Wikiversity:Canvassing

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Canvassing is contacting like-minded individuals to coordinate efforts for a pending decision. In general, notifying people of ongoing discussions is perfectly acceptable, provided the intent is to improve the quality of the discussion by broadening participation to more fully achieve consensus and provided it is done indiscriminately (i.e. when done without regard for expected biases). However canvassing done with the intent to influence the outcome of a discussion is considered dishonest because the normal consensus decision-making process may be compromised, and therefore it may be considered disruptive behavior even when other intentions are good.

Examples[edit]

As an example, notifying all contributors of a page being considered for deletion is legitimate, even if all contributors are expected to be predisposed to keeping it. However if only people who are expected to support deleting the page are notified, that is discriminative notification and is considered inappropriate canvassing. While moderate canvassing of a few individuals may be acceptable in some cases, you are strongly discouraged from doing so, as it may increase tension and cause accusations of inappropriate behavior. You are also strongly discouraged from canvassing a group of people based on their age, philosophy, academic standing, or level of participation at Wikiversity, except when a group is itself the subject of discussion.

People can provide unique insights and perspectives that can prove to be invaluable in improving the quality of discussions when they are affected by the outcome of pending decisions or when they have expertise on the topic. Requests for people's input is encouraged in these cases.

Neutral public notices that may attract many people indiscriminately may also be a legitimate way to notify people of ongoing discussions.

Weighing input[edit]

Canvassed individuals may not know all the facts involved in a discussion, and may voice an opinion without reading discussions, and may be predisposed or have been persuaded to believe a POV is correct prior to their participation in discussions. For this reason the input of canvassed individuals who weigh in are generally given less weight when reading community consensus, particularly if they have little or no history of involvement with the Wikiversity community. Canvassed individuals should be treated with respect, while at the same time, the nature of their involvement in discussion should be made clear. New people joining Wikiversity as a result of canvassing should be welcomed like any other newcomer.

Professionalism[edit]

People are expected to act professionally when contacting people for their input and to take full responsibility for any consequences that may result from improper notification.

See also[edit]