Wikipedia:Essays in a nutshell/Civility

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Essay.svg Nutshell.png This essays in a nutshell page summarizes the gist of user written essays on Wikipedia. Essays can also be navigated via categories, navigation templates, or Special:Search. For a listing and more information on navigating essays, see Wikipedia:Essay directory.

Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. Consider these views with discretion. Essays are not Wikipedia policies.

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WP:NUTCIVIL

General[edit]

Essay In a nutshell Shortcuts Impact
How to be civil

Offer constructive comments, forgive editors, be polite, and walk away if you have to.

WP:HTBC

Low

Accepting other users

Work cooperatively with other users and assume good faith. Wikipedia is a collaborative project.

WP:OTHERUSERS

Low

A nice cup of tea and a sit down

A nice cup of tea and a sit down is, in the spirit of WikiLove, a chance to declare publicly what you appreciate about other members of the community or their contributions.

WP:TEA, WP:TY, WP:SIT, WP:COKE, WP:COFFEE

High

An uncivil environment is a poor environment

Being civil encourages others to be civil. Work towards building a civil environment.

WP:UCEPE, WP:POOR

Low

Apology

We all make mistakes. Don't be afraid to apologize, and remember to apologize with sincerity.

WP:SORRY

Low

Avoiding difficult users

Avoid interacting with users that are disruptive. Don't fight fire with fire.

Low

Behavior that disrupts dispute resolution

In dispute resolution, don't make things worse than they already are.

WP:BDDR

Unranked

Civility warnings

Be cautious when warning an editor for civility. Remember to remain polite and civil.

Low

Divisiveness

If content on your user page might be seen by some as "divisive", it is recommended that you may choose to expand the content in question.

Low

Enjoy

Editing should be enjoyable. Never let Wikipedia become a chore.

WP:ENJOY

Low

Expressing thanks

Polite messages, awards, or a nice cup of tea are all ways of expressing thanks.

WP:THANKS

Unranked

Honesty

Honesty is ethical and helps the project.

WP:HONEST, WP:DISHONEST

Unranked

It's not the End of the World

If people disagree with you or revert your edits, it probably doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

WP:WORLDSEND, WP:EOTW

Unranked

Most people who disagree with you on content are not vandals

If someone is in a legitimate content dispute with you, don't call them a vandal.

WP:HERRING, WP:ADHOMINEM, WP:DV

Unranked

Nobody cares

Lack of action by others can mean lack of interest.

Low

No climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spider-Man

No Wikipedia editor may climb the Reichstag building dressed as Spider-Man in order to gain advantage in a content dispute.

WP:SPIDER, WP:NCR, WP:REICHSTAG, WP:SPIDERMAN

Top

Only Martians should edit

Third party editors can offer new perspectives on a dispute.

WP:MARTIANS

Low

Revert only when necessary

Discussion is often more preferable than reverting. Avoid edit warring.

WP:ROWN, WP:ONLYREVERT

Mid

Shouting things loudly does not make them true

Insisting your opinion is correct without providing an intelligent explanation is the Wikipedia equivalent of shouting your opinion loudly until it is accepted as being true.

WP:IMRIGHT, WP:YOUREWRONG

Low

Thank you

Remember to thank editors. We all like to be respected, and we all deserve respect.

WP:THANKYOU

Low

The grey zone

If you've reached a point where you're not sure what to do, step back and take a break.

WP:GREY

Low

The Last Word

In Wikipedia, sometimes debates get heated. Whenever this occurs, it is of primary importance that you always ensure that you get The Last Word.

WP:LASTWORD

Mid

Truce

When in a dispute, attempt to reach a compromise or declare a truce.

WP:TRUCE

Low

What were you thinking?

Sometimes, other editors may be legitimately puzzled by your actions. It's usually in your best interests to explain your thought process.

WP:WWYT, WP:WWYT?

Unranked

Wikipedia is not about winning

Wikipedia is all about teamwork. Users must work together to build a reliable encyclopedia, not try to prove themselves to be "better" than others.

WP:WINNING, WP:WINNER, WP:WIN

Low

Witchhunt

Accusations against other editors should not be made in the absence of any value in doing so.

