[WikiEN-l] Can sweet reason still work on en:wp? Occasionally.

Ryan Delaney ryan.delaney at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 21:58:40 UTC 2009

On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 2:49 PM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 5:35 PM, Ryan Delaney <ryan.delaney at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > This is a bizarre, but ancient, misunderstanding of IAR. All IAR means is
> > that priority number one is doing what is right, rather than pedantic
> > allegiance to a dictatorial interpretation of rules. Since IAR is not
> itself
> > a justification for anything, there is never any useful information added
> by
> > saying "I am invoking IAR." The only defense is "I did this because X"
> where
> > X is the reason that what you did was a good idea, so you might as well
> skip
> > to the end. Rather than saying "I am invoking IAR and I did this because
> X",
> > just say "I did this because X."
> And WP:IAR has said as much at various times; but such explanation
> tends to be unstable because it eventually leads to people attempting
> to codify rules regulating when it is permissible to IAR.  O_o
> That said, sometimes after you've said "I did this because it was the
> right thing to do caused no harm, and because failing to do this would
> cause harm and rules X,Y,Z were created without any consideration of
> this case, and ..." several times only be to be rebutted by some
> person who, without refuting any aspect of your position, keeps
> pointing out your flagrant violation of the strict letter of rule
> 27B/6 ... well, about the only thing to do is to cite back WP:IAR as a
> rule. At that moment the rule-pushers head will either explode, or
> he'll go burn himself out trying to edit war on WP:IAR, either way
> your problem is solved. (or so you hope!)

This is an important point. A proper application of IAR should go unnoticed
-- at least, by everyone except the "rules are rules" folks who memorize the
laws and are ready to deliver citations for all your transgressions whenever
you step a quarter inch out of line. If what you did was a good idea and
everyone agrees it was a good idea, nobody should even notice that it was
against the rules or that IAR was necessary. Explicitly announcing that you
are invoking IAR rarely accomplishes more than triggering "rules are rules"
responses and starting up another round of the perennial IAR interpretation
debates. (See what has happened in this very thread?)

-causa sui

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