Wikipedia:Civility/Poll

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Herewith is a poll to gather consensus on how the community feels about the civility policy, in how it is written, applied, and enforced by the community, including the arbitration committee - specifically on how it impacts on the morale and running of the encyclopedia. Furthermore, upon thinking about it, if one were to change aspects of it, what would one change? Please keep comments to a minimum (except in discussion area). Exchanges which veer off the topic will be transferred to the talk page.

As an addendum, please do not add hypotheticals closely based on real events which have the potential to turn into a battleground. The aim is to find common goals, not further divide the community.

Finally, please revisit the page after you have commented, as further more refined observations may be made at the bottom, and consider making some yourself.

Essays which may be of interest (please add others here I may have missed) Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:29, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Category:Wikipedia essays, Wikipedia:Wikipedia essays, Wikipedia:About essay searching.—Wavelength (talk) 15:29, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


Current civility policy[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
74% of 65 responders feel the current civility policy is too lenient; with the majority of those feeling in particular that the policy is inconsistently applied. The remaining 25% are evenly split between those who feel the policy is satisfactory or is too strict. 49 responders feel the policy is unenforceable. SilkTork *YES! 18:34, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Please place your view below the appropriate section with respect to how the civility policy is written, applied, and enforced by the community, including the arbitration committee. If you feel specific sections are problematic, please place new proposals or ideas at the bottom. If too strict or lenient, place a word to indicate where problem is (policy/interpretation/enforcement/other). I am interested how editors feel that civility (and breaches thereof) is being enforced in practice.

Satisfactory (current civility policy)[edit]

  1. Seems to be working, in general there is a high degree of civility between editors here. This seems to me to be a reflection that the policy is working. added by Off2riorob too many tilds.
  2. Yeah, I'm content with it. GoodDay (talk) 22:56, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. I realize I'm in a strong minority here, but I think the Civility policy is good, it's one of my favorites. Most people are looking at this from a perspective of infraction and response. We're pretty inconsistent about blocking people for being incivil. If someone is editing in ways people don't like, we're pretty strict about civility... but if someone is an established editor that does recognized and valued work, we tend to put up with a lot, or issue short blocks that are soon overturned. But I honestly don't think this should be about the "law" of Wikipedia: the point to me is that WP:CIV effectively holds out an ideal of behavior. I have seen this policy, combined with WP:AGF, do amazing things in getting people to work together when they don't agree, which has a lot of positive consequences. Also, it does lead to blocks of a certain class of non-productive jerks that I think help keep the environment from getting toxic. Anyway, maybe it could be better but I'm a bit cynical that we can really do much better than this. Mangojuicetalk 03:07, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. I'm content with this as it stands, see no reason for change. If people don't think it is enforced enough that is another matter - for the enforcers. Don't over complicate matters. It is easy to rush through new codes or guidelines, but as is shown with legislation in real life, difficult to enforce. Jezhotwells (talk) 12:59, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. I think the policy is fine as is, though enforcement is hit-or-miss. I think a better discussion might be how to deal with established editors who refuse to be consistently civil in their interactions with others. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 09:37, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Shakespeare's Hamlet perhaps helps a bit in thinking about this. I agree strongly with many of the points expressed by editors in the "Too lenient" and "Uneforceable" sub-threads, as I think would anyone who has spent some time working on en.wikipedia. The problem with the poll is that the only respondents will be those who have spent enough time here to be concerned with civility honored more "in the breach than the observance " (the latter being something which experienced editors may take as a matter of course in regular wiki interactions, and therefore be analytically blind to). Or another way or putting it: we notice the issue of civility when it is a problem, and we don't when it isn't. While the civility issue may seem (and be) an overwhelming concern to admins, and/or editors with fancy signatures, and/or featured content contributors, perhaps a lot of other folks who edit here and never even find "project space" have read WP:CIV and do honor it in the observance whilst never even entertaining the idea of breaching it. Ultimately I think we lack data on this question, and perhaps it's important to acknowledge that and say, for now, "eh, I don't know, good idea at its heart, that civility thing." --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 09:24, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. I have no quibble with the body of WP:CIV... only in its uneven application. MichaelQSchmidt (talk) 05:21, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Policy itself seems fine, but it's implementation less. I have met with constant minor incivilities from a specific editor, and despite my complaints at wp:wqa and wp:ani, nobody has been willing to take care of that. Debresser (talk) 21:40, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Too lenient (current civility policy)[edit]

  1. The policy is simple and clear, but not applied consistently. Fred Talk 12:11, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. The combination of WP:CIVIL and WP:CONSENSUS makes it impossible to rid ourselves of the chronically uncivil. In short, per Fred. Steve Smith (talk) (formerly Sarcasticidealist) 16:02, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  3. I advocate, without irony, a zero tolerance policy on incivility, and would support any adjustments to the policy (which is not bad in general) to that effect, as well as much more stringent and even-handed enforcement. For good reasons, we do not generally tolerate name-calling in our real-life professional environments, and we should not do so here.  Sandstein  19:15, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  4. Far too lenient. I think the problem is that too many editors view the Wikipedia community as a microcosm of their own whole real-life community, where incivil behaviour is tolerated, and without strong consequences for unacceptable actions or comments. No big deal if you flip your finger at the guy who cut you off. But I think that analogy is flawed; Wikipedia is more of a workplace staffed by volunteers, and the workplace environment should be protected. If I volunteered my time at a local community center, but was rude and abrasive to my co-workers, I would probably be asked to leave. We ought to do the same more often here. Editing on Wikipedia is a privilege, not a right. Also, long-time editors should not have relaxed standards or be forgiven for incivil behaviour by virtue of their contribution history, per WP:No vested contributors. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 19:36, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  5. Agree with Fred. Keeping Wikipedia to the standards of a "real life" collaboration would be nice, but we need to figure out a better way of even-handed enforcement. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 20:53, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  6. This isn't exactly "too lenient" but it kinda fits... I'm going to toss in something to think about. Consider this policy (and the philosophy behind it, that we want a pleasant work environment) and then consider the general practices of the WP:RCP and the templates used, as well as the answers given when folk are questioned... is WP:CIVIL (and WP:BITE!!!!) compatible with the behaviour of some Recent Changes patrollers? What view do new users take away after being templated? ++Lar: t/c 21:08, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  7. Per Fred. Also, and more importantly, we should have consistency. Tough with people from various cultures, but we need a well-thought out policy everyone can follow, with a minimum of guesswork. IronDuke 00:17, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  8. The policy currently lists most of the actions that should be considered uncivil, but I would include that "personalizing an disagreement" with another editor should also be listed. Also, the policy should list the potential sanctions that may be imposed on editors who violate the policy, such as desysopping (if an admin), blocks, editing restrictions, etc. The policy is applied inconsistently. Long-term, "established" admins, for example have traditionally gotten-away with many more violations of this policy than newbie editors. I can find plenty of examples of this if anyone wants. Furthermore, the policy, if it doesn't already, should state that the policy applies to edit-summaries as well as to screen edits. Cla68 (talk) 00:31, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  9. Far too lenient. I'm sure we can all think of editors who've had a permanent bad-faith snarkiness that's never enough to call WP:NPA, but which (as others have said) would be thoroughly unacceptable in a real-world collaborative interaction. It's one of the many toxic characteristics of tendentious editors and (supposedly) civil POV pushers. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 01:00, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  10. The civility policy is spelled out pretty clear, but it is far too lenient in its enforcement. The more "established" an editor is, the more he/she can normally bypass the system by bringing his/her friends into the discussion to discourage any appropriate action. I think that the current policy would be more enforcable if more admins had the guts to stand up for the policy, regardless of who the offending editor is. This requires a change in the way we view the policy but not a change in the policy itself. ThemFromSpace 01:52, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  11. The rules as written are fine, but the enforcement is too lenient on long-term contributors. The more job an editor does policing unpopular (to newbies) policy stuff like NFCC and NOTE, the more uncivil they are allowed to be. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 02:28, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  12. Per Fred Bauder. Durova273 featured contributions 03:19, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  13. It needs consistent application regardless of whether the person is an admin, long term editor or whatever and the community needs to back those who do enforce it. Davewild (talk) 08:51, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  14. Per Themfromspace. Stifle (talk) 10:43, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  15. The civlity policy is perfectly clear, and the application of escalating blocks for violations of it, to prevent harm to the project, is absolutely one hundred percent acceptable, and is equal, not secondary, to any other considerations, not least reduction of drama, loss of contributions or fear of appearing unfair (although, far too often, admins deal with incivility without dealing with related infractions of policy, such as baiting or wikilawyering). In cases of 'unfair' blocking, incivility should not be mitigated, it should be dealt with at the same time as any contributing behaviour. Too many admins too often in incidents, either passively, or actively, participate in the undermining of blocks issued under the policy by one of their supposed colleagues, without prior consensus, with the result that the policy in practice is too lenient, and often, such as the Bishonen case, ignored completely. Wide community support for the civility principle is made abundently clear time and again, so admins should either be prepared to enforce its actual wording, change its actual wording, or resign as being unfit for duty. Personal biases or subjective ideas as to what is or isn't incivility have no place in use of the tools, if it cannot be shown that the particular judgement calls they so often come with have consensus regarding interpreting the actual policy wording. MickMacNee (talk) 13:05, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  16. Per Themfromspace. -- Jeandré (talk), 2009-06-30t19:52z
  17. Should be applied for regular incivility but isn't. It is only applied by stronger parties to weaker parties. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 07:15, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. I see waaay too much hostile and incivil remarks and confess I have slipped into it myself. There are middling areas where some warnings woud be nice but the bigger issue is the hostile environment it allows. We need to be supportive of good editors. -- Banjeboi 13:36, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. The atmosphere here is derived from the MMORG culture, where bullying was accepted. We still have considerable aspects of it here--when I joined, I could not believe that we actually had a policy-- BRD-- that encouraged hostile confrontation. (I know it has its uses, but I think they're overshadowed by the normal human response to being contradicted) With basic policy like this, conflict is encouraged. We want to rather encourage the sort of people who do not come her to fight, as a first priority; and in order to do that, to get those here to fight less. One good content editor whose rudeness is tolerated can drive off 6 others. DGG (talk) 23:39, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. ..in its application. Like DDG and others, where I have a real problem is the free passes given to abrasive, arrogant individuals because of their good content work. This has a corrosive effect on the community and drives away other editors; no-one is indispensable, and Wikipedia will not come crashing down because we've applied the same standard to, for example, a long-term FA writer that we expect newbies to follow. In fact, being seen to be fair, non-partisan and consistent would positively encourage new editors, some of whom would undoubtedly prove to be more of an asset than others we may lose. EyeSerenetalk 08:37, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. Per Sadnstein and to a lesser extent Fred William M. Connolley (talk) 22:32, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. — Carl (CBM · talk) 03:16, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. Agree with above comments by Steve Smith (talk · contribs), Sandstein (talk · contribs), and YellowMonkey (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 15:09, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  24. Abolutely agree that it is too lenient. Nothing will drive someone away from the project faster than being the subject of demeaning and hostile remarks - especially when little is done to end it. Although a thick skin can be useful here, it should never be a requirement. ponyo (talk) 16:40, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  25. The civility policy is fine if it was actually applied. It appears that it is enforced with regards to newbies or IPs. However, once an Wikipedia becomes a "valued content" editor, our civility policies go out the window. The consensus (or, at least, the opinion of a noisy minority - which passes for consensus these days) is that providing content gives one carte blanche to bully, intimidate, insult and patronize other editors who are deemed to be less important (in their eyes). Admins and other experience editors should be held to a higher standard of civility than the inexperienced, and if they are knowingly and persistently incivil then they should be blocked. We should insist that Wikipedians treat each other as we would expect to be treated in a professional workplace. Rockpocket 17:45, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  26. The current policy has been made into a sieve designed to be too vague and lenient to be useful. It is no coincidence that very many of the names on its history pop up at regular interval when aggressiveness and rudeness are discussed. As written, it makes a complete farce and mockery of our fourth pillar. — Coren (talk) 19:08, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  27. Civility policy should be strictly enforced, but also see the poll on baiting below. Almost anyone can be baited into some form of incivility; nevertheless, we should clearly warn and then short-block if necessary for incivility that currently is just blown off. And that means me as well as anyone else. "Valued contributors" and administrators not only not exempt, but held to higher standards. (Baiting is usually a form of incivility in itself, so when there is incivility and especially when someone is complaining about incivility, we should always look at the other side as well.) --Abd (talk) 22:27, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  28. Regrettably, Wikipedia is not one of the more civil communities on the Web; it is worse than average, in my experience. There are registered Wikipedians who regularly hang out on particular pages and seem to argue about almost every issue that comes up, and who raise a disproportionate number of the issues that they argue about; they enjoy arguing. There are some very smart and able Wikipedians who do not suffer fools gladly—and who believe that most people are fools. Some of the least civil Wikipedians are the most adept at wikilawyering, at acting in bad faith while citing WP:AGF, at launching pre-emptive WP:AN/Is and the like, and at provoking their opponents to be uncivil (although we all should guard against falling for that trap). Some of the least civil Wikipedians regard particular editors as "allies" or "enemies", and strive to undedrmine their perceived "enemies". Then there are the registered Wikipedians who don't sign in when they intend to act badly and who know how to evade checkuser. The admins who enforce our standards need to adhere to the higest standards themselves, and the small number who don't should not be excused—that undermines the policies in the eyes of the rest of the community. To apply a familiar rule of thumb, 20% of Wikipedians cause 80% of the drama—although I suspect that the ratio on en-Wikipedia is closer to 5:80). Enforcement of the exisitng civility policy definitely needs to be more strict and more swift, and the policy needs to be tightened as well. Please pardon the lenght of this post. Finell (Talk) 19:59, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  29. Fred said it first and best in that it's not applied consistently. In any case, too much leeway is given to those who are chronically uncivil. MuZemike 15:05, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  30. Wikipedia needs to depend on people "playing nice with others" and hence the ability to repremand or excuse editors who aren't able to do so. There are plenty of users who should have been shown the door long, long ago on civility grounds, but stay around (and drive others away) solely because some editors believe "building the encyclopedia" is a first order effect, done by individual contributors, rather than an Nth order effect, done by creating a civil working environment in which collaboration can thrive. Jclemens (talk) 18:57, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  31. A review of edit summaries and discussion pages of some (unfortunately, mostly high-profile) articles shows a profound degree of incivility. It seems that a small group of editors take advantage of the anonymity afforded here to be purposefully unpleasant. A further review of these editors' talk pages and contribution history shows sometimes a wealth of contributions, but always a history of misbehavior - yet contributions seem, time and again, to be used to justify only limited blocks of these individuals. Moreover, on some items of great contention (e.g., the controversy in Fascism about "left vs. right") some editors seem to spend too much time pushing individual points of view while "rearranging the deck chairs" of a sinking article (read it sometime, then compare to a mainstream encyclopedia - the Wiki version is too long, over-referenced, and more confusing than illuminating). I believe that editors who demonstrate incivility anywhere on Wiki should be quickly warned, then blocked, then (with some reasonable escalation process) eventually permanently blocked. The rate of recidivism amongst some uncivil editors is simply too great. --4wajzkd02 (talk) 01:35, 7 July 2009 (UTC) <added by --Joopercoopers (talk) 11:38, 7 July 2009 (UTC) per user's talk>
  32. The problem is that users WP:GAME the WP:NPA policy to behave in ways that "toe the line" without actually being personal attacks. The relevent factor should be that behavior that creates a hostile environment should not be tolerated by anyone. The current civility policy does not have enough teeth, and is too inconsitantly enforced. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 00:03, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  33. Not only is the policy not properly enforced, but admins who do enforce it are often subject to abuse. Chillum 01:40, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  34. Even though I am adding my name to this section, I don't think the problem is with the wording of the policy itself, but rather its uneven enforcement. Some of the unevenness is undoubtedly inadvertent and benign, but too often I have seen its application biased by the "newbie vs experienced", "non-admin vs admin" and "loner vs cliquish" divides. This not only lowers the standard of discourse on wikipedia, but also breeds justified cynicism, and demotivates or drives-away good editors. The worst part is that users who look at wikipedia (at least partially) as a myspace-y community are often immune to incivility or even enjoy the drama, while knowledgeable editors who are real-life experts have no reason to tolerate insults from anonymous net users and move away. Consequently our tolerance of incivility and uneven enforcement of written policy, ends up affecting article content - wikipedia's raison d'etre. Abecedare (talk) 03:12, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  35. Everyone, without exception, knows what is meant by civility. And the policy is well written for the most part. The most common breach is personal attacks. For example assigning motive (You just hate X and love Y), name-calling (You're an idiot), or insults to world views or edits (Everyone knows that people from X have big egos) (Your recent edit is moronic). I believe if this is addressed with a zero tolerence policy, you'll find very little incivility elsewhere. No Personal Comments. --HighKing (talk) 11:39, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  36. Enforcement should be stricter and even-handed. -- Vision Thing -- 13:20, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  37. Wikipedia should have standards akin to those found in real-world professional collaborative environments of similar scale. Broadly, that is, the standards that a corporation with 3000+ employees would apply to a firm-wide email should apply to most edits on article talk pages and noticeboards. More even-handed enforcement would also be positive. Christopher Parham (talk) 13:43, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  38. As others have written, the policy itself is admirably clear. Its unbiased enforcement is difficult, but it is not impossible. There are some editors who appear to have genuine difficulties in working out what is a comment about an edit and what is a comment about the person, and also editors deliberately push against the boundaries to test the limits of speech. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:42, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  39. Too lenient, in the meaning of, too arbitrarily enforced. And certainly too lenient towards admins and meritious editors. Gray62 (talk) 11:35, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  40. Agree w/ Too much leeway is given to those who are chronically uncivil. (Editor:MuZemike). Too often we see the same uncivil behavior by the same uncivil editors. No lesson is learned. The lesson learned is "no one cares if I'm rude." The only thing that changes is the victim. I support zero tolerance--Buster7 (talk) 12:39, 9 July 2009 (UTC) See User:Buster7/Incivility for an idea.
  41. Too lenient for established editors, especially for administrators. As enforced, the policy is strict for new users, established editors are given more leeway, and admins can say stuff that will get ordinary editors blocked. I'm NOT saying that admins in general are rude, far from it, most admins are great people and bend backwards to be polite. However, when an admin gets in trouble for incivility, the tendency is to brush it aside or let them off with a warning. This policy is backwards. New users should have the most leeway, and the standard should be set highest for admins. LK (talk) 14:26, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  42. I see a lot of incivility. This is bad. If this happened at work, people would be fired. User F203 (talk) 18:21, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  43. Not applied evenly and proper procedures are not always followed. Too lenient? Too strict? It all depends on who is applying it and how it is being applied. MichaelQSchmidt (talk) 05:20, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
  44. Too lenient and not applied evenly to all editors. Some editors are exempt. This sets a bad example for the rest of us. It is confusing to be censored for the same behavior other editors are free to do. This exemption from the rules of civility does not only apply to admins to to other "favored" editors who are allowed to be uncivil. —Mattisse (Talk) 01:49, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  45. There's currently a discussion on AN about the use of the phrase "go fuck yourself". Some seem to see it as abuse, some think it is justified if you belive the user to be a troll and some actually seem to think that this type of approach is productive. Very clearly, current policy is not strict enough, at least in the way that people seem to be interpreting it. --FormerIP (talk) 22:03, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  46. I don't see many instances of gross incivility, as i am not especially attracted to drama, but i have seen editors tell others to fuck off, or fuck you, simply using childish insults, with not even an unoffical reminder to remain civil. Anyone who did that in other volunteer organisations would certainly be warned or excluded, and there is no reason dedicated wikipedians should have to put up with it. Applying current policy inconsistantly is more a problem than the policy itself being too lenient..YobMod 19:12, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  47. I think that too many kinds of incivil behaviour can currently be snuck around the policy. For example by touting such stupidities as WP:DUCK and WP:SPADE (usually applied something like "I am just stating the fact that you are behaving like a moron/newbie/sockpuppet/racist/nationalist/communist/, thats not a personal attack/incivil"). I think the policy should focus much more on condescension, arrogance and uncooperativity since these are the kinds of incivility tha are most disruptive, used to drive away other editors from articles and which is the hardest to prove. I think the policy should be in essence that "if some one is offended by something you write you either apologize, clarify that you meant no offense or get out of here"·Maunus·ƛ· 00:41, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  48. I just carefully read WP:CIVILITY, and I think I have violated it. I tend to have a condescending attitude to IP editors, and newly registered people (Well, OF COURSE I reverted your edit! I need to assume good faith, sorry sorry sorry, but you're new). I read on an anonymous' user talk page that the reason why xy never got a name, was that people were nicer to xym when xy was an IP. Now, about my first sentence. Did anyone ever say I was incivil? Did anyone say "You need to work on this, because look, you are in violation of wikipedian policy and what you're doing is kind of mean anyway?". No. People think I am acting in good faith, and am therefore civil, even though that's not the case. It's not the policy itself, it's the enforcement. Civility blocks are so taboo as to not be allowed per my reading at WP:RFA, and so we let those on the way of being established be incivil, because by golly xy have such good edits and we can't even imply xy is disrupting the project, instead of nipping the problem in the bud early on. We're doing incivil people and Wikipedia a disservice by doing so. I dream of horses (T) @ 14:10, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
  49. We have a decent policy on civility, but it's applied too leniently in many cases (particularly with vested contributors), and not consistently. I would very much like to see the policy applied much more evenly across the board. Lankiveil (speak to me) 12:47, 11 August 2009 (UTC).

