Wikipedia:Don't be ashamed

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Shame can be a very powerful emotion.

Suppose an edit you make is reverted. You are criticized by another editor for your good faith edits. You are informed by another that an edit you made in good faith does not comply with policy or consensus, and you are given instructions, pointing you in the right direction. An article you created is proposed for deletion. How do you feel?

All of the above are things that happen to nearly everyone sometimes.

Now how do you feel about this? Your contribution that you put your heart into was opposed by someone else, and the record of this is now public. This can be seen by others in places like edit summaries or your talk page (even if you remove it from your talk page, it can still be found in an archived version).

The truth is, provided that you had your own good intentions when you made the contributions, even if others disagree with the changes you made, you have done nothing wrong. All good-faith contributions are highly valued, even if they are opposed by the majority. Of course, everyone shall be aware of the three revert rule when they decide to reimplement a change that was reverted.

The bottom line is that Wikipedia is not a club of winners or losers. Though editors have varying amounts of experience based on numbers of edits, there is no point system in which editors score and get ahead of one another for making good edits, writing good articles, or holding special positions. Each article and each edit is judged based on its own merits. Meanwhile, all editors are equal.

Most importantly of all, Wikipedia does not allow personal attacks. Criticism made toward other editors is only for the purpose of teaching and helping improve the encyclopedia. When any improvements are made by anyone, no matter how small, we are all grand winners. At the same time, a loss occurs to all whenever anyone is insulted and as a result makes fewer good edits or stops editing altogether.

You can see how many edits a user has made using this tool. You can see your own number of edits by clicking "Preferences". But edit count is only a number, and it does not necessarily correspond with one's talent or skills at editing.

The road not taken[edit]

Forest path with fork, shown in the article on Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

In Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", the author is seen as describing being in the minority. This is not always so bad. If you are participating in a discussion where differing views are being shared, such as a deletion debate, likewise, you shall not be ashamed to give your own point of view rather than following the leader. In borderline situations, like The Road Less Traveled (an alternative name for this poem) describes, your ideas may make all the difference. Even if your wishes are not the outcome in that discussion, your comments may positively influence or inspire others in the future in other ways. But when your views as such differ from all the others, regardless of whether there are 5, 10, or 100 other comments the other way, they are not overlooked and can make all the difference. In fact, that very difference will make others think. And no matter what, they will not be held against you.

Disruptive behavior[edit]

While Wikipedia follows the no-shame philosophy, various sanctions may be taken against editors for various forms of intentionally disruptive behavior. These include blatant forms of vandalism, spamming, creation of hoaxes, 3-revert rule violations, copyright violations, and personal attacks. These actions go against Wikipedia's mission of building a source of free, neutral, accurate information for society.

When sanctions are made against an editor, the purpose is not to punish but rather to protect the encyclopedia against harm. Unless repeated warnings have occurred, and despite this, the disruptive behaviors continue, the sanctions should be quite temporary, and should soon be lifted.

Since multiple warnings are usually given prior to any sanctions taking effect, edits viewed by others as disruptive while one is unaware of the policies, the status of the material or performed by mistake or while unaware of some factual inaccuracy shall not result in shame.

See also[edit]