Wikipedia talk:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point

Add topic
Active discussions
Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate pointillism.

New exampleEdit

I'm not sure how this example fits under the scope of this guideline. Such comments could be disruptive, yes, but what would they illustrate? It also sounds rather specific for an example. PSWG1920 (talk) 18:49, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

The idea is that someone can comment about a policy (or guideline or governance) on an unrelated talk page, under the pretense of contributing to that discussion, while in fact actually airing a grievance that should be discussed in the context of the policy. Such disruptions would serve to illustrate inconsistencies by drawing attention to other drama obliquely related discussions. In other words don't hijack an unrelated discussion to make a point. (Admittedly, the example is pretty specific, but it is similar to other examples that occur at RfA's.) - MrX 19:09, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Could we at least change the example a bit? At present, it isn't even clear why someone would try the "do not". PSWG1920 (talk) 00:02, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
The example actually happened (diffs available upon request). I'm receptive to changing the example though. What did you have in mind? - MrX 00:38, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, please do provide the diffs. PSWG1920 (talk) 00:59, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Here is the sequence of events:
  1. Pointy comment at an RfA (you may have to read some of the surrounding text to understand how out of place his comment was)
  2. Talk page discussion
  3. Follow up RfA comment by the same user
  4. The user changes his RfA !vote
I think this is a fitting example of how WP:POINT can apply to non-content areas of the encyclopedia. - MrX 01:31, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
OK, I see that someone frivolously suggested a CheckUser to make a point about CheckUsers. Even though that happened in this instance, it is probably not something that most people would think to do. Thus WP:BEANS applies. Moreover, novice editors reading this page may not even be aware of CheckUser, so that example wouldn't help them to understand this guideline. PSWG1920 (talk) 04:12, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Fair point. We already have several examples for new users, so I think this example is more helpful to experienced users (or metapedians). If anything, I think it would be useful to have a couple of more examples that apply to Wikipedia namespace. - MrX 14:41, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
I simplified the example. I still have doubts about it, especially in regards to WP:BEANS, but we can wait for a third opinion. PSWG1920 (talk) 15:54, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

I guess the example is fine, but I still don't see why we need to "clarify the scope" in the first section. It is clear from the examples that this can occur in deletion discussions. The Checkuser example shows that it can occur elsewhere. The reason I said that this sentence disrupts the flow is because it takes the discussion away from the tactics themselves. PSWG1920 (talk) 13:57, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Seems a useful summarization, if a bit wordy. Editors shouldn't have to look to the examples for such information. --Ronz (talk) 22:40, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
The trimming is an improvement, but it seems too brief now. --Ronz (talk) 16:47, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

press mentionEdit

See the New York Book Review article here: [1] SarahStierch (talk) 02:39, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Odysseus illustrationEdit

Odysseus made his point to Polyphemus in the most unpleasant way. Don't be like Odysseus. Consider other possible courses of action before you poke someone in the eye with a stick.
  • opposecyclops is not not some sort of project. Arguably, Odysseus did IAR, which is commendable. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:39, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Tell that to Polyphemus! But fair enough, point taken. KDS4444Talk 14:18, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Adding new exampleEdit

Addition of a new example to this guideline is discussed at WP:VPP#Requesting closing statements for archived discussions (subsection: "Rationale") --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:03, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Some issues with this page and its misuseEdit

WP:NOTPOINTY points out that just because someone is making a point does not mean that they are disrupting Wikipedia to illustrate that point. However, this isn't the most common misconception about this page, which would be this part: editors engaging in "POINTy" behavior are making edits with which they do not actually agree. Basically, I believe that the page's scope is much smaller than simply "disrupting Wikipedia" - it's quite possible and common for people to "disrupt Wikipedia to make a point" without "making edits with which they do not actually agree". In fact, the vast majority of the cases I've seen involving the improper invocation of WP:POINT are reactions to impolite (of course, to various degrees depending on the editor) edits by someone with whom the editor disagrees - often uncivil, sometimes disruptive, and rarely ever specifically what's described in this page - doing something opposite to what they believe.