Too strict (current civility policy)[edit]

  1. (And unenforceable). The framework of all that is needed for civility is encompassed in WP:PA: Racial, sexual, homophobic, ageist, religious, political, ethnic, or other epithets (such as against people with disabilities) directed against another contributor. Disagreement over what constitutes a religion, race, sexual preference, or ethnicity is not a legitimate excuse. Wikipedia isn’t a nunnery; it is the real world and Wikipedia’s civility policy has been overly influenced by squatters (Read: WP:OWN) until it has absurd and completely impractical requirements, such as [no] feigned incomprehension, “playing dumb” and [No] judgmental tone. Too often, flat-out mean and disruptive (but highly experienced) editors can pull stunts like harass editors by nominating a page in a users’ own userspace for MfD or delete someone’s RfC and get away with it without even a three-hour block because they use polite wikiwords while doing so. Wikipedia’s civility policy needs to be revised to prohibit what should truly be the litmus test: is the conduct disruptive? Greg L (talk) 16:27, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. Agreed. Civil POV pushing has become one of the largest obstacles on wikipedia. The criteria for incivility is so ambiguous that many offenders who habitually violate the rules go unpunished because, as you say, are so darn polite about their agenda that no one dares question them. And in civil disputes, usually everyone involved shares some responsibility but the user who gets told on first tends to be the only one who receives punishment. Simply put, the process defies logic. It's created a tattle-tale-system that has no limitations. Wikifan12345 (talk) 09:21, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  3. I am going to take the liberty of quoting something that user:Eusebeus wrote on the Wikiquette Alerts board recently:

    Yes, yes, calling someone a nasty name is a violation of WP:CIVIL and is to be regretted. However, editors do not get to hide behind WP:CIVIL in passive-aggressive displays, which is the case here with [name of user]. If someone waltzes over to an editor's talk page and posts a deliberate piece of snide sarcasm, they should not be surprised if they get a reaction. If you, [name of user], cannot be civil yourself - and your comment is unequivocally neither civil nor helpful - then expect to be called out on it. Frankly, this page too often attracts variations on "I poked the bear and then it attacked me" from self-styled, wide-eyed faux-ingenus. We need to take a stronger line against this kind of stuff. So bottom line: if you behave like a dick, don't be surprised when other editors observe as much. Eusebeus (talk) 12:18, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

    (Emphasis added by me; my quoting of the passage above should not be taken as a representation how user:Eusebeus would vote on this page.)
    In general, I am of the opinion that many WP users would benefit from remembering the nursery rhyme, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me."--Goodmorningworld (talk) 04:07, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. It's a case by case issue, but a license to block without warning after a one-off provocation is clearly against reasonable standards. Civil pov pushing can lead to such infractions, and common sense is needed to deal more strictly with disruptive behaviour. Superficial politeness should not override work for the benefit of the project. . . dave souza, talk 15:06, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. I can't say it better than Dave souza. Pzrmd (talk) 04:03, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Agree. Blocking without warning is overkill. On the poll it shows that I was myself blocked as disruptive and incivil. Ouch!. That ain't me. I had wandered into an AfD that had previously become so heated that many of the comments had been refactored by an admin who had been getting tired of the bickering, and who had warned other participants. I entered into discourse with an editor and became quickly frustrated. I intemporately wrote "I choose to ignore your poor attitude" and left the discussion. 9 hours later, without any warning, I was blocked... but was unblocked 2 hours later upon discussion and clarification with the blocking admin diff. I hate that blot on my otherwise clean record. Did I think it was then too strict? Yes... as I had left a discussion when I could no longer contribute and was blocked with no warning. Had I gotten one, I would have immediately pointed out that I had left the discussion so as to specifically not be incivil. If the proper steps are not follwed, then yes... it becomes seen as too strict. MichaelQSchmidt (talk) 05:18, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. Agree for the reason that it is used as a weapon via "civil POV pushing", and that sometimes honesty is branded as incivility when it is actually the best policy rather than hiding in verbiage pretending that a spade is in fact a non-geometric labour-intensive low-impact earthmoving device. Serious violations of civility are already violations of WP:NPA, anyway. Orderinchaos 05:22, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. WP:CIV is used as a weapon in other types of baiting as well as "civil POV pushing". For example I saw a series of AfDs by a group of editors against articles by one editor, and they succeeded getting the victim blocked for incivility when he protested. There are also culture issues - my impression is that most Brits are more robust than most Americans. Admins looking at accusations of incivility need to consider these factors, but often don't. --Philcha (talk) 10:15, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Unenforceable (current civility policy)[edit]

  1. The policy, while laudable as written, has not been consistently enforced, and it's possible that as written, it is difficult or impossible to enforce at all. "Civility blocks don't work" is a truism. ++Lar: t/c 12:40, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. More to the point, it is impossible to enforce in a manner that is both consistent and objective. Ultimately what is and is not civil is a subjective manner; there are egregious violations of the policy but far more fall in to the grey areas. At what point should the policy be enforced? When someone is grossly incivil, when they are habitually rude? Curt and burusque? Trying to define a brightline cutoff is going to be arbitrary, but without a cutoff point any enforcement of the policy then becomes itself arbitrary. As stated above, the policy is laudable and the goal behind it is certainly worthy, but the enforcement thereof is just not workable. Shereth 15:15, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  3. Both in practice and how it should be. Its status as a policy implies that it is an instruction to be civil, rather than advice. Civility is an abstract; you cannot force a person to be civil like you can force them not to use personal attacks or harassing methods; you can only advise people to be civil like advising them to AGF or be bold. Possibly the strongest evidence for this is how blocks are applied for violations: blocks for not following policy (harassment and POV-pushing) work, blocks for not following guidelines (RS and AGF) tend not to. In this respect, civility works more as a guideline than anything. Along the same lines, I'd support changing POINT to policy, as that's more quantifiable and would work better as a policy. Sceptre (talk) 15:16, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  4. Agree with Lar. –Juliancolton | Talk 15:50, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  5. Agree with those above. لennavecia 15:57, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  6. Obviously. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:09, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  7. Though I don't feel unenforcable is the right term. It is enforced-unevenly and often unfairly, which is the problem.--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 16:15, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  8. Second RDH opinion. It's just a convenient witchhunt tool. NVO (talk) 18:20, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  9. It so much easier to 'block on sight' of any incivil word, but if that's all it took, we could block by bot. 1hr for 'sod' 5 hrs for 'arsehole' 10 days for 'Bernard Manning' (well he's a swear word in our house) etc. etc. The reason we have human beings as admins is so they can look at situations, investigate and then act accordingly. Incivility rarely just pops up out of nowhere - people can be driven to it, goaded into it as the result of unreasonableness on all sides, and yet we only sanction those without the cool to be cool? Bad idea. --Joopercoopers (talk) 23:18, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  10. I agree with the above statements. Enforcement is completely arbitrary and based on the whims. Perhaps a start would be to at least get consensus before blocking for incivility. ChildofMidnight (talk) 23:41, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  11. Per Lar. As written, "incivility" could probably be found in 75-80% of disagreements, if one becomes a "strict constructionist" of it as it is currently formulated. Unitanode 00:19, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  12. I don't know if "unenforceable" is the word I'd choose, but it's the closest of the three options to "wrong paradigm" or "mu". -GTBacchus(talk) 00:51, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  13. A major problem is that an obviously uncivil editor will routinely insist that accusations or descriptions of incivility are themselves incivil. The policy doesn't do enough to discourage that attitude, and it encourages it here: "It is as unacceptable to attack a user with a history of foolish or boorish behavior ... as it is to attack any other user." Art LaPella (talk) 02:57, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  14. A key component of civility is tolerance. Not only is the policy unenforceable, it should not be enforced. I am reading a book on civility at the moment to gain insights on how to deal with incivility. Civility is a skill that anybody can develop if they are determined. We don't normally block people for poor spelling, nor should we block them for inconsiderateness or rudeness. My personal standard has been that incivility can be indentified and suggestions made for improvement. If incivility becomes so severe as to violate WP:NPA or WP:HARASS that's when I'd apply a block. Jehochman Talk 03:40, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  15. The reason why it appears to be unevenly enforced is because it is unenforceable. Standards vary as to what civility and incivility mean, and much of that is cultural in origin. There are editors who have a higher tolerance to what is considered incivility (whether using it themselves or when target at themselves), and there are others who are manipulative and conniving (or otherwise disruptive) but are always superficially civil to a tee. It may be relatively easy to act in cases of gross incivility (ie the most obvious cases of name-calling), but to include in the list 'Feigned incomprehension, "playing dumb"', 'Judgmental tones', 'belittling' as examples of incivility in a project as open and multi-cultural as WP appear incomprehensible and dooming the policy to failure. Language skills and intelligence vary, as does competence in self-expression and EQ. We would be just as wrong in drawing the line of acceptable levels based on the lowest common denominator or the highest common factor. I am with User:Jehochman above that other criteria are more likely to result in catches than WP:CIVIL. I am opposed to a no-tolerance policy as a breach of WP:CENSOR — I like the jestfully suggested 'swearbot' and would counter-propose a 'hailmarybot' which will deliver penances to usertalk pages. But seriously, while WP:WQA may be useful as a vent, it hardly ever results in a warning, and even more rarely in blocks. The skilled intervention of another uninvolved editor, whether in userspace or by PM, does more than anything to defuse the tension before a dispute ever gets to WQA or WP:ANI. Ohconfucius (talk) 06:04, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  16. I agree absolutely with Ohconfucious, and also with GregL in the "too strict" section. WP:CIVILITY is arbitrary, unenforceable, easily gamed, too strict, and is almost of no use at all except to cause a cry of "incivil" every time something vaguely negative is said. I consider myself civil and don't think I have a personal issue with the policy, but I see it being used as its own weapon and degrading conversation. Everyone will be affronted by something, and catering to that mindset is disruptive. Instead of getting something done, we instead have arguments about whether or not someone was civil, which is generally a waste of time because everyone's idea of "civil" is different and arbitrary and there is no desired outcome. Civility standards vary widely across the continents and from person to person, and just as we try to not have biased articles, the only way to have a truly fair and inclusive policy on civility is to make it much, much more basic than it presently is. Maedin\talk 06:51, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  17. Thinking about how to promote civility (or a collegial atmosphere, or whatever you want to call it) seems more promising than thinking about how to enforce it. ---Sluzzelin talk 07:17, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  18. Different cultural standards of participants make it impossible to have consistently enforced "civility". And participation of people from different cultures seems more useful to me than catering to the lowest (or highest) common denominator of "civility". Also agree with Jehochman's statements about tolerance. Kusma (talk) 08:55, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  19. Too subjective OhanaUnitedTalk page 19:14, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  20. Incivilité, in French, translates roughly to "rudeness". On Wikipedia, it seems to mean something more. Civilité, while something one should seek, does not seem like good to legislate. To judge from other comments, the application inconsistent of the rule appears common. Reseaunaut (talk) 20:56, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  21. Too subjective and I've seen enough of "rude, aggressive" editors suddenly turning into wounded birds flapping on the lawn when they spot the opportunity (Hint: they're often the despicable killdeer trying to lure you away from their nest in the gravel walkway and they will suddenly "recover" and fly off to resume their non-passerine noisy squawking ways). This policy is entirely correct as written, but is so badly and unevenly enforced as to become a mockery of the project. If I can persistently badger you until you respond with a nasty comment, then someone else drives by, sees your nastygram, blocks you but not me - something is wrong here. Also per pretty much everyone in the "Too lenient" section - it's unenforceable in the context of human beings. Franamax (talk) 00:44, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. What Lar said. Moreover I would agree that as written, the policy likely can't cope with the many and sundry good faith notions of civility held by editors. Gwen Gale (talk) 12:32, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
    1. I’d like to point out that most of the respondents to this RfC are regular editors. I find it noteworthy that the above editor is an administrator, who has no‑doubt had her share of (read: belly full) of mediating disputes over civility. I suggest everyone read her words a second time; she has some facility in the subject. Greg L (talk) 19:22, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. Per Lar, Ohconfucious, Greg L in the "too strict" section, and Franamax. Civility is desirable but impossible to neutrally or precisely identify; impossible to legislate, and attempts to do so cause far more problems than they resolve. Blocks are preventative, not punitive - ignoring or discussing any concerns is prefereable. KillerChihuahua?!? 15:34, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  24. Subjective and not inforced. Editors with a long edit history and admins are allowed to get away with a lot, and there is no way under the current policy to prevent them from doing so. On the other hand, its also to easy to cry out that someone was uncivil just because they get tired of editors that don't read, argue a pov endlessly, or insist on beating dead horses. Fuzbaby (talk) 19:50, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  25. Essentially per Lar, Jehochman and Puppy. They've pretty much said everything I would have said better than I would have. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 04:11, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  26. No evenness of enforcement, and when enforced has no rational equality of treatment for those adjudged incivil. And where one user can call another a "nutcase" and "deranged" sans penalty, and another says "jerk" and gets a month-long block, it appears that something is grievously amiss. Alas, this is not the only area where this is true, but we surely should admit it is the current state of affairs on the civility issue. Collect (talk) 12:36, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  27. Incivility is difficult to define. In any given incident, that difficulty is compounded by context, past interactions, and the prevailing temperature of the discussion. It's a tough call for any admin to make. If civility blocks are to continue, I'd like to see admins strongly encouraged, if not mandated, to get consensus at the admin boards before issuing the block. No consensus, no block. --MoreThings (talk) 12:13, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  28. Blocking without warning is in itself uncivil, and should only be done in extreme cases where there is imminent risk of disruption to the project. Equally, chronic civil pov pushing should not be treated as more disruptive than occasional use of dubious language. . dave souza, talk 15:13, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  29. The current civility policy is unenforceable when it is blatantly obvious that certain users can say whatever they want about their opponents and get a free pass because they're good content producers or admins are intimidated, whether by the editor or the editor's clique of supporters, when the option of a block is on the table. A policy must apply to everyone, or it must be rewritten to properly cover everyone. Tony Fox (arf!) 19:07, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  30. Immunity to civility is directly proportional to your own your clique's influence. Increased years in the wiki and sysop and crat positions also increases your immunity greatly.--Lenticel (talk) 04:29, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  31. I believe the policy is good but I'm adding my name here too. It's not that we can't do anything to enforce civility: we can, and the policy does help. Civility is really important to me and to many of us, but the good of the project is a higher goal, and sometimes they come into conflict... especially when there's an establish editor who isn't that civil. The damage to the project from their incivility exists but is hard to measure, but the effects of blocking them are obvious and negative. The will of the community does not allow the spirit of this policy to be enforced the way it might be, and without some kind of drastic, fundamental change in Wikipedia's aims, that isn't going to change. Mangojuicetalk 06:12, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  32. Seems to be that if you swear at an admin with a temper you get indeffed. A more lenient admin will give you a slap on the wrists. weburiedoursecretsinthegarden 09:56, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  33. -- Luk talk 14:14, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  34. It takes much more time and energy to block a user on incivility than it does for personal attacks, wanton harassment, or vandalism, to name a few. MuZemike 15:13, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  35. "Unenforcable" isn't the best description, but it is the best of those here. "Just plan harmful to the project" is better. It is a major problem and harmful to the project, and I think we would be better off without it, because it leads to us blocking people who after being harassed show that they have gotten angry without our doing anything about the harassing behavior that it should have prevented in the first place. Until it can be used to eliminate those who are the initial offenders, it is more of a problem than a benefit. GRBerry 15:44, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  36. What makes this unenforceable is the hard reality that policies are almost always enforced based on a few moments' research: for example, count up the number of reverts & if it exceeds three, the ban hammer comes down. Judging whether a given user is acting in a civil manner or not requires careful reading of not only the principal exchange, but often several threads which requires time, & most Admins would rather be running up their score (edit count, vandalism reverted count, deletion count, blocks, etc.) or simply working on improving articles. The number of Wikipedians who are willing to facilitate harmonious editting as their first priority are a clear minority; I doubt there are more than a dozen who do this. Trying to rewrite this policy so it can be implemented with a minimum of effort only provides opportunities for those who want to wikilawyer, rather than help those who want to support a civil environment. -- llywrch (talk) 17:24, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  37. As long as the focus is on enforcement, the policy will be ineffective. It shouldn't be about "How can I make an example out of my enemy," it should be about "How can I be an example of civility?" たろ人 (talk) 20:21, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  38. The problem is because of inconsistent enforcement. "But X did that and didn't get blocked!" Mr.Z-man 03:50, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  39. As per above. It's a good policy so long as you don't try to enforce it with blocks. Absolutely nothing makes a person angrier than being gagged. That's probably why the First Amendment to the US constitution (and first words of the Bill of Rights) addressing public debate on various issues, is mainly about prohibitions on various kinds of gagging debate (and yes, eventually it got down to the Supreme Court deciding on whether you could swear at cops: answer, yes). Yeah, there's a bit in there on freedom of religion-- about 20% of the ammendment-- and even that is there because it comes down to who controls religious debate, if anybody. That's how important the U.S. founders thought "not being gagged" was.

    A large part of Wikipedia's PR problems have arisen in gagging people they should have let speak. Those people WILL speak-- but they'll speak to Newsweek and CNN instead. You wonder at the increasingly public opposition to WP, when before there was almost nothing but adulation? The answer is in the TOTAL number of people, which grows daily and never decreases, who've been abused here by bad WP policies. This policy is one of them. SBHarris 06:27, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

  40. Apart from pages covered by sanctions, civility is essentially unenforceable. PhilKnight (talk) 20:00, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  41. Pzrmd (talk) 04:04, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  42. There is lots of uneveness in wikipedia so trying to block people will result in some being blocked and some escaping block. User F203 (talk) 18:23, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  43. When justice is administered unevenly, then it is not justice. Its fine to have the rules, but they have to apply the same to all or they are simply chaos masquerading as order.MichaelQSchmidt (talk) 05:26, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
  44. — neuro(talk) 10:18, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  45. It's time to be honest, and explicitly state that the policy only applies to newbies and anons. Exalted members of Esperanza are above the policy, and anyone else needs to be thoroughly disabused of the notion that the Established Editors can be held accountable under this policy. Willi Gers07 (talk) 20:01, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
  46. I agree with many of the points posted above: it's too subjective & inconsistently enforced. hmwithτ 17:18, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  47. Per Lar. Pmlineditor 17:31, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  48. PROPOSE "TAX-CODE" VERSION OF CIVILITY POLICY: Make it enforceable by explicit enumeration of all possible fouls. E.G., (CIV.345.A) Pretending to not understand. (CIV.345.B) Allegation of CIV.345.A SEE WP:AGF.:) -- Proofreader77 (talk) 17:54, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
  49. Shoemaker's Holiday Over 183 FCs served 23:55, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Discussion (current civility policy)[edit]

WP:CIVIL is enforceable, provided that you're willing to ban the persistently uncivil. Only if you're unwilling to do so does the policy become unenforceable, and in that respect it's no different from any other policy. Steve Smith (talk) (formerly Sarcasticidealist) 16:15, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

What is the bright line? 3RR works pretty well because there's a pretty clearly delineated bright line, 3 reverts. You can say "blocked for crossing the line" or even "blocked because you're revert warring even though you didn't cross the line, it's a line, not an entitlement" and it usually sticks. But what is "persistent uncivility"? (don't get me wrong, I know it when I see it, but that's not a good enough definition) Better to block when the civility crosses over into disruption, perhaps. Except that fosters a culture of being snarky but not so snarky that you can be called on it. ++Lar: t/c 17:13, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Is your contention that the only enforceable policies are the objective ones? That doesn't bode well for WP:NPOV, WP:CONSENSUS, WP:NOR... Steve Smith (talk) (formerly Sarcasticidealist) 17:45, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
These aren't holy cows either... some worship the cows, others eat them. All it takes to feel the difference is a bus ticket. Time for the ride is long overdue. NVO (talk) 18:18, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Objective policies are easier to enforce, I think, given equal amounts of desire to enforce them and other factors being equal as well. I just fear that this particular policy isn't enforceable. The lack of a bright line is part of the reason it's harder, IMHO. but it is neither necessary nor sufficient (to make a policy unenforcable). Civility is not something easy to achieve in any online community, the general problem is far wider than English Wikipedia, and is a subject of some considerable academic research. ++Lar: t/c 19:39, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
3RR isn't really enforceable in a consistent manner. People just circumvent it; some people block their friend's opponents for 2 weeks+ for doing two reverts in three days etc, the generally edit-warring thing undercuts. Some guys go and lock the page when their friends do 4 reverts and when an enemy does it they get blocked for 4. So nothing on Wikipedia is consistent except for black/white indefinite blocks for repeated vandalism, spamming, legal threats, death threats those sorts of things. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 07:07, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I think talking about civility in terms of "enforcement" is a very bad idea. If we try to make civility into a statute, and then penalize people for breaking it, we'll have missed the point entirely. The suggestion that civility admits of "violations" that carry penalties necessarily gives rise to gaming behavior. That is, people attempt to use any lapse of civility on the part of another editor as a weapon to gain the upper hand in a content dispute.

Preventing this kind of gaming of the civility policy must be a priority that we address, or we'll never get past the problems we have with the policy now. We need to have a policy that somehow incorporates the fact that reporting someone for a civility violation isn't a very civil thing to do, and when the report achieves the desired result, it is a result of some enforcement minded administrator being even more uncivil. These errors are made in perfectly good faith, and we can expect no better unless we provide better guidance as to how the policy is to be used.

If the central message of the civility policy is not a message about how we can use actual civility and diplomacy to resolve disputes, then it's not worth its bandwidth. We should make it abundantly clear that this policy is not a "rule" that they can report someone for violating. Instead this page should be a helpful road-map that guides editors through conflict situations.

If we can manage to discourage the lawyerly claims of rule-breaking that mire most drawn-out disputes here, it will be a beautiful day for Wikipedia. -GTBacchus(talk) 00:47, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

  • As you know from email culture, sometimes something you write may seem offensive to someone when you didn't intend for it to be. In borderline cases, the offending editor should be given a chance to explain themselves before corrective action is imposed. Cla68 (talk) 00:54, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
GT, are there any forbidden words or phrases then, in terms of being blockable? Or are there no limits on language for editors? IronDuke 00:58, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
"Forbidden"? That's a word I would stay way the heck away from. There are words that are extremely unlikely to be helpful for collaboration when used in any context outside of a very specific use (e.g., discussing the article fuck). Blocking is not a penalty for using the wrong word, nor a penalty of any kind for that matter. It's a way of interrupting and cutting off disruptive behavior. Disruption can only be gauged with a mind to context, and no two cases will be quite the same. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:48, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
As the policy defines civility, it can indeed be argued that reporting or blocking incivility is itself incivil. That doesn't mean we shouldn't enforce the policy; it would be better to remove the policy than to have it apply only to nice people who follow rules without needing enforcement. The trolls would joyfully overrun everything if our response were limited to "naughty, naughty", and nothing we say here would matter. The solution is to do a better job of recognizing that successfully dealing with unpleasant people requires some level of unpleasantness – even if it's expressed in bureaucratese, which many incivil Wikilawyers are fully capable of dishing right back at you. Art LaPella (talk) 03:11, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I hope that I haven't suggested anything to the effect of saying "naughty, naughty." If that's what it seems I said, then I very much failed at communication here. Of course I'm not suggesting anything that stupid.

I'm still in favor of blocks for egregious and/or ongoing incivility, for example. However, for the person involved in the dispute to start talking about blocks is a Very Bad Idea. The policy should be written to educate that person how to respond to incivility without raising the heat.

Blocks are absolutely part of the toolbag from which we can draw. It would be smart to try and get some consensus about which tool to use in which situation.

