|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.||
|This page in a nutshell: Collaboration between editors who hold opposing POV is essential to a healthy editing environment and the development of good NPOV content.|
Collaboration is as important as content contributions in a wiki community. While counterintuitive, this is because editors who are consistently disruptive and uncivil, temperamentally incompetent, or who bully or filibuster others into submitting to their will, will continuously alienate other contributors. These in turn will become a wellspring of resentment and negativity, which will worsen the goodwill of the project. New contributors or unregistered users are often pushed into corners through hostility by disruptive editors who borders on good and bad faith actions. This groups are protected by users who act so in turns as meatpuppets to each other for hazing and unofficial initiation process using loopholes in the policy and guidelines rather than providing support to which their victims are entitled or working towards creating a harmonious environment for everyone.
A disruptive user or an otherwise productive contributor who cannot collaborate is not a productive contributor.
Conflicts happen when the contributors take a personal stance than valuing the content or respecting the process. In such conflicts often bear-baiting happens and those who had escalated the conflict with support might artificially "win", when the other gives up or when they are alienated from the community, or when the contender is blocked. Offenders involved in such power-play and marginalization receives a topic ban from editing which may accompany with other negative sanctions to halt any sort of cyberbullying. Be conscientious about considering how all sides contributed to the problem otherwise sanctions might appear as a show trial.
Productive contributors in a dispute resolution will always be open toward the consensus and compromise process, they will only act per policies whether in patrolling or donning as vandal fighter and they will be honest in templating. They wont operate so as to sustain the conflict for getting their way (like attributing the impact of the problem by continuous re-framing than it was originally). They wont try to rope in others editors or a newcomer to escalate the problem. They know Wikipedia isn't used to blow off steam.
How to mitigate alienation
In a collaborative environment such as a wiki, contributors who are unable or unwilling to collaborate with others should be politely but firmly exclude from the portions where conflict occurs. If after educating the user on how Wikipedia works and disruption continues such users are handled through aversion practices.
There are two types of aversion methods used to deal with non-collaborative editors. One is negative reinforcement when the editor in question repeatedly proves to be a disruptive influence by not heeding to advice's or recommendations, their behavior is met with negative sanctions like warnings and block. The blocking administrator can extend the interval for the next block appeal from review of the nature of problem. If the administrator feels the editor requires some time before they can be a productive editor in Wikipedia, they post the required information on the specific policies and guidelines that the user should gain familiarity before they can be a contributor. The block appeal can be extended to a maximum of 6 months with the promise of support in case of complexities in understanding them. Though certain new and middle level editors tend to serve early warnings to newcomers or inexperienced ones without proper provision of guidance or citing of educative polices and guidelines which could help the one that they serve this warnings and avoid leading them to probable unnecessary blocks. This is a negative and bad faith practice.
The second type of aversion method for unhealthy practices is a gentle approach and it is through assuming good faith in the editor that certain members label as conflicting. Here the administrator gives the user a collaborative and friendly statement on the problem, if there is one and invites the user to other activities of the project or if they see the user has been a significant contributor they give primary user rights to the editor, if they don't have them for responding in future as a good contributor. This positive sanction might in most cases lead to healthy contributions. However, in a small number of cases overconfident usage of new user rights leads to similar problems the editor previously exhibited and their rights would be expunged for bad faith practices. However this method is not reserved for active editors with experience who faults in honoring basic Wikipedia policies that would disturb harmonious environment in Wikipedia.
In case aversion methods for non-collaborative practices don’t seem to be effective or makes the user in question collaborative, the user is banned and in severe cases excluded from the community.
These processes will address the alienation of other contributors or trauma caused by them, which will in turn addresses resentment. Contributors who are listened to and part of the process will generally not feel alienated if the discussion does not favour their position on policy grounds, because they know that they are part of the project. The increased contributions in this more collaborative community will far outweigh those made by disruptive editors. Therefore, productive contributions in any forms are not a valid excuse for disruptive or anti-collaborative behaviour.
