Commons:Offsite discussion

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Offsite discussion is discussion about Commons issues or users which takes place outside of Commons.

Referring to offsite discussions[edit]

  • Offsite discussions are not subject to Commons' rules of discussion, and might include personal attacks and personal information (including outing) which would not be acceptable on Commons. Where this is an issue, Commons contributors should consider carefully whether a public link to the discussion is necessary - onwiki reporting or discussion of offsite attacks and personal information may give these issues unnecessary prominence. In some cases, it may be more appropriate to discuss sensitive issues by email, at least initially. The template {{Offsite discussion link}} is available for linking to offsite discussions - it includes a link to this help page.
  • Note that per Commons:General disclaimer, "None of the authors, contributors, sponsors, administrators, sysops, or anyone else connected with Wikimedia Commons in any way whatsoever can be responsible for the appearance of any inaccurate or libelous information or for your use of the information contained in or linked from these web pages." (emphasis added)

Participating in offsite discussions[edit]

  • In general, users are encouraged to ensure that discussions about Commons issues or users take place on Commons, unless there is good reason to avoid this, for example where there are sensitive issues (email may be more appropriate). There is not (and cannot be) any prohibition on discussing Commons issues offsite, but Commons users are encouraged to do what they can to try to ensure such discussions are constructive.
  • Commons contributors who make comments offsite may find these comments taken into account by others in understanding and judging their behaviour on Commons.
  • Mentioning current issues offsite can have an advertising effect, bringing in users who would not otherwise have seen the issue. If done deliberately, this would be considered "canvassing" (Commons:Canvassing), but even as an unintentional factor, it can be a problem. See #Canvassing/advertising below.


  • Where there is an influx of users who do not normally contribute to Commons, users may be reminded that polling is not a substitute for discussion using a template to be placed at the top of the relevant discussion, such as {{Wikipedia DR}}.
  • The template {{Offsite discussion annotation}} is available to annotate the first comment by users who may have found a discussion via canvassing. Such annotation is not intended to devalue constructive comments, and users should not take offence if their comments are annotated. The annotation is merely to help clarify the flow of the discussion, particularly where users are making brief vote-type comments without substantive argument; and to help identify selection bias if there has been a canvassing/advertising problem.

See also[edit]