Being willing to use blocks to prevent disruption in no way implies that the civility policy has to be understood as a rule, with consequences for breaking it. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:48, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree whole-heartedly: like AGF, it is often uncivil to say someone has been uncivil, and I've long being advocating for reforming the policy so that it is more of a guideline of how to be civil than a policy that one can be blocked for; civility is too abstract to be enforceable, while NPA and HARASS are not (and are my baselines). However, the majority opinion as that being a guideline makes it less important (one of the few opinions which is expressly wrong), so I haven't been able to make any progress. Sceptre (talk) 12:03, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Of course civility can be "enforced", but not with blocks and bans. The way to enforce civility is to a) model it yourself, and b) ignore or shun people who consistently refuse to meet minimal standards of decency. Part a) is basic common sense, but seems to be much less viscerally fulfilling than a punitive solution. Part b) is basic operant conditioning: ignore uncivil behavior (thus removing the "reward" and ending the positive feedback loop), and reward civil behavior. This works. At least, it works better than the current system of arbitrary blocks and "civility parole". MastCell Talk 18:03, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    It probably would work, yes. I wouldn't complain to such a system, but the current use-the-tools approach is one that I do not like at all. Conditioning would be better than punishment. Sceptre (talk) 18:07, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    MastCell's words sound familiar. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 02:53, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Civility is a virtue that should be encouraged not enforced. "Be peaceful or I'll smack you" is not a good approach. Jehochman Talk 04:03, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Absolutely. The focus of our civility policy (I see no sense in distinguishing "guideline" from "policy" unless we wish to encourage lawyering) should be on how to use civility to negotiate conflicts. If we can also make it very, very clear that the policy is not a weapon, that's even better. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:08, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Agree with Bacchus somewhere above. The policy should be made to work differently so that it can no longer be used as a weapon in a content dispute; if it cannot, it should be removed. It is constantly the central issue at Arbcom, and there's something wrong that it frequently gets like that with content disputes; then 17 people get to decide whether A, B, C, or D have been uncivil, and dish out blocks, bans and other "remedies" (read sanctions). It is true also that consensus can be subjective, but there seems to be a general consensus on what it constitutes. Anecdotally, though, it got pushed to the extreme by one editor in the dates case who insisted that the overwhelming majority had to accommodate the objections of a handful — Oh, he was civil to a tee, but had a way of baiting and harassing which was close to an art form and difficult to spot if you weren't following every detail, but that is another story. Ohconfucius (talk) 13:55, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
As I recall, the only blocks I've ever gotten meaningful flak over (not many, maybe 2 or 3) were civility blocks. Never mind they were policy abiding, the policy didn't match (non) consensus over the blocks. I don't think about making civility blocks anymore (and I'm ok with that). As it happens, I've found that if an editor is making truly over the top posts, they're more than likely doing something else that's consensus blockable, or will get to it, so there are bounds. Gwen Gale (talk) 12:50, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I've been trying for days to figure out how to word my thoughts on this, and actually User:Sceptre articulately describes much of what I've been thinking. Should CIV be a policy? Yes. But simplify it and develop a guideline that lays out what is and isn't civil. We're a global community with so much diversity in age, culture, backgrounds and how we've been raised - that red-line "WTH" items just aren't that easy. As to the current CIV? Two things jump to mind: 1.) Feigned incomprehension, "playing dumb" - huh? WP:V comes to mind. And 2.) Attempts to publicly volunteer other people's time and effort for work they have not agreed to perform. Hey, you can go ahead and volunteer people all day long, but if they're not interested - it's just a waste of keystrokes. But I'd hardly call it a blockable offense. When CIV bumps up against NPA, that's when we should be blocking. — Ched :  ?  10:10, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
yes, NPA is probably the approach to take, at least initially. Some things are unequivocally personal attacks--but even here, there should be a chance given to realise it and retract and apologise, and certainly not block for single offenses. I think the first step will be for us make long tenure here a reason for expecting better behavior, rather than tolerating what we would otherwise not accept for beginners. DGG (talk) 23:47, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
General comment/thought:
Civility has layers of application and meaning. As long as the policy focuses on individual behaviors without emphasizing a holistic application to group behaviors the policy as written now may not work very well. Civility, from the Latin civilis meaning citizen, in its original meaning pertained to the responsibility of the individual to the group. Wikipedia’s dual nature of building an encyclopedia and collaborative project means that the group must function optimally in order for the encyclopedia to progress fastest and best. As a holistic view this translates into, what is necessary at that time for that group to make the environment supportive of that editing process, is civil. If that includes warning or eventually blocking an editor who is poisoning the environment, then that’s what has to be done, but that same response to this kind of editor may not be appropriate somewhere else. The test for any editor,seems to me, is whether the actions they take will optimally support the group and the editing. If it doesn’t then its an incivility, even if that incivility only pertains to that particular situation.
The policy as it exists now provides a layer of concrete guides to what may be incivilities, but doesn’t and should, better lay out this more abstract primary responsibility every editor and admin has to this group dynamic. Both the more abstract holistic, and the specific concrete guides are necessary, including both but specifically naming responsibility to the group as the primary civility every editor must uphold. The worst scenario it seems to me is to lose any editor from the editing process since this can weaken the group, so all actions must take into account the value each editor has, not to judge but to see the usefulness of.
In my experience the best editors and admins are those who have come to the point where they can think independently per each situation inside the holistic paradigm. Not meaning to beat anyone over the head with this idea, but the editors create the encyclopedia from themselves, from the inside out as it where, and are the encyclopedia. The responsibility to the encyclopedia comes from this inside place. That responsibility can’t be placed on the list a policy provides, or on anything external to the editors themselves. This is a group created effort. Damage someone else or the project and you damage yourself.
In terms of a practical application, this means the policy needs to be rewritten to have an overarching paradigm inside which the more concrete examples exist, a guide in a way to help editors adjust thinking to the group mentality. This kind of thinking requires a certain level of maturity in a group dynamic. I wonder of Wikipedia has matured enough to move in this direction.(olive (talk) 18:00, 4 July 2009 (UTC))
Discussing the civility policy as we do seems to do little to encourage civility.--Tznkai (talk) 05:47, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. Discussing the civility policy as we do is a wonderful lesson in Civility. With all the varied opinions and thoughts expressed here and on the project page, I don't think you will find any incivility at all. A clear example of choosing civility over aggression.--Buster7 (talk) 05:44, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
No, and we can't force people to be civil, but can understanding encourage?...Can a policy educate, as well as provide guidelines? Right now we are attempting to control civility with narrow and specific rules and regulations with out the written-down, underlying understanding of why civility is ultimately critical to a process-orientated project like Wikipedia. Really,listing incivilities is an unending project. Civility is about responsibility to a group. Perhaps that has to be taught. I guess discussion is part of collaboration.:o)(olive
The issue is that people view civility policy as no more than an opportunity to roll about on the ground a la Fabio Grosso to get penalty kicks in soccer YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 02:29, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
So we need to stop awarding those penalty kicks, it sounds like. Why not update the page to reflect that civility isn't a rule you can bust someone for breaking, but rather a strategy for dispute resolution that you'll eventually be blocked for not applying? -GTBacchus(talk) 02:35, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Because that won't work - we can't change a cultural assumption by changing the text or even referring to it (try explaining that the 3 wise men are never mentioned in the Bible and see how far it gets you)--Tznkai (talk) 03:32, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Education though, never happens in one stroke, and takes time. The point may be how did the story of the three wise men become a cultural assumption. It started somewhere and with repetition and use the story became a reality. Same thing here. Start somewhere and allow the human propensity for passing knowledge for one to another to come into play. Turn on the light and see what happens rather than trying to dispel darkness(if darkness it is).Introduce the new if its better; the old will disappear with time. Hopeful.Yes.(olive (talk) 14:59, 7 July 2009 (UTC))
I think it starts with essays, with abbreviations. Isn't that our preferred vector for spreading cultural norms? Once you say "per WP:FOO" enough times, other people start citing it, and once enough people have been citing it for a while, people start to think it must be a guideline... we've all seen it happen.

A good place to begin could be wherever editors like to "report" others for civility violations (ANI? WQA?). If they start getting the reply that we won't block the other guy for them, but we will help them use civility to resolve the dispute, that would seem to be a step in the right direction. Doing that, with a couple of easy-to-remember acronyms in hand that lay down the principles, would be a great start.

There will be resistance, because people really like to think they can "call the cops" and get rid of opponents that way. It is easy to upset someone if you seem to be blaming them for their problems with their opponent, so we should figure out how to do it smoothly.

It will take time, but the ball's already starting to roll. It has been for a while. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:41, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I know that at this point, given the size this page has grown to, that I'm likely "wizzin in the wind", and many of the later posts are going to be lost to the annals of the archives; but, I had a thought. The section above says "Unenforceable", and I think that perhaps it's a misnomer. We are capable of enforcing these things, but rather it's a matter that it's not done in a uniform, and consistent manner. I know we can't all get together on Monday morning, or Friday afternoon, and discuss how we're approaching these issues; but, all too often the enforcement part of civility is just done on the whim or belief of an individual - rather than a collective "this is not acceptable". We all to often "bite" the new users, and sadly on many occasions we see "established" or "time served" editors get away with things that would make a 7th grade gym teacher blush. Administrators that would gladly "block out" the foul and toxic editing, all too often find their block overturned by another admin. who believes "s/he was baited", or "we have to be understanding of blowing off a little steam", or "well, it's an editor that has a few FA or GA articles, and we don't want to lose their contributions". Why bother blocking anyone for being uncivil, when one of their buddies is simply going to "unblock" them a short time latter? I'm also not talking about the "one of" instances of someone who is fed up with foolishness. Be it a new user, or an experienced veteran, I think everyone deserves a "warning" before they are out-right, "blocked out". I'm all in favor of AGF, but the more we turn a blind-eye to what any adult in the civilized world would call "incivility", the closer we get to the old USENET "alt" threads of yesteryear.

    I'm not talking about those editors who are frank, or blunt, sometimes painfully so; but rather I'm referring to editors who seem to derive a sense of "fun" out of typing out those 4-letter words that they learned in the boys locker-room back in 6th grade. Having raised a child to adulthood, I can say this with a fair amount of certainty. the more we allow editors to test the boundaries of what is, and is not, acceptable; the further they will push those boundaries. Until we as a community can consistently monitor and enforce this issue, it's likely to become a recurring theme of pages, and polls like this one. — Ched :  ?  21:15, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Some very interesting input. from Steve Smiths "Ban the Uncivil" to MastCells "Ignore the uncivil". Good advice for all WP editors: Demanding a block may be just as uncivil, Give the offensive editor some room to explain, Online civility is hard to achieve (not only here), look to NPA & HARASS for enforcability, Be a model of Civil Behavior, educate the offender, we need to monitor and enforce, remove the reward. My view is that we need a Marshall Dillon (from Gunsmoke). We need a Sheriff. and maybe a deputy or two. We need someone to walk the streets of Wikipedia and say.."hey you, stop pissin' on that other editor" "If you can't behave yer gonna hafta go" "Sir! This is an encyclopedia...you cannot take a dump in the middle of the street!" Everyone here has been civil. If an uncivil, toxic personality DID show up, we would all know it. I'm sure we are all experienced enough to recognize the early stages. Could we ignore it? Wouldn't one of the admins that are here invoke a ban and be supported by most of us? And then there would be endless discussion about what happenned.
A thought---->is there a way to just block certain behavior? Maybe just limit the uncivil editor to article editing. Stop the chatter, start the patter(n). No Talk page presence, no incivilty possible. If vandalism or graffitti begins, then toxicity is proven and can be treated.--Buster7 (talk) 00:30, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
So.... if we completely disempower someone from communicating via the usual channels, and then when they get frustrated and lash out in the only way remaining to them, we take that as "proof of toxicity"? Sounds like a kind of weird inverse where the establishment baits potentially problematic users into becoming the real thing. I don't want to discourage brainstorming, but I am pointing out another angle that ought to be considered. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:43, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
1) The troublesome someone isn't disempowered. He can edit to his hearts content, bringing his wisdom and insight to every article available to him. What he can't do is continue to argue without manners. If he gets frustrated by that maybe he should spend his time at a blog...not writing for an encyclopedia. 2) to clarify, I'm not talking about potentially problematic users. I'm talking about proven problematic users. Users that have made it clear that they will say whatever they want, where ever they want and whenever they want.
Anyway...It was just a thought that came as I finished my input. And I did realize that the truly toxic editor would get frustrated. I did not intend that we "bait" him. The idea is to let him swim just not in the "big boy" pool. You never know. Maybe he will get along with the other kids, learn how to swim, and become a successful player in the deep end.--Buster7 (talk) 03:55, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Buster7, I herar what you're saying, but if a disruptive user is banned from talk pages, where a lot of work is done, he's going to feel disempowered from participating in the discussion. Remember, he doesn't consider his talk page contributions to consist of "arguing without manners". In his eyes, you've shackled him; he will react accordingly. It's a losing scenario for him. We frustrate his (probably good faith but misguided) attempts at communication, and then when he displays that frustration we say, "go get a blog". It's a Catch-22, a self-fulfilling prophesy.

As for your point about "potentially problematic" versus "proven problematic".... good luck deciding which is which. Every problematic user above the level of common vandal is seen as "right, but misunderstood" by some other editor. Making those calls, opens the door to a lot of drama, because it's all about personally directed claims. We're not saying such-and-such edits are a problem; we're saying he is the problem. If we're going to do that, we should just block him. Having editors who can't even participate in all three stages of BRD sounds like trouble - it hobbles everyone working with him. Either let 'em edit, or show 'em the door. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:31, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

One simple queston. Exactly how much do we tolerate? — Ched :  ?  04:37, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I think that's ours to feel out and decide. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:31, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Editor:Bacchus. And I chose----> Show 'em the door. :-)--Buster7 (talk) 16:13, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Great. Now come up with an acid test for discerning who needs to be shown the door, and that the community will accept. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:19, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
A valid challenge. I will certainly "mull it over". I think that is at the heart of the "it's not enforcable" conversation. A wise editor recently wrote...."It would seem good for the admins who handle the toughest cases to be the best diplomats, and not the shortest fuses"...sound familiar? You were right on the money. When the time comes to begin the robust creation of something new (re:civility/incivility) diplomacy will be an important trait.--Buster7 (talk) 16:34, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should a user's own talk page be considered differently?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Of 76 responders, 63% felt that a users should be civil on their talkpage, while 37% felt some leniency could be extended, such as letting off steam after an incident. SilkTork *YES! 18:45, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

There has been discussion in past as to whether a post on a user's talk page, often in reply to a hostile poster, should be treated more leniently than posting elsewhere on other discussion or WP pages where dialogue occurs. Please indicate views below.

Yes, a users' own talk page should be considered more leniently[edit]

  1. My talk page serves as such a place. Non-directed incivility is fine there, as noted on my user page and to those who frequent my talk page. Directed incivility would, of course, be a personal attack. لennavecia 15:59, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:10, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  3. --R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 16:15, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  4. Yes, even though they are still "public" pages, I believe that users should be allowed to relax the "civility rules" on their own talk pages. — Ched :  ?  17:33, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  5. -- Benders Game 19:37, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  6. There are issues, certainly, with some comments, even when left at talk. However, I definitely do feel that talkpages should be treated differently, especially after an editor has been blocked, and is upset about it. Unitanode 00:15, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  7. The civility policy correctly says "If some action is necessary, first consider discussing it on that user's talk page." So one expects more personally oriented discussion to be on a user page, rather than a talk page for a specific article. If it's more personally oriented, that is one of the factors that makes something less civil. So of course user talk pages will be less civil, whether or not we state the obvious in the civility policy. Art LaPella (talk) 02:26, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  8. Per all the above. --Goodmorningworld (talk) 04:12, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. yes, user talk pages are seperate from mainspace and are areas where communication can be "freer". There should still be some level of decorum, but not the same level as require on the mainspace.Fuzbaby (talk) 19:53, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. It's my house, so I'll swear at you if your comments/actions have upset me. ;-) Ohconfucius (talk) 03:51, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. Freer, but not indefinitely so. Those who curse their visitors do not belong in a civilized community. DGG (talk) 23:50, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. Users should get a certain amount of latitude on their own user talk pages to tell others to leave them alone, and to set and enforce reasonable rules for use of their talk page. Some of these things, by their nature, are kind of abrasive and offensive and might be taken as incivil elsewhere. So I do think we should be a little more lenient, but (for instance) personal attacks or obscenity-laden rants aren't acceptable no matter where. Mangojuicetalk 03:10, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. It's easy to walk a way from a user talk page; no-one has to be there. That's not so for article talk pages.--MoreThings (talk) 12:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. So long as the attacks are indirected the odd bit of incivility is perfectly fine with me. weburiedoursecretsinthegarden 09:57, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. Yes, and especially a user's own talk page. Repeated incivility on another's talk page can in fact be worse than the same comments elsewhere. So it varies. And the leniency needs to be limited, not unlimited. GRBerry 15:46, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. Yes, it should be treated differently. Applying the same standard would lead to abuse and gaming. たろ人 (talk) 20:28, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. Yes, else what's a TALK page for? SBHarris 06:09, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. Absolutely. Agree with Jenna - so long as it's not directed hostility, profanity, bold general statements about the suckitude of a situation, scatological or vulgar humor and so on shouldn't be an issue. If people come to, or at, you, they should do so expecting to actually get your thoughts. ThuranX (talk) 14:19, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. Yes, but I certainly wouldn't support anyone who is hostile on their talk page for administrative responsibilities. Some venting and territoriality is tolerable. It's just human nature. Fred Talk 18:57, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. Yes. It isn't a get out of jail free card, but context matters. Protonk (talk) 20:48, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. Yes and no. It depends on context, leeway should be extended in most cases...Modernist (talk) 15:45, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. Most definitely. It is the only part of wikipedia that one can even refer to as one's own, in so much as one can personify it to one's own liking etc. A degree of personality should be tolerated there - obviously, not to the extent of vile slander, but venting one's spleen there is OK so long as the langiage is not too blue. Giano (talk) 19:10, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. Most definitely. For the reasons given by other users above. People need to be able to vent, and if they can't do it on their own talk page, where can they?! Also, it gives other users a unique opportunity to discover the real nature of a person if there's a place where they can speak freely. --Rebroad (talk) 21:03, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  24. Of course. If I go to a certain friend's house I understand that I'll have to tolerate more rudeness than I would ever tolerate in a neutral public place. The analogy holds - user pages are like people's own spaces and should have a more lenient threshold. Not saying that anything goes, mind you - particularly iro personal attacks. AndrewRT(Talk)(WMUK) 22:38, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  25. Within limits, yes. Orderinchaos 05:25, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  26. Within limits, but yes. There is a difference what is considered incivility in a public place (like a wikipedia talkpage e.g.) or a private place (like my or his talkpage). Debresser (talk) 21:42, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  27. Yes.--Die4Dixie (talk) 23:18, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
  28. Yes, per Mangojuice (03:10, 3 July 2009) --Philcha (talk) 10:10, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

No, all areas considered equal (user's own talk page)[edit]