Editors need to learn how collaborative editing works and it might require non-disruptive practice to achieve this skill (especially for first-timers). Collaboration is about moving forward and this is only possible if there is an agreeability, therefore involved editors in conflict should depend on one another. It isn't just editing on an article, but also involves negotiation and compromise at the talk page with editors who hold opposing POV. In the actual editing environment, when one of your edits is rejected (reverted) by an another with summary or their reasoning in talk page notification, do not repeat it, but stay with the BOLD, revert, discuss cycle (BRD) initiated by the person who rejected and collaborate with the discussion on the talk page per talk page guidelines (TPG). Dont attack other editors but focus on content and institutional context, in some cases focus also on the sociopolitical context. It is essential everyone involved in the discussion should word out in an unambiguous (on policy and evidence, don't assume others know), interested (on problem solving) and non-hostile manner.
Never try to force your edit. There you should assume good faith (AGF) and seek to create a consensus version of your proposed edit before using it. Wikipedia is based on the idea that no one knows everything, but everyone knows something. It is important to understand editors who hold opposing POV have made their edit from substantial evidences and homework. Productive contributors will evaluate sources and make themselves familiar (with or without help) with the sources unknown to the other, so that they all have a significant idea about the problem and aspects of POVs. Always be open to new information, assume that your initial understanding of a concept or an event is probably partial, simplistic or biased. Seek to merge your views with those of others if the evidences they bring are satisfactory. Work toward inclusionism, you and the article, will benefit from the outcome.
- Don't mix personal or professional life with wiki-life, being a wikipediholic might make you fanatic which can alienate you from other contributors and may generate unhelpful stereotypical attitudes.
- If you revert an edit with content, show respect to the content provider with a comment or your reasoning for the action at the talk page. Every action is saved in the history, and all your mistakes can be recalled as evidence against you if you're not gentle.
- Force yourself to always assume good faith, because your online behavior is your best, and often only, currency here.
- It's important to learn from experienced editors, be humble and take their guidance's as helpful advice.
- Disagreement is okay, as long as it doesn't get personal and you don't see other editors as enemies.
- Don't imitate actions of disruptive user's which are from poor knowledge of policies. Overconfidence might lead to a short career here.
- Acquiescence or sycophancy with editors of reputation isn't collaboration. It only promotes solicitation, which affects the wiki system badly.
- Be polite and civil in your engagements. Because a statement and its intention can mean different things to different people and we all make mistakes. Disagreements doesn't mean devaluing the other editor.
- Always assume what seems evidently wrong, nonsensical or confusing at first is always an indicator of difference in POVs. Acknowledge and explore the other person's perspective.
- Ask questions, when you don't understand, but if you feel the topic is a burden at the time, leave the conflict respectfully. Accepting "you can't know everything" isn't incompetence but show of credibility.
- Consensus on content doesn't always have to be dichotomous judgements.
- Abeyance is a positive thing when planning to do something (like researching the topic before reverting) but never in the middle of a conflict. Though neutral watchers are good to use suspension of judgment.
- Exaggeration and harsh criticism always invites counterargument and defensiveness. It will not make the other person open to your arguments and they will also treat you in the same way that you treat them.
- Every social interactions evoke emotions and it is wrong to believe that discussions of problems are merely analytical, rational activities. Don't hurt or disregard the other person, be sorry if you have crossed a line and express thank you, if you feel right to do so. Acknowledgement of feelings doesn't mean agreeing with the person, but good solutions depend on good interaction practices.
- Always remember collaboration is for maintaining a positive image for the project (the common objective), not for the online identity of the editors. Keep in mind that we are all volunteers.
- Dispute resolution
- Accepting everyone
- Forgive and forget
- Wikipedia is not about winning
- Don't be obnoxious
- The No Asshole Rule
- Tragedy of the commons
- On MeatballWiki: