User:BirgitteSB/Essential Civility

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I read the Wikipedia:Civility/Poll the other day and misremembered it more as and RFC style than a Poll. I wrote this statement offline but can’t see how to fit it in a question to be polled so I am saving in my userspace and linking to it as an essay

Civility, as it is important to Wikipedia, is about collaboration. It is not about curse words but rather about behaving in a way that avoids defensive and dismissive responses. Because those who are busy defending themselves from you or have already dismissed you will not able to collaborate with you. Incivility is not a problem because mean=bad nor because it some sort of personal wrong done to someone. It is a problem because it destroys of the collaborative environment, when that is already strained by disagreement. When there is agreement; collaboration works well. When there is civil disagreement; collaboration continues to work. When there is uncivil disagreement; collaboration breaks down. Without collaboration the only mode of editing left for an area of disagreement is warring, which is prohibited. Civility is absolutely necessary to Wikipedia functioning. This is neither about "niceness" nor even "personal respect". It is about the necessity of an environment where everyone is encouraged to share their honest opinions and relevant thoughts so that editors may work together with fuller understanding and consensus can be more accurately gauged. Outside of such an environment, editors must suppress any debatable opinions or else risk being made foolish by those whose have the greater skill at rhetoric and those who seem to believe superiority in such a skill must coincide with a superior understanding in unrelated issues. Which leaves the discussion mostly to those who support a belief so ardently that it they do not mind the risk and those who are confident in their own rhetoric. Disputes are prolonged, compromise impossible, and consensus murkier when the editors who are lurking about a disagreement do not find the encouragement to participate and instead keep their thoughts private. Civility is essential to Wikipedia functioning, and this inquiry would be more useful if it were more focused on discovering best practices for promoting it in general and restoring it when things break down. As for a general model of promoting more civil discourse I would recommend people more closely follow the example of Benjamin Franklin that he has described following:

I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, &c., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me at present. When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared or seemed to me some difference, &c. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manners; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right. – Benjamin Franklin