Wikinews contributors come from many countries and cultures. We have different views, perspectives, and backgrounds, sometimes varying widely. Treating others with respect is key to collaborating effectively in building a news team.
This page offers some principles of "Wikiquette" — guidelines on how to work with others on Wikinews.
You can read about more basic conventions at the policies and guidelines page.
Principles of Wikinews etiquette
- Never assume. Wikinews is based on a policy of nearly complete freedom to edit. But when something looks odd, do not assume good faith or bad faith. Do not assume anything. There is no reason to be overly critical, and no reason to leave out suspicions. This also apples to reporting on news. Be objective.
- Avoid reverts and deletions whenever possible, and stay within the three-revert rule except in cases of clear vandalism. Explain reversions in the edit summary box.
- Be polite.
- People can't see you or know for sure your mood. Irony isn't always obvious, and blunt, raw text can easily appear rude. Be careful of the words you choose — what you intended might not be what others think.
- Work toward agreement.
- Don't ignore questions.
- If another disagrees with your edit, provide good reasons why you think it's appropriate.
- Concede a point, when you have no response to it; or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste.
- Don't make people debate positions you don't really hold.
- Be prepared to apologize.
- In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so.
- Forgive and forget.
- Recognize your own biases and keep them in check.
- Give praise when due. Everybody likes to feel appreciated, especially in an environment that often requires compromise. Drop a friendly note on user's talk pages.
- Remove or summarize resolved disputes that you initiated.
- Help mediate disagreements between others.
- If polite discussion fails, take a break if you're arguing or recommend a break if you're mediating.
- Come back after a week or two. If no one is mediating, and you think mediation is needed, enlist someone.
- Walk away or find another Wikinews article to distract yourself — lend your much-needed services at pages needing attention.
- Remember what Wikinews is not.
- Be civil.
How to avoid abuse of talk pages
Most people take pride in their work and in their point of view. Egos can easily get hurt in editing, but talk pages are not a place for striking back. They're a good place to comfort or undo damage to egos, but most of all they're for forging agreements that are best for the articles they're attached to.
Here are a few things to bear in mind
- Wikinews articles are supposed to fairly report all views (more at NPOV). The Talk pages are not a place to debate which views are right or wrong or better. If you want to do that, there are venues such as the comments namespace, Usenet, public weblogs and other wikis.
- If someone disagrees with you, this does not necessarily mean that (1) the person hates you, (2) the person thinks you're stupid, (3) the person is stupid, (4) the person is evil, etc. When people post opinions without practical implications for the article, it's best to just leave them be.
- Wikinews invites you to be bold. Before initiating discussion, ask yourself: Is this really necessary to discuss? Could I provide a summary with my edit and wait for others to quibble if they like?
- You can always take a discussion to e-mail or to your user page if it's not essential to the article.
A few more tips on polite discussion
- Always make clear what point you are addressing, especially in replies.
- Quoting a post is O.K., but stating how you interpreted it is better. Before proceeding to say that someone is wrong, concede you might have misinterpreted him or her.
- Don't label or personally attack people or their edits.
- Terms like "racist," "sexist" or even "poorly written" make people defensive. This makes it hard to discuss articles productively.
Other words of advice
- Be open and warmly welcoming, not insular.
- Be focused single-mindedly on writing news articles, not on Usenet-style debate.
- Recognize and praise the best work, work that is detailed, factual, well-informed, and well-referenced.
- Work to understand what neutrality requires and why it is so essential to and good for this project.
- Treat your fellow productive, well-meaning members of Wikinews with respect and good will.
- Attract and honor good people who know a lot and can write about it well.
- Show the door to trolls, vandals, and wiki-anarchists, who, if permitted, would waste your time and create a poisonous atmosphere here.
- Make others feel welcome (even longtime participants; even those you dislike).
- Create and continue a friendly environment.
- Turn the other cheek (which includes walking away from potential edit wars).
- Give praise, especially to those you don't know (most people like to know they are wanted and appreciated).
- Much of this content originally comes from Wikipedia:Wikiquette.