Requests for comment (RfC) is a process for requesting outside input concerning disputes, policies, guidelines or article content. RfCs are a way to attract more attention to a discussion about making changes to pages or procedures, including articles, essays, guidelines, policies, and many other kinds of pages. It uses a system of centralized noticeboards and random, bot-delivered invitations to advertise discussions to uninvolved editors. The normal talk page guidelines apply to these discussions.
This page describes the process, including instructions for how and why to create an RfC, close or end one, and participate in one.
RfC is one of several processes available within Wikipedia's dispute resolution system. Alternative processes include third opinion, administrator's incident noticeboard, reliable sources noticeboard, neutral point of view noticeboard, the dispute resolution noticeboard, and, for editors' behavior, binding arbitration.
A request for comment (RfC) is a request to the Wikipedia community for comment on an issue. Often, the issue is what an article should say. Sometimes it is a proposal for a Wikipedia process or rule change. RfC invites comment from a broader selection of editors than a normal talk page discussion.
An RfC takes the form of a section or subsection of a talk page that is advertised on a subpage of Wikipedia:Requests for comment, all of which are aggregated at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/All. Editors interested in responding to RfCs can visit these pages regularly or watch them. There is also a Feedback request service (FRS), in which an editor can subscribe to be notified at random about RfCs at a rate the editor chooses.
After an RfC creator adds an
((rfc)) tag on the talk page that hosts the RfC, a bot will do the rest for them.
An RfC leads to a discussion on the page that hosts the RfC. This "RfC discussion" is an ordinary Wikipedia discussion that follows the normal rules and procedures, including possible closing. Closing the discussion, in which an uninvolved neutral editor declares the discussion finished and summarizes its conclusions, is often of particular value in an RfC, as the purpose of an RfC is usually to develop a consensus about some disputed point.
Because Wikipedia makes decisions by consensus, an RfC can act as a dispute resolution, especially when combined with discussion closure. If, for example, the editors of a certain article cannot agree on whether a certain fact should be included, they can use an RfC to find out what the community thinks and, if a consensus emerges, that usually resolves the dispute.
RfCs eventually end, which means the advertisement ceases and the RfC thus ceases to exist. The RfC discussion remains available to read indefinitely (though it will probably move like any other discussion to talk page archives after a while).
RfCs are time consuming, and editor time is valuable. Before using the RfC process to get opinions from outside editors, it's often faster and more effective to thoroughly discuss the matter with any other parties on the related talk page. Editors are expected to make a reasonable attempt at resolving their issues before starting an RfC. If you are able to come to a consensus or have your questions answered through discussion with other editors, then there is no need to start an RfC.
If a local discussion does not answer your question or resolve the problem, then some other forums for resolution include:
For a more complete description of dispute resolution options, see the Dispute resolution policy and the list of noticeboards.
If you are not sure if an RfC is necessary, or about how best to frame it, ask on the talk page of this project.
|Problem||Follow the procedures described at|
|Help needed||Help:Contents or |
|Deletion processes||WP:Deletion process#Deletion venues, or WP:Deletion review|
|Did You Know suggestions||Template talk:Did you know|
|Featured Article/List/Picture/Topic discussions||Featured article candidates, Featured article review, Featured list candidates, Featured list removal candidates, Featured picture candidates, Featured topic candidates, Featured topic removal candidates or Today's featured article/requests|
|Good Article/Topic discussions||Good article nominations, Good article reassessment, Good topic nominations, Good topic removal candidates|
|Peer review||Peer review|
|Renaming categories||Categories for discussion|
|Renaming pages (other than categories)||Moving a page or Requested moves|
The use of requests for comment on user conduct has been discontinued. In severe cases of misconduct, you may try Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. If the dispute cannot be resolved there, then arbitration may be warranted as a last resort.
|You can ask for help with writing your RFC question on the talk page.|
((rfc))tag at the top of the new talk page section. The categories for the
((rfc))tag are listed below; the category must be given in lower case.
((rfc))tag. For example:
((rfc))tags in the same edit. If you want to start two RfCs on the same page, then read #Multiple simultaneous RfCs on one page first.
