This is an explanatory supplement to the Wikipedia:Civility and Wikipedia:Ownership of articles policies.
|This page in a nutshell: Bullying is not permitted on Wikipedia, and any violators will be blocked from editing.|
WikiBullying is using Wikipedia to threaten and/or intimidate other people, whether they are Wikipedia editors or not. Doing so violates Wikipedia's civility policy which states that
even a single act of severe incivility could result in a block...
If you feel that you are being bullied or another user has threatened you with bodily harm, it is important that you report them immediately to the Incidents page on the Administrator's Noticeboard so the matter can be properly dealt with. However, see "What bullying is not" below, to properly distinguish between a complaint about bullying versus other kinds of complaints. All complaints about bullying, even those which turn out to be unjustified should be treated with seriousness and respect, and any WP:BOOMERANG on individuals who have complained they are being bullied is contrary to the principles of respect for thoughtful intellectual discourse that Wikipedia represents. No one should ever fear coming forward to make the community aware of a bullying concern.
There are essentially two forms of bullying on Wikipedia: attacks against the individual editor by targeting a single user, or giving the perception of power aimed at the entire Wikipedia community at large.
On Wikipedia, all editors have fair and equal rights to editing all articles, project pages, and all other parts of the system. While some may have more knowledge or familiarity with a topic than others, this does not mean those with less Wikipedia jargon are at a lower level, or not entitled to their point of view.
Stating a real policy when it is necessary is not considered WikiBullying.
Forms of WikiBullying
There are experts, or those otherwise very knowledgeable of a topic, in every field who create and make major contributions to the articles relating to that topic. They may be familiar with where to find sources of information to establish notability and vouch for accuracy, and have better overall knowledge (see WP:STEWARDSHIP). But this does not constitute ownership of any articles. No article on Wikipedia is owned by any editor. Any text that is added to Wikipedia is freely licensed under WP:CC-BY-SA and other users are free to add, remove or modify it at will, provided that such editing is done responsibly. While there may be disagreement, generally consensus will determine the final outcome.
Point of View (POV) railroading refers to the use of bullying tactics to discredit or eliminate an editor with an opposing viewpoint.
False accusations are a common form of bullying on Wikipedia, although people do sometimes make honest mistakes. Accusations of misconduct made without evidence are considered a serious personal attack.
Making "no-edit" orders contrary to policy
Another form of wikibullying is to issue no-edit orders which are not backed by current policies (or guidelines). A "no-edit" order is a message sent to a single editor (who is not banned) or to the Wikipedia community not to edit at all or in a particular manner, or not to edit a particular page or part of a page at all or in a particular manner. These messages can be sent to a user's talk page, placed on an article's talk page, or in hidden text that would not be missed if an editor attempts to edit the article or section. No editor may unilaterally take charge over an article or part of an article by sending no-edit orders.
There are some no-edit orders that are acceptable. For example, if a consensus has already been formed regarding a topic, and a single editor has constantly stubbornly defied the ruling, politely discussing this one-on-one on the user's talk page is acceptable.
If an edit war is in progress and the consensus is unclear, it is strongly encouraged to form a discussion between the two users or the entire group. Discussions are aimed at coming to a peaceful resolution and some other compromises are highly recommended.
Wikihounding is the singling out of one or more editors, and joining discussions on multiple pages or topics they may edit or multiple debates where they contribute, to repeatedly confront or inhibit their work. This is with an apparent aim of creating irritation, annoyance or distress to the other editor. Wikihounding usually involves following the target from place to place on Wikipedia.
Hidden text is frequently used to give editing instructions. There are some acceptable and unacceptable uses for hidden text. Hidden texts may be suggestions, in which case they should not to be taken as law, or they may be notes about current consensus among editors, or about policies or guidelines; policies should normally be followed, while guidelines are meant to outline best practices for following those standards in specific contexts. There can be exceptions to the rules, however.
Some unacceptable uses are:
- Telling all other editors not to edit the page
- Telling others not to remove a section of the article, as if the section were written in stone
- Telling others that a page should not be proposed for deletion, when this may be doubted by others
- Writing new guidelines that apply specifically to the page and branding them as "policy." In the past, policies that have been proposed for a single article have failed to attain a consensus.
Real life threats
Scaring or making threats against the person, either on or outside of Wikipedia. See also WP:VIOLENCE.
The Wikimedia Foundation, if need be, will investigate or arrange for law enforcement to investigate threats of violence.
What bullying is not
A few things are often falsely identified as bullying:
- A robust response to determined attempts to insert disputed content into an article.
- Taking actions against attempts to promote a POV.
- Sanctioning editors who do not take on board criticism.
- Sanctioning editors who will not accept consensus.
Don't make unfounded complaints of bullying. For one thing, they undermine your own credibility. But more importantly, they trivialize the harm done by actual bullying.