  1. A post on someone's talk page is an attempt to communicate with them. A hostile or degrading response is inappropriate. Fred Talk 12:14, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. Per Fred. Steve Smith (talk) (formerly Sarcasticidealist) 16:02, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  3. Talk pages are not private areas, they are public communication fora like every other discussion page.  Sandstein  19:46, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  4. Agree with Sandstein. –Juliancolton | Talk 23:41, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  5. If someone is let off for the day at work, that doesn't give them the right to trash their desk and office... ok that's a poor comparison, but you catch my drift. Fred has prolly' said it better. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 00:00, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  6. Civility is a state of mind, not a location. Civil Users are civil wherever they are. Users should be encouraged to be as civil as possible and not to say to themselves..Oh I am on a Userpage, I can be less civil here. (Off2riorob (talk) 00:21, 30 June 2009 (UTC))
  7. If you want to personalize an argument with someone or tell someone that they're acting like a jerk, use email, not their talk page to tell them. User talk pages are viewable to the general audience and need to comply with the policies. Also, the policy needs to state that it is a violation of the policy for an editor to react rudely to posts on their own talk page. For example, deleting another editor's post on you talk page with an edit summary stating, "Your input is not wanted or desired" should be considered a violation of the policy. Deleting someone's post to your talk page with a neutral edit summary like, "Removing post" is not incivil. Cla68 (talk) 00:45, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  8. No matter where it is, incivility is incivility, and a personal attack is a personal attack. They must not be treated any more or less so just because it was made in the user space. MuZemike 01:55, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  9. Talk pages are places to settle disputes, not escalate them. Just as with other methods of dispute resolution, the users taking part should conduct themselves with a resonable standard of dignity. ThemFromSpace 01:59, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  10. Editors who enforce policies over many, many pages have a tendency to become less civil over time, this means they shouldn't do that work, not be allowed to be uncivil. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 02:56, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  11. The hope is that a user's talk page could be a place where people work things out informally. Durova273 featured contributions 03:08, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  12. Treat the same generally, but be understanding of the situation, such as not extending a block if the editor makes a brief incivil comment in response to a block. Davewild (talk) 08:53, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  13. Stifle (talk) 10:43, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  14. Don't be a WP:Dick anywhere. --Falcorian (talk) 17:12, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  15. It's really not about "dubya-pee-civil" being a rule. It's about rudeness being a foolish idea, and that's true no matter what page it occurs on. It's not as if being a jerk on one's own talk page will somehow make any situation better. This is not a call for "enforcement" (see above), but simply an observation about cause-and-effect. Things that will have negative effects: avoid. Incivility is one of these things. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:57, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. If the standard for civility is brought to a common-sense level based largely around “no personal attacks” (as currently defined at WP:NPA), and if the standard for civility is revised to something approaching this common-sense test: “if the editor’s conduct is disruptive, as measured by actions or written word, as gauged by a real-world, reasonable and responsible adult”, then the standard for civility should apply no matter where it is. Some flexibility should also be afforded if both sides to a dispute have a “gloves off” style that pushes the norm. Unless the words are so outrageous that it shocks the conscience of visiting Wikipedians or casts Wikipedia in a bad light as viewed by the outside world, we can ignore a talk page on, for instance, World Wrestling Entertainment, even if both sides of a dispute have a “judgmental tone.” Greg L (talk) 20:57, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. Per Fred and others.— dαlus Contribs 04:01, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. Sorry, this is wikilawyering on why someone can be rude since it's in talkspace - a civil-free zone seems like a bad idea. -- Banjeboi 13:37, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. Civility itself is vague, subjective and ambiguous, and hence vurnerable to wikilawyering. Why complicate matter for free by creating yeat another tier of wikilaw? We also already have enough in our hands with WP:IAR and WP:BITE exceptions (both of which I support, BTW) - why add to the exceptions? And in a practical sense, do people really are able to once they can escalate in userspace, keep it civil in mainspace? I would like to think they could, but I am afraid I might be being too idealist.--Cerejota (talk) 12:23, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. Agree with above comments by Fred Bauder (talk · contribs) and David Fuchs (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 15:10, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. If someone has the decency to come to your talk page to discuss issues with you, you should shown the same decency in your communications with them. Too many people see their talk pages as safe refuges from where they can insult others. Rockpocket 18:14, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. One of the most neglected aspects of the debate is the atmosphere that incivility breeds, even on talk pages or project pages. It scares away contributors from participating in what is (rightly) seen as a gutter brawl. — Coren (talk) 19:04, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. Talk pages not exempt. User doesn't like an editor posting to their talk page, they can and perhaps should ask the user -- politely or at least not uncivilly -- to stop, and continuing is harassment, with some exceptions. No excuse for insulting someone who comes to your door to ask a question. However, well-established exemption: an editor who is blocked or maybe even just warned may reasonably blow off a little steam, it should not become an additional offense. --Abd (talk) 22:32, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  24. Definitely shouldn't be a free pass to scream obscenities at others. Tony Fox (arf!) 19:08, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  25. You don't pay for it and you don't own it so why enforce lenient rules?--Lenticel (talk) 04:32, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  26. (1) User space, especially including talk pages, is supposed to be used for the project. It isn't free space for personal web sites and blogs. (2) The policy that requries civil conduct exists to promote a community of mutual respect and collegiality, which is helpful to the project. Incivility in user space is damaging to the project and would make a mockery of enforcing civility elsewhere. Finell (Talk) 05:18, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  27. As stated previously, talk pages are still part of the project, and expected behaviour should be the same across different areas. Whilst some uses of a more lenient policy on user talk pages would not be directly harmful, it should be remembered that many users may read the pages without ever commenting, and that the atmosphere of discussions does affect Wikipedia. --Taelus (talk) 09:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  28. No exceptions. "Often in reply to a hostile poster" is no excuse to resort to resort to hostility oneself. Jafeluv (talk) 11:45, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  29. Per Coren, Sandstein, Abd et al. EyeSerenetalk 17:01, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  30. Simplest to keep the same rules anywhere. If you want to rant, keep it off-wiki. Jclemens (talk) 18:54, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  31. Absolutely not. Unlike spoken word, a user gets to review their contributions before hitting "save page". If a user wants to vent, let them open up Microsoft Word and type hateful vitriol there. If a user presses the "save page" button filled with mean, incivil, and personally attacking content, they should be responsible for it wherever on Wikipedia it appears. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 00:07, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  32. A Wikipedia user page is not a venue for free speech and it is not owned by anyone. Nowhere on Wikipedia is abuse allowed. Chillum 01:41, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  33. Users don't own their talk pages. People don't have the right to be more uncivil just because its "their" talk page. Mr.Z-man 03:53, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  34. Users' talk pages should remain civil as well. Abusive behavior is not good anywhere on the site (or anywhere else, IMO). ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 09:44, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  35. Main purpose of users' own talk page is communication, and communication should always be civil. -- Vision Thing -- 13:23, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  36. Personal communication between friends/close colleagues shouldn't be held to the same standards as posts being made to the whole community, and that sort of communication should take place on user talk pages. That doesn't seem to be what this query is about though. Responses to all visitors should be civil. Christopher Parham (talk) 14:38, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  37. An editor should not be allowed to insult or belittle others rudely on his talk page, anymore than on the talk page for some article. Edison (talk) 16:00, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  38. Consistent with the fact that even user pages and user talk pages are part of the collective area of the Wiki, and not areas where users may do as they like. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:43, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  39. per Fred, Bacchus, Sam, MastCell and others. Incivility has no place in a social working environment. It doesnt work especially in this faceless, easily misunderstood Wiki.--Buster7 (talk) 07:00, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  40. user pages are to support the encyclopedia. incivility and personal information is best written on one's myspace page. if the user is unaware of myspace, a recommendation can be given. User F203 (talk) 18:24, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  41. Agree that talk pages are no different than other areas of the encyclopedia. Whatever is the policy, it needs to be enforced uniformly. In my experience, the enforcement is very uneven and dependent on the whims of the admin doing the enforcing. —Mattisse (Talk) 01:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  42. — neuro(talk) 10:18, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  43. I think a lot of problems on WP arise from people attacking each other on user talk pages. Why should they be any different from any other pages? People should act civil on all of WP, not just parts of it. hmwithτ 17:16, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  44. This is a wiki and all pages are wiki pages, including user tps. They're not like an IRC channel to abuse users. Pmlineditor 17:34, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  45. No, incivility should not be tolerated anywhere on Wikipedia, even during heated RFArs or RFCs. -- Alexandr Dmitri (Александр Дмитрий) (talk) 23:27, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
  46. I think we should continue to act on our statement that the wiki is a collective endeavor and the user pages do not belong to the user. The arbitration committee has repeatedly used evidence from user talk pages in rulings on civility, and the community has over many years now treated incivility on the user's own talk page as an infraction. While baiting is also a serious problem, an editor who succombs to provocation is letting us all down. --TS 04:27, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  47. Wikipedia will be more accessible to those who have black-and-white, concrete and/or rigid thinking patterns (ie young children, people who have disabilities, non-native English speakers, and other who may have trouble understanding abstract policy) if user talk pages were treated like any other talk page. In other words, all talk pages will be more personal. Sometimes people are more polite on a talk page. Sometimes people need to set that aside and be rather blunt and still civil, a very dangerous tight rope indeed. If someone reaches out to you, the worst you should do is ignore them. I dream of horses (T) @ 14:20, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
  48. If you need to vent, there are better places than your talkpage to do it. Offwiki, for example. Lankiveil (speak to me) 12:48, 11 August 2009 (UTC).

Discussion (user's own talk page)[edit]

Myself I am leaning towards this - a userpage may allow people to vent in borderline cases only. Not unequivocal attacks though. Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:33, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

IMO, anything except from main article space is really the same. Article space has no place for any user bickering at all. So I recommend specifically excluding it from the scope. NVO (talk) 11:02, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Good point, I would have thought that was obvious really, so might reword above. Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:10, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree that venting after a block should be looked on leniently, but not general incivility, so don't know where to sign. IronDuke 00:37, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I disagree that venting after a block should be acceptable. This accepted practice has probably developed over a period of time, a kind of..watch out, Johns unblocked tonight and he's gonna be venting his anger all over the place. Users coming off a block who start venting should be blocked again and should only be unblocked when they calm down and agree to return in a civil way. (Off2riorob (talk) 01:01, 30 June 2009 (UTC))
Sorry, I phrased it badly: I meant that users who had just been blocked, and were venting annoyance on their own talk page at, say, the blocking admin, can/could/should be cut slack. Thoughts? IronDuke 01:03, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Well I voted to treat all pages the same. As yet I have not seen that happen, the venter returnees seem to generally vent all around. They should be encouraged to vent in a civil way, and to enter into discussions with the blocking admin if they still have issues..and if they can't discuss the issue with the admin civily then they should leave it alone. Standards should be kept as high as possible. When venting is allowed to happen it rubs off on other users and lowers the general standard of the whole project. (Off2riorob (talk) 01:16, 30 June 2009 (UTC))
Venting after a block may be a poor idea, especially if it verges into incivility, but attempting to prosecute someone for venting on their own talk page has the unpleasant feel of kicking someone who is down. This is the kind of situation where gentler methods of persuasion become good ideas. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:00, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
It's a reasonably safe estimate that behavior after a block would have an influence upon the discretionary leeway in the length of subsequent blocks. Durova273 featured contributions 05:30, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
That's entirely fair, yeah. An editor who blows up in reaction to a block is less likely to be unblocked early, and more likely to be under close scrutiny on return than one who refrains.

The scenario of the talk page of a user who's just been blocked reminds me in a way of that TV show Dog the Bounty Hunter. As soon as he's caught someone, he switches entirely into "good cop" mode, and attempts to befriend them and to model desired behavior. Once they're "blocked", there's no further point in playing "bad cop", because it would aggravate them and reduce the possibility of rehabilitation.

I didn't expect to be drawing lessons from that show, but... there you are. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:57, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

My main objection is to lengthening a block based on talk page vents, which I've not seen often but which certainly gets discussed from time to time. Example: X blocks Y. Y puts up unblock request, saying "This block is bullshit". Reblocking for this wording is just kicking while he's down (though the wording is probably pretty good grounds to decline the unblock). Reblocking should only be done in the most extreme cases, such as one many of you will likely remember in which a user kept adding "oh, and X you sure are an arsehole" to his talk. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 03:31, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Just as a point of clarification on my own support of allowing users to declare their own talk pages a bit less restrictive of wp:civ. While I do support the allowance of editors to claim their own talk pages as open to frank or blunt discussion; (see Jennavica, and admittedly I patterned my own edit notice for my talk page after hers), I do not support the ability to simply go to another users talk page who has not declared a "civility free zone", and use anything but the most polite and civil discourse. — Ched :  ?  15:05, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


  • This whole thing is really a conflation of two much bigger questions:
  1. How do we deal with post block/altercation venting?
  2. How much leeway do people get over their own userspace?

I object to conflating the two - and my answers are with common sense and compassion if possible, and not much respectively.--Tznkai (talk) 05:44, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

My initial aim with the question was to clarify a situation on user X's page, where user Y had posted something which user X objected to and duly told User Y to get lost or somesuch. Thus in that case, would user X's behaviour be seen as provoked by User Y's posting as more obtrusive and/or inflammatory than if it would have occurred at a neutral venue....but this sorta got sidetracked... Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:02, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
See, even then we have problems. Its indisputable that some people feel violated when someone shows up on their talk page - yet I personally find this a bizzare sense of entitlement. Whats a neutral venue? A noticeboard? Their talk page? My talk page? As much as we like to make analogies and models, this isn't a virtual analog world, its a website connected to a database. I have about as much ownership of my talk page as I do of "my cubby" at a workplace. Its still not mine, people just use it to get in touch - granting any sense of ownership, and thus a sense of "intrusion" begs many questions.--Tznkai (talk) 06:07, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Good points all - I raised this as there seemed to be an understanding of users' own talk pages being treated differently ('cutting some slack' as it were), so I think opening this up and seeing how users feel is important. Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:15, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Someone who just whines on his own talk page immediately after a block that a block was unfair should generally not have the block extended because of it. It is human nature to want to do that. It is hard to just walk away and engage in productive real world activity for the hour or day the block lasts, until the anger has a chance to dissipate. If he engages in personal attacks or threats, whether against the blocking admin or others, that might be enough of an WP:NPA violation to justify a block extension, depending on the language used. Again, it is best to just step away from the keyboard for a while when the stress level gets so great as to make one want to engage in inappropriate posting. Edison (talk) 16:07, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Observation - is civility a particular problem in how we deal with new users at Recent Changes Patrol?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
89% of 27 responders felt some incivility takes place at RCP. SilkTork *YES! 18:52, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes (RCP)[edit]

  1. Yeah, but it's a situation that doesn't leave much time for civility or even any sort of conversation. When I create a new page, I like to say something in my edit summary like "I've been editing WP for several years (see my fancy userpage), so please, please don't delete this article, I'll add references soon." That works 90% of the time. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 03:05, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. The templates used are, for the most part, written to be as civil and helpful as possible, with links to relevant reading. And yet, they have an aura of unfriendliness. But I think some of the interactions with editors who spend a fair bit of time at RCP, if you happen to question them about what they've done, are also an area where we see incivility. Newbies get bitten and those who question the RCPers get bitten too. Not always, but sometimes... and often enough that it's an area of concern. ++Lar: t/c 15:12, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  3. Newbie-biting is more widespread than one would think. –Juliancolton | Talk 17:21, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  4. Some RCP people act in a robotic and mechanical way when serious newbies ask them about why there is a problem. I know one fellow with tens of thousands of deletions/AfD closes who always gives 2-word poker faced explanations for everything. Some certainly like to have a police state dead end mentality, ie their actions aren't because of a deletionist streak but more a power thing with rebuffing people. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 07:03, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. Per above and per my experience. Griffinofwales (talk) 21:19, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Likely, we need to be firm but remian civil and model the civility we wish to see. We need to win over people to do better. -- Banjeboi 13:39, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. One of our biggest problems. I think we first need to rethink our templates--people take templates as inherently mechanical and thus unfriendly, so they should be really carefully thought out and not always used. If I want to actually warn someone , i tend to do it in my own words. "Please don't do this again " is usually understood very well. DGG (talk) 23:54, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. It's a place where a lot of users are keen to get involved in Wiki-cleanup but where most such users are inexperienced in dealing with people, and so, yes, people can get really nasty, and it's a big problem. Mangojuicetalk 03:14, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. Unquestionably. There's a target shooting mentality amongst some RC patrollers that can be very discouraging. I experienced this just recently, with a new article getting tagged within a minute of creation. I have to admit my own response could have been more civil... Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:18, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. Definitely, and far too many errors are made here when they shouldn't be. Incorrect CSD tags and non-vandalism edits being reverted are too commonplace. Those who use automated tools very rarely seem to take a little bit of extra time to undo and leave an explanatory edit summary, instead rolling back even for borderline cases. Maedin\talk 08:55, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. I agree, but see my comment bellow. Lets be careful and not confuse civility issue with the biting issues, and address both correctly: the problem is how we treat noobs in general, we could be civil and still CSD and not give people a chance to appeal or to transform their good faith contributions into allowable contributions. So it is more about general WP:BITE than of the more narrow WP:CIVIL.--Cerejota (talk) 12:35, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. I don't know so much about RCP, though I've done a fair amount. (Maybe that's why I don't see it!) However, I've seen some serious linkspam patrol incivility, where an editor was adding many links, in good faith, links that much later were discovered to be legitimate; that editor was absolutely crushed with no mercy. One of the saddest cases I've seen. --Abd (talk) 22:38, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. Not sure how much of it is RCP per-se, but the increasingly unfriendly, bureaucratic, and impersonal approach to Wikipedia is a problem, especially for newbies.--Tznkai (talk) 05:45, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. It is obviously a difficult situation as sometimes it is difficult to see the difference between minor vandalism and spamming and a true new editor who has not got to grips with the project, but there are things that can be improved here. The default "Undo" message is not helpful in improving other editors understandings. Also, whilst the templates by design are helpful and written well, they do have an aura of unfriendlyness to them, and seem to be held by some as a sort of branding for trouble makers. And finally, whilst I am probably guilty of this in a few cases, template spam is very discouraging to users, specifically automated templates given by Huggle and Twinkle. I think that the additional comments section should be used more often with these tools, and that automated templating should be avoided, as I have seen some pretty confusing templates given to new users over time, or seen new users getting 5 templates within 2 minutes rushing them up into getting warnings. --Taelus (talk) 10:04, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. -- Luk talk 14:15, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. Yes, particularly WP:BITE. When it is clear that a user is acting in good faith and is trying, but failing, to do it "right", they are simply templated to death and then sent up to WP:AIV. We need to be more considered in our assessment of new users edits. When a user adds random swear words to articles, we know what they are here for. But when a user removes a section from an article, or repeatedly creates an autobiography, or other such newbie mistakes, we need to ask ourselves "What are they trying to do" and "how can I help them do it right." Too many new users are scared off when they get 4 rapidly escalating templates without anyone trying to write a personal message and ask them a few questions or offer a helping hand. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 00:11, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. Yes, though it's not just new users who get bitten there. I've seen a heavy club used there, more often than not, when a friendly shoulder tap would have been more appropriate. As I mentioned above, it's best to be civil everywhere on the site. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 09:48, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. Per Jayron32. When I am doing RCP occasionally, and I spot a possible vandal edit, I tend to avoid the template messages and give the user a personalised message. I am astonished by the proportion who eventually get bored and stop vandalising without having to be blocked. Policies like WP:BITE are well enough known but so many people forget them when they see a couple of questionable edits from a new user. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:47, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. As an occasional editor, I'm not as accustomed to Wiki rules as most others here, I guess, and I've been subject to harsh responses sometimes, as well as witnessing insulting comments aimed at newbs. Imho espcially the admins have the duty to be role models for civil behaviour. And the templates and tags can be intimdating for the non regulars. So, I can only congratulate Sam Blacketer (above) for taking the short time to write an individual note, and I'm sure this brings much more positive results. Gray62 (talk) 11:13, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. I think there's a general problem with RCP, but it's more about over-zealousness and WP:CREEP. I worry that there are some people on RCP who don't actually create anything on Wikipedia. AndrewRT(Talk)(WMUK) 22:42, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. — neuro(talk) 10:19, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. We can't bring in new editors if they're all being bitten. hmwithτ 17:20, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. I actually like the templates themselves, or at least the idea of templates. I like being able to, in busy times, click a twinkle button and go back to recent changes (or new page) patrol. I like to have something generic to say whenever I run into generic vandalism. Perhaps I'm a template addict or something. I think we need to work on templates themselves, and rethink our attitude toward anonymous and newly-registered editors. I dream of horses (T) @ 14:28, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
  24. Form letters (because, lets be honest, that's what the templates are) are almost always, at best, impersonal, and at the worst condescending and unfriendly. Lankiveil (speak to me) 12:50, 11 August 2009 (UTC).

No (RCP)[edit]

  1. Wouldn't have thought so. Stifle (talk) 10:43, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. Its an issue, but its really just a distraction from the real problems. Mr.Z-man 03:54, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. The standardized warning templates may seem a bit cold and impersonal, but they are not incivility issues. RCP needs to be done in an efficient manner. Of course, if an RCPer spots a new editor making good edits, it is good to welcome them with a personalized message. But the incivility problems on Wikipedia are not in RCP. Sjakkalle (Check!) 12:22, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Discussion (RCP)[edit]

Interesting. My experience has been that while work has been done to improve the templates, the CSD templates are still a bit WP:BITE non-compliant when it comes to new users. However, with few exceptions, discourse is generally civil. Speaking anecdotally, out of hundreds of RCs (not much but hey), I had not had any civility problems - even from people who seemed to be outright spammers. New page vandals are seldom trolls in the classic sense - they are mostly people testing the system. What I have encountered is a lot of RC admins ruling with an Iron Fist of WikiRage, throwing Banhammers around like RoboThor in Must.

I think that RC issues fall under WP:BITE, not WP:CIVIL, so they would outside the scope of this discussion. I will be voting yes, after giving it some thought, mostly because this discussion is happening and there are problems with civility. However I do not think WP:CIVIL should be used to deal with it, I think WP:BITE should be strengthened, templates made less bity, etc - in other words, civility is not the main issue, treating new users like idiots (OMG, n00bs!) is.--Cerejota (talk) 12:29, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

  • WP:BITE is a particular application WP:CIVIL, so it is within the scope of this discussion. WP:BITE has the additional goal of encouraging and nurturing, rather than chasing or scaring away, the new editors who are essential to the project's continuation. Being overly suspicious of anons and new accounts is also contrary to WP:AGF. (It is an analytical error, in my opinion, to try to look for the boundaries of each of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, and to consider each as an isolated "rule". Rather, the all policies and guidelines are interrelated and interdependent, and are part of a body of norms that must be considered and applied as a whole, always with a view to how they promote the several goals of the Wikipedia project and social experiment.) While anons and new accounts commit a disproportionate amount of the vandalism, in my experience the majority of their edits are beneficial. Anons and new accounts are Wikipedia's future FA authors, admins, stewards, bureaucrats, ArbCom members, and board members. Finell (Talk) 05:53, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I wouldn't say that the CSD templates are bitey. But they are templates--no one likes getting a form letter. That's why we say not to template the regulars. Unfortunately, dealing with RCP, you have to just to keep up. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 13:29, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
    • I actually like templates - I give them (both positive and negative) quite often and have even received the odd one or two. Actually I think they make the point a lot better than a personalised note - with experienced editors, personalised messages can just encourage a pointless dialogue with them trying to justify their actions rather than accepting that their actions weren't right. Whenever I've received a template my reaction has been - fair cop, I'll stop that - and I'm actually quite surprised at how effective they are at changing others' behaviour. AndrewRT(Talk)(WMUK) 22:49, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
      • I think we still have templates using the red triangle warning for creation of articles of insufficient notability. To my mind this is incivil in our context because you would need three acts of non-malicious vandalism to get that sort of symbol for vandalism. We can seem harsher on people creating articles in good faith that are insufficiently notable for us than we are on vandals. Plus the rapidity with which we tag can come across as incivil, yes attack pages and blatant vandalism should go ASAP but we do come across as unwelcoming to new writers; IMHO that is more of a problem than the occasional temper tantrum by an established editor. I can think of more than one incident of multiple toys thrown out of prams that has blown over with nothing worse than long threads on the dwamah boards. However I have declined many speedies from over enthusiastic new page patrollers and quite often the article author hasn't edited since their article was tagged. ϢereSpielChequers 22:23, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Observation - is civility a particular problem on the Admin Noticeboard and Incidents board?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
69% of 36 responders felt that incivility does take place on AN and ANI. It was noted that incivility and response to incivility was inconsistent - newbies could be subjected to incivility, and if they were incivil in response could be blocked, while established users could be incivil without comment. It was also pointed out that these noticeboards are heated areas where some sharp exchanges might be more expected. SilkTork *YES! 19:00, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes (ANI)[edit]

