Wikipedia:Don't call the kettle black
This page is an essay on conduct policy.
|This page in a nutshell: The disruptive behavior of another editor is not an excuse for your own disruptive behavior.|
Don't call the kettle black, especially if you yourself are a black pot. The kettle may or may not be black, but attacking it for its blackness will only draw attention to your own blackness, which in turn undermines your position.
It happens quite often on Wikipedia that an editor makes a post to remind others of civility but writes it in an uncivil tone. Occasionally, someone will call other people names while at the same time reminding them to not make personal attacks. And of course there are always those that assume that others aren't assuming good faith, or people in an edit war that claim that no, it's the other party that's edit warring.
The hypocrisy is simply staggering. "Yes, but he started it" is a poor excuse and will not shield you from any of the consequences of your behavior. Just don't do it. Also remember that a mote and a beam are not the same size, and try not to be the beam.
When reminding another user of a policy or guideline regarding behavior, it is well-advised to consider whether you yourself have been following the rule in question. Otherwise, tedious arguments about arguing are likely to ensue.
Testing the limits
This phenomenon is quite common with the "test the limits" crowd. Often, a user will go out of his or her way to game the system, making changes which are against the spirit, if not the letter of the law. This user will, often purposely, goad other Wikipedians into response with an aggravating propensity to bend the rules, and will of course immediately accuse the other Wikipedians of incivility. This type of user ranges from the more intentional to the more benign.
Users are encouraged to keep a cool head and discuss on talk pages first.