Wikipedia:Etiquette

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Assume good faith
Conflict of interest
Don't bite the newbies
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Etiquette
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Don't add the full text of primary sources
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This page offers some principles of etiquette, or "Wikiquette", on how to work with others on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia's contributors come from many different countries and cultures. We have many different views, perspectives, opinions, and backgrounds, sometimes varying widely. Treating others with respect is key to collaborating effectively in building an international online encyclopedia.

Contents

Principles of Wikipedia etiquette

  • Assume good faith. Comply with etiquette ethics. Wikipedia has worked remarkably well so far based on a policy of nearly complete freedom to edit. People come here to collaborate and write good articles.
  • Remember The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would have them treat you—even if they are new. We were all new once.
  • Be polite, please. " A soft answer turneth away wrath "
    • Keep in mind that raw text may be ambiguous and often seems ruder than the same words coming from a person standing in front of you. Irony is not always obvious when written— Always remember that text comes without facial expressions, vocal inflection, or body language. Be careful choosing the words you write: what you mean might not be what others understand. Likewise, be careful how you interpret what you read: what you understand might not be what the writer means.
  • Unless you have some excellent reasons not to do so, Sign and date your posts to talk pages (not articles), .
  • Work towards agreement.
  • Argue facts, not personalities.
  • Do not ignore questions.
    • If another disagrees with your edit, provide good reasons why you think that it is appropriate.
  • Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste.
  • Be civil.
    • Although it is understandably difficult in an intense argument, if other editors are not as civil as you would like them to be, be more civil than they are, not less. That way at least you are not moving towards open conflict and name-calling; by your own action you are actively doing something about it: take a hit and refrain from hitting back—everybody appreciates that (or at least they should).
    • However, do not hesitate to let the other person know that you are not comfortable with their tone in a neutral way—otherwise they might think that you are too dense to understand their "subtlety", and you will involuntarily encourage them (e.g., "I know that you have been sarcastic above, but I do not think that is helping us resolve the issue. However, I do not think that your argument stands because ...").
  • Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we had not. 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 users' talk pages.
  • Remove or summarize resolved disputes that you initiated.
  • Help mediate disagreements between others.
  • If you are arguing, take a break. If you are mediating, recommend a break.
    • Take it slowly. If you are angry, spend time away from Wikipedia instead of posting or editing. Come back in a day or a week. You may find that someone else made the desired change or comment for you. If you think mediation is needed, enlist someone.
    • Walk away or find another Wikipedia article to distract yourself—there are 3,518,048 articles in English on Wikipedia. Take up a Wikiproject, lend your much-needed services at Cleanup, or write a new article.
    • Nominate yourself for a list of other articles to work on, provided by SuggestBot.
  • Remember what Wikipedia is not.
  • Review the list of faux pas.
  • Avoid reverts whenever possible, and stay within the three-revert rule except in cases of clear vandalism. Explain reversions in the edit summary box.
  • Remind yourself that these are people with whom you are dealing. They have feelings, and probably have other people in the world who love them. Try to treat others with dignity. The world is a big place, with different cultures and conventions. Do not use jargon that others might not understand. Use acronyms carefully and clarify if there is the possibility of any doubt.
  • When reverting other people's edits, give a rationale for the revert (on the article's talk page, if necessary), and be prepared to enter into an extended discussion over the edits in question. Calmly explaining your thinking to others can often result in their agreeing with you; being dogmatic or uncommunicative evokes the same behavior in others, and gets you embroiled in an edit war.

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