((rfc))tag. Sign the statement with either
~~~~(name, time and date) or
~~~~~(just the time and date). Failing to provide a time and date will cause Legobot to remove your discussion from the pages that notify interested editors of RfCs.
|Issues by topic area (View all)|
|Article topics (View all)|
|Economy, trade, and companies||(watch)|
|History and geography||(watch)|
|Language and linguistics||(watch)|
|Maths, science, and technology||(watch)|
|Media, the arts, and architecture||(watch)|
|Politics, government, and law||(watch)|
|Religion and philosophy||(watch)|
|Society, sports, and culture||(watch)|
|Project-wide topics (View all)|
|Wikipedia style and naming||(watch)|
|Wikipedia policies and guidelines||(watch)|
|WikiProjects and collaborations||(watch)|
|Wikipedia technical issues and templates||(watch)|
The list of RfC categories is in the adjacent table.
The "Wikipedia policies and guidelines" category is for discussing changes to the policies and guidelines themselves, not for discussing how to apply them to a specific case. The same applies to "style", "WikiProject", and the other non-article categories.
The "Language and linguistics" category is for requests related to a Wikipedia article (or part of one) about language and linguistics, not for requests concerning the language on a page. If you want comments on how an article should be worded, categorize your request according to the topic of the article.
There are many acceptable ways to format an RfC. Below is one example of how a simple RfC could appear when you are editing the talk page. This example will work best for average or smaller RfCs; for major disputes, other, more structured formats may be more appropriate.
You can copy and paste this example, but be sure to change the wording to reflect your particular topic (for example, the "hist" category may need to be changed). A signature ("~~~~") or at least a time and date ("~~~~~") is required. Do not include any opening html tags (e.g.,
<small>) in the initial RfC statement unless its corresponding closing tag (e.g.,
</small>) also comes before the first timestamp, i.e., don't "straddle" the first timestamp inside html code, otherwise it may corrupt the entry of the RfC on the topic discussion pages. After you have inserted text similar to this into the talk page, you must publish the page.
== RfC about the photo in the history section == ((rfc|hist)) Should the "History" section contain a photograph of the ship? ~~~~
See also: WP:Writing requests for comment
Keep the RfC statement (and heading) neutrally worded, short and simple. Statements are often phrased as questions, for example: "Should this article say in the lead that John Smith was a contender for the Pulitzer Prize?"
Legobot will copy the markup of your statement (from the end of the ((rfc)) tag through the first timestamp) to the list of active RfCs, if it is sufficiently brief; a long statement will fail to be copied. For technical reasons, statements may not contain tables or complex formatting, although these may be added after the initial statement (i.e., after the first timestamp). Similarly, the statement should not begin with a list – but if this is unavoidable, use the markup
before the list, either directly after the
((rfc)) tag or on a line of its own. If the markup of the RfC statement is too long, Legobot may fail to copy it to the RfC list pages, and will not publicise the RfC via the feedback request service.
The statement should be self-contained, and should not assume that the section title is available (because the statement, but not the section title, will be copied to the RfC list pages). If the RfC is about an edit that's been disputed, consider including a diff in the RfC question.
If you have lots to say on the issue, give and sign a brief statement in the initial description and publish the page, then edit the page again and place additional comments below your first statement and timestamp. If you feel that you cannot describe the issue neutrally, you may either ask someone else to write the question or summary, or simply do your best and leave a note asking others to improve it. It may be helpful to discuss your planned RfC question on the talk page before starting the RfC, to see whether other editors have ideas for making it clearer or more concise.
If you amend the RfC statement (including the addition of another RfC category), Legobot will copy the amended version to the RfC listings the next time that it runs.
There is no technical limit to the number of simultaneous RfCs that may be held on a single talk page, but to avoid discussion forks, they should not overlap significantly in their subject matter.
((rfc)) tag should also be added in a separate edit, with a delay between each edit to let the bot assign an id number to the first before attempting to start a second. If you are starting another RfC on a page which already has one or more ongoing RfCs, first ensure that all of the existing
((rfc)) tags already contain a
|rfcid= parameter. The process looks like this:
((rfc)) tag anywhere on the page lacks this parameter, even if that RfC was started by another editor, then wait for Legobot to add it before adding another
((rfc)) tag anywhere on the page. If there are two
((rfc)) tags on the same page that both lack the
|rfcid= parameter, Legobot will assign the same value to both, with the result that only the lowest one of the page will be publicised; moreover, the incoming link will lead to the higher RfC question, which will cause confusion. To repair this, remove the
|rfcid= parameter from the unpublicised one (usually the higher one).
Normally, RfCs are located in talk pages. But in some situations, an RfC may be placed on a subpage of this page or a subpage of a policy page (for example Wikipedia:Pending changes/Request for Comment 2012 or Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Categorization of persons).
