Wikipedia:Somebody else's problem

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This poster says it all

When a solution has been presented in a discussion, most notably at deletion discussions, the "Somebody Else's Problem"-effect may occur.

If this happens, it does harm to the encyclopedia we are trying to build without anyone actually wanting it. People just assume that someone else will do what they realize has to be done.

The effectEdit

Imagine the following deletion discussion:

Subject fails WP:N as non-notable and there are no reliable sources to demonstrate otherwise. Nominator 02:03, 2 February 2002 (UTC)
  • Keep. Clearly notable. -- Keeper 03:03, 3 March 2003 (UTC)
  • Keep. There are plenty of sources! -– SourceFan 03:03, 3 March 2003 (UTC)
  • Keep. Yeah, sources are here: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]. -– GoogleUser 03:03, 3 March 2003 (UTC)
  • Keep per GoogleUser. -– FanBoy 03:03, 3 March 2003 (UTC)
  • Keep per above. -– Keepy 01:56, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Looks like a clear SNOW keep? Yes, it does, and such a discussion will probably be closed very fast. But what happens afterwards? Sadly, in many cases this is it: The "keep"-voters feel that it's the nominator's concern to add those sources to the article. The nominator, on the other hand, thinks that those who presented the sources should and will add them and improve the article. The closing admin assumes that they just had to assess the situation and closes the discussion without making any changes at all. So what happens? The AfD template is removed, the AfD is closed... but the article is left in its sorry state, unsourced and probably still tagged for it.

This also applies to other problems at deletion discussions. When an article is closed as "merge", it will be tagged as such. But oftentimes no-one feels responsible for doing the merging. So the closing admin will not perform the merge, nor will the users voting for it, and when it's over, the article sits unmerged for days, weeks, maybe months.

What to doEdit

It is simple: It is not somebody else's problem: it is ours. Every user participating in such a discussion, especially the nominator, the closing admin and the one(s) providing sources, should feel responsible to fix the article once the discussion has closed with a keep-result. Do not hope that someone else will do it...if you have time, do it yourself!

See alsoEdit