Wikipedia:Don't remind others of past misdeeds
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
|This page in a nutshell: Do not criticize a repentant editor in good standing for past misdeeds that have stopped reoccurring. This is a failure to assume good faith and a personal attack.|
Wikipedia is a community with an infinitely long memory. Every word you have ever said on Wikipedia can be measured in bytes, and will be saved on a hard drive on some server. No one has a perfect record. Everyone has some misdeed or mistake in the past. That's how people learn. If someone makes a mistake and corrects it, you should once again assume good faith. It does not matter how big the past mistake or the disruption was. What matters is how the editor has learned from it and grown from it.
Wikipedia blocking policy states that punishments are preventative, not punitive. If the editor is no longer violating any policy, it is against Wikipedia policy to keep reminding them of past misdeeds to malign their current actions. It is an accusation of bad faith, a personal attack, and an example of incivility.
If you believe the editor is continuing their disruptive behavior, start a new discussion instead of bringing it into a current dispute.
If the editor's misdeeds continue
Editors sometimes continue their disruptive behavior, or game the sanctions or warnings from administrators by inventing new disruptive behaviors. The appropriate channel for that is the administrator noticeboard, or other methods of dispute resolution. Use those channels if you believe they are continuing to be disruptive. Otherwise, do not bring their past misdeeds into a dispute, especially when that dispute is about another editor's ongoing misdeeds.
How this essay works with Request for Adminship
One special case of pulling up past misdeeds is if an editor wants to have administrator rights on Wikipedia, or somebody else thinks they should have them. Because admin tools require a great deal of trust and responsibility, and even an accidental and good faith misuse of the tools is problematic, it is reasonable to look over past misdeeds to help determine if the editor has an understanding of policies and guidelines. However, this only goes so far. There's probably no value in deciding an editor shouldn't get the mop because they had an edit war 7 years ago when their account was four days old.
- Wikipedia:Avoid personal remarks
- Wikipedia:Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass
- Wikipedia:Forgive and forget
- Wikipedia:Standard offer
- Wikipedia:What would Jack do?