Wikipedia:What does "per" mean?
This is an essay on the deletion policy.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
|This page in a nutshell: Per SOMETHING or per Someone gives an explanation, not a mandatory reason.|
|Look up per in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Frequently, on several of our process pages, people make comments containing the word per, such as:
Among new users, there is the occasional confusion about what the word per means and implies. It is a Latin term meaning literally 'through' or 'by means of'. In the example expressions, it conveys 'because of the rationale presented at/by'.
Note that comments that are only per something are generally considered arguments to avoid. (See WP:PERNOM and WP:JUSTAPOLICY.) However, such comments are not banned, and in some cases, it would be pointless to explain in great detail.
Wikipedia editors often abbreviate the name of frequently referenced policies, guidelines and essays. These abbreviations often take the form of either a series of capital letters (e.g. "NPOV"), which may be prefixed by "WP:". (When using the prefix "WP:", the page can be linked, like so: WP:NPOV.)
Editors sometimes refer to these pages by writing per and then the page. This is meant to be an efficient way of summarizing their views, although it is sometimes misunderstood.
For example, "Merge per WP:CUTS" means either:
- "In my opinion we should merge this, for the reasons explained in WP:CUTS."
- "I interpret WP:CUTS as recommending this course of action be taken, and furthermore I think that the current version of WP:CUTS provides a good principle on which to base choices in matters like this one."
It is sometimes misunderstood as, but specifically does not mean, the following:
- "WP:CUTS is official policy and therefore it is mandatory to merge this."
Now, "WP:CUTS isn't policy!" is not the proper way to go about such a challenge. It would be only a straw man argument. WP:CUTS might not be a policy, but it is still a reason. You are free to disagree, to debate, to provide your own reason – with or without reference to any other page – or to challenge the referenced WP:CUTS contents. Moreover, Wikipedia has a rule about ignoring all the rules, so you can do the same even if WP:CUTS in fact is a policy.
This kind of straw-manning is particularly common when someone says per a page that is a Wikipedia essay rather than a policy or guideline: "But that's just an essay!" This is a wrong-headed, "noob" argument. When an experienced editor mentions an essay, it means "The reasoning I'm relying on has been written down already at this page, and I'm saving everyone the tedium of me typing it all out again here." This is explicitly what Wikipedia community essays exist for. "That's just an essay" is a non-argument, a handwave, that doesn't address the substance of the reasoning provided at the essay and how it may (or possibly may not) apply to the case at hand. That said, if there is a valid policy or guideline reason to do something and an essay argument against it, the former position is almost always stronger.
Per another editorEdit
During discussions, editors sometimes endorse other opinions. Editors do this by writing per Someone. "Someone" could be the username of another editor or "nom", which refers to the nominator. (In a deletion discussion, the user initially starting the deletion discussion.)
"Oppose per User:Example" means the following:
- "User:Example makes a good argument, and I'm going to recommend the course of action because I substantially agree with the bulk of what they said."
When to use thisEdit
You're never required to use this style, but when there is very little risk of misunderstanding, it's okay.
There is no material difference between these two statements except in length:
- Delete per WP:COPYVIO
- Delete because this is a copyright violation, copyright violations are bad and illegal, and Wikipedia editors shouldn't do things that are bad and illegal.