Wikipedia:Staying cool when the editing gets hot

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Wikipedia has seen some bitter disputes. It is easy to get into disputes online, especially as being online can enable near-immediate responses – reactions – but please remember that we are all here for more or less the same reason and that there is a person at the other end of your conversation. Flame wars are counter-productive and make Wikipedia a less pleasant project for everyone.


Top tips for keeping your cool

Here is a short list of tips from experienced contributors:

Dealing with insults

Occasionally, on Wikipedia, despite everyone agreeing that we should not engage in personal attacks, harsh words get flung around—occasionally by longstanding contributors, but more often by newcomers. There are various ways to deal with this:

When we correct violations of the neutral point of view (NPOV) policy, we often make the mistake of using phrases like "foo points out that ..", "xy explains ..". These phrases themselves can be seen as non-NPOV, as they imply a certain agreement by Wikipedia. The original author then often sees this as non-NPOV and deletes the changes, and eventually, an edit war results. It is better to use the following procedure:

That way, when an agreement is reached, an edit war is very unlikely. The disadvantage is that the article stays in an unsatisfying state for a longer period of time, but an article that changes every five seconds hardly leaves a better impression with other Wikipedians.

Now there are cases where this strategy does not work. There are users who simply cannot and do not want to write NPOV articles, users who want to delete relevant information, users who are notoriously anti-social, and so on. We think these are the types of users we do not really want on Wikipedia, and a few have been banned. However, while many Wikipedians tend to write slightly POV articles about subjects that are near and dear to their hearts, most of them can be worked with.


If you consider yourself a cool, level-headed editor, then consider adopting this as your editing creed:

Remembering this simple statement can help keep you grounded when hot air begins to blow.

See also

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