Source of conflict

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This page was essentially the rant of one person and may not fit the view of the community. If it becomes listed on vfd for being a personal page, please rather move it to a user:anthere sub page. Thanks.

There are numerous sources of conflicts, which may erupt in Wikipedia daily building.

Conflicts for domination[edit]

Sometimes, we find ourselves fighting over who is on top of whom in the structure. These conflicts occur between individuals (you do not own that article), groups (the so-called pro-palestinian and pro-israel biased groups of editors) or even between communities with similar goals (international wikipedias versus english one).

These kind of conflict are tough to solve because no one wants to be at the bottom, and few accept to share the top. Besides, some at the bottom want to move up, while those at the top want to stay at the top. The conflict may be solved if:

  • those at the top being willing to share power
  • or one of the two parties leaving,
  • or one party may accept being on the bottom,
  • or both parties may recognize the superiority of the overarching goal -- to provide a high-quality encyclopedia. Remembering our mission and our goal can often make complex conflicts easier to handle.

Disputes over accuracy[edit]

For example, the dispute about using the word "primary" as in "DNA is the primary component of chromosomes" is about accuracy because of the perceived inaccuracy of that statement by some of the editors.

Focusing on the audience might resolve this.

Expert writing needs perfect accuracy, while general audience may sacrifice a tiny bit of accuracy for global understanding to a more diverse audience. Perhaps the difference one may find between Science and a more general monthly journal about science aimed for rather educated readers who want to maintain a minimum of knowledge in most science fields. The second will sacrifice perfect accuracy in order to gain clarity. But we do not aim at being "Science".

Disputes over style[edit]

Some people on wikipedia write more "text book style" while others write more "news style". Focusing on the audience might resolve this. As well as on other projects.

Wikibooks are here to provide textbooks no ? Not Wikipedia. And we are first a resource for adults, not for children. Children encyclopedia might be the goal of another project.

So, perhaps should people willing to write text-book style should focus on wikibooks ? And let new-style people on wikipedia ?

Poorly informed newbies[edit]

Conflict may simply arise from newbies, who did not really understand the core principles of the project and may take actions which they would not have taken, had they been better informed.

It is best to assume good faith from newbies, and take the time to explain slowly, nicely, and repeatedly if needed.

Show the "correct" way by examples rather than explanations (for example, gently copyedit on of his articles in good form behind him) and consider letting the newbie making a few mistakes before mentionning them to him (to avoid him feeling too much pressured).

Also, some conflicts are long-term. As they proceed, participants develop a history of interaction and get to know each other very well. They know their common interests, as well as their meeting points for conflicts, and usually avoid them. New participants lack this experience, and are more likely to fall in in trap.

It is best to find a way to preserve a previous conflict history and to provide new participants with that information. The information should be unbaised at best to encourage new participants to develop their own approach of the problem.

for example, it is best that a new participant is warned upon entering a "frequently conflictual area" that a particular individual has a specific hot point to avoid pushing.

See also: wikistress, which may a result of such conflicts.