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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

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Chapter 11. Handling Incivility and Personal Attacks

In an ideal world, Wikipedia editors would discuss only content and would post only well reasoned, informative comments. They would assume, unless faced with overwhelming evidence, that other editors were also editing and commenting in good faith. Personal attacks would never occur.

Unfortunately it’s not an ideal world. Bad things do happen to good people. This chapter shows you helpful ways to respond to incivility and personal attacks directed against you or other editors. It also discusses what you should do if you slip up and use uncivil words, or worse, attack someone personally.

Note

If you’ve just experienced severe incivility or a personal attack, flip to “Initial Responses” on Initial Responses.

Enforcing Norms of Conduct

This chapter lays out some step-by-step processes for dealing with problematical editors. First, you need an understanding of Wikipedia’s rules regarding its editors’ behavior, and how those are enforced. With that understanding, you’ll find it easier to understand the step-by-step process.

The Norms

Wikipedia’s rules for behavior center around two policies and a guideline. Experienced editors often mention the trio all in one breath: WP:CIVIL, WP:NPA, WP:AGF, or even just CIVIL, NPA, AGF.

  • Wikipedia:Civility (shortcut: WP:CIVIL). Being rude, insensitive, or petty makes people upset and prevents Wikipedia from working well. Be careful to avoid offending people unintentionally. For example, an edit summary of ...

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