Proposal:Experts as advisors/controllers not owners/en

From Strategic Planning
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Analogy: Architects not laborers.
Misconception: Experts don't edit articles (no): can both advise and edit.
Example: See below #Examples.

If not English, in what language is this proposal submitted?:


Due to differences of opinion, in re-interpreting policies or priorities, there needs to be a system of experts who advise in defining policies, article sets, and rules of judgment. Many future debates could be averted because groups of experts would have settled the basic disputes, long ago. The expertise could be: direct participation, or essays written to guide decisions, or even some related books written by mainstream experts.

Perhaps call the activity: "Expert guidance" as a common method to decide a major debate or dispute when defining policies, article sets, and rules of judgment.


Define some quick procedure where experts would be involved to provide guidance about many complex issues that most people would not realize (or even understand without more formal training).

The important priorities are:

  • Some complex issues really are beyond the imagination of general users.
  • Endless re-debates could be settled, with specifics in writing.
  • Prior experts could be consulted to help with future decisions.
  • Upper-level members would have some key people they could contact to resolve complex issues.
  • Keep experts in a limited capacity, so there is no illusion that experts will immediately take command and start forcing changes.

However, beware the adage, "Everyone makes mistakes". So the advice of an expert should always be subject to further analysis, and problems should be expected, rather than consider a future disappointment to be a total condemnation of the concept of asking experts. Seek areas in which expert knowledge will make a significant difference.


Setting priorities or deciding complex debates, via talk-pages, requires a lot of time. After months (or years) of working and analyzing issues, it becomes apparent that experts could have forseen and predicted, or prevented, problems much sooner, if only they had been involved in setting decisions.

Potential costs

Some extra effort would be needed to identify and invite various experts into discussions. There are several concerns:

  • An expert identity form might include level of education, years of experience, and noting other recommended experts.
  • Some experts will be reluctant to speak with unknown adversaries.
  • Some other users might resent the preference shown to experts.
  • Some users might obsess with trying to find holes in the experts' knowledge.
  • Some potential experts might be slow to act, by over-analyzing the risks ("Paralysis of analysis").
  • It is important to find experts, with current knowledge, who are also adept at working quickly.


An expert in a particular field might recommend a set of perhaps 75 titles, as representing the key concepts in a field. Their advice could be used to update a list, or even an article portal (see: WP:Portal).

For setting practical policies, which actually produce better overall results, some expert "policy wonks" might be invited to help shape the design of policies and guidelines. This issue might involve studying books, written by such experts, rather than always have experts directly interacting to make decisions.

Some disappointments should be expected. For example, a person claiming to be an expert, in a particular field, might be revealed (perhaps by some graduate-student users) to not have a truly wide understanding of the topics, as formerly imagined. Perhaps sets of 3 experts could be invited to assist with some decisions, where some of those 3 might be revealed to have less knowledge than initially claimed. Similar situations could be handled by including long-term Wikipedians (for experience) to help improve teamwork with the experts, while noting some long-term Wikimedia concerns.

See also

Community Discussion

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