User:Jorgath/Guide to Dispute Resolution

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The Dispute Resolution Noticeboard is an informal board for resolving content disputes between two or more users. This page is an outline of what to do - and not do - in the process of dispute resolution. It contains advice and guidelines for participants and volunteers to help them navigate the process of DR.

What is Dispute Resolution?[edit]

DRN volunteer (top) helping you (bottom left) to convince another party (bottom right) on Dispute resolution noticeboard

What is Dispute Resolution not?[edit]

What is a DRN volunteer?[edit]

DRN volunteer is an editor, who is so obsessed with making Wikipedia a better place to live, that he spends significant amount of time helping you resolve your dispute free of charge. Normally DRN volunteer is an experienced editor (or may be even administrator), so probably he knows the policies, guidelines and common practices of Wikipedia better then you do.

Still, DRN volunteer is just another editor. Administrator or not, in any case he is equal and unbiased participant in the discussion, who has no special supernatural powers to make others stop disagreeing each other or to solve all your problems right away.

DRN volunteer may be wrong, misled or just not ready to handle your dispute. In such case you might want to request other volunteers to help you with your dispute. The most (or may be even the only) appropriate place for such request is Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard. Please, think twice before requesting others' input: may be that is you who is wrong in this case?

How one becomes DRN volunteer?[edit]

There is only one way to become volunteer: go to WP:DRN, find a dispute and help its parties to resolve it. You become DRN volunteer with the vary first edit you make in others' dispute.

For different organizational and historic reasons there is a list of DRN volunteers, which is maintained by volunteers themselves adding their name to it. Every editor who is willing to invest his time in content dispute resolution is encouraged to add himself to this list. Still, the editors choosing to help on WP:DRN without listing themselves are equal in their status to the list members in all possible ways.

Filing a new Dispute Resolution request[edit]

Opening statements[edit]

Each party of the dispute is expected to make opening statement. This stage is the last one before opening case, and it is obligatory.

Each involved editor is provided with a section for his comment. Such section should contain a succinct accurate description of party's position with references to policies, guidelines and essays editors base their positions on. Each statement is limited to 2000 characters and one editor: don't answer to others' statements in their sections — wait for the opening of the case. Try to use the waiting time productively: think over the issue again, try to reevaluate own and others' arguments, search for relevant policies.

Once the case is open, no changes to opening statements are allowed.

Opening a dispute resolution case[edit]

Dispute resolution case may only be opened by DRN volunteer, who has not been previously involved in particular dispute. Ideally the volunteer should not be involved in interaction with any of the parties at least since a month before the dispute emerged.

The cases are opened once all the opening statements of dispute parties are already filed. Unless this happens, nobody is allowed to place comments in "Discussion of dispute" section. If some of the parties whose input is crucial for dispute resolution fail to make their opening comments within reasonable period of time (generally 24 hours),[1] the case should be closed.

Discussion in a DR case[edit]

The DRN discussions should adhere to the single rule: no editors' conduct discussions are appropriate at DRM. If editors' conduct prevents content dispute resolution, the case should be deferred to Wikiquette assistance, Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents or Arbitration Committee forums.

All editors are expected to sign their comments, use informative edit summaries and mark the changes to their comments (except minor fixes) with <ins></ins> (for additions) and <del></del> (for omissions).

Keep in mind, that Talk page guidelines apply to DRN discussions unless this document instructs otherwise.

Closing the case[edit]

Only DRN volunteers are allowed to close dispute resolution cases. The particular rules regarding closure depends on the reason why the case should be closed.

In any case closure involves:

  1. putting {{DRN archive top|reason=''closing statement by volunteer''}} template under the section heading of the dispute;
  2. putting {{DRN archive bottom}} template at the bottom of the dispute;
  3. changing the {{DR case status}} template's first [unnamed] parameter to either "close" or "resolved" depending on the reason of closure.

Dispute is resolved[edit]

This is the outcome the DRN volunteers and dispute parties are expect to strive for. If it happened, the dispute should be closed with "resolved" status.

Dispute is not resolved[edit]

The failure of dispute resolution can owe to many potential problems:

  • case failed to open: missing opening statements by the parties, whose input is absolutely required;[1]
  • deferred to WP:EXAMPLE FORUM: the dispute was deferred to another forum;
  • no quorum: significant number of the parties didn't participate in the discussion;[1]
  • no consensus: parties and volunteers came to stalemate, and all hope to actually resolve the dispute is lost;
  • resolved at talk:example page: the dispute was resolved out of DRN;
  • stale: the dispute was not resolved and no parties show interest in further participation neither on DRN, nor elsewhere.[1]

Never close unresolved cases if any participant or volunteer was active in the case within last 24 hours!

If any of the above conditions is met, close the dispute with "close" status.

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d All timeouts are calculated since the first contribution of the editor after the need of his participation arose; editor cannot be assumed unwilling to participate in dispute resolution if he was inactive elsewhere on English Wikipedia. Still, if editor is inactive longer then 7 days since his action is needed, he is assumed not participating.