This page details the No Personal Attacks policy as ratified by an RfC on January 22, 2012.
Do not make personal attacks anywhere on Wikitroid. You are to comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks are unproductive in community discussions, as they damage Wikitroid as a community and obstruct other users from helping to improve the quality of our articles. Accusing someone of making a personal attack should not be done lightly, especially if you are disputing something. It is best for an observer(s) who are uninvolved to politely point out that someone has made a personal attack, and ask that the discussion to return to considering the content, not the person.
Note: Administrators are not above this rule, and are expected to follow it completely like other users.
What is considered a personal attack?[edit source]
Often, different contributors disagree on some of the content within an article. Contributors are mostly members of opposing communities who wish to have their viewpoints included in articles. Assimilating views such as these into a single article is the key to creating better articles for everyone. Every user who makes an edit(s) to an article, whether it be small, such as grammar correction, or large, such as additions of image galleries, is part of one same community.
Editors should be civil when stating their disagreements. Comments should not invoke the commentator's personal feelings and should be directed at content and actions rather than other users. However, when there are disagreements about content, referring to other editors in discussions is not always a personal attack. A posting that says "Your statement about X is wrong because of information at Y", or "The paragraph you inserted into the article looks like opinion", is not a personal attack. Even some comments that might constitute as a personal attack in one's mind, such as labeling an edit that removes a substantial amount of text as "vandalism", may be well-intentioned. An appropriate response to such statements is to address the content's issues rather than accuse the other user of violating this policy. Notably, users should recognize the difference between telling another user "you are acting stupid" and saying "you are stupid". The former statement refers to the user's behavior, while the latter refers to the actual user.
While no clearly defined rule or standard about what constitutes a personal attack exists, some types of comments that are never acceptable include but are not limited to:
- Racial, sexual, homophobic, ageist, religious, political, or ethnic epithets directed against another contributor. Disagreement over what constitutes a religion, race, sexual preference, or ethnicity is not a legitimate excuse.
- Using someone's affiliations as a means of dismissing or discrediting their views — regardless of whether said affiliations are mainstream or extreme.
- Threats of legal action.
- Threats of physical violence, particularly death threats.
- Threats of vandalism to userpages or talk pages.
- Threats to interfere with the usual operation of a user's computer.
- Threats or actions which expose other contributors to political, religious or other persecution by government, their employer or any others.
- Posting a link to an external source that fits the commonly accepted threshold for a personal attack, in a manner that incorporates the substance of that attack into discussion, including the suggestion that such a link applies to another editor, or that another editor needs to visit the external source containing the substance of the attack.
Additionally, editors are strongly discouraged from using profanity in comments to other contributors. These examples are not inclusive. Insulting or disparaging an editor is a personal attack regardless of the manner in which an attack is made. When in doubt, users should comment on the article's content without referring to its contributor(s) at all.
The prohibition against personal attacks applies equally to all contributors, including admins. It is as unacceptable for anyone to attack a "criminal" user with a history of foolish or boorish behavior, or even one who has been subject to disciplinary action, as it is to attack any other user. Wikitroid strongly encourages a positive online community: people make mistakes, but they are encouraged to learn from them and change for the better. Personal attacks are contrary to this spirit and damaging to the continued growth of Wikitroid.
Responding to personal attacks[edit source]
Initial options[edit source]
The best first response to an isolated personal attack is not to respond at all. Debates sometimes become stressful for some editors, who may occasionally overreact. Additionally, talk page discussions are in a text-only medium that conveys nuances and emotions poorly; which can easily lead to misunderstanding. While personal attacks are not excused because of these factors, editors are encouraged to disregard angry and ill-mannered postings of others when reasonable to do so, and to continue to focus their efforts on improving and developing Wikitroid.
If you feel that a response is necessary and desirable, you should leave a polite message on the other user's talk page. Do not respond on a talk page of an article; as this tends to escalate matters. Likewise, it is important to avoid becoming hostile and confrontational yourself, even when in the face of abuse. When possible, attempt to find compromise or common ground regarding the underlying issues of content, rather than argue about behavior. If you are too angered to respond without violating this policy, consider taking a short break from the wiki, or contact an admin.
Particularly offensive or disruptive attacks (such as physical or legal threats) should never be ignored. Extraordinary situations that require immediate intervention are rare, but may be reported to any active site admin on their talk page.
Recurring attacks[edit source]
Recurring personal attacks that fail to stop after reasoned requests to cease should be reported to any active site admin on their talk page. Especially when personal attacks arise as a result of heated debate over article content, informal mediation and discussions with third parties are often the best ways to resolve the conflict. In most circumstances, personal attack problems can be resolved if editors work together and focus on content, and immediate administrator action is not required.
Removal of text[edit source]
Requests for removal of text should be directed to an admin to determine if the comments should remain, be archived, or be deleted. However, deletion should be rare, limited to situations where the comments pose an ongoing threat to a user(s) such as exposure of personal information in the attack.
Consequences of personal attacks[edit source]
Although editors are encouraged to ignore or respond politely to isolated personal attacks, this should not imply that attacks are acceptable or without consequences. A pattern of hostility reduces the likelihood of the community assuming good faith towards the attacking user(s), and can be considered disruptive editing.
Users who insist on a confrontational style marked by personal attacks can receive administrative disciplinary action, including short-term or extended bans. If an administrator believes that a personal attack is severe or disruptive enough to warrant it, a user may also receive disciplinary action on a first offense. Subsequent violations can result in disciplinary action, such as bans, being applied for longer durations, and, if necessary, forever.
As stated before, administrators are not exempt from violating this policy. Should an admin make one or more personal attacks, they should be warned as a normal user would, and if the issue persists, recommendations for demotion and/or actual demotion of the admin for a brief period of time should occur. If the admin in question is demoted but persists attacking, a ban for a period of time depending on the severity of the situation is acceptable.
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