  1. Depends on who's being uncivil. A newbie (or newish) editor with no friends may get laughed to scorn on AN/I, then blocked for complaining about it too much, while admins (or regulars) who violated WP:CIVIL and WP:BITE walk away with no consequence. This is understandable -- a lot of ANI admins are on the front lines, doing tough work, and so liable to feel impatient or burned out. But, since you ask... IronDuke 00:36, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. Agree with IronDuke. We're much less effective at managing incivility by established editors and administrators. Ultimately that undermines our collective credibility when people get blocked. Durova273 featured contributions 03:18, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  3. Agree with the comments, care should be taken to treat all equally, creating a two tier system were newbies and IPs are treated differently from trusted users sends out a them and us message and undermines credibility and trust. (Off2riorob (talk) 08:07, 30 June 2009 (UTC))
  4. ANI has become inherently uncivil because it is used as a vehicle to continue content or personal disputes which further exacerbates conflicts. Targeted editors will often respond with anger and frustration, further solidfying the impression that he/she is "uncivil" when in fact the response is more than natural. It has become a rarity to see true, genuine ANIs that have no hidden motive; such as attempts to steamroll users out of controversial articles or ban them from editing all together. It's very disturbing to say the least.. Wikifan12345 (talk) 12:29, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  5. Ideally, ANI should be a place where we model desired behavior by using civility to resolve disputes. It currently hosts way too much snarkiness and general rubbernecking to do that. It's not the water-cooler at work, where we hang out and talk about who's a troll. Those treating it as such should be politely but firmly discouraged, IMO. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:48, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. In terms of belligerence, no, but in terms of disrespectul irreverence, there is definitely more of the lampooning/teasing/mocking type YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 06:59, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. Too many things are posted to ANI that belong elsewhere. A while back I proposed establishing a clerk system to maintain order on ANI, which was laughed down. ANI is a messy page where tempers flare. Clerks could help direct people to more appropriate pages, and could help prevent tangents and personal conflicts from cluttering the discussions. Jehochman Talk 14:38, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Definitely. -- Banjeboi 13:40, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. That's the obvious place where people go when they want to fight, and so they do, as strongly as they can. But to some extent it can be tolerated there as it doesn't disturb things elsewhere. I don't really mind uncivil complaints; I do mind when some established person here gives an uncivil answer. DGG (talk) 23:57, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. WP:DRAMA redirected to AN/I, until recently "fixed". Enough said.--Cerejota (talk) 12:37, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. Agree with above comments by IronDuke (talk · contribs) and YellowMonkey (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 15:12, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. First of all, AN/I is way overused. We should tighten up on it, AN/I should be a place to "call the police" for immediate assistance, it's a poor place to make enduring decisions. Imagine calling 911 for an emergency and having to argue with the operator and anyone else in the office at the time. Dispatch a neutral admin, quickly, and let the admin sort it out. No discussion on AN/I. Want to discuss the matter? Do it on the Talk page for the admin who volunteers to respond, who can tell you to fly a kite, or not. And if you disagree, there is ordinary WP:DR. Secondly, it amazes me to see a complaint about some behavior on AN/I, and editors display worse behavior, openly on AN/I, and the poor editor complained about gets blocked, and almost nobody pays attention to what is happening right in front of the crowd, or if it is noticed, nothing is done. After all, the complaint wasn't about BusyBodyBanEmFast who was demanding that the ignorant POV-pushing troll be site-banned. I wish I was exaggerating. --Abd (talk) 22:45, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. AN and AN/I are great places to insult people, raise hell and get out unpunished.--Lenticel (talk) 04:38, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. Yes. The "civil" conduct usually involves passive aggressive nonsense, gaming, excessive lawyering, bickering, and general meanness under the veneer of politesse - and thats the people talking to the troublemakers.--Tznkai (talk) 05:49, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. It is however understandable if you're the victim of a witchhunt. weburiedoursecretsinthegarden 10:05, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. Yes. The admin boards are where people bring problems after they've escalated enough on the talk page. Jafeluv (talk) 11:49, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. If only because other areas in dispute resolution are not tried, first. There is a reason why WP:DRAMA redirected to ANI, this is one of them. MuZemike 15:19, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. As per Tznkai above, who said it better than I would hope to. GRBerry 20:45, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. ANI especially. Mr.Z-man 03:56, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. Per IronDuke. This is something I noted myself when reading cases on the administrative boards. Established editors, admins and crats enjoy much more leeway. Imho there shoudl be a stronger emphasis on civility rules, regardless of who is the offender. Gray62 (talk) 11:18, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. lots of ganging up on ANI. I saw someone complain. Without saying if they were good or bad, I wrote that someone would probably accuse them of something. Sure enough, the person was accused of sockpuppetry and all consideration of what they had to say ignored. That's like if you complain about your garbage collection and the city calls you a sock. The person might be a sock but maybe their garbage also wasn't collected. Just be nice and civil is the key to all WP interaction. User F203 (talk) 18:27, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. Too many examples of "pile on" when an editor makes a complaint that is then supported by others who do not examine the details of the situation. This can even result in a block by an "involved" admin who doesn't bother to find out what is really happening. Just sloppy work rather than intention to be unjust. But it is possible to receive and indefinite block in this way, after having done nothing wrong. —Mattisse (Talk) 02:06, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. Oh, god. The drama. hmwithτ 17:21, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  24. The problem isn't so much civility as bandwidth. All administrator pages should be semiprotected so that administrators can use them to communicate. This would help to fulfill their primary purpose. If necessary, a separate page can be created for users to ask for administrator attention. This in itself would help to reduce the harm caused by incivility on the administrator pages. --TS 04:30, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  25. Here's an example of more lenient treatment for admins - I've seen non-admins blocked for a single instance similar to these, but here an admin got more lenient treatment for a series of incivilities in one discussion over a span of two hours. -Philcha (talk) 18:30, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

No (ANI)[edit]

  1. I'm somewhat out of the AN/ANI loop, but from what I've seen it's no different than anywhere else. –Juliancolton | Talk 23:42, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. Agree with Julian. If anything, people behave better when all the block happy admins are around, which is AN/ANI. Steve Smith (talk) (formerly Sarcasticidealist) 23:45, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  3. People seem to behave better on ANI and AN. Cla68 (talk) 00:35, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  4. ANI has a problem with non-admins making inappropriate comments in response to requests they generally cannot help with, but not to the level of incivility. لennavecia 00:47, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Struck. Moved to "Yes". MuZemike 15:21, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. Not really. Actually I'm consistently pleased at how well really explosive situations can get defused at ANI. People are mad, ready to attack each other, but there are enough level heads around that people tend to quickly reform their behavior, or get blocked. Mangojuicetalk 03:16, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Agree with Cla. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 06:04, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. I think a lot of dramatic things are attempted to be started there (and occasionally burn wildly for a short while), but lately it seems like people are being quickly directed to the appropriate location (which usually isn't ANI or AN) for their discussion. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 09:53, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Not a special problem because the important people there are all relatively experienced. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:48, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. — neuro(talk) 10:19, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. Seems to me all is fine with civility on wp:ani. Debresser (talk) 21:45, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. No, and I think that's because there is a perception that it's much easier to get "caught" on AN/I. Behaving badly on AN/I is like trying to rob a police station. Lankiveil (speak to me) 12:51, 11 August 2009 (UTC).

Discussion (ANI)[edit]

  • An odd question. AN/I is a venue where people go to complain, mostly about other people. It seems reasonable to expect more "personally targeted behavior" and incivility there than at, say, Talk:Proto-Three Kingdoms of Korea. MastCell Talk 18:06, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • In reply to IronDuke's comment above, about admins on the front lines being frustrated, I wonder if we currently give insufficient support to these admins, and thus contribute more than necessary to that frustration level. It would seem good for the admins who handle the toughest cases to be the best diplomats, and not the shortest fuses. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:51, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Indeed it would be good for those who handle the tough cases to be the best diplomats. But my observation over several years is that those who are recognized in the community as even-tempered and diplomatic have little enthusiasm for the hard cases. Maybe that's why they've managed to remain diplomatic. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 00:03, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
That's a fair observation. I wonder what we can do to encourage a change in that direction? -GTBacchus(talk) 14:59, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  • AN/I should be Wikipedia 911. Got a problem that may require administrative intervention? State your problem briefly on AN/I. State the names of involved editors. No debate allowed. Details will come out with an administrator investigating. Yes, if you file an uncivil complaint -- it's not uncivil to describe actual behavior, such as edit warring, accurately, or even clumsily, but without accusations of bad faith -- you could be warned or blocked for incivility. An admin who considers himself or herself neutral with respect to the named set of editors then signs on to the complaint, which freezes it pending resolution. The admin then investigates, may ask questions, and may even set up a case page if necessary, for evidence and discussion as he or she deems appropriate, and does what is needed to restore order immediately (which might include short blocks if editors aren't responsive to warnings), but this admin should not be making long term decisions, just what's necessary to restore order or deal with an immediate problem. Just like the police. In serious cases, though, an admin could indef block and recuse (which then allows any other admin to reverse it without discussion, it's not a long-term decision, though it might last, particularly if well-explained). The admin, when the case is resolved, closes the original report with a description of the result, perhaps citing discussions, etc. No discussion on AN/I. If there is disagreement with the admin, that's an ordinary dispute and WP:DR is followed, though if someone is blocked, that could be considered an emergency and another neutral admin solicited at AN/I; if an editor abuses that, it, as well, could be the subject of a report and action taken by a neutral admin. AN/I should be purely as it was originally designed. Not a discussion board. --Abd (talk) 23:05, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I am neutral on this statement. ANI and AN have the same sorts of civility problems endemic at Wikipedia. So, no, they are not more of a problem then elsewhere, but yes they are still a problem in the same way that everywhere is. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 00:13, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree with MastCell. There would be many instances where two or more users get into a dispute, and after a while (when civility has gone out the window and progress has stalled) one of them ends up saying "I'll see you at ANI". BalkanFever 14:38, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Observation - are we too harsh on new users?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Clear consensus that people feel we are too harsh on new users. 97% of 39 responders said yes. SilkTork *YES! 20:01, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Following some leads - consider this WRT new users, recent changes patrol etc.

Yes (newbies)[edit]

  1. Yes. Will explain upon request, but a bit busy at the moment. –Juliancolton | Talk 04:41, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Yeah. Wikipedia is kind of set up to BITE newbies, but that's also known as our policies and guidelines. Most new editors, with their first substantial (non copy edit) edit, will run afoul of WP:V or some other rule. Their edit is then reverted. Some come back, some don't. Fixing this is up to the usability study guys, otherwise the number of editors will continue to decline until WP is a ghost town. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 06:58, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. Yes. Per PF, and YM's comments in the discussion section below. ++Lar: t/c 11:44, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. Per everywhere. Griffinofwales (talk) 21:12, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. Definitely! Just because experienced editors have "seen it a thousand times", or "been there - done that", doesn't mean each new user has. — Ched :  ?  09:52, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Yes. Most of were anons once and newbies remain the majority of the community. Mistakes happen and guidance is often quite appreciated. -- Banjeboi 13:41, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. Very much so. This is a hard place to learn, and people get exasperated by the formality and requirements. We need to not concentrate on telling them what they are doing wrong, but help them to do it right. I was aware of the nature of places like this, and watched it and studied it before I started, but most people don't & shouldn't be expected to. Even so I was warned off one or two articles which I could really have helped by those already there & as a result have never edited in those fields again. DGG (talk) 00:04, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Absolutely. Out of curiosity on this point, I've occasionally used an alternate account to get an idea of what it's like being a newbie. Quite an education. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 00:08, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. Totally. We lose valuable contributors by not taking more of an effort to welcome them rather than criticizing them. Mangojuicetalk 03:19, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. WP:BITE seems like dead letter.--Cerejota (talk) 12:39, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. Absolutely, per most of the above. Rockpocket 18:15, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. Way too often. Especially if an editor arrives at a controversial article with a minority POV and tries to "restore" the article to neutrality. Whether right or wrong, editors like this are quite likely to be insulted, reverted without comment, or with uncivil comment, and then blocked if they respond like a normal human being. You would cry too if it happened to you. --Abd (talk) 23:08, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. Although I think this has gotten better compared to 2005–2007. Pzrmd (talk) 23:31, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. Yes. When was the last time someone actually communicated with the newbie instead of at the newbie?--Tznkai (talk) 05:50, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. Feels like it, yes. weburiedoursecretsinthegarden 09:58, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. Yes. Whilst I do feel we are at least trying to help newbies in the mainspace and talkspace, one of the biggest issues is when a newbie editor who has been around for a while starts to contribute in XfD and other Wikipedia spaces. Policy is used as a steamroller quite noticably in this area, making them potentially appear to new users like "fights to win" your side of the discussion more than an attempt to gain concensus, which in turn will scare newbies away as there is so much policy to know. --Taelus (talk) 10:16, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. This seems to happen in every online community, either as a problem (like here, where it's explicitly against the principles of the project) or as an accepted and even encouraged behaviour. Jafeluv (talk) 11:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. -- Luk talk 14:15, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. Fly on over to WP:UAA if you want to see some newbie biting. One of the worst locations guilty of "shoot first, ask questions later" when it comes to a lot of potentially innocent misunderstandings about policy. Shereth 14:32, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. Yes, see my comments above at the RCP section. Also, I agree with Shereth's assessment of the nightmare that UAA is. Lots of new users get blocked without knowing why simply because their name is the same as their favorite local garage band and they start an article about that band. Though the article should still be deleted, it still doesn't mandate an instablock of the newb that created the article. Lets work with new users, not look for excuses to block them! --Jayron32.talk.contribs 00:16, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. Yes, but as I said elsewhere, this is just a side issue to the real civility problems. Mr.Z-man 03:57, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. I think this is something we will always struggle with due to the shear volume of new users. It is however fairly bad these days. Chillum 03:59, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. Yes, and there is a steep initial learning curve for new editors. However, I don't really see a way around it as the site continues to grow. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 09:55, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  24. Undoubtedly. And most all "veteran editors" know this. It's a long-term problem for en.wikipedia, and it deserves a serious and detailed discussion quite apart from this general poll. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 08:40, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  25. The only thing I have ever heard from my real life friends who ventured into editing was that they were reverted rudely and that they will never return. Sometimes they ask me to edit specific items for them! Abductive (talk) 08:58, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  26. Ya, WP:BITE is lightly observed, especially by the overzealous whack-a-vandal crowd. Seen the quick self-reverts after they actually read what they were reverting or warning about? Ya, me, too. nb: I've been a new user more than a few times... and haven been bitten. Cheers, Jack Merridew 09:00, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  27. Yes, undoubtedly. And pls be aware that newbs try to learn from established editors. If those don't care about civility, of course the newcomers think a "liberal" choice of words is ok here. And then they get penalized for this. The double standard apllied is not helpful, and sure results in driving many away from Wikipedia. Espicially experts who suddenly become the target of rants by established editors, a kind of behaviour they don't know from their workplace. And if they complain, nothing comes out of those cases. But if they retaliate in kind, the book is thrown at them. I remember reading such cases. The reuslting loss of knowledge isn't good for Wikipedia. So, more civility, pls, and NO exceptions!Gray62 (talk) 11:24, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  28. Yes, I am appalled at how newcomers are treated here. There's no way my mom would last 5 minutes here. She's very intelligent, and a great writer with a lot to add to this project. But she'd get her head bitten off because she'd be on a slow curve for learning policies, formats and mark-up language. Very, very few people here extend a kind hand to newcomers. It is probably the biggest tragedy of Wikipedia. The thick-skinned survive. Then the thick-skinned are left to welcome the newcomers, and the thick-skinned aren't exactly exemplars of civility. Kingturtle (talk) 03:06, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  29. — neuro(talk) 10:20, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  30. WP:BITE has been effectively dead for years and is buried somewhere near AGF. Unregistered IPs are treated like pariahs and vandals (granted many of them act thusly, but still, how many of us started as IP Freeleys?) and newly registered users fare hardly better, regarded with suspicion and as potential puppets. Not a very pleasant environment to work in, precious, and a major reason why WP has trouble recruiting new talent. One good, new editor is worth 100 old Wikilawyers or process wonks.--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 13:42, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  31. Absolutely. I echo Kingturtle's thoughts. If there was one thing that I could (somehow) change about this website, I think it'd be how experienced editors treat newbies. WP:BITE has always been important to me, and repeatedly I've seen new users get snubbed or curtly responded to. It's sometimes appalling, and has led me to always extend an explanation or helping hand in response to a newbie mistake. Sure, it's not everybody's gift to be welcoming and patient, but an unfriendly attitude leads to complete rudeness toward new editors who don't know any better. According to studies, unregistered/new editors provide a lot of our new content, so these people are important to preserve. JamieS93 22:36, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  32. Yes. Hostility to newbies is probably Wikipedia's worst problem, and has gotten worse. Once upon a time, a look at a new editor's talk page would show welcomes; now it usually shows rows of nasty templates about ignoring arcane rules. The message is clear: "Persistence is futile. You will not be assimilated."John Z (talk) 23:16, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  33. Treat other editors like they are in your home, not in your way...This is at the top of my user page. To remind myself of how I was treated (or should I say mistreated) during my first few months. Thankfully there were other editors (and administrators) that took the time to explain and direct and educate. I think the way some newbies are treated is deplorable. But, maybe its a test of fire. Survival of the fittest. Pressure creates diamonds. Still, WP should welcome newbies...not throw Alphabet soup in their faces. --Buster7 (talk) 04:18, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  34. It's hard coming here and starting out. That's why I try to assist and be friendly at the delp desk and similar areas. hmwithτ 17:22, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  35. Very much so. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 06:28, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  36. I'm almost a veteran now. I got bit just once, early on. I have not forgotten her name nor what she accused me of. Perhaps those who are quick to bite ought to consider that they are leaving lasting impressions on people who just might decide to stay. . . and remember. - Hordaland (talk) 09:00, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
  37. Like Hordaland, I was bitten as a newbie, and I remember those responsible. --Philcha (talk) 10:08, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
  38. Yep, pretty much per everything above. Lankiveil (speak to me) 12:52, 11 August 2009 (UTC).

No (newbies)[edit]

  1. My reaction is actually "yes, but no more than is good for Wikipedia". Debresser (talk) 21:48, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Discussion (newbies)[edit]

  • Generally, I think the atmosphere on Wikipedia in the 3.5 years I have been has become ever increasingly cold. When I first popped up, a few people from WP:CRIC popped up straight away to see if I was doing ok. Nowadays, some guys make more than 300 edits and still have nothing on their talk pages except a machine-template. I haven't helped as much as I should to help new users. A lot of wikiprojects are nominally helping people to settle in but perhaps an impersonal pre-prepared template isn't great when not accompanied by a personal note. On the other hand, too many chances are given to people who are flagrant POV pushers and other troublemakers who are clearly not well meaning. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 06:57, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree with all of above. When I started editing I was more likely to get someone demanding I prove what I put in "their" article right away than anyone saying weclome and offering to help. Fuzbaby (talk) 19:54, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I think we're not generally unfriendly but the loads of instructions/policies/guidelines are just too complex and intimidating to master for a new user. There are experienced users out there that are willing to help but these new users just have no idea how to reach these guys.--Lenticel (talk) 04:42, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • We batter newbies with policy - instead of teaching them. RTFM is not acceptable cross pollination from the rest of free culture.--Tznkai (talk) 05:51, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • There's way too much WP:OWN generally, and IP editors really get the short end of the stick. Abductive (talk) 11:11, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I want to comment again to highlight the comments by RDH and Kingturtle above, who summarize the problem and its costs very well.--Tznkai (talk) 14:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Observation - are we too harsh (or lenient) on experienced editors who may be exasperated?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
53% of 60 responders feel that it depends on context or people involved; 37% feel that we are too lenient. SilkTork *YES! 08:28, 12 August 2009 (UTC)


Following some more leads - ongoing disputes. content etc.

Too harsh (Experienced editors)[edit]

  1. If somebody is exasperated, the fastest way to defuse the situation is to ask them why they are upset, and then to try to help them resolve their concerns. At the same time, incivility can be pointed out, and they can be asked to refactor or make amends. Jehochman Talk 04:36, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Yup, especially given the problems we've had with a lack of a way to stop persistent POV-pushers. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 04:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. Often, yes. We have so many problems with POV pushers and it can sometimes lead to incivility by established users. An admin comes across the incivility, and does not bother to do the hard work to figure out what caused it.--Filll (talk | wpc) 19:24, 1 July 2009 (UTC) However, on the other hand, I can think of some experienced editors who have been habilitually incivil, and who get way too many chances.--Filll (talk | wpc) 19:42, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. It ends up being far too harsh and entirely counterproductive where an experienced editor with a reasonable track-record has indulged in uncivil remarks and is blocked without first being guided towards apology and a strike-though of the offending text. Encouraging this where possible will minimise the blocking rate for experienced editors. Blocking usually has the opposite effect to that which is intended in the policy. I'm appalled at our willingness to leave offending text festering without resolution. Tony (talk) 09:35, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. Context really is everything and blocking should be an absolute last resort after warning - we're the wrong side of the line at the moment. --Joopercoopers (talk) 16:01, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Attitude means a lot, and makes a tremendous difference. In disagreements with a belligerent editor or administrator, Betacommand for instance - over fairly mundane issues related to Fair Use, World War III threatens to erupt, whereas with others over the same issues middle ground solutions can be worked out. With legitimate editing disputes blocking should not play a role unless every attempt at reasonable discussion fails...Modernist (talk) 14:49, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Too lenient (Experienced editors)[edit]

  1. Can I say Betacommand without being uncivil? Anyways, there have been innumerable cases where people were deemed a "net positive" and allowed to be uncivil all they wanted. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 07:00, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. The fact that someone's been editing here for many years does not mean they should be allowed to get away with being the crazy uncle. -- Jeandré (talk), 2009-07-01t13:53z
  3. The longer they are here, the more they should know how to work properly. DGG (talk) 23:58, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. Agree with above comments by Jeandré du Toit (talk · contribs) and DGG (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 15:14, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. We are, too often, excessively permissive with high-value contributors, and the paradox is that this can have the ultimate effect of turning them into editors who believe "Le Wikipedia, c'est moi," and who must, in the end, be banned. We should be clear about boundaries, and enforce them evenly; if anything, experienced editors should be held to higher standards, which, properly, they should have no difficulty meeting. However, there is a serious burnout problem, which leads to impatience and incivility, and it particularly afflicts, of course, highly experienced editors and administrators. Leniency, though, where we cut a pass for "important" editors, simply encourages increased impatience and incivility, as the editor learns that the community will tolerate more and more. Until it doesn't. --Abd (talk) 23:17, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Per DGG, Abd, and my comment above. ThemFromSpace 19:15, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. Per blatant advertisment of personal essay Wikipedia:WikiFallen.--Lenticel (talk) 04:45, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. I'm sick of people using an FA as a bodyguard. weburiedoursecretsinthegarden 10:04, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. Yes. Good content writing (or indeed any other personal merits editors may have) should stop being used as excuses for childish conduct.  Sandstein  10:22, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. An experienced editor has so many resources to "win" editing disputes with less experienced editors that incivility should not be in their toolbox. Abductive (talk) 11:47, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. Per Peregrine Fisher. Jclemens (talk) 19:00, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. Forgiving the occasional outbursts is fine, but putting up with intentional and persistent disruption from Wikipedians because they are "established"(you know who you are) is a flawed class system pure and simple. We should expect a higher standard from experienced Wikipedian's and be more permissive with new ones. Chillum 01:45, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. Yes. See a section on my talk page for my thoughts on this. --4wajzkd02 (talk) 01:57, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. Abd sums up the issue very well. Incivility has the same effect regardless of where it comes from, experienced users shouldn't be immune to sanctions for incivility. Mr.Z-man 04:00, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. Agree with Abd. Experienced editors are editors who should already know how to act. However, being an experienced editor does not mean they are royalty or that they are above the same sanctions as others with less experience. Brothejr (talk) 10:56, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. Per Peregrine. Yes, actually editors with "merits" are given much more leeway. Since a newb has no merits yet, he/she is treated much harsher. The double standard is understandable, but it's still wrong. Gray62 (talk) 11:27, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. Per Abd. The problem isn't so much being too lenient for a rare occurrence of incivility from a usually polite editor; it's more of being continually lenient, and inadvertently encouraging problems. PhilKnight (talk) 19:58, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. Agree with the above statement. Some editors' uncivil behavior is perennially tolerated, and this fosters a problematic atmosphere where it is unclear what is ok and what is not. —Mattisse (Talk) 02:11, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. — neuro(talk) 10:20, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. As a vested user I think I've earned the right to say that we have a problem with vested users. --TS 04:34, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. Per DDG and Jeandré. Lankiveil (speak to me) 12:52, 11 August 2009 (UTC).
  22. "Experienced Admin should be given leway" was an exceptionally poor precedent established. --Barberio (talk) 23:20, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Depends (Experienced editors)[edit]

