User:BullRangifer/First law

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Wikipedia:Don't cite essays or proposals as if they were policy


  • This will hopefully become a Wikipedia essay some day. It needs much more work.
  • See: [[Category:Wikipedia essays]]

Possible titles:

  • Collaboration trumps all other policies
  • The ultimate trump card
  • Collaboration: The ultimate trump card
  • Collaborate or don't edit
  • Good articles include opposing POV


Collaboration template(s)[edit]

Short version[edit]

This PRIVATE template -- {{User:BullRangifer/FirstLaw Collaborate}} -- currently produces the following:


"The importance of collaborative editing"

The NPOV policy at Wikipedia is its supreme policy, and this personal law does not supersede it, but explains the conditions that are required for its implementation. Without them, the NPOV policy cannot work. A supreme policy has little or no effect if it is not understood and effectively applied in a collaborative environment. Therefore this law is supportive of NPOV policy, and does not usurp its importance.

I have repeatedly seen the following phrase used as a weapon by an editor who will not collaborate with editors who hold opposing POV, simply because he is convinced that he is right:

  • "NPOV policy trumps consensus." [1]

Yes, consensus can sometimes be used to violate NPOV policy, but the nature of editing at Wikipedia means that an assumption of good faith involves collaborative editing. An editor who fails to collaborate, no matter how right and proper their edits are in relation to all policies, will not succeed.

  • In practice, "Collaboration makes NPOV work."

Without collaboration between editors of opposing POV, nothing functions as intended, and Wikipedia policies won't work in an uncollaborative environment. The edits of uncollaborative editors are doomed to failure until they learn this, and they often get blocked before this can happen.

Fundamental principles

  1. The best articles are produced through the collaborative efforts of editors who hold opposing POV, who truly understand the NPOV policy, and who either "write for the enemy" themselves, or who at least don't suppress it. As regards other's POV, they are inclusionists, rather than deletionists who exercise POV suppressionism. Collaborative editors work in a "checks and balances" relationship. This ensures that all significant POV are presented without being promoted. What could be more Wikipedian than that? It's fantastic when it works, but such a relationship is rare on controversial subjects.
  2. Wikipedia's NPOV policy must not be misused so it becomes synonymous with revisionism, censorship, whitewashing, or political correctness. Editors must actively enable the presentation of all significant sides of any controversy. To leave out one side amounts to promoting the other side's POV. Wikipedia should include more information than other encyclopedias, not less.
  3. Consensus can sometimes be used to violate NPOV policy, especially on controversial subjects. Instead of following Wikipedia's method of describing points of view, the use of Coup d'état methods is often encountered here. Such a consensus is often made by a group of editors who attempt to deal with a conflict situation by quickly gathering a majority of editors supporting their POV, and who then use their far-from-neutral "consensus majority" to suppress opposing POV, thus allowing their majority to slant the direction of an article's contents toward support for their POV. Both sides are equally vulnerable to commission of such actions.

Supplementary remarks

  • This law is a modified version of an old comment of mine. [2]

Long version[edit]

This PRIVATE template -- {{User:BullRangifer/FirstLaw Collaborate long}} -- currently produces the following:


"The importance of collaborative editing"

The following is a modified version of an old comment of mine. [4]

It has since been termed "The ultimate trump card" by Kosebamse. [5]

Even though I often side with the POV that KV represents, I find his uncollaborative attitude to be abhorrent. He continually twists the disputes about his personal mannerisms to make them look like disputes about NPOV, RS, etc.. That is certainly part of the problem at times, but the underlying red thread that runs through all controversies involving his edits (and there are always controversies!) is his uncollaborative attitude.

In connection with these disputes, I have repeatedly seen the following phrase used as a weapon by KV, who will not collaborate with editors who hold opposing POV, simply because he is convinced that he is right (and he may well be, but his attitude stinks....):

  • "NPOV policy trumps consensus." [6]


Yes, consensus can sometimes be used to violate NPOV policy, but the nature of editing at Wikipedia means that an assumption of good faith involves collaborative editing. An editor who fails to collaborate, no matter how right and proper their edits are in relation to all policies, will not succeed. In practice,

  • "Collaboration makes NPOV work."


Without collaboration between editors of opposing POV nothing functions as intended, and Wikipedia policies won't work in an uncollaborative environment. KV's editing here is doomed to fail until he learns this. His presence here does nothing but create severe irritation, edit wars, and lots of wasted time. -- Fyslee (First law) 19:49, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

A few points

  1. Epilogue: That user was indefinitely blocked from editing here. [7]
  2. The moral of the story: Being right is not enough! [8]
  3. The best articles are produced through the collaborative efforts of editors who hold opposing POV, who truly understand the NPOV policy, and who either "write for the enemy" themselves, or who at least don't suppress it. As regards other's POV, they are inclusionists, rather than deletionists who exercise POV suppressionism. Such editors work in a "checks and balances" relationship. This ensures that all significant POV are presented without being promoted. What could be more Wikipedian than that? It's fantastic when it works, which is rare on controversial subjects.
  4. Wikipedia's NPOV policy must not be misused so it becomes synonymous with revisionism, censorship, whitewashing, or political correctness. Editors must actively enable the presentation of all significant sides of any controversy. To leave out one side amounts to promoting the other side's POV. Wikipedia should include more information than other encyclopedias, not less.
  5. Consensus can sometimes be used to violate NPOV policy, especially on controversial subjects. Instead of following Wikipedia's method of describing points of view, the use of Coup d'état methods is often encountered here. Such a consensus is often made by a group of editors who attempt to deal with a conflict situation by quickly gathering a majority of editors supporting their POV, and who then use their far-from-neutral "consensus majority" to suppress opposing POV, thus allowing their majority to slant the direction of an article's contents toward support for their POV.
    This abuse of consensus clearly violates NPOV policy. Such situations can involve the use of sock puppets, meat puppets, and hastily recruited support from editors who are not part of the current editing situation, but who are recruited because of their POV. They may then be used to "stack the votes". (See also: Wikipedia:Survey notification.)
    Both sides are equally vulnerable to commission of such actions. While recruitment of support is perfectly normal and acceptable in the "real world", it can be problematic at Wikipedia, even when done by newbies or experienced users who are ignorant of all the rules. (*) It is easy in the "heat of the moment" to forget that Wikipedia is not the "real world". An assumption of good faith will lead one to not judge such failings harshly, but to assume that they are lapses and expressions of natural human frailty and imperfection, unless they are very obvious and persistent violations in the face of warnings to cease such activity.
    (*) The process of writing the above has certainly increased my understanding of this situation...;-) -- Fyslee (First law) 12:01, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Relevant articles, guidelines, and policies[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]