Wikipedia:No personal attacks

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Eleanor Roosevelt

Do not make personal attacks anywhere in Wikipedia. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks do not help make a point; they only hurt the Wikipedia community and deter users from helping to create a good encyclopedia. Derogatory comments about another contributor may be removed by any editor. Repeated or egregious personal attacks may lead to blocks.

Contents

Why personal attacks are harmful

Contributors are often members of opposing communities, and wish to have their viewpoints included in articles. Through reasoned debate, contributors can synthesize these views into a single article, and this creates a better, more neutral article for everyone. Every person who edits an article is part of the same larger community — we are all Wikipedians.

The prohibition against personal attacks applies equally to all Wikipedians. It is as unacceptable to attack a user with a history of foolish or boorish behavior, or even one who has been subject to action by the Arbitration Committee, as it is to attack any other user. Wikipedia encourages a positive online community: people make mistakes, but they are encouraged to learn from them and change their ways. Personal attacks are contrary to this spirit and damaging to the work of building an encyclopedia.

Avoiding personal attacks

As a matter of polite and effective discourse, comments should not be personalized. That is, they should be directed at content and actions rather than people. In disputes, the word "you" should be avoided when possible. However, when there are disagreements about content, referring to other editors is not always a personal attack. A posting that says "Your statement about X is wrong because of information at Y", or "The paragraph you inserted into the article looks like original research", is not a personal attack. Or sometimes you could say instead—"The paragraph inserted here [DIFF] into the article looks like original research", which also is not a personal attack, and avoids referring to the other editor in the second person; providing the DIFF also cuts down confusion. Similarly, discussion of a user's conduct is not in itself a personal attack when done in the appropriate forum for such discussion (e.g. the user's talk page, WP:WQA, WP:ANI).

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