@FT2 (10:37, 27 November 2009): seems true, but that could bring us to an advice of the following sort:
- 'Well, actually we know how you can increase quality standards dramatically, but because of the way you're cooperating right now we assume you're not able to, so instead we'll tell you something that has little effect but certainly works'.
I think we're allowed to think big (I mean also: larger time-scale) and assume some problems in decision-making can be overcome in the future. Additionally, not all communities have become paralysed to the same degree as the en-wp community.
Because of the paralysis in decission-making, progress can only be made by creating new constructive ways (like our wizards), not by removing or changing old ways. This cannot continue eternally, people can only work with a limited quantity of 'red tape'. That's why I'm still optimistic that something will be done to make decission-making more effective in the future.
It's not just the amount and complexity of 'red tape', it is also the fact that 'red tape' is a tool which can be bent to purpose by all and sundry. In fact, a creative editor can make the red tape mean exactly what he or she wants it to mean. Red tape is in this respect more of a liability than an asset, where edit wars can be won by the editor most adept at bending the laws of reality to their own intent than others. I already have a fairly radical proposal up to the effect that we move away from what we now seem to have somehow ended up with, policy driven content, and back to what we once had and which made Wikipedia such an amenable and fascinating environment in which to work, one of content drive content. The paper which underpins the thinking for this is to be found here: Task force/Enhance community health and culture task force/Making Wikipedia a Happier Community. Policy appears to be a fundamental enemy of content and quality of content. Good faith, well researched edits by editors who care about their subjects results in ineffably better articles than anything cobbled together from a bunch of dubious web pages annotated with copious citations until your eyes blee with an overarching eye to policy compliance.
I like this part of the observation: that it's easier to suggest a new place to go or a new tool, than to suggest a change to existing wiki-cultural aproaches.
But I think the communities are looking for significant changes or findings here, so we're free to say "if you aren't working this way, try it, that's our conclusion" and provided it's viable they might.
However (and I think this is your point)... the more you tell people "kill that old approach and do this" instead of the softer and easier "start moving this direction", the more you risk an outright rejection by significant numbers.
In other words, it has to be a path that's got a good chance of people following it, otherwise it's pointless. So our optimum result might be categorized somewhat openly as the best path that has a good chance of enough people following it to make the necessary difference.
Human nature, variety of views, and inertia, will ultimately limit what we can achieve in any given "bite" at the quality cherry. Best to respect there are limits on the achievable (although not giving in lightly), and see what's the most we can progress quality for this time.