WP:WITCHHUNT, WP:HUNT

Unranked

Things to avoid[edit]

Essay In a nutshell Shortcuts Impact
Do not insult the vandals

How to better deal with vandals: revert and ignore.

WP:BNTV, WP:DNIV, WP:INSULT

Mid

Don't accuse someone of a personal attack for accusing of a personal attack

Don't retaliate if accused of a personal attack. Return to the discussion of the issue at hand.

WP:NPANPA, WP:NPA2

Unranked

Don't be a fanatic

Recognize that all Wikipedia editors are ultimately colleagues working together, listen with civility, and try to find ways to respect and (within Wikipedia policy limits) incorporate others' viewpoints and material as well as your own.

WP:DBF, WP:FANATIC

Low

Don't be an ostrich

Assume good faith. Help other editors when they need help. Don't ignore them.

WP:OSTRICH

Low

Don't be ashamed

Sometimes, an edit made in good faith does not comply to policy or consensus. Don't be ashamed of making mistakes.

WP:SHAME, WP:NOSHAME, WP:ASHAMED

Low

Don't be inconsiderate

Do not be abrasive and inconsiderate. If people abided by this, we would not need any other policies about behavior.

Unranked

Don't be prejudiced

Assume good faith and give every user a fair chance.

Low

Don't call a spade a spade

"Calling a spade a spade" means applying labels to an editor. Doing so is just going to cause the dispute to escalate, and turn out to be really embarrassing if you turn out to be wrong.

WP:NOSPADE, WP:DCASAS

Mid

Don't call the kettle black

The disruptive behavior of another editor is not an excuse for your own disruptive behavior.

WP:HYPOCRISY, WP:IRONY, WP:POT, WP:POTKETTLE, WP:KETTLE

Mid

Don't cry wolf

Do not make accusations of harassment or personal attacks lightly.

WP:WOLF

Low

Don't edit war over the colour of templates

Don't edit war over the colour of templates. It's lame, and anyone caught doing it will be forced to use a monochrome monitor for the rest of his or her life.

WP:DEW

Low

Don't feed the divas

Divas often storm off the project when they don't get their way. Let them go.

WP:DIVA

Low

Don't fight fire with fire

Stay civil, even under the most intense flames.

WP:FWF, WP:FFWF, WP:DFFWF

Low

Don't give a fuck

Don't-give-a-fuckism is the idea that attachment to things (articles, policies, AfDs, etc...) which are essentially beyond your control is a stumbling block to being a good Wikipedian.

WP:FUCK, WP:DGAF, WP:DGAS, WP:DAMN, WP:RATSASS

Top

Don't lose the thread

Keep talk pages on track, use the correct talk pages, and get to the point.

WP:TPTHREAD

Unranked

Don't panic

Always keep an eye on yourself when you are involved in a dispute.

WP:DON'T, WP:PANIC, WP:DONTPANIC

Low

Don't remind others of past misdeeds

Do not criticize a repentant editor in good standing for past misdeeds that have stopped reoccurring. This is a failure to assume good faith and a personal attack.

WP:ATONED, WP:REPENTANT

Unranked

Don't shoot yourself in the foot

Consider your own actions before bringing attention to the actions of others.

WP:SHOT, WP:BOOMERANG, WP:PETARD

Low

Don't spite your face

When faced with enforcing a solution that will predictably escalate the evident problem beyond present levels, back off and seek other, less inflammatory, actions to go about solving it. Even when acting in good faith, consider the gravity of the response that will result from your actions

WP:DSYF, WP:NOSE

Low

Don't stuff beans up your nose

If you tell people not to do something, that may instead give them the idea to do it.

WP:BEAN, WP:BEANS

High

Don't take the bait

Goading others into making uncivil comments is a common tactic. Don't take the bait.

WP:BAIT

Low

Don't template the regulars

When dealing with experienced users, it is generally more effective to write them a short personal message than to apply a standardized template.

WP:DTR, WP:DTTR, WP:TEMPLAR

High

Just drop it

If you want an argument to stop, stop arguing.

