18:31, December 7, 2009 (UTC)

This is gonna be a loose post here as I try and gather my thoughts on the subject.
1.) Agreed. I dislike deleting "complete" articles. Articles can always be sandboxed or de-categorized if it is obvious that the article is incomplete (in a sense of playability). Authors like to upload works-in-progress. Which brings me to...
  • All "Add New Page" pages should include a note or link to the policy on adding articles, or at least a summation about adding incomplete work and the preference towards sandboxed articles.
2.) Agreed. More discussion is better. It would also be good if authors would write a short synopsis of their design intent and philosophy and why they think their article is balanced on the talk page after uploading the article. That's really more of a bonus though. Establishing author intent from the beginning might help resolve some problems as well as initiate discussion as well. Which brings me to...
  • Mechanics can be fixed, but also, the flavor of the article (writing quality, cohesiveness, concept) is largely up to the author itself, and that area isn't as easy to fix. I still foresee flavor being a part of why articles are going to be deleted/sandboxed. Grammar and sentence structure is of course, fixable by others, but extrapolating beyond that is often difficult.
3.) Keeping a discussion open to all users would be nice for "acceptable range of balance" on an article. Though, Rating Committee voting is probably the way to go. Everyone is still entitled and encouraged to voice their opinion.
4.) I don't think we'll have any problems with meat-puppetry here. Though, beyond that, should the author of an article still retain his vote if brought up by another user?
Also, wasn't sure where to fit this in, but I wanted to mention it as well.
  • We have the "Help Wanted" template still for authors to post on their own articles if they seek assistance. Since the author can remove it himself, and allow other users who want to help to search for such things, I think we should keep it.
Yes, often times I see myself staying out of an article's discussion because they can quickly become "User A" arguing against "User B". This should generally be avoided. If you're reading a discussion, and you have something to say and the time to say it, please chime in. I guess that's all I have for now. Someone else, chime in on the main points. --Ganteka Future 19:17, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
Actually, this doesn't even touch on the incomplete issues or other templates, this was just intended to be an update of balance level stuff. We can actually differentiate between complete mechanically and not showing any <- stuff -> from everything else, so the incomplete doesn't suffer from the same problems. And the Help Wanted shouldn't go anywhere, cause that's actually working as intended (though it could be prettied up, or stuck at the bottom of an article, or whatever).
And I don't really care if the author retains a vote or not, I just want it biased in favor of the author and against whoever brought it to the vote. I want burden of proof and convincing on whoever is going to bring the issue up, and not on the author to get their stuff saved from the concerns of a single user. - TarkisFlux 19:37, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
This is a good idea and needs to be implemented right away to deal with outstanding issues. Surgo 22:06, December 9, 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, but I'd also say that if the rater shouldn't be able to post a vote, the author shouldn't either, or it's completely an uphill battle for one or the other (especially with how people often prefer to remain uninvolved). If neither can vote, it just depends on whose arguments are stronger and more coherent, rather than defaulting to one side or the other. Furthermore, how does one deal with recalcitrant authors who mark something as one balance rating while it's obvious to the majority of the rating committee that it's a different rating? Would the rating committee have the power to change the rating to the correct one, despite the author's wishes? If not, it reduces our credibility and consistency as a whole. --Ghostwheel 22:44, December 9, 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, this is quite an improvement over the previous idea, though, I don't think a person being articulate and able to form words more fluently should make a page be deleted, as 'stronger arguments' would imply, since a person could simply not be able to focus in the conversation due to matters IRL, and might only be able to give 3 paragraph responses a glancing response, and offers benefit or penalty based on circumstance, and we all know how unfair that can be. So, yes, I think that neither person should be allowed to vote on the matter, just that, should everyone else be on the fence in that respect, then it ought to be treated as a stalemate, until someone finds interest in the issue and decides to pipe in. Though, as for the matter of balance point labelling, I absolutely agree with you, that things should be labelled as what they would be best used at, or implemented into, though, the problem here is that, as Tarman so truthfully stated, balance points are vague, and up for interpretation, so, opinion plays a big role in these things, and argueing about where something should fall is argueing opinion, which is futile. So, I think the rule on that should be that a class should be thrown into doubt when it's labelled as being two levels away from what another person thinks, cause that's when the difference actually matters, and is not merely bickering on opinion. → Rith (talk) 01:00, December 10, 2009 (UTC)

