User:EVula/opining/on the Assumption of Good Faith

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[en] As a dedicated Wikimedian, I don't limit myself to just one project or just one language.
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This is one of EVula's damn essays. Feel free to ignore it... you'll probably be better off for it. This is an essay. More specifically, this is just EVula spouting off at the mouth.
It is not a policy or guideline... please tell me you didn't confuse it for either one or the other.
still a work in progress; make suggestions on the talk page

Wikipedia:Assume good faith is one of our cornerstone guidelines on Wikipedia.

It's also one of our most abused.

What AGF means[edit]

If someone makes a mistake, don't jump to the assumption that it's malicious if there's no evidence of malice.

There are any number of ways an error can look like vandalism to a third party.

  • A user has removed all the text at the end of a page while making an edit. Their browser could very easily have choked on the page because it was too big. Not vandalism.
  • A user is trying to say that something has happened, and it's rather plausible. They need a reliable source for their claim, yes, and so are reverted, but not vandalism.
  • more to come when I can think of something

What AGF does not mean[edit]

WP:AGF isn't a declaration that we should bury our heads in the sand when presented with evidence of malice.

If someone is making blatantly vandalistic edits, there's no reason to proceed lightly with them; they're well aware of what they're doing. A light warning won't do any good. Besides, if they're stupid enough not to know that what they're doing is wrong, then they're probably too stupid to understand what a level-1 warning looks like; a good old-fashioned block will be about the only way for it to register (positive punishment, anyone?).

Someone who is so obviously disruptive deserves very little in the ways of good faith assumptions. Either be a constructive member of the community[1] or go somewhere else; this is a much better attitude to take than constantly hoping for the best despite the evidence at hand.

When AGF should be ignored[edit]

Key things:

  • Death threats (to a specific editor or the subject of the article)
  • Negative statements about a subject (saying that the current kiddie-pop singer is pregnant at 15, for example)
  • Use of the word "nigger" (except on, well, nigger I suppose)
  • Use of the word "gay" (Did you know? ...that the most unfortunately named Wikipedia article is Gay, Russia?)
  • Anything that makes you reach for the rollback link...


  1. ^ Defined as either contributing to the encyclopedia, the framework of the project, or even the community around either/both