Wikickoff contributors come from many different countries and cultures. We have different views, perspectives, and backgrounds, sometimes varying widely. Treating others with respect is key to collaborating effectively in building an encyclopedia.
This page offers some principles of "Wikiquette" — guidelines on how to work with others on Wikickoff. You can read about more basic conventions at the policies and guidelines page.
Principles of Wikipedia etiquette
- Assume good faith. Wikickoff work based on a policy of nearly complete freedom to edit. People come here to collaborate and write good articles.
- Avoid reverts and deletions whenever possible, and stay within the three-revert rule except in cases of clear vandalism. Explain reversions in the edit summary box.
- Amend, edit, discuss.
- Be polite.
- People can't see you or know for sure your mood. Irony isn't always obvious, and blunt, raw text can easily appear rude. Be careful of the words you choose — what you intended might not be what others think.
- Sign and date your posts to talk pages (not articles!).
- Work toward agreement
- Argue facts, not personalities.
- Don't ignore questions.
- If another disagrees with your edit, provide good reasons why you think it's appropriate.
- Concede a point, when you have no response to it; or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste.
- Don't make people debate positions you don't really hold.
- Be prepared to apologize.
- In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so.
- Forgive and forget.
- Recognize your own biases and keep them in check.
- Give praise when due. Everybody likes to feel appreciated, especially in an environment that often requires compromise. Drop a friendly note on user's talk pages.
- Remove or summarize resolved disputes that you initiated.
- Help mediate disagreements between others.
- If you're arguing, take a break; if you're mediating, recommend a break.
- Come back after a week or two. If no one is mediating, and you think mediation is needed, enlist someone.
- Walk away or find another Wikickoff article to distract yourself — there are 194 articles on Wikickoff!
- Be civil.
How to avoid abuse of Talk pages
Most people take pride in their work and in their point of view. Egos can easily get hurt in editing, but Talk pages are not a place for striking back. They're a good place to comfort or undo damage to egos, but most of all they're for forging agreements that are best for the articles they're attached to.
Here are a few things to bear in mind
- Wikickoff articles are supposed to represent all views. The Talk ("discussion") pages are not a place to debate value judgements about which of those views are right or wrong or better. If you want to do that, there are venues such as Usenet, public weblogs and other wikis. Use the Talk pages to discuss the accuracy/inaccuracy, Point Of View bias, or other problems in the article, not as a soapbox for advocacy.
- If someone disagrees with you, this does not necessarily mean that (1) the person hates you, (2) the person thinks you're stupid, (3) the person is stupid, (4) the person is evil, etc. When people post opinions without practical implications for the article, it's best to just leave them be.
- Wikickoff invites you to be bold. Before initiating discussion, ask yourself: Is this really necessary to discuss? Could I provide a summary with my edit and wait for others to quibble if they like?
- You can always take a discussion to e-mail or to your user page if it's not essential to the article.
A few more tips on polite discussion
- Always make clear what point you are addressing, especially in replies.
- Quoting a post is O.K., but stating how you interpreted it is better. Before proceeding to say that someone is wrong, concede you might have misinterpreted him or her.
- Don't label or personally attack people or their edits.
- Terms like "racist," "sexist" or even "poorly written" make people defensive. This makes it hard to discuss articles productively.
Other words of advice
- to be open and warmly welcoming, not insular,
- to be focused singlemindedly on writing an encyclopedia, not on Usenet-style debate,
- to recognize and praise the best work, work that is detailed, factual, well-informed, and well-referenced,
- to work to understand what neutrality requires and why it is so essential to and good for this project,
- to treat your fellow productive, well-meaning members of Wikipedia with respect and good will,
- to attract and honor good people who know a lot and can write about it well, and
- to show the door to trolls, vandals, and wiki-anarchists, who if permitted would waste your time and create a poisonous atmosphere here.
- Make others feel welcome (even longtime participants; even those you dislike)
- Create and continue a friendly environment
- Turn the other cheek (which includes walking away from potential edit wars)
- Give praise, especially to those you don't know (most people like to know they are wanted and appreciated)
For discussion of the rationales behind these guidelines, see KO gathering forum