Wikipedia talk:No personal attacks

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To whom do I go[edit]

Hey y'all, I was just insulted on the page Ani-Stohini/Unami (talk page), the user did not sign his/her name, and there is nothing there to find out who it is (was?). In reacting, I think I did let my temper get the best of me, but how did I report this behaviour? Especially since there is no user name or IP address to be found. Thanks! Adam (talk) 15:06, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

Don't worry about it. The user was an anonymous IP and has already been blocked, and the comment was removed by an administrator. You can see who made any comment by looking at the page history, available from the "View History" tab across the top of the page. In future if you would like to report such an incident, the place to do it is at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. But in most cases, especially with throwaway IPs, the best response is to simply ignore it. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 15:11, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

Interesting developments[edit]

The theme for this month's installment of the m:Wikimedia Foundation metrics and activities meetings seems to be harassment, including effects on user retention and an algorithm for identifying personal attacks (currently 95% success).

If you're interested in this subject, then you can watch the video on YouTube or on Commons (supposedly somewhere here, but probably not uploaded yet). (Ping me if you need more information; I'm not watching this page.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 12:53, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

Possible contradiction regarding removing personal attacks[edit]

In the lead there is,

"Derogatory comments about other editors may be removed by any editor."

In the section Removal of personal attacks there is,

"There is no official policy regarding when or whether most personal attacks should be removed, although it has been a topic of substantial debate."

This seems like a contradiction. --Bob K31416 (talk) 00:14, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Yes. Few things in life are simple, and there is no set of rules that cover all cases of how to interact with other people. Some people look for ways to poke their opponents and will gleefully see any remotely negative comment as a "personal attack" and will then edit war to remove it. That should not be encouraged. On the other hand, actual personal attacks should be removed. It's rare to see a comment which contains useful content and a personal attack, and I have removed all of such comments in the past. Sometimes that works (the comment stays removed possibly after some back-and-forth), and sometimes it doesn't. I saw your comment at User talk:Jimbo Wales#Templates for addressing personal attacks where DGG gave an excellent reply. It might be best to link to the section of a talk page where you think there is a problem and I'll give you my opinion. There is no general rule that applies to all situations. Johnuniq (talk) 01:18, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your response because you seem to be saying that this policy contradicts itself and that's OK. Or did I misinterpret what you said? --Bob K31416 (talk) 01:33, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
My comment is fine—the problem is that you are hoping for too much because there is no wording that would always work. The first quote ("may be removed") regards derogatory comments. The problem concerns defining "derogatory", and that's why the second quote is worded the way it is. The roadblock that prevents a universal solution is that Wikipedia has many misguided editors—often a topic will attract an indefinite supply of them, while only two or three good editors will defend the topic in a way supported by policies. Eventually one of the good editors will make a pointed remark. Some participants think such remarks should be ruthlessly removed, while others think the effort that goes into that should be directed towards removing the misguided editors. It is almost never productive to debate the theory of this kind of thing—just link to the problematic section with what might be a personal attack, and let's discuss that. Johnuniq (talk) 02:19, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I think you are agreeing that there is a contradiction between the two statements. You explain that there is a problem with the term "derogatory" because editors may not agree about whether a comment is derogatory. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, we could try to fix the first statement in that regard. --Bob K31416 (talk) 11:47, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I see no contradiction between the two statements. Derogatory comments may be removed, but there is no policy on when they should be removed. Burninthruthesky (talk) 12:29, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
That is correct. There is no contradiction. They may be removed, but there is no policy requiring that they be removed. Robert McClenon (talk) 12:50, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I think you are correct that "may" (which expresses permission) and "should" (which expresses obligation) are different, so strictly speaking the two statements don't contradict each other, although I think that isn't obvious to the reader. Also, if we continue reading in the paragraph of the second statement in the section Removal of personal attacks, we come across the following statement, "On other talk pages, especially where such text is directed against you, removal should typically be limited to clear-cut cases where it is obvious the text is a true personal attack." This seems like a contradiction of the first statement which does not express any limitation for removal. Here are the two statements together for comparison.
"Derogatory comments about other editors may be removed by any editor." (from lead)
"On other talk pages, especially where such text is directed against you, removal should typically be limited to clear-cut cases where it is obvious the text is a true personal attack." (from section Removal of personal attacks)
In any case, the situation can be clarified by adding the word "Clearly", so that the statement in the lead becomes,
Clearly derogatory comments about other editors may be removed by any editor.
--Bob K31416 (talk) 13:27, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
For a contrary view, see WP:CLEARLY. While I sometimes use "clearly", I can see the argument that "clearly derogatory" is no better than "derogatory"—third parties would still have to agree that the text in question was derogatory, and adding "clearly" just muddies the water because it suggests that text which is simply derogatory is ok; it is only clearly derogatory text that can be removed. I'm just laying out some of the problems that are encountered in this area, and will try to keep quiet for a while so others might give a view. Johnuniq (talk) 04:11, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
Re "third parties would still have to agree that the text in question was derogatory, and adding "clearly" just muddies the water because it suggests that text which is simply 'derogatory' is ok" — Couldn't the same be said of the corresponding language used in the section Removal of personal attacks: "unquestionable personal attacks", "clear-cut cases", "obvious"?
It's as if the lead and the other section were written by two different people who couldn't agree. --Bob K31416 (talk) 10:31, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
I added a copy of the sentence in the lead to the section Removal of personal attacks to make the two sections less inconsistent. diff --Bob K31416 (talk) 11:48, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Why are personal attacks harmful?[edit]

I don't think that the section Why personal attacks are harmful answers this question very well. So I thought that I would ask the editors here why personal attacks are harmful? --Bob K31416 (talk) 04:00, 26 August 2016 (UTC)

I added a couple of reasons for why personal attacks are harmful. diff --Bob K31416 (talk) 14:47, 26 August 2016 (UTC)


not that its really important but why have a rule that's going to be misused by people who do veiled personal attacks as their only contribution on the net & then immediately accuse other of doing it, mostly for irony value ,, i dislike authoritarian rule but wikipedia should put its foot down when its ridiculously obvious , or just allow interpersonal anarchy. Waptek (talk) 22:04, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

it should have a part about comparing editors to serial killers[edit]

there was a part that said comparing editors to Nazis and dictators would result in them being blocked. I personally think serial killers should also be included, so to let people know that comparing editors to serial killers is just as bad as Nazis and Dictators. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:183:C600:B855:2CDD:C7A3:7717:D79 (talk) 19:47, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

"Threats of vandalism" are personal attacks now?[edit]

The heck? I'm not defending threats of vandalism, but ... well, I guess if I threatened to vandalize your user page because I don't like you that would be one thing, but that's a bit of a stretch given that 99 times out of 100 "vandalism" on Wikipedia refers to the article space. Surely, especially with the "but not limited to" covering all eventualities, that example could be left out, no? Hijiri 88 (やや) 16:17, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Clearly misplaced. Removed. While I believe threats of vandalism are clearly blockable as WP:DE or general bullshit, it's difficult to understand how such could be an attack on a person. Toddst1 (talk) 18:24, 25 March 2017 (UTC)