|Wikiquote Policies and Guidelines|
|Working with others|
This page offers some principles of etiquette or "Wikiquette" (WI-kee-ket) — i.e. guidelines on how to work with others on Wikiquote. You can read about more basic conventions at the policies and guidelines page.
Wikiquote's 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.
Principles of Wikiquote etiquette
- Assume good faith. Wikiquote 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.
- Treat others as you would have them treat you.
- Be polite, please!
- 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 perceive, and what you read might not be as intended.
- 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 civil.
- Although it's understandably difficult in a heated argument, if the other party is not as civil as you'd like them to be, make sure to be more civil than him or her, not less.
- That way at least you're not spiralling down to open conflict and name-calling by your own accord, you're actively doing something about it: taking a hit and refraining from hitting back - everybody appreciates that (or at least they should).
- However, don't hesitate to let the other party know that you're not comfortable with their tone in a neutral way -- otherwise they might think you're too dense to understand their "subtlety", and you'll involuntarily encourage them (e.g. "I know you've been sarcastic above, but I don't think that's helping us resolve the issue. However, I don't think your argument stands because...").
- 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. If you seem someone doing a good job, drop then a friendly note on their user talk page.
- 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 Wikiquote article to distract yourself — there are 24,876 articles on Wikiquote! You can lend your much-needed services at Cleanup or work on a requested page.
- Remember what Wikiquote is not.
- Review the list of faux pas.
- 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.
- Remind yourself that these are people you're dealing with. They are individuals with feelings and probably have other people in the world who love them. Try to allow dignity to others.
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
- Wikiquote articles are supposed to represent all views, instead of supporting one over another, even if you believe something strongly. 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, POV 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. What you think is not necessarily right or necessarily wrong - a common example of this is religion. Before you think about insulting someone's views, think about what would happen if you insulted their religion. Also, always remember that anything that is written on Wikiquote is kept permanently, even if it is not visible.
- Wikiquote 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.
- If you know you don't get along with someone, don't interact with them more than you need to. Unnecessary conflict distracts everyone from the task of making a good encyclopedia, and is just unpleasant. Actually following someone you dislike around Wikiquote is sometimes considered stalking, and is frowned on because it can be disruptive. If you don't get on with someone, try and become more friendly and if that doesn't help the situation then it is probably best to avoid them.
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. If you have to criticize, you must do it in a polite and constructive manner.
Other words of advice
Parting words of advice from Larry Sanger:
- 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 Wikiquote 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.
An outline for a Wikicovenant from Kingturtle:
- 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)
What to do in case of problems
- where appropriate