After you create an RfC, it will be noticed by editors that watch the talk page, by editors that watch the RfC lists, and by some editors subscribed to the Feedback Request Service (FRS), who will be automatically notified by Yapperbot. However, there may not be enough editors to get sufficient input. To get more input, you may publicize the RfC by posting a notice at one or more of the following locations:
When posting a notice at those locations, provide a link to the RfC, and a brief statement, but do not argue the RfC. You may use
((rfc notice)) to inform other editors. Take care to adhere to the canvassing guideline, which prohibits notifying a chosen group of editors who may be biased. When creating a new Wikipedia policy or suggesting major modifications to a policy, follow the instructions at WP:PROPOSAL. Centralized discussion may be used for policy-related RfCs but is not for publicizing any content disputes in articles. Further guidance is available at WP:Publicising discussions.
All editors (including IP users) are welcome to respond to any RfC.
((rfc))tag generally remains on the page until removed by Legobot or the originator. A discussion can be closed only when the criteria at Ending RfCs are met.
See also: WP:Advice on closing discussions
As an RfC is the solicitation of comment in a discussion, ending an RfC consists of ending that solicitation.
There are several ways in which RfCs end:
When an RfC is used to resolve a dispute, the resolution is determined the same way as for any other discussion: the participants in the discussion determine what they have agreed on and try to implement their agreement. Like other discussions, RfCs sometimes end without an agreement or clear resolution. Please remove the ((rfc)) tag when the dispute has been resolved, or when discussion has ended.
Anyone who wants an uninvolved editor to write a closing summary of the discussion (ideally with a determination of consensus) can formally request closure by posting at Wikipedia:Closure requests. If the matter under discussion is not contentious and the consensus is obvious to the participants, then formal closure is neither necessary nor advisable. Written closing statements are not required. Editors are expected to be able to evaluate and agree upon the results of most RfCs without outside assistance.
To alert readers that an RfC has ended, you may optionally enclose the talk page section in a box using a template pair such as
((closed rfc top))/
((closed rfc bottom)) or
((archive bottom)). This is not required, and may be done with or without a closing statement about the discussions results. This example shows one way to do this:
== RfC about the photo in the History section == ((closed rfc top|result= Consensus was reached to keep the photo. ~~~~ )) .... here is the entire RfC discussion... ((closed rfc bottom))
An RfC should last until enough comment has been received that consensus is reached, or until it is apparent that it won't be.
There is no required minimum or maximum duration; however, Legobot assumes an RfC has been forgotten and automatically ends it (removes the rfc template) 30 days after it begins, to avoid a buildup of stale discussions cluttering the lists and wasting commenters' time. But editors should not wait for that: if one of the reasons listed above applies, someone should end it manually, as soon as it is clear the discussion has run its course. Conversely, whenever additional comments are still wanted after 30 days, someone should delay Legobot's automatic action. Here's how to do those things:
Legobot's determination of age is based on the first timestamp following the
To end an RfC manually, remove the
((rfc)) template from the talk page. Legobot will remove the discussion from the central lists on its next run. (When Legobot automatically ends an RfC because of its age, it will remove the ((rfc)) template.) If you are also closing the discussion, you should do this in the same edit. As an alternative to removing the
((rfc)) template, you may use one of the template-linking templates such as
((tlx)), as in
((tlx|rfc|bio|rfcid=fedcba9)). Do not enclose the
((rfc)) template in
<syntaxhighlight>...</syntaxhighlight> tags, nor place it in HTML comment markers
<!--...--> since Legobot will ignore these and treat the RfC as if it is still open – and may also corrupt the RfC listing pages.
To extend a current RfC for another 30 days, and to prevent Legobot from automatically ending the RfC during the next month, insert a current timestamp immediately before the original timestamp of the opening statement.
Anyone who wants to have more comments on the topic can restart an RfC that has ended, as long as the discussion has not been closed. For example, the original poster of an RfC might withdraw it, but someone else may have become interested in the topic in the meantime and restart it.
To restart an RfC, reinsert the
((rfc)) template. If it was automatically removed by Legobot, then be sure to insert a current timestamp after the RfC statement, and before its original timestamp, or it will just get re-removed by the bot. This will give a thirty-day extension; but if the RfC is to be of long duration, you may instead add the line
<!-- RFCBot Ignore Expired -->
You should mention at the end of the RfC statement that the RfC ended and restarted, and add your signature if appropriate.