Wikipedia:Adopting a quieter role
|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.|
Adopting a quieter role in Wikipedia can be a way to avoid unnecessary stress and get back to article editing. The idea is to maintain a more quiet, subdued presence on Wikipedia, rather than appear to be demanding instant changes or clashing with other editors. Adopting a quieter role is often a necessary part of working to make long-term improvements in Wikipedia. A demanding attitude is typically disliked by many admins and other editors.
Many users come to Wikipedia with some preconceived notions as to what "ought to be allowed" to occur on Wikipedia. Very often, intelligent people settle into Wikipedia discussions with some strong opinions, ready to make some big improvements. Also, some are quick to state how other people need to behave, in accordance with proper rules for collaboration.
However, what long-term users here are, perhaps, not saying is that a person can be highly intelligent, or quite outspoken, but can't be both, in the general Wikipedia community. Some people go to a "hundred" discussions and offer their "two cents' worth" in a middling sort of way, with little resistance to their mumbled comments. However, when another person enters into a discussion with a strong, long-term plan for how to "do the right thing" then they are often met with extreme, defiant resistance. Such stubborn reactions are similar to the oriental proverb, "The nail that stands out gets hammered down". There is a limit to the proper level of rhetoric useful during Wikipedia discussions. Instead, the better approach is to go with the flow, offering small suggestions, but always in a more subdued manner, leading to larger changes in the future. The unspoken rule is: try not to attract too much attention in a new venue.
During WP:AN/I discussions, some editors might try to demand justice, or pursue a path of fairness, but this "crusading" path may lead to the very strife the editor was aiming to resolve. Instead, an air of humility often works better, while offering apologies to those who might feel offended, and promising to avoid conflicts in the future.
Unfortunately, to some who are gaming the system, when another editor takes the path of humility it gives them a greater sense of power; taking the quiet path might bolster the problems caused by troublemakers. However, demanding justice rarely works as a solution to keep troublemakers at bay. Instead, other tactics must be used to overcome POV-pushing and censorship in articles. Joining with others can reduce direct conflicts, such as talking with other users in a WP:RFC/U request-for-comment discussion, to determine the extent of a troublesome user's actions. That would typically be less risky than confronting a user directly about disputed issues.
Anyway, adopting a quieter role is often an essential part of working to make long-term improvements in Wikipedia.