Wikipedia:False consensus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

False consensus applies to any "consensus" arrived at through canvassing, vote-stacking, or any other manipulation of a process or discussion contrary to policy or to ArbCom decisions.

Administrators who become aware of any such manipulation should immediately disregard any such consensus, and re-open a new discussion, barring those who participated in any such improper activity.

Actions taken which treated any tainted consensus as proper may be discounted by ArbCom or by other administrators.


9) Excessive cross-posting, campaigning, votestacking, stealth canvassing, and forum shopping are inappropriate forms of canvassing. Signs of biased canvassing include urging new editors to take a specific position in a conflict and only contacting one side of a dispute. To protect against rigged decisions, editors participating due to questionable canvassing may be discounted when evaluating consensus.

Passed 9 to 0 (with 1 abstention) on 19:19, 27 June 2009 (UTC).


26) The recruitment of editors for the purpose of influencing a survey, performing reverts, or otherwise attempting to give the appearance of consensus is strongly discouraged.

Passed 14 to 0 at 21:29, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Meatpuppets banned[edit]

3) Any administrator may block indefinitely any suspected meatpuppet for good cause. This includes disruptive behavior like edit warring and personal attacks, but also skewing consensus or neutrality by flooding the discussion.


8) The recruitment of new editors to Wikipedia for the purpose of influencing a survey, perform reverts, or otherwise attempting to give the appearance of consensus is strongly discouraged. A new user who engages in the same behavior as another user in the same context, and who appears to be editing Wikipedia solely for that purpose, shall be subject to the remedies applied to the user whose behavior they are joining.

Proper consensus[edit]

The determination of proper consensus is vulnerable to unrepresentative participation from the community.

Because of the generally limited number of editors likely to participate in any given discussion, an influx of biased or partisan editors is likely to generate an improper illusion of a consensus where none (or a different one) would exist in a wider population.

Vulnerable processes[edit]

Processes internal to the functioning of the Wikipedia project also rely on consensus. Given the more decisive nature of the discussions, and the greater likelihood of harm, it is important that discussion leading to a decision be as representative as possible. In particular, discussion on the deletion boards, arbitration enforcement, and noticeboards are especially vulnerable to biased or partisan participation.

List of 'opponents'[edit]

Wikipedia is not a battleground. It is not a place to hold grudges, import personal conflicts, or nurture hatred or fear. Making personal battles out of Wikipedia discussions goes directly against our policies and goals. In particular, making list of "opponents" or coordinating actions in order to drive off or punish perceived "adversaries" goes counter to the necessary collegial atmosphere required to write an encyclopedia.

Coordinated actions[edit]

When a group of editors consistently and repeatedly participate in the same discussions to support the same point of view — especially when many or most of the members of that group had little or no prior participation in the underlying dispute — it is reasonable to presume that they could be coordinating their actions. Evaluation of consensus in particularly divisive or controversial cases need to carefully weigh the possibility and avoid ascribing too much weight to the number of participants in a discussion — especially when policy enforcement or sanctions are considered.

(all above are in decisions or proposed decisions by ArbCom and unanimously supported )


Various forms of harassment and related activities may have a goal to demotivate unwanted members of discussion so they would no longer participate. This form of harassment may be better prepared than something done by a random troll for pure pleasure. It may be based on some tendentiously twisted "facts" and include multiple people cooperating. After unwanted opponents leave, it is possible to achieve the false consensus between remaining participants or simply make the wanted change assuming that "no objections is a consensus". Harassment is against Wikipedia policies and should be dealt with accordingly.

See also[edit]