Wikipedia:Collaboration first

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Collaboration and dispute resolution are more important than content contributions in a wiki community. While counterintuitive, this is because editors who are consistently disruptive and uncivil, 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 alienation caused by the disruptive contributors.

An otherwise productive contributor who cannot collaborate is not a productive contributor.

How to mitigate alienation[edit]

In a collaborative environment such as a wiki, contributors who are unable or unwilling to collaborate with others should be politely but firmly excluded from the portions where conflict occurs, or even excluded from the community. This will address the alienation of other contributors, which will in turn address resentment. Contributors who are listened to and part of the process will generally not feel alienated if the discussion does not favour their personal position, because they will feel that they are part of the consensus and compromise process.

The increased contributions in this more collaborative community will far outweigh those made by disruptive editors. Therefore, productive contributions are not a valid excuse for disruptive or anti-collaborative behaviour.

Healthy conflict[edit]

That is not to say conflict in itself is bad. Conflicting ideas and positions can lead to compromise, better decisions, and a more neutral point of view. However, conflict becomes unhealthy when an editor has no intention of compromise or dispute resolution; such conflicts typically escalate until one party artificially "wins", when the other gives up, they are alienated from the community, or the offender receives a topic ban or is blocked from editing.

The negotiating table[edit]

Newer editors need to learn how collaborative editing works. It isn't just editing on an article, but also involves negotiation and compromise at a negotiating table (the talk page) with editors who hold opposing POV. In the actual editing environment, when one of your edits is rejected (reverted) by them, do not repeat it, but follow our BOLD, revert, discuss cycle (BRD) and start a discussion on the talk page, without attacking other editors. Word your discussion in a neutral and non-hostile manner.

Never try to force your edit, but take the matter to that negotiating table. There you should assume good faith (AGF) and seek to create a consensus version using your proposed edit. Wikipedia is based on the idea that no one knows everything, but everyone knows something. Seek to merge your views with those of others. You, and the article, will benefit.

The best content is developed when editors who hold opposing POV come to the talk page and bring their best evidence (RS). Each will be familiar with sources unknown to the other, so that way all significant POV will be represented and have a chance for inclusion. It's important to learn from more experienced editors. Take their criticisms as helpful advice.

It is important to heed our talk page guidelines (TPG). Focus on content, don't attack other editors, and don't constantly complain because you don't instantly get your way. If you can't learn to collaborate pleasantly with editors who hold opposing POV, you'll have a short career here. Don't see other editors as enemies. Such an attitude is a forbidden battlefield attitude. Disagreement is okay, as long as it doesn't get personal. Force yourself to always assume good faith, and don't alienate others. Your reputation is your best, and often only, currency here. Don't damage it. Every edit and comment is saved in the history, and all your mistakes can be recalled as evidence against you if you're not careful.

See also[edit]