  1. On people whose disputes are due to content, a bit harsh. On politically motivated things, far too lenient. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 06:54, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Agree. We do not bend over backwards far enough for people trying, albeit poorly, to contribute, and are too tolerant of people with agendas --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:39, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. Per YM, both at the same time! (which highlights something raised earlier... policy application is inconsistent... and thus, unenforceable, at least currently) ++Lar: t/c 11:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. Yellowmonkey puts it very well. Durova273 featured contributions 14:32, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. Per YellowMonkey; also, per context. See also my comments here, in Jan 2007, remarking on an established editor/admin being harassed to the point of finally saying something vulgar. KillerChihuahua?!? 15:42, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Rather than too harsh or too lenient, I think we may not be supportive enough in the right ways. An editor who deals with a lot of difficult situations on controversial articles should be supported in terms of actual editors helping to patrol the article in question, work out content issues, field questions from confused or angry IPs, etc., etc. On the other hand, support in the form of a get-out-of-jail-free card for incivility is precisely the wrong kind of support. It leads to editors becoming more and more entrenched in positions that aren't conducive to collaboration. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:35, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. There is a big difference between someone blowing off steam and someone who engages in a campaign of abuse. Good to be forgiving to those who momentarily lose it and harsh with those who deliberately engage in abuse day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Fred Talk 17:51, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Per YM. You really can't create a policy on it. It depends on the situation. Griffinofwales (talk) 21:14, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. If we aren't looking at long term patterns, then we shouldn't be railing against a "one-of" situation. Even the most battle hardened veteran can become exasperated and overcome with frustration. Just because someone "responds in kind" to another (even less experienced user), doesn't make the original antagonizer any less responsible as an editor. Long-term patterns, big-picture; that's what we should be looking at. — Ched :  ?  09:58, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. I've seen all sorts of cases and am willing to AGF. I'm not sure there is any set rules besides AGF that can help on this. -- Banjeboi 13:43, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. It depends who's dealing with the situation. As a community, I don't feel we're too harsh or too lenient, just too inconsistent. Mangojuicetalk 03:25, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. SmokeyJoe nails it. Rockpocket 18:11, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. Our issue here is a lack of consistency. Some people can be hauled before ArbCom for their civility, while others are given a free pass for whatever reason. Inconsistency leads to weakness in the policy, and if the policy is weak, then there's no real point to have it. Tony Fox (arf!) 19:11, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. Per Fred and Ched. JN466 21:22, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. I like the myth that we're consistent about anything, but it isn't true.--Tznkai (talk) 05:52, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. YM is correct I think, and I also agree with a lot of what GTBacchus has said about support. Dougweller (talk) 11:30, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. Depends on many things, including the specific editor, the type of issue, the specific reviewer/respondant, and other factors too numerous to name here. Wikipolitics might be a catch-all label, but it is too broad to be informative or helpful. GRBerry 15:50, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. We need to assess each situation of its own accord. Being exasperated is no excuse for personally attacking other editors, but we should also not look lightly on users that bait other users. We need to recognize the difference between being frustrated and being a jerk. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 00:21, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. I think it really depends on who the editor is. As others have mentioned, there are politics involved, and sometimes those with more friends in "high places" get a little more lenience. I see this as a reflection of actual society, and while there are things which can be done to keep this to a minimum, I see no way to completely avoid it. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 09:59, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. Not all experienced editors are treated equally. -- Vision Thing -- 13:29, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. There are two problems with experienced editors who are in a dispute which make it more, not less, likely that they will suffer red mist. One is that their disputants who wish to win by demonstrating the irrationality of the other side's approach are more likely to know which buttons to push to get them angry, and to surreptitiously push those buttons. The other is that, if they have been seriously angry before, they will feel that they have to be as angry again or else others will assume they do not care about it so much. The key to helping in this area is that editors have to know that they will help their position by remaining calm far more than by getting angry. Unfortunately, the way that Wikipedia behaves tends to teach people the opposite. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:54, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. In most complex issues, it depends applies often. There is much wisdom in the above; YM, Lar, GTB, Sam all have it right. Civility is a policy often gamed and when someone is exasperated by complex circumstances, snappish comments happen; indeed they help to clarify the situation and to release the tension. It's not about naughty words but the genuine toxic personalities — whatever vocabulary they're using. Cheers, Jack Merridew 09:14, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. Depending on the editor. Some are given far more leeway than others, depending on who is saying what and to whom. Civility is not always applied equally. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 07:52, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  24. Yes, per GTB's comments on support, Ched (especially), Jayron32's last sentence, Jack's last sentence and -- most of all -- Moni3's comment in the following sub-section. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 15:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  25. Every once in a while complex issues can get overheated between experienced editors, and admins and/or new users, ultimately civility must be the rule, however common sense and flexibility should always be applied first, blind adherence to dogma doesn't work, and can instead throw oil on the flames...Modernist (talk) 15:10, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  26. YellowMonkey put it the best. McJeff (talk) 04:12, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  27. Per YellowMonkey. Some experienced editors get far too much good faith and have a band of political followers who protect them from situations anyone else would be sanctioned for, while other experienced editors get the short end of the stick and are stuck defending policy against a wave of politicians and self-appointed Wikilegal representatives of newbies and sockpuppets. It's a lot worse than it used to be and burnout is fairly common. Orderinchaos 05:29, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  28. Editors from the "olden days" get a free pass, as they expect to be allowed to act however they want, and almost always they are allowed to act uncivil. Wikipedia needs to recognize that this enterprise is no longer made up of a small group of old friends. Editors need to be treated equally, whatever the length of their tenure. —Mattisse (Talk) 02:26, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  29. I echo YellowMonkey's exact words. hmwithτ 17:24, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  30. Fred sums it up well. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 06:33, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  31. Sometimes we are too lenient sometimes too harsh. I think for example that there is too much focus on the use of swear words instead of on general patterns of incivility. Many experienced editors are habitually incivil and somtimes even proud of it almost making it seem like a virtue. We are too lenient on those, they should experience consequences because they are creating a toxic editing environment for everyone else. We are too harsh on the odd editor who is driven nuts by POV pushers and lawyers and tell them to fuck off. They should get away with a warning unless it the bahaviour is a persistent pattern.·Maunus·ƛ· 00:49, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  32. I've observed that it would depend on the situation. Some people tend to be too lenient, and let a page/edit stay when it shouldn't in fear of retaliation, or perhaps that's xyr personality. Sometimes people think they know better, and that's rather bitey. I know I'm the latter. I dream of horses (T) @ 14:34, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Discussion (Experienced editors)[edit]

  • curse you YellowMonkey for that astute observation, shall I make this section undergo mitosis? Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:05, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Like wealth, I suppose, the majority of content at Wikipedia is produced by a significant minority of editors. Having just emerged from a content dispute so demoralizing it is forcing me to re-evaluate my role at Wikipedia, in my frustration I noted to myself the intellectual laziness that is at the root of many content disputes and subsequent civility problems. People would rather just argue than do the work to look it up, read a book, then read three -- or ten, and summarize each giving respectful weight where necessary. The majority of talk page questions and content disputes are from people who have heard it somewhere from someone and have little dedication to accuracy and the best possible reliable sources. An FA writer should never think that an article is completed and needs no further work, but it is obscene the way an editor who has absolutely no familiarity with cited sources can hijack an article, insert uncited information that is not covered by the sources, and defend it rudely and ignorantly. In order to defend the accuracy of the material I have added, I have violated 3RR (yet not been blocked yet), defied consensus, and come embarrassingly close to being uncivil, which to me is a serious offense. I do not wish to communicate in such a manner nor be a part of a system that conveys disrespect and rudeness, so I do my best to be patient, but I swear to God something must be done to protect content, and quickly. Not just soon, but a system should be devised to recognize the effort that has gone into researching and writing an article that can favor, at least temporarily, the claims of an editor who is clearly more familiar with the sources, when such an editor is arguing with someone who has no access to these sources and/or expresses no interest in obtaining them. Waiting for the mediation cabal to get around to it doesn't cut it in FAs sometimes. Civility is but one policy that stokes the frustration of content editors and empowers left field agenda-driven agitators. Incivility is the inevitability of the culmination of that frustration. --Moni3 (talk) 22:52, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • See User:DreamGuy#The eternal struggle --RexxS (talk) 01:58, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Observation - warnings before blocking?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
59% of 27 responders feel that the warnings are about right. SilkTork *YES! 08:34, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

There will be exceptions either way on this one, but this is to get an overview of general behaviour overall.

Not enough warnings[edit]

  1. Warnings should be issued for semi-problematic behavior, so that users gain a clear understanding of expectations, rather than just once a user has clearly crossed a line. They should be worded appropriately, but right now, it's pretty boolean: no feedback or "do that again and you're blocked" sort of a thing. Certainly, some things are beyond the pale, but increased warnings for "low level" incivility would serve to better enforce a culture of civility. Jclemens (talk) 19:03, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Too few warnings are given by genuinely uninvolved users in a genuinely constructive way. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:55, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. I think Jclemens has it spot on - more low level warnings could be remarkable effective in challenging behaviour before it gets out of hand. AndrewRT(Talk)(WMUK) 22:53, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. There seems to be not enough warnings for most people, except too many warnings for vandals. I would be in favor of short blocks and no warning for vandals. Edit "My teacher, Miss Jones, is a bitch" should result in an immediate block but rules seem to call for warnings. User F203 (talk) 18:32, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. There are still blocks, even indefinite blocks, given without any warning whatsoever. An admin acts as judge and jury. —Mattisse (Talk) 02:30, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Too many chances[edit]

  1. Just right for most vandals but experienced but currently problematic users usually get the "really really really last time cross my heart hope to die" warnings too many times without action. Each warning is traditionally accompanied by 1 Gigabyte of dramaz.--Lenticel (talk) 04:50, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. See my proposal at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive48#Three (instead of four) template warnings for users before reporting. MuZemike 15:27, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. Experienced users should know better. Mr.Z-man 04:01, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. — neuro(talk) 10:21, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. I have seen some persistent vandals, with a history of vandalism of more than a year, get warning after warning. Because there hasn't been enough recent vandalism. Now, that is crap. If the guy makes a few vandalism edits a month, and that's all, then he's clearly here to vandalise. Debresser (talk) 21:52, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Although I still do the warning system that consensus approves, I think that there should be a 2 or 3 level warning system instead of 4. hmwithτ 17:28, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

About right, on balance[edit]

  1. Warnings often seem to inflame disputes. I don't think more warnings are going to be helpful. Users should be told when they have crossed a line, but it is best to make warnings friendly and constructive. I've tried different types of warnings and found that poorly crafted warnings can lead to a lot of trouble. Jehochman Talk 04:37, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Seems fine to me. –Juliancolton | Talk 04:38, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. Well some people warn once and then block, others about four times. Depending on how it is used, it can be inflammatory. Many warnings, especially between established users are meant to be inflammatory. Lots of admins do it to bait people. In general, the admin who wants to troll/bait is more skillful than a non-admin who tries to troll/bait, as they are generally more politically skillful YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 06:47, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. In principle, I do not believe that a person of decent character and good education (i.e., the people we want to write an encyclopedia with us) should ever need an explicit warning not to refer to one's editorial colleagues as "assholes" or the like. However, given the anonymity and the openness of Internet projects such as this, people may come here with totally different preconceptions, and may indeed need the occasional warning about our policies.  Sandstein  09:25, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. Per Sandstein, with the added note that people who have been active at the project for years and have previous blocks for similar problems don't need to be warned yet again before subsequent blocking when they post something that is clearly inappropriate. Durova273 featured contributions 14:53, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Per above. Griffinofwales (talk) 21:17, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. Per above comments. -- Banjeboi 13:45, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Agree with above comment by Sandstein (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 15:15, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. Sandstein says it for me. weburiedoursecretsinthegarden 10:00, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. The warning system seems fine. --Taelus (talk) 10:20, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. On the average right, but I interpret it flexibly, depending on the degree of offense. DGG (talk) 17:13, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. Mostly right; warning once politely is good, if its ignored then warn+block warning. More than that is a waste. If the editor is being obviously inappropriate then a speedy block is sometimes in order. No need to warn someone again after they've been blocked once, then its just making things worse. I think most editors follow this and it works well.Fuzbaby (talk) 19:10, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. We use good sense. Replacing a page with "does this work?" gets a warning, replacing it with "<insert name here> is a <insert derogatory noun here>" gets blocked. Any reasonable person knows replacing the year a person was born with "penis" is not appropriate, so we can use good sense and not waste time with a warning. If someone adds a link to a commercial site in a manner that is not encyclopedic then we can educate. Chillum 01:47, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. Eh. Not really a critical problem. For new users the problem isn't the number of warnings but the lack of human contact in them. For experienced users (basically any user who should know better), the problem is manifold. Some admins use past warnings as an excuse to block for extended periods of time. Some users take a warning to mean a threat and argue (with varying degrees of success) that admins are proscribing courses of discussion and enforcing that proscription through blocks. But one warning for experienced users from a neutral party should be enough and is usually par for the course. Protonk (talk) 20:57, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. If done correctly, as per the Multi-level templates, it is right on target. Kingturtle (talk) 02:39, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. It depends on the warning, of course, but I personally like the "Four warnings and you get blocked" policy that we seem to have. I dream of horses (T) @ 14:36, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Discussion (warnings)[edit]

A situation involving an IP address that has made a total of two (2) edits, both apparent vandalism, is very different from a situation involving an established editor who loses their temper. In the former case, I would use escalating warnings followed by a block if the disruptive edits continue and I wouldn't think twice about it. In the latter case, any warning template is a bad idea, and blocking is a much higher-stakes game, to be handed with a lot more delicacy. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:43, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

The issue with warnings is not the quantity... it's the nature. Templates tend to be cold. Someone that received four templated warnings in a row and then a block with nary a word actually written by someone familiar with their situation is going to feel very much trampled on, chewed up, and spit out by the machine and possibly never come back (unless they're a POV pusher or sockmaster to whom warnings are just a way of counting coup). Somone well intentioned but misguided that received just ONE hand crafted note, on the other hand, may well straighten out their approach and go on to success. ++Lar: t/c 11:54, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Civility warnings are practically useless, especially when they come from the other party in a dispute. On the other hand, a calm editor politely pointing out how being incivil just makes you look bad can work wonders. Mangojuicetalk 03:26, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Nod. Those are "technically" the same thing. And yet, they are profoundly different. A stock warning (especially a templated one) given to an experienced editor is indeed likely to do little good and may do much harm. But delivering what is in essence the same exact message, but with empathy and thought and crafting it to the situation, may well do a world of good. ++Lar: t/c 15:03, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Warnings are very effective if it is from a user who is not involved in the article or the dispute. A stock warning is valuable because it informs the person being warned that they are engaging in behavior that is so common that a warning template has been developed for it. Abductive (talk) 11:14, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia:Civility warnings is an essay I wrote some time ago now about leaving useful (as in, productive and not inflamatory) civility warnings. Short summary - treat the warnee with respect and as an individual. I get overwhelmingly positive responses when I leave warnings that are in this style, and others have had good results with it. Others have had good results with similar styles. Templated warnings are less than useless (they are inflamatory). Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 02:30, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Is baiting underrecognised?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
66% of 62 responders feel that baiting is under-recognised. Discussion pointed out the difficulty of recognising baiting, and also that people have a choice in if and how they respond to perceived or actual baiting. SilkTork *YES! 08:52, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Comment here on whether comments which enrage or annoy editors who subsequently are blocked or cuationed for an outburst are underrecognised currently.

Yes (baiting)[edit]

  1. Somewhat, yes. –Juliancolton | Talk 04:39, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Too often administrators look at the most recent exchange and fail to get at the roots of a problem. Those who are more clever can bait an opponent into uncivil actions or statements, and then report them. When investigating a report, the first step is to look at the person filing the report to ascertain whether they have a current or historical conflict, and whether they have clean hands. Jehochman Talk 04:42, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. Mm-hmm, especially since baiting is not necessarily obviously incivil itself. One can write a very nice, honey-sweetened post to bait someone, and admins will often totally miss the post that baited the user and block while the real cause is left ignored. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 04:44, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. Yes, lots of people do it. Lots of admins do it to bait people. In general, the admin who wants to troll/bait is more skillful than a non-admin who tries to troll/bait, as they are generally more politically skillful. Things like baiting and stalking are predicated on ABF/AGF, and frankly if an admin and non-admin/low-ranking person does the same thing, the non-admin will always get more of a negative reception. Admins can stalk to get an explosion and pretense to block without ever getting in trouble, especially if the other guy has a bit of an [overtly] spotty record when the admin has a good record [superfically at least]. I can think of one admin who tried to get a fiery guy banned at arbitration without proper evidence and when it failed, they just randomly followed them around and did tweaks and typo fixes etc until the other guy taunted him and got blocked. Admins are generally more skillful than non-admins at political gamesmanship as well.... YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 06:52, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. One word: Giano. Sceptre (talk) 12:07, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
    As we are having a discussion about civility, could we please encourage civility by not making this conversation personal? I am opposed to talking about somebody when they are not present. Jehochman Talk 14:31, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
    Wait, what? I'm just saying: Giano is the main evidence for the view baiting goes unrecognised. Sceptre (talk) 02:06, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    Not all of us are on the same page with you here, Sceptre. Being unfamiliar with Giano's history, I don't know what you're saying. Does Giano bait others? Is he baited a lot? What does "One word:Giano" mean? I know I should be more of drama-hound and keep up with this stuff, but... can you address a more general audience here? -GTBacchus(talk) 02:19, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    He got baited, a lot. Mostly because he has a relatively short temper. Sceptre (talk) 02:51, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    I see. Thanks for explaining that. We, as a community, have certainly seen our share of editors with tempers who have been baited into some pretty bad places, and who continued to take the bait, again and again. I wonder if we have more control over preventing people from baiting in the first place, or over teaching our own how to ignore the bait. Both seem difficult. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:59, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Yes, but the baiting is not always intentional. A lot of POV pushers are not trying to get others to be uncivil. They just demand that they get their own way. And it sometimes leads to incivility.--Filll (talk | wpc) 19:41, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. This should be patently obvious. It happens all the time and, while it's important not to rise to the bait, it needs to be taken into account when carefully considering whether or not to warn, block, or whatever. I'm always a fan of more though before blocking, not less. Unitanode 19:44, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Definitely. It's particularly distasteful and part of a battleground mentality of conquering perceived enemies. This builds a hostile environment and should be well codified as something evil characters in movies do but not Wikipedians. -- Banjeboi 13:47, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. Yes, it is underrecognized because it's done by Established Editors (neo-Esperanza) who know the letter of WP:CIVIL like the palm of their hand and know how to elicit uncivility in such a way that they themselves appear to have done nothing wrong whatsoever. The new user who complains about being baited then looks like he's completely crazy for even suggesting it. Some Established Editors are particularly brilliant at this sort of thing. They are master baiters. Willi Gers07 (talk) 19:52, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    Doesn't your user page User:Willi Gers07 actually instruct people to seek out your edits and revert them for no reason? And on more than one occasion you've announced imminent reverts in your edits [1] that you expect a revert coming when your edit deceptively contains more that what your description said it did (citation was good but picture had been reverted before). It takes some nerve for you to complain here on this page. In all honesty, I'm afraid to revert your edits for fear of being sucked into a flame war. You've called me an apologist for people you dislike more than me, but to tell you the truth, I'm less likely to revert your edits because of your demeanor.DavidRF (talk) 20:09, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    That? That'll backfire on me and never bait anyone. When you called me an expletive, did you do it because you wanted to and you knew no one would criticize you for it? Or did you do it because I had somehow tricked you with subtle mental manipulation? I couldn't do that. But you know somehow who can, someone whose psy ops capabilities are of great brilliance: Eusebeus. Willi Gers07 (talk) 19:04, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. Under-recognized, but not always that easy to tell from an actual attempt at dialog. DGG (talk) 00:00, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. Baiting, to me, is indistinguishable from trolling. The difference, in practice, is that people are pretty reluctant to call anything trolling when a user isn't solely dedicated to it. A contributor who is otherwise valuable can become a troll in certain circumstances. I agree with Sandstein and others below that baiting is no excuse for incivility... but it is the kind of thing we should block people for more often IMO. Mangojuicetalk 03:30, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. Yes, I have been baited before, and nothing has been done to those who were baiting.— dαlus Contribs 03:52, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. Yes, a fresh example here. Ohconfucius (talk) 04:12, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. Yes. Very much so. Verbal chat 11:32, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. Under-recognized. When an editor is uncivil, baiting should always be suspected, just as when there is edit warring, uncivil or excessive reversion on the part of other editors should be suspected and considered. Admins should be free to make, if they are neutral, ad-hoc decisions on short blocks as needed to restore order, and we should deprecate the importance of these. It shouldn't ruin the reputation of an editor to have some blocks on record, and if a block actually turns out to not represent misbehavior, it can always be annotated. --Abd (talk) 23:24, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  16. Under-recognized, under-punished, overused as an excuse. Baiting happens, and needs to be stamped out. It is rarely a genuine mitigating factor however. Split the cases and deal with both.--Tznkai (talk) 03:39, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. Per Tznkai really. I can think of one particular example which I will not bring up to keep this civil. weburiedoursecretsinthegarden 10:08, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. Baiting is a real problem and I'd like to commend whoever thought to open this up for discussion. Inexperienced editors are frequently given rope to hang themselves by. I think some of the more experienced users do this unconsciously. Abductive (talk) 11:18, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. -- Luk talk 14:15, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. Very much so, and if nothing else, we need to elaborate a clearer standard for what constitutes baiting and how to deal with it forthrightly. It needs be recognised that baiting begets baiting, so the problem tends to become self-accelerating. Problematically, our AGF pillar often obscures the ability to recognise baiting forthrightly for what it is; we need to find a way that allows it to be distinguished and dealt with efficiently. Eusebeus (talk) 14:29, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. Absolutely. Baiting and harassing takes effort to recognize, it doesn't present itself in the form of a single flagrant diff, it presents itself in long lists of diffs. It is easier to look at one diff than twenty. So it is natural that we come down harder on the single flagrant diffs, but it is not good the encyclopedia that we do so. GRBerry 15:53, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  22. Yes. All part of the context admins should be investigating before reaching for the 'block' button. --Joopercoopers (talk) 16:03, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  23. Yes. Baiting is recognized only when it's done by newbies who don't know how to be subtle about it, and by vandals who want to be obvious about it. When an experienced editor baits, he does so with a thorough knowledge of what the policy says. たろ人 (talk) 20:31, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  24. People who are actually baiting should be blocked. However I don't think baiting is any justification whatsoever for an abusive response. Far to often the term "baiting" is tossed around to defend what is clearly an outburst due to not getting ones way. There are probably 10 bullshit "baiting" accusations for every actual occurrence of it, and because of that when it does happen it is not responded to. Chillum 01:50, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  25. There needs to be a greater willingness to tackle users who engage in baiting. However, I agree that baiting shouldn't be used as an excuse for incivility. PhilKnight (talk) 03:59, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  26. (TL:DR version: Baiting is subtle and hard to sort out, reactions that break CIVIL are easy to shoot down.)The civil POV Pusher, the IP jumper, the off-site coordinated strikes, and the stalkers all do more to bring down this project than incivility. Confronted with choosing to sort through a lot of hard to understand POV pushing on a topic an admin doesn't understand, or blocking for the word 'fuck', admins often choose the easier path. It's somewhat understandable - admins are volunteers, with limited time for wikipedia. Who wants to be a referee when most of us come here to be researcher-writers? Unfortunately, this often leads to escalations on major topics, like Falun Gong, Prem Rawat, G W Bush, Obama, Global warming... the list of hotly contested, multiple ArbCom topics is worthy of a list of it's own. Call it the 'poke it with a stick for kicks' list. Those topics are so messy that it becomes an easy, and cop-out, option to block the surface and not consider the muddy waters beneath. As a result, 'CIVIL' gets pimped out and the real problems get ignored in favor of overuse of CIVIL. ThuranX (talk) 14:29, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  27. Per ThuranX, above. Coming into a situation and blocking for the first perceived incivility of tone is not helpful, but it's very easy for it to happen. It would seem that a solution would involve getting careful, non-hair-trigger, "referee"-type editors to the situations where writers are having to deal with baiting, and to get referees there before situations get to a boiling point. It is certainly essential for referees to make allowances for clueless newbies, frustrated regulars, differing interpretation of policies... it's not easy work, but it's increasingly important that we get good at it. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:07, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  28. Cautious support. It is vital to stress that civility is a unilateral requirement so baiting does not discharge the obligation to be civil. However, deliberate baiting does occur, is successful, and ought to be cracked down on. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:57, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  29. Yes, baiting is under-recognized, but as Thuran says, it is really hard to sort out who is baiting and who is engaging in banter. However, what often happens is that one editor behaves in an exasperating fashion well within the bounds of CIVIL and other editors engaged in discussions w/ that editor lose their cool and look like the bad guy. Both freaking out and baiting need to be considered. Protonk (talk) 20:51, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  30. I think it's under-recognized. People engaging in banter are consistently good about stopping if someone points it out, or they get a severe adverse reaction. If you don't stop when you get an adverse reaction, you are not bantering, you're trying to bait someone. It's easy to cry "I was baited" and try to evade responsibility for the ensuing bad temper you display, but I think we're chronically not good as a community at politely but firmly telling people that they're provoking others and that it needs to stop. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 02:34, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  31. Very much so...there are some who are extremely skilled at the art of insulting while wearing a thin veneer of "politeness" that is like waving a red flag in front of a bull in front other others. Others deliberately bait by just doing little things they know will aggravate another editor, hoping to "set them off". Yes, one can hope we all hold our tempers, but the truth is editors are human and if you know what buttons to push on someone, then getting them to lose their temper almost seems like a hobby for some folks. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 08:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  32. God yes. I've dealt with more than one user who've been able to break the tenets of WP:Tendentious editing like a checklist while avoiding being blocked because they, as other users have mentioned, no one wants to read a wall 'o text, and the person who says less usually wins disputes that invite outside involvement. Baiting drives editors who have to deal with it and fail to get any sort of support from the community away. It needs to be stamped out. McJeff (talk) 03:56, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  33. Indeed. I'm seconding the comments from McJeff - I disagree with YM that admins are more skilful at it, as I've seen some very, very skilful SPAs and ordinary users who have driven many users away with bullying and stalking while staying under the radar sufficiently to avoid being blocked themselves. Usually after a year or so they get a bit over confident and do something stupid like edit war with socks, which finishes them off, but it is a REAL battle convincing the rest of the community that these people are problems as they choose their language and targets carefully. Orderinchaos 05:35, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  34. Yes. Sometimes I wonder at the outrageous statements made, and supported by others, but when I recognize it as baiting, it all makes sense. It is still not clear how to handle baiting, as frequently in later forums, baiting statements are accepted at face value as true. —Mattisse (Talk) 02:42, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  35. — neuro(talk) 10:21, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  36. Everyone knows that the servants wait while the masters bait. But seriously folks, baiting is an important tactic in the gotcha game that is WP:CIV enforcement, which currently punishes the baitees much more than the baiters. Instead of just Don't take the bait! there needs to be a Don't bait in the first place!--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 13:23, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  37. I guess. Drama-lovers enjoy messing with people. It's as true IRL as online. hmwithτ 17:29, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  38. Utterly. On any public internet venue it is far too easy to anonymously bait somebody. This has been recognised at arbitration committee level, but it's difficult to handle at the community level because the act of explaining the nature of the baiting usually exacerbates the effect. Perhaps early intervention off-wiki would help. --TS 04:37, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  39. Yes. An editor can bait and bait, then if someone finally responds a bit harshly, the baiting editor runs and complains and some admins never bother to look at anything beyond the single item in the complaint. Niteshift36 (talk) 03:17, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
  40. Being baited does not excuse incivility; I think baiting should be dealt with the same as incivility. --Kbdank71 13:44, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  41. Yes, but it's more difficult to pin down than incivility because there are no easily recognised words that make baiting absolutely obvious - recognising baiting will most probably require tracing through lot of history. Perhaps what we need a "combat tactics guide" page that teaches editors how to recognise and deal with various underhand tactics. --Philcha (talk) 14:10, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

