Wikinews:Dispute resolution

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Green check.png This page is an official policy on the English Wikinews. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.

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Dispute resolution
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  to illustrate a point

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Wikinews is a community, which means that we have to work together. Articles often have more than one user working on them, and sometimes users will disagree about how the article should be written. Always try to maintain good etiquette in discussions with other authors.

If you have a disagreement over an article, try to reach a truce and stop editing until you can resolve the issue. Please do not engage in edit wars with other users; this is not a helpful way of resolving disputes and does nothing to improve Wikinews. Instead, follow the process outlined here to resolve disagreements and prevent them from turning into serious disputes.

Note: These steps are designed for resolving disagreements between two or more parties. Vandalism and flagrant violations of Wikinews policies and behavior guidelines by repeat offenders may be handled using expedited procedures, potentially resulting in the offender being banned from Wikinews. In most situations, however, alleged misconduct by an individual user should be handled using the principles outlined here.

Step one: Avoidance[edit]

The best way to resolve a dispute is to avoid it in the first place.

Be respectful to others and their points of view. Following the NPOV policy will help you write "defensively", such that few will object.

When someone makes an edit you consider biased or inaccurate, improve the edit, rather than reverting it. Provide a good edit summary when making significant changes that other users might object to. If you encounter rude or inappropriate behavior, resist the temptation to respond in kind.

Step two: The talk page[edit]

The first resort in resolving almost any conflict is to discuss the issue on a talk page. Either contact the other party on that user's talk page, or use the talk page associated with the article in question. Never carry on a dispute on the article page itself. When discussing an issue, stay cool and don't mount personal attacks. Take the other person's perspective into account and try to reach a compromise. Assume that the other person is acting in good faith unless you have clear evidence to the contrary.

Both at this stage and throughout the dispute resolution process, talking to other parties is not simply a formality to be satisfied before moving on to the next forum. Failure to pursue discussion in good faith shows that you are trying to escalate the dispute instead of resolving it. This will make people less sympathetic to your position and may prevent you from effectively using later stages in dispute resolution. In contrast, sustained discussion and serious negotiation between the parties, even if not immediately successful, shows that you are interested in finding a solution that fits within Wikinews policies.

Step three: Ask the community for help[edit]

If things seem to be getting unwieldy, either party may include a template on their userpage to ask the community for some assistance. Often times, the input of third parties can greatly reduce the bitter quips and accusations that slip out when trying to resolve an issue yourself. The community is often times willing to see both sides and can help you and your fellow Wikinewsie find some common ground. It's still experimental, but give it a try.

Step four: A nice cup of tea and a sit down[edit]

Disputes can get heated, and it is natural to get angry, and perhaps imagine the other party as malicious, or devious, or just plain arrogant. At this point, it's time to have a nice cup of tea and a sit down. Think of something 100% nice to say about the person. It's amazing how it can help you see the bigger picture.

Step five: Bring it here[edit]

If you feel that the dispute is getting out of hand and you have tried step one and two, then list it below so that other users can comment on the dispute. Wikinews works by building consensus. To develop a consensus on a disputed topic, you may need to expose the issue to a larger audience. Any user may comment on the dispute, however flames and personal attacks are not acceptable. The users directly involved in the dispute may request one or more other users to act as mediators in the dispute. Once a resolution has been reached the discussion will be archived.

Step six: Arbitration[edit]

If all else fails you can request your case be heard by the Wikinews:Arbitration Committee. The Arbitration Committee is the highest authority on Wikinews (with the exception of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, but it is very unlikely they're going to intervene in a dispute). To request arbitration, see Wikinews:Requests for arbitration. They will only accept your request if you've tried all other forms of dispute resolution, and they wish to resolve the dispute.

Current disputes[edit]