|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. Consider these views with discretion. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines.|
|This page in a nutshell: If content on your user page might be seen by some as "divisive" it is recommended that you may choose to expand the content in question.|
There is no express prohibition on "divisive" behavior on Wikipedia. Also, "divisive" is not really defined in any substantive sense. However, some feel that divisiveness between members of the Wikipedia community is against Wikipedia's policies and guidelines; and against the reason that Wikipedia exists. People holding this belief say that since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, dividing Wikipedia contributors up into separated camps hinders rather than helps the process of creating and maintaining an encyclopedia. There is by no means a consensus on this point. Furthermore, given the above qualification, it is valid to ask the following question: what really does or does not constitute divisive behavior?
For example, if people see this:
on your user page and complain of divisiveness, you can better communicate what you had originally intended to communicate by EXPANDING it to this:
- Wikipedia is first and foremost an online encyclopedia, and as a means to that end, an online community, which, like all such communities is liable to sundry diasagreements and energetic discussions. Please avoid the temptation to use Wikipedia for other purposes, or to treat it as something it is not.
- You agreed to allow others to modify your work. So let them.
- Do not make personal attacks anywhere in Wikipedia. Comment on content, not on the contributor.
- Being rude, insensitive or petty makes people upset and stops Wikipedia working well. Posting inflammatory links and attacks, or items aimed at outing others is even worse (using other Wikimedia Projects to do the same is equally reprehensible). Try to discourage others from being incivil, and be careful to avoid offending people unintentionally. Mediation is available if needed.
- Don't vote on everything, and if you can help it, consider not voting on anything because it is possible, albeit not probable, that in distilling an essay's worth of thought into a single phrase it may become divisive rather than a careful consideration, dissection and eventual synthesis of each side's arguments that is needed for the goal of an encyclopedia.
- Wikipedia is a communal effort so to make it work, contributors must think from a community perspective as well as a personal one.
- Unregistered users have exactly the same rights as registered users to participate, to edit articles as well as take part in discussions. Their input is just as important in building consensus.
"Divisive" content in user space, whether in the form of allegedly divisive user boxes or any other kind of bumper-sticker type labeling, or labeling in general, or the inclusion of links to blogs for purposes of stirring drama, is viewed by some as being harmful to Wikipedia. Creative, explanatory, or otherwise useful information is encouraged as these efforts can help build a community that in turn builds an encyclopedia. If it is generally perceived that a label, userbox, or bumper sticker type self-expression on your user page is divisive, then expand it with creativity, explanations, and other positive inclusive elements or remove it because that's what is good for building the community that is building this encyclopedia.
"Facile" labels, "polarizing" "bumper stickers", "polemical" user boxes, "factionalism", and division are bad for Wikipedia. Creative informative explanatory self-expression is good for Wikipedia.
Individuality of expression always looks more meaningful than branding.
If the existing policies and guidelines are broadly interpreted; then within talk space, this essay can be seen as redundant. If the existing policies and guidelines are narrowly interpreted; then within talk space, this essay fills a loophole by explicitly discouraging divisiveness.
The point of the Wikipedia community not being divisive within itself is to help us create the best encyclopedia we can. This essay neither adds to nor subtracts from existing article content guidelines.