No (baiting)[edit]

  1. There is no excuse for incivility and personal attacks, and the term "baiting" seems to be used almost only as an attempt to provide such an excuse. I expect people who are here to write an encyclopedia to have the equanimity to ignore "baiting" messages instead of reacting with outbursts.  Sandstein  09:18, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Totally agree. I was baited is no excuse at all. Although it is an excuse that has been used successfully recently, the baiter was blocked. (neither were admins)(Off2riorob (talk) 10:50, 1 July 2009 (UTC))
  3. No. The "setups" on wikipedia are quite insignificant and don't deserve going on rampage. NVO (talk) 10:08, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. Agree with above comment by Sandstein (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 15:16, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. Per Sandstein, I have only every heard the term "baiting" used as a post hoc justification for insults or incivility. Ironically, insulting someone is one of the best ways of "baiting" them into responding in kind, yet that is usually ignored by those who like to use if as justification. Rockpocket 18:03, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. As I always say "previous incivility by the other user may explain your own incivility, but it never excuses it. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 18:52, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. Per Sandstein. Are we here to assemble an encyclopedia as a diverse collection of adult editors, or not? Jclemens (talk) 19:04, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Self-control. Mr.Z-man 04:03, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. Per Sandstein. -- Vision Thing -- 13:32, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. Per Sandstein. Hello Vision Thing, how do you do. --FormerIP (talk) 22:14, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. I always wonder why i have never been baited into incivility (at least none that anyone has ever pointed out), whereas other "get baited" every other week. If editor want to use baiting as an excuse, it should really be paired with mandatory mentoring on how to not get baited into unwise actions.YobMod 19:28, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes and no[edit]

  1. Per Yellowmonkey above, subtle baiting often occurs in long term content disputes. Yet in wikipolitical disputes, a single well-meaning and rather mild statement may get painted as baiting. The key thing is that our standards for defining baiting are underdeveloped: when someone claims that baiting occurred, we should require a set of quotes and diffs to support the claim--a single example should not be acceptable unless it's really obvious. Also, baiting and taking bait are two separate actions: two wrongs don't make a right. Durova273 featured contributions 14:48, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Admins have a really, really hard job. They are required to exercise judgment, and good judgment requires time that is often in short supply. Some admins will protect a page rather than help to resolve a content dispute or behavioral problem. Some admins do not take the time, often because they don't have the time, to get to the bottom of a dispute or behavioral problem, so they sometimes block all the participants in a dispute, even if the participants are not equally at fault. ArbCom does a much better job of analyzing each participant's conduct and differentiating the remedies, or sanctions, editor-by-editor—but look how long that process takes. Baiting should be taken into account to an appropriate degree in each particular case, but not to the extent that it gives, or appears to give, the baited editor a pass for poor behavior. There are many factors that would go into how baiting would figure figure in the balance in a particular case—too many to list or even to imagine in the abstract. If a baited editor's uncivil conduct is disproportionate to the bait, perhaps the bait should not mitigate the remedy at all. Finell (Talk) 06:26, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. As stated in above sections, baiting is not always intentional. And whilst deliberate baiting should be recognised more, there should be no excuse for those who respond to baiting with incivility. The danger with trying to come down hard on baiting is that it could catch comments that were not intentional baiting. After all, perception plays a big part in baiting, as everyone can read a comment differently. --Taelus (talk) 10:27, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. To enforce the civility policy fairly, it's necessary to ask not just was he incivil or was he baited, but where did this start, and how has it progressed. The answers to those questions are likely to be complex, and to vary depending on who you ask. Editors are rarely incivil out of the blue. There might well be a series of events going back over a long period, perhaps starting with something relatively innocuous. The difficulty of deciding when push became shove, who threw the first punch, who baited whom, is one reason why civility policy is so difficult to enforce. --MoreThings (talk) 13:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. Intentional baiting should not be tolerated, but "baiting" becomes code for "saying anything that the offending user did not like". Some people behave like jerks, and do so in response to reasonable interactions from others. If person A is acting reasonable, and Person B flies off the handle at them, it is not always because person A baited them. Sometimes, person B is just a jerk. Also, we should not use "baiting" as a way to excuse someone. If person A is baiting person B, but person B is still acting like a jerk, person B should still be blocked regardless. Person A's behavior should be dealt with seperately, but should not be used as a way to excuse person B. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 00:26, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. It is usefull sometimes. Debresser (talk) 21:54, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. It would depend. People could use baiting as an excuse, and I'm sure they do--it's very handy. However, we need to realize that when people get into a fight, subtle incivility is more dangerous than outright incivility, and needs to punished more severely, in my opinion. I dream of horses (T) @ 14:49, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

A Plague on both their houses[edit]

  1. While baiting is hard to identify, I could handle a community consensus around this question. However, baiting and incivility resulting from baiting are two separate thing. Being baited should not be a get out of jail free card for being uncivil. I get a sense that somehow some sort of immunity to civility is being developed, were someone can argue "I was baited", and abuse some other editor "who baited them". I say that if we sanction baiting, we should also sanction the incivility in response - in equal proportion.--Cerejota (talk) 13:07, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
    I hesitated with making an "equal proprotion" in my comment under "yes" which falls in line with most of what you've said. The problem is, all admin work, and perhaps issues like this especially require a deft touch and considerable wisdom - wisdom that gets clouded pretty statements like "equal proportion." For my own standpoint, I think the exercise of compassion and empathy is important in blocking - or not, focusing on fairness (everyone gets what they need/deserve) rather than equality.--Tznkai (talk) 03:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. I am putting my opinion here as well as above because baiting being underrecognised and "A Plague to both their houses" are not mutually exclusive. Being baited is not any justification for being abusive, it is just gamed too often. Those who really engage in baiting should be seen as extremely disruptive, however most accusations of that nature are nonsense. Chillum 01:53, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. We should remember that 'I was baited into it by the trolls' was used quite often in recent wiki history as defence against charges of gross incivility during admin conduct. --Barberio (talk) 23:19, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Discussion (baiting)[edit]

  • It seems that Heimstern's comment under "yes" above highlights the problem with treating WP:CIVIL as a law, carrying "penalties" for "transgressions". Wading into a situation and blocking an editor without first figuring out what's going on does not seem to be a good way to model civility. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:54, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Fair assessment of what I said and its implications. There are certain admins, especially among those admins who are focused on administrative tasks and not encyclopedia-building, who have a whack-a-mole approach to civility and just block first and ask questions later. Blocking is not something we should be doing lightly except for vandalism and illegal/defamatory content. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 05:02, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
If you have become enraged by a comment from anyone, whether it an admin or User and you are releasing your rage,irrespective of whether you are right or wrong, then you are in need of a litle block and until you agree that you can move on in a civil way then you don't get unblocked, like a open ended block which is only removed when you make a civility commitment. If you return and continue the anger then off again, three times in one dispute could mean a indefinite block. ...You have been Blocked..Open-ended, this block will only be lifted on your agreeing to continue in a more civil way, especially in regards to .............. Three repetitions in one dispute will result in an indefinite block. Please move forward with care and with a respectful attitude. (Off2riorob (talk) 09:49, 1 July 2009 (UTC))
Sounds good in theory but civility blocks don't work. At least not in the current environment. ++Lar 11:57, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I was talking about the more serious cases and not just perhaps a little bit of rudeness which would be better ignored or just with a request for the offending User to please raise up his standards of civility. (Off2riorob (talk) 12:15, 1 July 2009 (UTC))
OK, noted. But blocks for civility, no matter how egregious the "violation" is perceived to be, tend not to work. It's only when things shade into something else, disruption, direct personal attacks, or whatever, that the block sticks. A pure civility block tends to lead to drama and not much else. ++Lar: t/c 12:39, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Several comments here have made similar distinctions. Can we define the difference? I would think personal attacks, disruption and harassment are "uncivil" or "very uncivil". Art LaPella (talk) 21:40, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Care needs to be taken that Admins who become addicted to the power clashes of certain boards should be rotated from those boards as they seem to start to imagine themselves as some kind of unkillable knight wading in to save the encyclopedia from the evil wrongdoers, lashing their block sword from side to side as they go. What I would suggest for this would be a month rollover board where Admins add their name to a list and say the first five are chosen to start and then after the month those five are relieved and the next five take over, thereby reducing the problem of burnout and allowing more Admins to gain experiance in multiple areas.(Off2riorob (talk) 09:49, 1 July 2009 (UTC))
  • As the author of WP:BAIT I have to say that GTBacchus nails it: Wading into a situation and blocking an editor without first figuring out what's going on does not seem to be a good way to model civility. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:44, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Yea, what Heimstern and GTB said. — Ched :  ?  10:25, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Are we serious? This is the most wikilawyery thing in this entire poll. If we accept, as a community, that baiting is not allowed, we have to prove that baiting happened. Proving that baiting is or is not happening is like proving the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, that is, even if we are certain it does or doesn't, it is impossible to prove it.

All that this would do is create endless wikilawyering on the part of habitual editors with short fuses to continue to have short fuses "because I was baited" - and I tend to have a short-fuse, so I know. The fact is that to fight you need too people, but only one needs to escalate. If you escalate, its your fault.

This amounts to a permanent general amnesty on civility violations.

What we probably need is a mentoring program for good-faith editors with short-fuses. This has worked wonders in many cases, even with long-standing admins and editors in tough and controversial areas. Y'all know of a case that applies and know what I mean.--Cerejota (talk) 12:51, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't believe that this section is suggesting a "ban" on baiting, or that we make baiting an "offense". I think people are suggesting that it be considered as part of the context in many situations. If it is not currently being taken into consideration by blocking admins, then it's under-recognized. I certainly don't advocate passing a law against it, nor indeed thinking of our policies as laws in the first place. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:02, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Baiting is a type of uncivil behavior—in undermines Wikipedia's civil society—so it is already prohibited by WP:CIVIL. Admins have to try to determine what is and isn't baiting in a particular case the same way that they determine other facts in every aspect of their duties. Remember that the most severe sanctions that Wikipedia can impose are nowhere near as serious as the least serious sanctions in the real world, where sanctions include loss of a job, divorce, a fine, and jail. Unlike a criminal trial, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not required to block an editor. I'm not saying that admins or higher-up should be careless or arbitrary, only that they should should make reasonable judgments, should not be afraid to act on those judgments, and when in doubt should base their actions on what in their judgment best promotes harmony and collegiality on Wikipedia. Finell (Talk) 06:56, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I think judging what is baiting (as with much of the rest of the civility related actions) is exceedingly difficult. Further, it is subjective, and when colored by our own perceptions of ourselves and our actions, liable to not be viewed the same by everyone. As an example I would point to #12 in the "Yes (baiting)" section, where User:Daedalus969 says "Yes, I have been baited before, and nothing has been done to those who were baiting."... but some observers would say that it was D himself that indulged in some considerable baiting, as well as other behaviors that exacerbate our civility issue. This to me proves just how difficult this topic is. We are none of us perfect. And that includes our own ability to introspect about our imperfections... some of us are better than others at this, and at taking constructive feedback about our actions, but no one of us is perfect at it. So what's to be done? No easy answer exists. ++Lar: t/c 15:12, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Would you like to back that up with diffs? I don't bait people, and to my knowledge, I have never knowingly baited anyone. Much of my work on wikipedia is based on purpose, and if nothing is gained by baiting someone, which, in the term of looking at things in the long run, there isn't, then I won't. As far as I see it, nothing is ever gained from baiting someone but continued unpleasentness, which is against the goal of this project, hence, I do not see why I would ever do so. I don't bait people, it isn't in my character.— dαlus Contribs 21:48, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Would I like to back what up with diffs? That you said you feel baited? [2] That some observers would say you have indulged in baiting? I'm an observer, and I say this struck me as baiting: [3]. I daresay I may not be the only person that feels that way, given how Bishonen characterised you. Read the thread just below for more. That some observers feel there are "other behaviors that exacerbate our civility issue" you engage in? I refer you to our recent talk page exchange in which I suggested you needed to do less templating, and less throwing your weight around. Again, I suspect I'm not the only observer that feels that way (start an RfC on yourself and you'll find out whether my suspicion is correct or not, I expect). But your response precisely highlights my point... a person does not have the same evaluation of themselves as others do (you, me, nor do any of the rest of us). Which is what makes this topic a difficult one. ++Lar: t/c 22:15, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I admit that was a bad move, a move that I've recently tried to prevent in terms of future occurrence. Say what you want, believe what you want, but that move had no other purpose then labeling what looked like a retired editor as retired.— dαlus Contribs 22:22, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm willing to believe that, now, and I am glad to hear you're trying to make things better by suggesting a new abuse filter, as well. But again, this makes my point. It LOOKED like baiting at the time, at least to some people. Surely you can see that. And that's why this is a hard area. ++Lar: t/c 22:26, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I see that it can, and did look like that. At the time, I had not considered it, as I have not really been following the boat around, so to speak. I'd been keeping my distance, and I admit I should have stayed distant.— dαlus Contribs 22:29, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Another subtle form of baiting: see here, by User:Daedalus969. Then see “Spumoni” on Giano’s page and, until recently, on Bishonen’s. Anyone seriously believe “A humming bird on my back porch, balancing perfectly on a hook” isn’t baiting? “I [Daedalus] don't bait people”? As Lar says, it's often subjective, and I'll add that it's all about context. It stretches credulity to assume that you added a hummingbird to your user page shortly after your dispute with the two others in good faith; the caption ices it. Cheers, Jack Merridew 07:54, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Stop stalking me. You've been following me around anywhere, and now you're just trying to get me in trouble by drawing lines where none exist. I like hummingbirds, and no one knows this because I usually don't share the things I like. The humming bird is there because I like it. If you have a problem with my behavior, then quit the accusations, and open up some thread somewhere, not here. Either ANI or RFC, otherwise, stay the hell away from me.— dαlus Contribs 08:37, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Seriously, what the hell? It's a hummingbird. Get over it. Get over this that little thing you have about me, and leave me alone. This is harassment, there is absolutely nothing wrong with placing that bird on my page. I like birds, I'm a bird lover. Would you like to see pictures of my four cockatiels? What the hell is it going to take to get you to leave me alone? An ANI thread, a block?— dαlus Contribs 08:41, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Some might interpret making an example of Daedalus969, here, as "baiting" him. The problem with "baiting" vs. discussion is that it involves a serious lack of good faith. Even if Daedalus969 was "baiting" with his hummingbird picture, so what? What harm is he doing in adding a picture to his own user page? If you or Bishonen or Giano infer some grievous insult in this, then just ignore it and no harm has been done. Moreover, if that counts as "baiting" then what exactly is [4]? Rockpocket 18:16, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  • For the record, I had not noticed any similarity between my own remarkable bird, Spumoni, a Wikipedian symbol of hope and freedom and the bird on Daedalus' page - a bird native, I beleive to North America. One of the reasons being I only look at Daedalus's page for the first time 20 seconds ago, but having seem it - I confirm that Bird is not Spumoni or indeed any form of baiting. Giano (talk) 18:51, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't think provocation excuses poor behavior - this isn't a playground where the bully can shout "she started it!" or "he made me do it!" and get off. Provocation, or baiting, ought to be its own offense - but I'm not sure its significance is underestimated, because it features quite regularly in arbitration cases and discussion threads about misconduct. What's the object of increasing the focus on baiting behavior? As adults we are responsible for our own behavior, to blame for our own weaknesses and credited with our own strengths. Wikipedia is a neat project, but its a website and not group therapy - we are unable to teach targets to withstand provocation or convince the mischievous to lay off. Our focus should be on protecting the encyclopedia and the community that builds and maintains it, not providing a forum for the enraged or outraged by excusing them for having been provoked.