Changes MadeEdit

The policy has been updated, taking into account the criticisms leveled here while still attempting to maintain as much author integrity as possible. Since I think the "author maintained" bit is one of our primary motivations, I've tried to leave as much of it intact as possible without sacrificing our credibility on the matter. You can see the whole of the change over here. - TarkisFlux 21:59, December 31, 2009 (UTC)

(Original Conversation on the matter) I Don't Want This Edit

This template is fucking annoying. It causes nothing but utterly stupid edit wars because people put it on a page, it looks ugly and annoying so somebody takes it down, repeat ad nauseum. Just use the bloody talk page. Surgo 13:38, December 6, 2009 (UTC)

Just a suggestion here, but, if we wanted, would using the "status" parameter in the author box be a good place to type something like "needs assistance, see talk page" -or- "under discussion, see talk page"? I prefer the latter wording. This is of course, under the assumption that the main article needs some sort of notice to direct folks to an article's talk page. Anyone else have anything to say on the matter? --Ganteka Future 19:00, December 6, 2009 (UTC)
Using talk pages to argue over the balance of a class is fine. I don't care if we eliminate the template, but I don't want to go back to "It's not balanced, stick a {delete} on it"; it's just as ugly and leads to just as many fights and edit wars. So if we eliminate this, would we do something else to keep the balance portion of wiki policy functioning or would we just eliminate that bit of the policy along with it? - TarkisFlux 20:03, December 6, 2009 (UTC)
From what I understand balance is the reason this wiki exists. What if you just moved the template to the bottom of the page, that way you wouldn't see it the instant the page loaded, but it would still be visible? I mean, that likely won't solve the edit wars, but it would help with the ugly aspect. --The Badger 20:39, December 6, 2009 (UTC)
I agreed with Surgo, after dealing with yesterday edit war and took some time to reflect on the situation I came to the conclusion that the talk page should be the only place where balance is discussed. Slapping a template on an article is just going to fuel frustration. Maybe adding the template AFTER the balance was judged inappropriate by the community could be in order? --Leziad 00:49, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
I find the whole point of this sort of template to bring a balance issue to the author's attention. After it's brought to the author's attention, I don't think this has any business showing up anymore. A bit terse because I'm not at home and don't have much time to type. Surgo 01:39, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
Simply leaving a note on the specific user's talk would be more than enough ihmo. --Leziad 02:00, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
After further thought, I think the mess also suggests that we shouldn't be as worried about articles that don't hit their intended balance points as some have been, and we certainly shouldn't be deleting them for not meeting their claimed balance point within a set period of time after the notice. I would be very unhappy putting the judgment of what is or is not balanced to some vague, poorly defined level in the hands of whoever felt like calling foul first and then having to fight them off under countdown timer. Conversation without flag or threat of deletion sounds like the way to go, at least in the beginning of the process. It could be brought to the attention of the author on their / the article's talk page, and that's probably fine if you just want to bring it up and then move on to discussion without a big flag on the article. Threats of deletion should be saved for non-responsive authors or work that is vastly above or below any recognized balance level, and both should be rare. Then we can toss the template, and get back to work and answering critiques the old fashioned way, with knives and shotguns. - TarkisFlux 02:15, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
This sound like the way to go TarkisFlux, but I think we need a one-week vote for the removal of the template (or something like that). --Leziad 02:48, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
As usual, Tarkis has the best idea ever. What would we do without you, man? Surgo 15:32, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
You're talking about the knives and shotguns right? I have to say, I'm really quite happy they're getting support. I was worried people might treat them as half-measures ;-) - TarkisFlux 17:14, December 7, 2009 (UTC)
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