Wikipedia:Forgive and forget

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I have a funky idea for dispute resolution. It's called "forgive and forget".

How does it work?

Consider this too...

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

Alexander Pope

And for the very holiest...

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.

Proverbs 25:21–22 Romans 12:20

It's very simple. Instead of assuming the worst of people and subjecting them to unnecessary criticism or false accusations deficient in evidence while building up your weapon supplies with paranoid Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations or at pages like Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents and Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration, you decide to forgive people for their perceived slights. Everyone else apologizes, and the incident fades into nonexistence. Should all parties subscribe to this effort, the number of escalating quarrels will diminish and all existing conflicts, will, hopefully, be resolved in a matter of days (tout de suite).[1] Very simple.

The traditional dispute resolution process stipulates that if you can't avoid the situation, then people should attempt to engage in a productive discussion (i.e. talk it out). Unfortunately, many disputes move onto other pages, where it is highly stressful. This ultimately causes people to leave Wikipedia. This method is very disruptive; it scares away encyclopedia editors and it wastes far too much time.

Often, people will stoop to insult and will try to ensure the other is punished for their mistakes. This is counter-productive and vindictive; there is no place for this on Wikipedia.

In order to put "forgive and forget" into practice, we must assume there is much brawling going on on the talk page or any applicable area. Improve relations with the other editors by apologizing for your actions, offer forgiveness for their actions, and do your best to resolve all disputes with anyone involved. Once everyone has calmed down, editors can continue contributing to the community.

We would like to foster a supportive environment, where constructive criticism is accepted and differing views are respected (provided all edits meet our standards), and we would like to do our best to avoid becoming unpleasant.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ With the wrong people, e.g., tendentious editors, apologies may have limited effect.