Mostly the civility policy results in blocks of relatively new users, folks who misinterpret our standards or are unwilling to abide by them. It's unfortunately the case that sometimes it catches up long term editors as well. The solution isn't, in my view, instituting wholesale reform of the policy -- valuable contributors fall afoul of the rules, but that isn't evidence of malformed rules so much as of the human nature and variable constitution of our community. How do we avoid banning or unfairly and inflexibly condemning folks whose work and presence we value and wish to retain? We ought to give them many chances, many opportunities to understand what is acceptable and what isn't and to demonstrate that they can work within the limits. If these opportunities pass by and an FA writer or sharp administrator is unable to avoid cursing out or derisively mocking another editor, then they simply don't belong. Wikipedia isn't the only game in town. Nathan T 02:05, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Rocket alludes to something very sage above. What some people see as baiting, others see as a request for clarification. If we view each item as a good faith request for input, it's often easy to find a positive reply. Naturally there are some editors who excel at baiting, and have even become masters of the art. (I'll avoid the obvious pun). I understand that it's difficult to AGF in some of these cases, but replies which address a "bait" with the most positive response available not only avoid repercussions, but also remove the "fun factor" for the alleged baiter. We've seen that the "I was baited" defense seldom works, even when there are legitimate reasons to believe exactly that. It all boils down to WP:V ... or more bluntly, "Prove it". It's sad that we should have to deal with those who deliberately bait others into sanction-able replies, but if we don't rise to the bait, or stoop to their level, often boredom will lead them to other efforts. All IMHO of course. — Ched :  ?  03:28, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Defining toxic personalities[edit]

This discussion arose out of a particular incident where an unflattering response to what was perceived as baiting led to the responder being briefly blocked on the basis that it all seemed "sadly unbecoming" and "a direct consequence of our having been too tolerant, for too long, of toxic personalities."[5] The reason for this page is therefore defined as reviewing measures to reduce tolerance of "toxic personalities", and the implication of the block appears to be that responding uncivilly to baiting indicates a "toxic personality". Is that the intended definition? . . dave souza, talk 11:02, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps this page was a direct result of the particular incident that Dave alludes to. I suspect however that it (this discussion) has been overdue for some time. To respond directly to the "toxic personality" item, I view that particular comment as insulting. I can understand that it may not have been meant to be, but it is insulting nonetheless. A person is defined by their "personality", so it definitely raised interest in the situation. For me, the one key factor in this entire discussion isn't so much what is or is not civil, but rather how to deal with those posts where civility is in question. We are expected to give ample warning to editors who breach our policies. Outright vandals are afforded the benefit of warnings prior to being blocked. While established and long term editors, as well as those who have chosen to take up the task of wielding the admin buttons, are expected to "know the rules" - I don't see any reason that they should not be afforded the same consideration of "warnings". At the end of the day, we are all very real people, with very real emotions sitting behind each post. Passion is a driving catalyst which encourages editors to contribute to the project. Errors in judgment happen at all ages, in all walks of life. Compassion should be a mainstay staple in how we deal with our fellow editors. We need to encourage people to participate in building, improving, and protecting our project. That happens best when we engage in discussion, not in "blocking them out". (sorry for the preachy rant, but I think it needed to be said) — Ched :  ?  06:09, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I think the bishonen incident is a perfect example of incivility going into a negative spiral leading otherwise rational people comit one stupid mistake after the other. The first mistake was obviously made by whoever caused Bishonen so much stress that she lost it for a second and made the second mistake - to make a direct personal attack on another editor. Then came the third mistake - blocking her instead of just giving her a friendly reminder to use couth language and be civil. Then came the fourth mistake: complaining endlessly about having been blocked instead of just accpeting having made a mistake and say i'm sorry it won't happen again. (incidentally complaining instead of admitting to be in error often make short time blocks become indefinite) then came the fifth mistake - the "toxic personalities" remark - which should of course have been phrased so that it was specifically not a personal attack (I am sure that is how it was meant) this would include commenting on behaviour (specific behaviour) instead of personality. And then the mistakes of complaining and being offended sort of piled up in to one big heap of stupidity which hardly anyone involved can say to not have contributed to. It could have stopped if anyone of the previous mistakes had been replaced with an, "ok, I am sorry it won't happen again" which is the essence of civilty. ·Maunus·ƛ· 14:17, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

It's really quite simple[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
74% of 31 responders feel that everyone should be treated with respect regardless of the circumstances. SilkTork *YES! 08:58, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Civility is treating every other Wikipedian with respect, be they newbie or your mortal-wiki-enemy. You should do it because compassion is good for your soul, you should do it because we're all human beings, and you should do it because time and time again, its been proven to work better than the alternative. Civility is not, and never should be, a game of Gotcha - nor is it a topic that should bring up disrespect, derision, and condescending tones.

Regardless of whatever the policy says or does not say - regardless of what individuals administrators and other users do or do not do, civility will always live and die by our individual choices.

I choose to be civil and to foster civility by example.

Agree[edit]

  1. --Tznkai (talk) 04:12, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. Juliancolton | Talk 04:28, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. - I invoke my Grandma! 3: (--Lenticel (talk) 05:04, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. Agree, with qualifications: I agree with most of the statement, but not the heading; the principles are simple, but following them in all situations is not. Also, I reject the notion that anyone can have a "mortal-wiki-enemy" (that means someone who can kill you!), or any kind of enemy on Wikipedia. Competitors, let alone enemies, can do a person real harm in the real world, even if their behavior is lawful and complies with all social norms—and much more serious harm if the person if physically aggressive or engages in other criminal conduct. The consequences of the worst possible wiki misbehavior are trivial in comparison: hurt feelings from the most vicious imaginable personal attacks, and not getting your way in the content of an article or policy page or losing some Talk page argument. An important cause of incivility and wiki-drama is confusing Wikipedia with the real world, and therefore identifying other Wikipedians as allies or enemies. In the real world, enemies and competitors can kill you, cost you your job or your business, get the promotion you worked and hoped for, steal your property, and marry the love of your life. The problem arises when we do not understand and control our reptilian reactions and draw false analogies between conflicts on Wikipedia, one of our hobbies, and threats to our life, health, food supply, or opportunity to mate. Civility, indeed civilization, is overcoming inappropriate reptilian instincts. Finell (Talk) 07:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
    Well said, although I'm not sure if the reptilian brain thing is still considered good science. That having been said, people can, and have used Wikipedia to genuinely do harm, but that is well and beyond civility policy. (lets avoid details per WP:BEANS please)--Tznkai (talk) 16:00, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. For the same reason we all still love Michael Jackson. weburiedoursecretsinthegarden 10:09, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
    Because of his early work with the Jackson 5? MastCell Talk 22:26, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. --Taelus (talk) 10:28, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. Absolutely. Being sworn at, or having harsh words or terms, is uncomfortable within the context of a dispute or argument but can be overlooked when it is part of a genuine attempt to create understanding of a viewpoint or action. To be disregarded or ignored with a few platitudes made in agreeable terminology is far more corrosive to the maintainance of a sense of community. Quite often (but not always) the reason why people are shouting or calling names is because their viewpoint is being ignored - even if the viewpoint is contrary to policy, practice or simple consensus it should be noted as such rather than dismissed. Before reading this comment by Tznkai my only contribution was going to be the following comment; "I should prefer that WP:CIVIL was deprecated by WP:RESPECT."' LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:52, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Civility is simple in concept, challenging in personal implementation. Incivility takes many forms and is thus complex, while some of those forms are simple to implement (e.g. swearing) and others are highly complex (ost baiting). GRBerry 21:21, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  9. Mostly the last part: there is no way around modeling the sort of civility you want to see from others. It may be difficult to treat certain people with genuine respect when they have, by their actions, forfeited that respect. In those cases, it's probably best to limit interaction to what is strictly necessary, and to be polite and focused. There are certain individuals here who I know will piss me off if I deal with them for too long, so I make an effort to avoid them or carefully circumscribe my interactions with them. I think that's probably the next-best substitute for genuine respect when the latter can't be mustered. MastCell Talk 22:26, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  10. Absolutely. The key is doing what will de-escalate tension in all cases. Incivility always makes a situation worse, 100% of the time. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 00:28, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  11. Civility is something most people learn in kindergarten. Treat each other with a minimum level of respect, it is not a complex idea. Chillum 01:55, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  12. I've wondered on occasion, if someone finds too much difficulty in the concept of civility, if perhaps they are instead looking for incivility. I guess that concept doesn't exactly AGF, but it was just a thought. — Ched :  ?  02:59, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  13. One shouldn't need to be spouting profanity to be considered incivil. Mr.Z-man 04:04, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  14. -- Vision Thing -- 13:34, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  15. I've often said that if someone has to read the page WP:CIVIL to find out what it means to be civil, then they've already missed the point. I think that our civility policy suffers from being perceived as something it's not. For example, in the "oppose" section below, ThuranX says that "there are a lot of people who insist that anything short of language appropriate for high tea with the Queen of England is a failure of civility". That's not true, is it? Does anyone hold such a position?

    I often make a case for behaving civilly, and I've been informed that I'm demanding that people avoid plain-speaking bluntness. This is not remotely true. It is possible to be blunt without being uncivil, and I don't know anyone who is against honest bluntness, or who confuses civility with "the Queen's English". I've never seen anyone suggest that saying "you're wrong" is any kind of offense at all. I'm against the notion that we have laws that can be "violated", so how could I see any kind of speech as a "violation" of a rule that I don't believe in in the first place?

    Part of the problem is that it's assumed that WP:CIVIL will be treated as a "rule" and will be "lawyered". That doesn't have to be the case. It's up to us not to let people get away with trying to lawyer the policy.

    Finally, civility is not circumlocution, and nobody I know has ever equated them. I don't rephrase anything to anticipate the avoidance of offending someone else, I just say what I'm thinking, and if someone is offended, then I use civility to address that offense. I don't believe anyone is asking for more than that.

    In short, I would plainly say to Thuran: You're wrong. You're wrong about what the proponents of civility are advocating. If I've offended you by saying this, I trust you'll let me know, so we can address it. That is what we're talking about here. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:04, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

  16. Civility by example is essential. Kingturtle (talk) 02:56, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  17. I agree that it is simple for me to recognize incivility when I see it. And I can differentiate the difference between minor little "scatisms" and unwarranted defense mode and the resulting battle. The problem AISI is that we don't all carry the same "civility meters" around with us so we can say to the ANI or RfC or whomever----> "Incivility Toxic levels were 73.5 overall with an accelerated reading of 99.5 from Editor:HotHead. The flash point was when Hot Head misinterpreted Editor:DaisyMaes reference to farm animals". Fairness is missing fromn the current method. It is too arbitrary, too inconsistent. We need someway (or someone) to equally measure incivility when it happens.--Buster7 (talk) 15:21, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  18. I admit, I'm not always a shining example of civility. As an amateur military historian, I tend to hang out with a rough crowd where brutal frankness often mixed with coarse humor are more valued than the niceties of being nice. But one must also be diplomatic in order to get on in the world and civility is the soul of diplomacy. Both myself and the community must do better. This being said, I also agree strongly with Buster's comments above, right after the reference to farm animals.--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 12:53, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  19. I, wise Latinao woman say: compassion is teh wins! That said, not agreeing with these principles as set out here is like not agreeing with Mother's Day, or not thinking puppies are not cute: very few people will express such sentiments, for (warranted) fear of social ostracism. So the question is neither fair to those who have valid criticism of civility policy, nor does it help us elucidate and attempt a resolution to the criticism. It is, quite simply, a repetition of principles we all already accept. It is in how these principles translate into action in an enviroment of massive collaboration were we fail.--Cerejota (talk) 22:16, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
  20. It really should be that simple. Sometimes, I wonder what some people are like IRL. Are they so argumentative and dickish to their friends and family? hmwithτ 17:32, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  21. It should be that simple yes. For many editors however it isn't. ·Maunus·ƛ· 00:51, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
  22. Hiding T 21:05, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
  23. Agree with the caveat that some seem to deliberately read it as 'using strongly worded rhetoric that makes me look wrong is being incivil'. Demands for civility should be just that, civility. Not a protection for having faulty logic and inane arguments pointed out as faulty and inane. --Barberio (talk) 23:16, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Disagree[edit]

  1. Not only is this issue complex, incivility is useful in many cases, mostly to educate users with more Wikipedia experience. It is precisely because Wikipedia is a consequence free venue that an angry outburst or a snide comment is the only tool a person who knows they are right but are not being heard can use to draw attention to injustices. It is the experienced editors and particularly admins who should be the most civil, because they have the insider knowledge to get their way in an editing dispute even they happen to be wrong. Don't stop listening just because the person is uncivil. Abductive (talk) 11:40, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
    Why would you think "Wikipedia is a consequence free venue"? Anyone who contributes here has immediately built up a personal interest in the project and, in whatever way, get a buzz from it; if you spam, attack or vandalise you end up getting reverted and blocked which brings that buzz to an end. AndrewRT(Talk)(WMUK) 23:04, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  2. A personal judgement of what constitutes respect is not enough. You need to be clued up enough to realise when you've disrespected others and haven't even realised you've done it. MickMacNee (talk) 00:23, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  3. The problem with CIVIL, and with the idealization of 'civility', is that often, blunt, plain-speaking can accomplish far more, far faster than trying to be roundabout and polite. Too much politeness grates, and people can hide behind it. Saying it plain doesn't require gross rudeness, but there are a lot of people who insist that anything short of language appropriate for high tea with the Queen of England is a failure of civility. That slows things down, and increases tension for others, who have to rephrase everything to anticipate the avoidance of offending someone else. This project is part of the real world - saying 'You're wrong.' happens in the real world, and shouldn't be a blockable offense here. When your priority is not offending, instead of communicating, no progress is made. ThuranX (talk) 14:46, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
    Effective communication can still be civil - that's the challenge and it's a skill, but I don't think they're exclusive. AndrewRT(Talk)(WMUK) 23:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  4. Of course it is really that simple. Just call a spade a spade, right? It's not that simple. Protonk (talk) 21:04, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  5. It just occurred to me that if it were that simple (nice use of the subjunctive there hahaha), then we wouldn't have a zillion essays and nor this discussion...Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:10, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
    I think you underestimate our ability to make things that are genuinely simple appear complicated. (See sex and civilization)--Tznkai (talk) 00:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  6. Well actually, we're here to build an encyclopedia. In the little corners of Wikipedia I tend to work in - Iraqi Politics, the International Criminal Court etc. - we need all the help we can get. Therefore whenever someone else comes on the scene I do my utmost to be helpful and encouraging because we're all doing this together, and I've no doubt they'll be able to help later on. Civility, on the other hand, is about something else. When you're at work there will always be people you get on well with and become friends and others that, for whatever reason, you just don't click with and don't like. Hate to say it, but civility is a bottom line of acceptable behaviour for people we don't like. It's about avoiding destructiveness in our interactions. AndrewRT(Talk)(WMUK) 23:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
  7. — neuro(talk) 10:22, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  8. Civility is complicated in real life, and even more complicated online. I know this personally. My brain developed in a way that I had to deliberately learn to be nice to people--not because I was mean, but because I really didn't know. Honestly, I'm still not perfect. I don't know what to do when there's nothing to say, I can't hold a conversation to save my life, etc. Some people in real life, not knowing me, think this is incivil. I think most people here can agree I try to my best, though (I do better in writing), and that, ultimately, is what's important. I dream of horses (T) @ 14:55, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Other discussion[edit]

  • Except that it isn't simple. There is civility; yes we should be civil. There is where testy crosses into uncivil; there is considerable disagreement on that. There is what should be done; and here is the current issue. In my opinion, and that of many others, we should most assuredly not block at the first sign of incivility, as that is counter-productive and causes drama and hostility and hurt; it does nothing, nothing to reduce incivility on this project. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 13:02, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm not going to pretend there aren't nuances or interesting or unanswered questions, but I am going to assert they're not nearly as important as what I outlined above. Until we have a basic commitment to respecting each other, everything else falls by the wayside.--Tznkai (talk) 15:48, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • We come full circle to the question, "what is incivility?" We can all agree that "f*** off, you worthless moron" in uncivil. But what about ongoing, low-level jibes? What about occasional, low-level jibes? What about a single, low-level jibe? What about a single jibe at a still lower level? What about an offhand, humorous comment that could be taken in two ways, but you didn't realize it at the time? In short, saying you promise to be "civil" is easy enough, but it's much harder in practice to act in a way such that no one, no where, will ever take offense at anything you say. It really isn't quite simple. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 14:35, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
In order: Disrespect; It isn't always actually, If I said that to my best friend, he'd blink a couple times and then bring it right back; very uncivil; still uncivil; not uncivil, but not owning up to your portion of the blame usually is; finally being civil isn't being perfect - and it isn't even making sure no one will ever take offense, because sometimes they do. The principle however, of treating others with respect is not particularly all that difficult, the vast majority of us learn it in primary schooling. Finally I want to point out that the lack of incivility is inferior to the pretense of civility.--Tznkai (talk) 16:22, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Yeah. Civility is not about always knowing which words to avoid, and never causing offense. Civility is in how you react when you accidentally cause offense, despite your efforts not to. If someone takes offense, don't become defensive and say, "How dare you maliciously accuse me of offending you?! I demand that you retract your lies!" When someone takes offense, it's not so hard to say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. Let me rephrase my point," or "whoops; it seems that my attempt at humor fell flat," something like that. Some people aren't apologizers. I don't claim one has to apologize, but there ought to be somthing you can say to mitigate the offense. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:41, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, I was thinking more in terms of being sure not to risk a violation of WP:CIVILITY rather than the more basic sense of conducting oneself properly. Over the years I have begun leaning more and more toward a view that the former actively impedes the latter. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 22:31, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I would strongly discourage the idea that WP:CIVIL is a law that can be "violated". I want to get entirely away from that point of view. The policy is not something to accuse people of breaking; it's something to guide one's own behavior by.

Treating our civility policy as a "rule" is a huge part of the problem. It shouldn't even be an imperative of any kind. Much smarter than "Rule: Be civil!" is "Fact: Incivility doesn't work." If we can make the policy communicate that, I'll be delighted. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:18, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Come on folks, it is really that simple. Don't abuse people. Be nice. This is not rocket science, my 7 year old niece understands this concept. Chillum 01:56, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely. That's one of the reasons I'm a little uneasy about applying the policy differently to different classes of editors -- and that includes (to some extent) giving more slack to newbies. Treating people decently is one of those "all I really need to know I learned in kindergarten" things. Excusing someone's obnoxiousness because they haven't carefully studied a policy telling them not to be obnoxious seems more than a little strange. GTBacchus puts it well immediately above. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:00, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Unlike kindergarten though, we have to be careful about acting like the lunch ladies - both the ones that ignore things and the ones that interfere too much. GTBacchus puts it well above: its not about "rules." I would go further and say it is about community standards, and those are things that even the most antisocial of us are capable and willing to follow. What we have to do is orient ourselves in such a way that we try to produce civility, rather than eliminate those who break that rule. While the latter has to happen, we have to keep it in mind as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Our civility needs to flow from within us, and not into a accusation - that is after all, hardly the point.--Tznkai (talk) 03:26, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Abductive's comment under "oppose" is very interesting, and a take on this issue that I hadn't seen before. Thanks for that. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:04, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm going to throw in another issue about respecting other contributors: sometimes, one encounters a person who simply is both unqualified to contribute yet is in denial over their lack of ability. (It is the second part which is more problematic: all of us are, in some way, unqualified to contribute but being aware of this problem we usually take the time to fix this problem -- if only to verify a source or to RTFM.) I think we have all encountered this kind of person. One example is the contributor who claims something is true because she/he heard it on the television the other week, or claims "but everyone knows that is true." Newbies are, thankfully, more often given the benefit of the doubt when they resort to this argument, but when someone has been arguing along those lines for a couple of years, & most of their contributions are routinely reverted, then it is hard for anyone to respect this person. (And yes, I am thinking of a specific case which involves someone insisting on inserting original research into Bernard Madoff.) -- llywrch (talk) 17:49, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Well said, llywrch. I was involved in trying to help an editor under attack from someone who insisted on adding defamatory material into a BLP, and when communication difficulties reached the stage where I tried to find if that someone might not be a native English speaker, that grave insult got me hauled before WP:WQA. No lasting harm, but how do you tell someone they're incoherent politely? . . dave souza, talk 22:26, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
You say, "No offense, but I don't follow your argument here. I think maybe we aren't used to the same dialect or figures of speech. Can you rephrase that? It sounds to me like you meant X." (In your own voice, of course.) If they flip out on you for that, get more eyes to the scene and stay more-or-less quiet while they give outside opinions. Proceed from there. -GTBacchus(talk) 22:35, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
That works in a perfect world, GT; however, this Wiki exists in an imperfect world. People get tired, people get stubborn. Words are said, people "flip out on you", & there are no spare eyes to help. Add to the mix that the other party is convinced some stupid idea is undeniably true (e.g., the article on Sarah Palin must needs a lengthy section on Trig to document the rumor whether he was "really" her son) & anyone who doesn't either respond uncivilly -- or logs off Wikipedia -- deserves a Barnstar. -- llywrch (talk) 23:38, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, all of these things happen. I hope nobody is arguing that civility means always being perfect and never offending anyone. It's much more about what to do after offense happens, tempers and crossed, and someone "flips out". When it comes to picking up the pieces and getting back to work on the article, it's civility that allows us to move past whatever ugly incident, and work together again.

I don't want to deny or minimize the frustration experienced by editors who have to deal with cranks, loonies, trolls, vandals, etc., 24/7. I'm much more interested in figuring out ways we can avoid getting to that boiling point. How can we better ensure that extra pairs of eyes will be available, and locatable? In such situations, how can we address the dispute in a way that doesn't alienate or blame the loyal hard-working editor, and also doesn't bite or intimidate the newbie? These are the questions I think we need to be asking. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:49, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Civility isn't a suicide pact, just like assuming good faith doesn't assume competence. To address Llywrch, at no point does civility require that we lie or pretend, just that we seek peace over satisfaction. Specifically, you can tell them quite bluntly, that they're wrong, that the Reliable Sources Policy doesn't allow "everyone knows it" arguments - and that if you have to use that kind of argument, its usually because they're wrong. This isn't "the customer is always right," its more "don't scream and yell at your co-workers when they spill bleach all over the floor." Hell, think of how teachers are supposed to treat their students: with respect and dignity, even when they are wrong, wrong, wrong. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with forgiving slip-ups. There is however, something wrong with condoning them.--Tznkai (talk) 00:10, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Maybe what we strive for is Peace. Peace, as described by Wikipedia, is a state of balance and understanding in yourself and between others, where respect is gained by the acceptance of differences, tolerance persists, conflicts are resolved through dialog, peoples rights are respected and their voices are heard, and everyone is at their highest point of serenity without social tension. Sounds wonderfully possible. Ive noticed in the business world that if the leaders feel something can be accomplished, it gets done!--Buster7 (talk) 02:34, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

A proposed Wikicovenant[edit]

We can define incivility simply by defining civility. I've put together a proposed Wikicovenant, that is really just a basic outline for civility. It reads like this:

  • Make others feel welcome (newcomers, veterans, and everyone in between).
  • Create and maintain a friendly, supportive environment.
  • Turn the other cheek (which includes walking away from potential edit wars).
  • Model civility, always.
  • Give praise (especially to those you don't know).
  • Forgive.
  • Encourage others.
  • Empathize.
  • Remember, people grow.
  • Remember, you're not always right, even when you think you are - and sometimes you're wrong - and sometimes you're dead wrong - even when you think you're right. And even when you know you're right, it still sometimes better to concede or forget it.
  • Maintain the dignity of others (even of those you despise or don't respect).
  • Leave well-enough alone.

I've actually be piecing it together off and on since December 2003. It is still a work in progress. But I think it sums up pretty well how I envision useful, helpful, positive behavior around here. Kingturtle (talk) 03:17, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

The most important point there is not even the most difficult:
  • Maintain the dignity of others (even of those you despise or don't respect).
On Wikipedia, in daily life, in international politics. Thanks. - Hordaland (talk) 09:46, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Does civility impede clarity?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
88% of 33 responders don't feel that being civil impedes communication.