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Wiktionary:No personal attacks

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This page is a hard rule on the Simple English Wiktionary. Many people agree with it. They see it as a standard that all users should follow. When changing the page, please check that the other people agree with your changes. Use the talk page when you are not sure or when you want to propose a change.

This page in a nutshell: Talk about content, not the editor.

Do not make personal attacks in Simple English Wiktionary. Talk about the things people say, not the person who says them. Personal attacks will never help you make a point; they hurt the Wiktionary community and make people not want to help make a good dictionary. Wiktionarians should try not to say that others have made personal attacks, especially if there is a fight. It is better for someone who is not part of a fight to say that another person made a personal attack and then for all editors to go back to talking about the entry.

What is a personal attack?[change]

Debate is an important part of Wiktionary culture. Different Wiktionarians often do not agree on parts of an entry. Combining these views into one entry makes a better, more NPOV entry. Every person who changes an article is part of the Wiktionary community – we are all Wiktionarians.

Editors should be civil and be nice to each other when they do not agree. Comments should not be personal and should be about the entry and what people do, not about the people. But when people disagree about content (the entry), talking about other editors is not always a personal attack. If someone says "Your statement about X is wrong because of information at Y" is not a personal attack. The best answer to things like that is to talk about the content instead of saying that the other person is breaking this rule.

There is no line that says what is a personal attack and what are helpful comments, but some kinds of comments are never acceptable:

  • Bad names about race, sex, homosexuals, age, religion, politics, ethnicity, handicaps, etc. against someone else. It is not an excuse if you disagree with someone else on what makes a religion, race, etc.
  • Using someone's membership in a group to dismissing or discrediting his/her views.
  • Saying you will sue someone or take them to court.
  • Saying you will hurt or kill someone.
  • Saying you will vandalize (ruin) someone's userpage or talk page.
  • Profanity (bad words) said towards someone else.
  • Saying or doing something that makes anyone persecute other Wiktionary editors. If someone does this, they may be blocked for a long time by any administrator when it is found. Administrators blocking for this reason should probably tell other administrators what they did and why.

These examples are not all that could be a personal attack. Insulting an editor is a personal attack any way that it is said. When you are not sure, talk about the entry content without talking about the other editor.

The rule against personal attacks is for all Wiktionarians. It is as bad to attack a user that has done bad things before as it is to attack anyone else. Simple English Wiktionary wants a positive community: people make mistakes, but they should learn from them and change their ways. Personal attacks are against this idea and hurt the work of making a dictionary.

Reacting to personal attacks[change]

First options[change]

Often the best way to react to a personal attack is to not answer. Wiktionary and its debates can become stressful for some editors, who may overreact sometimes. Also, discussions here are only written. This makes it hard to show emotions and can make others not understand. Personal attacks are not excused because of this, but editors should ignore angry comments of others when it is reasonable to ignore them, and to continue trying to improve the dictionary.

If you feel that you should answer, you should leave a nice message on the other user's talk page. Do not answer on a talk page of an entry; this often makes things worse. It is important to not become angry and rude, even when the other person is not being nice. Try to find compromise or something in common about the issues of content, instead of arguing about actions. Often it is a good idea to ask for someone else to help if an argument becomes personal. Most of the time, administrators do not need to do anything.

Some Wiktionarians may remove personal attacks on others when they see them, but this is not a rule and some people think it is not a good idea. Removing personal attacks from your user talk page is probably okay, but in other places, where attacks are directed against you, people should usually only remove attacks that everyone agrees are attacks, like the ones above.

Talking nicely about an editor's actions is not a personal attack as long as it does not talk about their character. For example, saying "Your statement is a personal attack..." is not a personal attack.

Off-wiki personal attacks[change]

Wiktionary cannot control how people act in places that are not controlled by the Wikimedia Foundation, but personal attacks in other places can cause questions about whether an editor is acting in good faith on Wiktionary. Making personal attacks in other places hurts the community and the editor's relationship with it. Attacks like that may make a difference to administrators when they are deciding what to do.

External links[change]

You may not link to other sites which attack or hurt the privacy of Wiktionary editors. Adding links like that is a kind of attack. Adding links like that again and again may make an administrator block or ban you.

Consequences of personal attacks[change]

Even though editors should usually ignore or nicely answer personal attacks, that does not mean that they are acceptable or without consequences (things that will happen to the attacker). If someone is often angry the community may not assume good faith. Users who do not stop using personal attacks will probably get a reaction from an administrator, maybe even a block or ban.

Sometimes a person may be blocked for one personal attack. Saying you will sue someone or kill someone or things like that may make an administrator block you without telling you first. But administrators should know that other actions are better most of the time. A block should stop attacks, not punish an attacker.