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A Wikibully
Wikipedia should be free of bullying

WikiBullying is the act of using the Wikipedia system and the power of editing to threaten or intimidate other people, whether they are Wikipedia editors or not. Doing so violates the civility principles of Wikipedia and is not tolerated.

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.

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 are at a lower level and are not entitled to their point of view.

Stating a real policy when it is necessary is not considered WikiBullying. But going beyond an editor's call of duty to enforce policies can be.

Forms of WikiBullying[edit]

Asserting ownership[edit]

There are experts 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. 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 the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License and others 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.

The exception is that the creator of a page may request speedy deletion if the page has not been edited or has only had very minor edits otherwise.

Bullying of principal editors[edit]

On the other hand, there are bullying editors who have not exerted themselves to the point where they could be called the "principal editor" of any significant article. Some of these editors ruthlessly attack editors who are the principal editor of an article and have done the hard work of creating and nurturing it, accusing them of "ownership", insisting that their own ill-considered contributions take precedence.

Aggressive undoing[edit]

Making an "Undo" to prevent expression of an idea (usually criticism, or even facts with negative impact to expressions) without any reasons, or "your text does not conform to wiki standards". Remarks: "Please improve this point instead of bullying this. Thanks."

Making "no-edit" orders contrary to policy[edit]

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 one attempts to edit the article or section.

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 consensus is unclear, forming a discussion, whether between two users or an entire group is strongly encouraged. Any discussions aimed at coming to a peaceful resolution or some other compromise are highly praised.

But no editor may unilaterally take charge over an article or part of an article by sending no-edit orders.

The {{inuse}} tag may be temporarily placed on top of a page so that others do not interfere with one's planned editing.

Use of hidden text[edit]

Hidden text is also frequently used to give editing instructions. There are some acceptable and unacceptable uses for hidden text. But hidden text that is used in any manner is considered only to be suggestions and is not to be taken as law.

Some acceptable uses are:

  • If an article, template, project page, or other Wikipedia page has just been created, and it may take multiple edits to complete the construction that involve the use of multiple articles, hidden text may be used temporarily to let new page patrollers and others know that it is under construction so that it does not get proposed for deletion.
  • If a page may seem tempting to propose for deletion, but already has in the past, and has survived deletion, hidden text may be used to let others know that the page previously was proposed for deletion and instruct others where to read the previous discussions, although use of the template {{oldafdfull}} on the talk page is preferred.
  • If there is any information that is constantly added, removed, or modified in any other way, and there may be a better alternative, hidden text may be used to let others know of that alternative. in this case, it should mention the alternative and point to a discussion, if one exists
  • If misinformation that has been commonly misbelieved is frequently added to an article, hidden text may be used to inform others. The text should point the reader to a discussion on the topic, if one exists.
  • If information that may be tempting to add really belongs somewhere else, to point other editors to that place
  • To inform others of existing policies that may apply when editing a page

Some unacceptable uses are:

  • Telling all other editors not to edit the page, period
  • Telling others not to remove a section of the article period, as if the section were 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[edit]

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.

See also[edit]