As the talk archives show, chronic misuse (and potentially abuse) of this page has been noted since at least 2005. I believe that the misapplication arises for two connected reasons: 1) people don't read pages closely, relying on the given shortcuts, title, and/or nutshell; and 2) the shortcuts, title, and nutshell do not adequately describe the behavior outlined in this page. Now, for the shortcuts, we can't do anything, since they're so ingrained in the culture here, but the other two we can. I think that part of the reason the title is so broad is because the content now at WP:GAME and WP:IDHT was once here; they've now been moved to other pages. However, this leaves us with a title which overreaches the scope of the page - something noted in the talk page sections above (from 2010). Since this page is so heavily known, would it be a good idea to move it to a more descriptive title? I feel like it would cause some hand-wringing, deserved or not. And, there would still have to be a different title to move to. I don't know, but I feel like in its current state, this is not working. ansh666 10:20, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Consistency and perfectionEdit

"Practically speaking, it is impossible for Wikipedia to be 100 percent consistent, and its rules will therefore never be perfect."

The funny thing about that is, if you are on the wrong side of the rule, they will say, "The rule says such-and-such! We need to apply the rule!" If you argue, "We don't need to apply the rule consistently; the rule isn't perfect," they'll say, "If you don't like the rules, you can leave Wikipedia and post your content elsewhere. The door's that way."

But if you try to apply the rules consistently, they hit you with, "Practically speaking, it is impossible for Wikipedia to be 100 percent consistent, and its rules will therefore never be perfect." So basically, it's another way of saying, "We do whatever we want, and justify it however we want, and it's the prerogative of the users who make up the 'rough consensus' to be as consistent or inconsistent as they want."

As I was pointing out at Wikipedia:Don't just cite a page of rules; cite the relevant part of the rule and explain how it applies to the specific situation, people will often say, "Go read WP:XYZ." Yet, if you want to do something POINTy, you can't just say, "Go read WP:XYZ"; you have to respect the community's prerogative to ignore the rules as it sees fit. If you, the individual editor, enforce the rules consistently, you're being disruptive; on the other hand, if you, the individual editor, disobey the rules, you're also being disruptive.

So really, disruption just means going against the flow; it means ignoring the complexities of all the self-contradictory ways in which the wind is blowing. It means exposing hypocrisy and trying to do something about it unilaterally.

It's kind of like how in the U.S., if you break the law, you can't argue to the cop or the judge, "I should be allowed to break this law, because the laws aren't perfect." But if the government breaks the Constitution, and you bring this up, they'll say that it would be impractical to follow the Constitution to the letter. For example, there are two parts of the Constitution that say that the trial of "all crimes" or "all criminal prosecutions" shall be by jury, but in misdemeanor cases, it's routine, and the default, for the case to be heard by a judge instead.

So, those in authority, or in the majority, cite the importance of the rule of law when it suits them, saying that without it, we'd have anarchy, tyranny, etc. Yet, when it doesn't suit them, they cite the need for flexibility, practicality, etc. St. claires fire (talk) 15:35, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

This doctrine is used for nothing more than people with power (mods, admins etc) over other pages, groups or users to get away with hypocrisy and ride roughshod over any opposition by labelling their other side as disruptive'. It's a shortcut cheat to develop their own consensus by banning their opponents from the discussion. It really should be deleted and sent into oblivion. Macktheknifeau (talk) 08:28, 14 September 2017 (UTC)


This article basically seems like WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS but without the handy note that using the "other stuff" argument that that argument should actually be taken serious if applicable (though many "professional" editors might still use that argument to dismiss what the page they themselves link to assesses), anyhow these pages are so similar that they could be merged, or at-least this page could become a mere paragraph, the WP:RULES should not become too repetitive.

-- (talk) 03:17, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

The first rationaleEdit

"If someone nominates one of your favorite articles for deletion... do explain why the subject meets inclusion criteria, providing reliable sources to support your assertion. do not nominate another similar article for deletion, giving the same rationale. "

Why is this unacceptable behavior. If an article doesn't meet some kind of community established guideline. Shouldn't you take action to police said guidelines if another article doesn't meet them.--Prisencolin (talk) 03:11, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

A tad late, but to any future readers, this would hardly be an insane response. In fact, it's functionally what we actually use as a rebuttal to Other Stuff Exists. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:23, 7 December 2020 (UTC)
@Nosebagbear: I don't understand, are you saying that you should nominate other categories to prove a point?--Prisencolin (talk) 20:08, 16 March 2021 (UTC)
No @Prisencolin: - if you're nominating other articles (or categories etc) to make a point on your AfD then that would be concerning, however if you felt your article would be notable because it was very similar to another, and it got deleted, that could well be a strong indication that the other article is also not notable. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:12, 16 March 2021 (UTC)

Downgrading POINT to an essayEdit

Point making is disruptive editing, which means that it is already covered by WP:DE - it's a WP:CREEP issue to have a separate policy telling us that this form of disruptive editing is also forbidden.

