User:Smlombardi

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 United States (USA)

Welcome to the Teahouse Badge


From The Awl:[1]

The Middlebury College history department banned Wikipedia citations in student papers in 2007. The resulting debate turned out to be quite helpful as a number of librarians finally popped out of the woodwork to say that no undergraduate paper should be citing any encyclopedia whatsoever, which ought to have been pointed out a lot sooner. By 2009 the complaints had more or less faded away, and nowadays what you have is college librarians writing blog posts in which they continue to reiterate the blindingly obvious: "Wikipedia is an excellent tool for leading you to more information. It is a step along the way, and it is extremely valuable."

  • Explain yourself. Not sufficiently explaining edits can be perceived as uncivil, whether that's the editor's intention or not. Use good edit summaries, and use the talk page if the edit summary doesn't provide enough space or if a more substantive debate is likely to be needed.
  • Be careful with user warning templates. Be careful about issuing templated messages to editors you're currently involved in a dispute with, and exercise caution when using templated messages for newcomers (see Wikipedia:Please do not bite the newcomers). Consider using a personal message instead of, or in addition to, the templated message.
  • Try not to get too intense. Other people can misread your passion as aggression. Take great care to avoid the appearance of being heavy-handed or bossy. Nobody likes to be bossed about by an editor who appears to believe that they are "superior"; nobody likes a bully.
  • Avoid editing while you're in a bad mood. It does spill over. (See Editing under the influence!)
  • Take a Real-Life check; disengage by two steps to assess what you're about to say (or have just said). Asking yourself "How would I feel if someone said that to me?" is often not enough, many people can just brush things off, and it's water off a duck's back. To get a better perspective, ask yourself: "How would I feel if someone said that to someone I love who can't just brush it off?" If you'd find that unacceptable, then don't say it. And, if you've already said it, strike it and apologize.
  • Just because we're online and unpaid doesn't mean we can behave badly to each other. People working together in a newspaper office aren't supposed to get into punch-ups in the newsroom because they disagree about how something is worded or whose turn it is to make the coffee. Nor are volunteers working at the animal rescue center allowed to start screaming at each other over who left ferrets in the filing cabinet or the corn snake in the cutlery drawer. In fact, there's pretty much nowhere where people working together to do something good are allowed to get into fist-fights, shouting matches, hair-pulling or name-calling. The same applies here, too.
  • Someone may very well be an idiot. But telling them so is neither going to increase their intelligence nor improve your ability to communicate with them.
  • No matter how frustrated you are, do not tell people to "grow up" or include any wording along the lines of "if this were kindergarten" in your messages.
  • Be careful with edit summaries. Edit summaries are relatively short comments, and thus potentially subject to misinterpretation or oversimplification. They cannot be changed after pressing "Save", and are often written in haste, particularly in stressful situations. Remember to explain your edit, especially when things are getting heated; to avoid personal comments about any editors you have disputes with; and to use the talk page to further explain your view of the situation.