User:Bahamut0013/editors are not the enemy
|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: Other editors are not your enemy, and you cannot treat them like an obstacle.|
If you think that your main obstacle to editing and building a great encyclopedia is the presence of other editors, you probably need to take a break. If you come back and feel the same way, then somebody needs to politely show you the door.
Consensus is the driving force of Wikipedia. The content and structure of articles, the policies and guidelines, the internal workings and dispute resolution all function when multiple Wikipedians come together to agree and make compromises. When consensus cannot be achieved, nothing happens.
Thus, teamwork and cooperation are what allow the encyclopedia not only to grow and improve, but to function and exist at all. Disunity and disharmony are the poison that cause the workings of Wikipedia to grind to a halt, much like throwing a monkey wrench into a set of gears. re
|“||Be awesome to each other.||”|
Take that idea to heart. Editors should look out for one another, and try to help each other out. Editors, being human (with a few exceptions) are inevitably going to conflict. human nature is to disagree, partly because we are diverse with may different points of views and values, and partly because we are just hard-headed jerks. The trick is to remove the latter portion from the equation. This can be done by evaluating the opposing opinion and evaluating its merits, then engaging in a logical discussion free of personal attacks, threats, and other cyber-bullying. Instead of being two editors who disagree and edit war, be two editors who take advantage of an opportunity to cooperate for the betterment of the encyclopedia. If you see another editor being harassed, defend him or her, even if you disagree with every opinion they espouse. If you see a dispute, intervene and try to facilitate a peaceful resolution. If another editor is struggling with technique or lack of knowledge or a lack of resources, help him or her out. Share the WikiLove. There are no winners in a dispute on Wikipedia, and it only damages the project in the long run.
Editors matter, and the loss of a valuable contributor is far more damaging to the encyclopedia than a minor content or format dispute. Even if your point of view prevails, souring another editor or possibly even driving him or her away is a net loss. However, one must take pains to identify those editors who are harmful to the encyclopedia in the long run, despite positive contributions. The negative attitudes exuded by some and casual biting of newcomers and veteran editors alike are poisonous and cause a greater net harm. Even well-meaning contributors who just can't get a handle on our policies and guidelines should eventually be shown the door. That's where the rules and enforcement come into play.
Wikipedia has a set of rules regarding how articles are written, maintained, deleted, and edited. The rules also cover how editors interact, form consenus, resolve disputes, and the various other technical and administrative workings of an online community. Enforcement of these rules is laid at the hands of administrators, those chosen by the community to be entrusted with the tools, such as the rights to delete and protect pages, block editors, and other tasks. These admins are the ones who interperate what the rules mean, and then enforce them. The problem is that some admins forget that the rules were chosen by the community itself, and that sometimes, it may be a better idea to not enforce them. The rules written by community consensus are not an ends unto themselves, and are not perfect. They cannot predict every possible outcome, and they should be enforced with the goal of furthering the community; choosing the spirit of the law rather than the letter of how it was written. Those who like to quibble over the minor wording and weighty matters such as the placement of commas and synonyms tend to be guilty of WikiLawyering and sometimes even gaming the system. Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy, and the wise admin will not ban a contributing editor for a minor violation of technicality; rather, he will choose the good of the contributions that editor will make over the satisfaction of enforcing a rule that probably didn't apply or even make sense.
Admins, instead, should be using teamwork. They are there to protect other editors and the encyclopedia against the dangers of the outside world, such as vandalism, and against those inside the project who are harming it, such as POV-pushers and those who are incivil to others. They also can use teamwork to clear out those less exciting janitorial tasks that are still so very necessary; the reason why admins are awarded a mop instead of a police badge.
There are, however, reasons why the admins to have the power to block individuals. Aside from the obvious vandals and troublemakers, uncivil and uncooperative editors should get a block until they get the message. If they fail to get it after a few increasing blocks, other avenues of approach are needed, based on consensus, up to Arbitration Committee. However, a wise admin will never think of him or herself as a spear-carrying "defender" of the wiki, because that mentality makes it easy to be more punitive in actions instead of providing mentorship and guidance to editors gone astray. The path of righteousness is hard to find sometimes, and some people refuse to walk it, but you can't discipline somebody because they take a few small steps off the path. Wikipedia is not a torch-carring and pitchfork-brearing mob looking for a witch to burn.