This policy also causes issues, as it is commonly misunderstood; it generally only applies if an editor is editors are making edits with which they do not actually agree with, but it is often cited in other situations, such as when WP:OTHERTHINGSEXIST arguments backfire by causing an editor to also nominate the example articles for deletion.

I think both of these can be solved by downgrading this policy to an essay, and copying the line As a rule, editors engaging in "POINTy" behavior are making edits with which they do not actually agree, for the deliberate purpose of drawing attention and provoking opposition in the hopes of making other editors see their "point". to Wikipedia:Disruptive editing#Point-illustrating. BilledMammal (talk) 15:50, 21 May 2022 (UTC)

(from ANI) I never realized this was a guideline in the first place. Support for simplicity sake, we should have one conduct policy (WP:CIV), and maybe two or three guidelines for the most important community values, like WP:AGF and WP:BITE, but not POINT. Levivich 18:51, 21 May 2022 (UTC)
Still support essay, but per Leijurv, a supplement would be OK too. Levivich 16:16, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
it may be tempting to try to discredit the rule or interpretation thereof by, in one's view, applying it consistently. (from Wikipedia:Disruptive editing#Point-illustrating) I think it might be confusing to add the suggested phrase (edits with which they do not actually agree) alongside this. A (small) rewrite might be needed, because in one's view, applying it consistently indicates a degree of good faith application of the rule and doesn't imply (to my eyes) any editing with surreptitious motives, while really the problem is making edits with which they do not actually agree. Adding this sentence over there is a good idea, but what's already there will need slight tweaks to make sense in context. The change would definitely be for the better though! Leijurv (talk) 19:31, 21 May 2022 (UTC)
@Leijurv: I'm not sure how to reword it; do you have a suggestion? BilledMammal (talk) 03:30, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
The phrase that most comes to mind is "malicious compliance" (or maybe "malicious overcompliance"), but that might be my reddit showing through. The linked sidebar reads Malicious compliance is the act of intentionally inflicting harm by strictly following orders or rules, knowing that compliance with the orders or rules will not have the intended result. The term usually implies the following of an order in such a way that ignores the order or rules's intent but follows its letter. It is usually done to injure or harm while maintaining a sense of legitimacy.
This might be a bit wordy, driving its point home with excessive clarity, but just a thought: it may be tempting to try to discredit the rule or interpretation thereof, through malicious compliance, such as by uncharitable, overly literal, and/or bad faith applications to other areas. I concede this is a bit much, but I do think that "in one's view, applying it consistently" is a bit misleading in how it could sound charitable and good faith, while really what's prohibited is the opposite. Leijurv (talk) 08:31, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
For the sake of clarity, I think it would be fine to downgrade this page to Template:Supplement even as-is, so, Support, but it would be even better if the section it is supplementing was slightly enhanced in return. Leijurv (talk) 08:38, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
WP:POINT is a very commonly cited page, I think it might be worth getting more opinions by mentioning this discussion at WP:VPP or starting a RFC. Leijurv (talk) 21:06, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Support The nutshell is "When you have a point to make, use direct discussion only." This is nonsense because there are plenty of other ways of making a point. Creating an essay for example! As this page is not clearly explained and is often misunderstood, it should be put on the proliferating pile of pontification as just another essay. Andrew🐉(talk) 23:04, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose this isn't a "policy" it's a guideline. As such it's just fine to co-exist with other policies and guidelines. All the blather and self-promotion preceding this is just purely symptomatic of why we should keep it in place. The Rambling Man (Keep wearing the mask...) 23:39, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose - there isn't a problem with emphasizing one particularly disruptive behaviour pattern via this guideline. However, emphasizing the line about edits with which they do not actually agree might still be a good idea. Newimpartial (talk) 13:03, 27 May 2022 (UTC)