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Fighting "instruction creep"

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(See Instruction creep @ Meta)

I heard and read several comments about MA being guilty of overly complex policies or, more generally, instruction creep, in the past. I'm actually sure that this is the case, but most often, these comments are just hearsay, never anything specific such as "this rule should be simplified to ..." or "that rule needs to be removed because ...".

So, let's try to fight some of that instruction creep. If there's a rule that you think needs to be changed, add a new section below and just let us know what rule, what change, and for what reason... ;) -- Cid Highwind 13:38, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Category suggestions Edit

Hmm, apparently, this is either not that bad, or it is just that no one is interested in doing anything about it. So let me start this myself... :)

Category suggestions: Currently, categories are being suggested [1], then discussed [2], then eventually created [3] (probably even tagged as a "provisional category" first [3a], which is later removed [3b]), then never changed again because "we agreed upon that!" [4].

Initially, the reasoning for a complicated process like this has been that the creation of "wrong" categories is much harder to revert than individual "wrong" edits to pages. This is still the case, but not as problematic with the existance of bots that are able to change one category tag to another automatically.

So we might be able to reduce the complexity of that process somewhat. To keep a little bit of control over what categories are created, we might just skip steps 1, 2 and 4 from the above description, allowing to:

  1. create random "provisional categories" - by
    • creating the category page
    • adding a message template to make other contributors aware of the new category (at this point, discussion could still take place, if necessary)
    • not starting to add tons of pages to the category immediately, just some example articles
  2. eventually remove the template after a while
  3. later change existing categories, simply by repeating the above steps for the new category page.

Opinions? -- Cid Highwind 16:01, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

My opinion? Any of this "provisional category" template business is a bad idea. It requires someone like an admin or something to come along every few months, go through, and fix stuff. I don't think that is likely to happen, just based on my experience recently with articles needing citation. Some of those tags had been there with no action for over a year. I think something better would be to keep the existing MA:CS system, but setting a short time limit on when a suggestion with no opposition can be created (two days, maybe even less), no provisional tag, and people taking advantage of the talk page to discuss changing the category (as was done on Category talk:Mirror universe inhabitants). What was agreed upon can be changed, by agreement.
Or, alternatively, we could simply create new categories (no MA:CS), and if they are opposed on their talk page, they can be removed, or something. --OuroborosCobra talk 17:48, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not convinced by either of those. One of the recent categories I suggested at MA:CS had a somewhat limited scope, pointed out by R54. He suggested a minor tweak to the name and scope that I'd suggested, and it allowed the category to cover what I'd really intended. My suggestion might be more along the lines of:
  • Bring it up on MA:CS
  • No responses within 7 days, create as desired
  • Archive suggestion on Cat's talk page. If it is a blanket archival, simply add a pointer to one page that has the archival suggestion.
  • A category can be created without discussion as suggested above, but a rationale must be posted on its talk page, and a message template thrown on the category itself.
That's just me though. I don't like the current system (too slow), and none of the other suggestions cover it sufficiently for me. -- Sulfur 17:59, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Isn't that last bullet point of your (Sulphur) list more or less what I suggested above? Or where's the difference? ;) -- Cid Highwind 22:03, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I suggested the first few bullet points at the CS talk page and I still think those are good ideas. I am also okay with creating categories without discussion, so long as the rules dictated by Cid are followed. However, I personally prefer bringing categories up for suggestion but just limiting the time needed for it to be created. --From Andoria with Love 22:24, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

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