Stargate Wiki:Etiquette

From Semantic Stargate Wiki

This page offers some principles of etiquette or "Wikiquette" (IPA pronunciation: ˈwɪkikɛt)—i.e. policies on how to work with others on Semantic Stargate Wiki. You can read about more basic conventions at the policies and guidelines page.

Semantic Stargate Wiki'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 Wikiquette

  • Assume good faith. Semantic Stargate Wiki 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 - even if they are new. We were all new once...
  • Be polite, please!
    • Keep in mind that raw text is ambiguous and often seems ruder than the same words coming from a person standing in front of you. Irony isn't always obvious - text comes without facial expressions, vocal inflection or body language. Be careful of the words you choose - what you intended might not be what others perceive, and what you read might not be what the author intended.
  • Please register yourself and sign and date your posts to talk pages (not articles!), unless you have some excellent reasons not to do so.
  • 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.
  • Be civil.
  • Although it's understandably difficult in a heated argument, if other editors are not as civil as you'd like them to be, make sure to be more civil than they, not less.
    • That way at least you're not spiraling 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. Drop a friendly note on users' talk pages.
  • 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.
    • Take it slow. If you're angry, take time out instead of posting or editing. Come back in a day or a week. You might find that someone else has made the desired change or comment for you. If no one is mediating, and you think mediation is needed, enlist someone.
    • Walk away or find another Stargate Wiki article to distract yourself — there are 1,884 articles on Stargate Wiki! Take up a Project List, or lend your much-needed services at tackling our to-do list at at our Community Portal. Or write a new article.
  • Remember what Semantic Stargate Wiki is not.
  • Review the list of faux pas.
  • Avoid reverts and deletions whenever possible, except in cases of clear vandalism. Explain reversions in the edit summary box.
    • Amend, edit, and 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 treat others with dignity.
  • Remember The Golden rule - "treat others as you want them to treat you."

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. If someone disagrees with you, try to understand why, and in your discussion on the Talk pages take the time to provide good reasons why you think your way is better.
  • 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.
  • Always make clear what point you are addressing, especially in replies.
    • In responding, make it clear what idea you are responding to: Quoting a post is O.K., but paraphrasing it or stating how you interpreted it is better. Furthermore, qualify your interpretation with a remark such as "as you seem to be saying" or "as I understand you" to acknowledge that you are making an interpretation. Before proceeding to say that someone is wrong, concede you might have misinterpreted him or her.
    • Interweaving rebuttals into the middle of another person's comments, however, is generally a bad idea. It disrupts the flow of the discussion and breaks the attribution of comments. It may be intelligible to the two of you but it's virtually impossible for the rest of the community to follow.

Working Towards NPOV

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 Semantic Stargate Wiki. 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:

  1. Inquire politely on the article's Talk pages about aspects of the article you consider non-NPOV (unless they are really egregious), and suggest replacements.
  2. If no reply comes, make the substitutions. (Use your watchlist to keep track of what you want to do.)
  3. If a reply comes, try to agree about the wording to be used.

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 frequently doesn't create good impression with other contributors or of the project as a whole.

Here are a few things to bear in mind

  • Semantic Stargate Wiki articles are supposed to represent all views (more at NPOV), instead of supporting one over another, even if you believe something strongly. The Talk ("discussion") pages are not a place to debate value judgments 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 they insulted your religion. Also, always remember that anything that is written on Semantic Stargate Wiki is kept permanently, even if it is not visible.
  • Try to avoid deleting things as a matter of principle. When you amend and edit, it is remarkable how you might see something useful in what was said. Most people have something useful to say. That includes you. Deletion upsets people and makes them feel they have wasted their time: consider moving their text to a sub-directory of their user pages instead (e.g. saying not quite the right place for it but so they can still use it): much less provocative.
  • Semantic Stargate Wiki 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 Semantic Stargate Wiki is sometimes considered stalking, and is frowned on because it is 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.

Other words of advice

  • Be open and warmly welcoming, not insular,
  • Be focused singlemindedly on writing an encyclopedia, not on Usenet-style debate,
  • Recognize and praise the best work, work that is detailed, factual, well-informed, and well-referenced,
  • Work to understand what neutrality requires and why it is so essential to and good for this project,
  • Treat your fellow productive, well-meaning members of Semantic Stargate Wiki with respect and good will,
  • Attract and honor good people who know a lot and can write about it well, and
  • Show the door to trolls, vandals, and wiki-anarchists, who, if permitted, would waste your time and create a poisonous atmosphere here.

A troll's helpful hint for newcomers: Before interpreting Sanger's parting advice as permission from the current community of participants to engage in personal attacks, harassment or stalking after labeling people with whom you disagree, it would be wise to read and understand the policy or guideline regarding personal attacks and the ad hominem fallacy identified by ancient Greek philosophers.

An outline for a "Wikicovenant" from Wikipedia user 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), and
  • Forgive!
This page uses some contents from Battlestar Wiki. The original article has been written in Battlestar_Wiki:Etiquette. The revision history can be seen in the Revision history page. Battlestar Wiki text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). If you want to reuse it you have to distribute it under the same license.