|This page in a nutshell: The ((Centralized discussion)) template is a widely-transcluded listing of ongoing discussions, specifically those which have potentially wide-ranging impacts and therefore require input from the community at large.|
The ((centralized discussion)) template (shortcut: T:CENT) is generally used to draw attention to discussions regarding policies, guidelines or other matters that have a wide impact and on which a broad consensus is needed. Announcements, such as for ArbCom elections, etc., are generally done via the Watchlist notice or the Sitenotice. Discussions related to content, including use of infoboxes and templates within a specific topic area, are usually best advertised within the appropriate WikiProjects.
Wikipedians frequently discuss proposed changes to a Wikipedia policy or guideline; these may take the form of new proposals, amendments to existing policies or guidelines, or requests for comments. These discussions generally take place on relevant talk pages. They may also occur at Meta-Wiki, on IRC, and on our mailing lists.
Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) and Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals) provide central areas both for giving notice of discussions elsewhere and for debate itself. Despite regular archiving, these pages tend to grow rather lengthy. It's not always easy to know what issues are active.
Discussions listed on Cent are about matters that are significant enough to require a broad consensus. See Wikipedia:Canvassing for guidance on the appropriate way to gain attention.
Some discussions may also be listed on Wikipedia:Requests for comment.
((subst:Notified|WP:CENT((subst:!))centralized discussion))or similar.
Entries for inactive discussions, closed or not, should be moved to Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Archive.
Like any tool, this may be misused. Kindly exercise restraint, assume good faith, and allow process to take its course. Please don't add new policy ideas indiscriminately; trial balloons are better floated at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals). This template should be reserved for ongoing discussions. Remember, its usefulness is in inverse proportion to its size.
Before joining a debate, it might be wise to gather some background, especially on complex or long-standing issues. Please be courteous to your fellow editors and read existing discussion before adding your own comment. It's hoped that ((centralized discussion)) will contribute to the opening of policy debate and the broadening of consensus; but of course no good purpose is served by uninformed comment. Stay cool.