|This page is an essay, containing 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.|
Everybody makes mistakes. Almost everybody concedes that they have made some sort of error. Occasionally, it becomes necessary that another person must bring such an error to the person's attention. Here are the butcher's laws, which may help you as a Wikipedian to point out possible errors in a constructive manner.
Law #1: A cleaver with a fine edge cuts better than a blunt one.
Besides an obvious cooking connection, we may apply this when we warn somebody of something they may be doing wrong. Interpreted into a Wikipedian sense, we should not be unnecessarily blunt. It is imperative that you remain civil when you ask. If you point it out in a harsh manner...
- ...the user will become defensive and is less likely to take it constructively.
- ...you may be dismissed as a troll.
- ...it may be used against you as a personal attack.
- ...if the user has recently joined, it may be classified as a bite.
In short, being blunt and rude does not further your own case, but rather lessens it, as well as the user's respect for you.
Law #2: Make direct cuts.
When you slice meat, you don't make unnecessary cuts and hope it turns out right. Similarly, when you alert the user, be quick and to the point. Address the issue in a professional manner, and it will stand a better chance of being accepted.