Wikipedia:Content forking/Internal

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Discussion forks[edit]

Discussions should not be forked to multiple talk pages, noticeboards, or other venues, but centralized in a single place. Opening duplicate discussions wastes editorial time, scatters editorial input, and can even lead to conflicting outcomes. Intentionally forking discussions may be interpreted as forum-shopping or canvassing.

It is sometimes useful to relocate a discussion to a more appropriate page; this is usually effectively done by posting a pointer to the new discussion from the old one, though if discussion continues in the original location, it may be appropriate to close it, for example with:
     {{Discussion top |result= {{Moved discussion to | [[Other page name#Thread name]] }} }}, then a closing {{Discussion bottom}}.

When advertising a discussion to other talk pages, you can help prevent discussion forking at the locations of these notices by prefacing them with {{FYI|Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.}}, immediately after the section heading for the notice. It is also helpful to spell out the location of the discussion (e.g., "Please see Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources#Sample topic.") rather than effectively hide it with a piped link (e.g., "here").

Exceptions[edit]

In most cases an open discussion is preferably kept at the place where it first began, with split-off discussions closed and retargetted to the oldest open discussion. However, in some of the exceptional cases described below it is also possible, depending on circumstances, that both old and new discussion are kept open concurrently, or that the older discussion is closed rather than the newer one. Examples:

  • When a discussion moves from an article talk page to WP:DRN, the article talk topic is hardly ever formally closed;
  • When a discussion moves from that noticeboard to another noticeboard, it is always the older DRN discussion that is closed in favour of the newer one.

An advice for closers of discussions is that it is in most cases best to not leave participants in a discussion guessing where to go next after a discussion has been closed, e.g. at WP:AE it is mostly indicated by the closing admin where and after how much time a decision can be appealed.

Content issue vs. behavioural issue[edit]

Some pages are not suitable to discuss behavioural issues (e.g. article talk pages, WP:DRN); Other pages are not suitable to discuss the content of a particular mainspace article (e.g. user talk pages, WP:ANI). If an issue of a different nature turns up in a discussion that by its nature is in the appropriate place, the former issue can be split off to an appropriate venue.

Escalation to a broader venue[edit]

If a local WP:CONSENSUS fails, and all parties in a discussion agree that nothing more can be expected to continue the discussion in that place, the discussion may be brought to a more appropriate, broader venue, e.g. whether or not information based on two sources can be included in an article can, if the discussion remains unresolved, be escalated to WP:RSN, or, if the content regards a living person, to WP:BLPN, etc.

Patently wrong venue[edit]

If a new discussion topic is opened in a venue where it doesn't belong (e.g. an issue regarding the biography of a 19th-century person at WP:BLPN), the topic may be closed and/or moved to a more appropriate venue. See also: {{Wrong venue}}

Policy forks[edit]

It is never constructive to attempt to create a new page or section of WP:POLICY-style material (at an existing or proposed policy, guideline, supplement, information page, wikiproject advice page, help/how-to page, or other material meant to provide advice to editors) that conflicts with or contradicts an existing one. Even one which is simply redundant will not be accepted, but merged or deleted, as retaining separate pages covering the same issue would inevitably lead to diverging advice and avoidable conflict between editors, the same concerns apply to modifying an existing page of this sort to conflict with another existing one. In particular, forking topic-specific guidance to conflict with site-wide norms is against the Consensus policy.

When summary style is applied to such material – e.g., with one narrow page summarizing the applicable guidance of another, broader one – the original page or section should be linked to from the summarizing one, and it may be appropriate to use a {{Main}} template atop the summarizing section to point to the original prominently.

If you disagree with the wording or interpretation of any policy material (broadly defined), the appropriate process is to open a discussion on its talk page and seek consensus to change or clarify it. While an attempt to just boldly change the content without prior discussion is not forbidden, there is a high likelihood that it will be reverted, because changes to these materials require an elevated level of care.