WP:JUSTDROPIT, WP:DROPIT, WP:DROP, WP:JDI

Low

No angry mastodons Don't get stressed out while editing; defuse stress when possible. Edit while you are at your best, not while angry, scared, or intoxicated. Be considerate of others in the community.

WP:NAM, WP:MASTODONS, WP:KEEPCOOL

High

No angry mastodons just madmen With over 17 million Wikipedia editors, expect a wide range of reactions. The fight-or-flight response is good advice, to beware potential user confrontations.

WP:MADMEN

Low

Things to do[edit]

Essay In a nutshell Shortcuts Impact
Admitting you're wrong

You can make friends and influence enemies on Wikipedia by learning when to admit you're wrong.

WP:ADMIT, WP:NEVERMIND

Unranked

Assume clue

Assume that maybe other people have a clue, and check whether you do too.

WP:ACLUE

Low

Assume no clue

Assume that people don't know what they're doing before you assume bad faith.

WP:NOCLUE

Low

Assume the assumption of good faith

When involved in a discussion, it is best to think very carefully before citing WP:AGF.

WP:AAGF, WP:FAITH2

Low

Avoid Parkinson's Bicycle Shed Effect

Don't get hung up on minor details.

WP:SHED, WP:BIKE, WP:BIKESHED

Low

Avoid personal remarks

Focus on editing, stay civil, don't make it personal.

WP:APR

Low

Avoid rancor

Do not do that which creates rancor amongst good faith contributors.

WP:RANCOR

Low

Avoid the word "vandal"

Vandals are people who deliberately attempt to damage Wikipedia, not those who make adverse edits.

WP:ATWV

Low

Call a spade a spade

It's okay to call a spade a spade – to speak plainly – but remember to remain civil, and to stay focused on improving the encyclopedia

WP:SPADE

Mid

Deny recognition

Recognition is a motivation for vandalism. Trolls require food. Don't feed the trolls.

WP:DENY, WP:DNR, WP:DNFTT

Mid

Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass

If the debate has died, don't revive it.

WP:STICK, WP:HORSEMEAT, WP:DEADHORSE

Mid

Encourage the newcomers

Help out new editors. Offer newcomers guidance and advice.

WP:ENCOURAGE, WP:ETN

Unranked

Get over it

Don't get frustrated over a dispute. Get over it and move on.

WP:GOI, WP:GETOVERIT

Low

How to discuss cruft

Many Wikipedians use cruft as a shorthand term to describe content that is inappropriate for Wikipedia. Because cruft is a real problem, efforts to identify cruft should be taken in good faith. In order to appropriately deal with cruft, editors need to be specific and back their assertions with Wikipedia's policy and guidelines rather than personal preference.

WP:TALKCRUFT, WP:DISCUSSCRUFT, WP:CRUFTISREAL

Low

How to lose

Knowing how to "lose" a debate, with civility and grace, is sometimes as important as winning it.

Unranked

Keep it down to earth

Aim for workable solutions that have a realistic chance at succeeding.

WP:DOWN, WP:EARTH

Low

Let sleeping dogs lie

If a minor editing issue can potentially lead to a prolonged dispute amongst editors, avoid picking the issue.

WP:LSDL

Low

Mind your own business

If editors are in a dispute that has nothing to do with you, then mind your own business.

WP:MYOB, WP:BUTTOUT

Low

Restoring part of a reverted edit

It is sometimes better to remove the content that is objectionable, instead of entirely reverting an edit.

Low

Types of interaction[edit]

Essay In a nutshell Shortcuts Impact
WikiBullying

Threatening or intimidating other editors is not tolerated.

WP:BULLY

Low

WikiCrime

Do not be disruptive.

Low

WikiHate

Hate and anger are unproductive. Try to WP:LOVE.

WP:HATE, WP:H8, WP:HATRED, WP:H8RED

Low

WikiLawyering

Do not utilize the rules in a manner contrary to their principles in order to "win" editing disputes is highly frowned upon by the Wikipedia community.

WP:LAWYER, WP:WL, WP:LAWYERING, WP:PETTIFOG

High

WikiLove

Love thy fellow editor.

WP:LOVE

High

WikiPeace

Make Wikipedia a more peaceful place by being civil and polite.

WP:PEACE, WP:WKP, WP:☮

Low