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Admit mistakes

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
(English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

There are a lot of issues in the world, many of which have a lot of sides. Indeed, there are a lot of issues on Wikipedia, many of which have a lot of sides. Statistically speaking, the odds that you are right about every issue you express an opinion on are nil. In light of this, it is a good idea to regularly consider the possibility that you might be wrong when dealing with others. Signs that you might be wrong include sane and respected people disagreeing with you, being repeatedly reverted, having an RfC or RFAr opened against you, or being banned (See also Common sense. In the event that you do not suffer excessively from Megalomaniacal point of view, you may even come to recognize that you were wrong about something yourself.

If this should occur, you are faced with a choice. Either you can admit your mistake, or you can be a jerk. The former is the better option. Consider publicly admitting your error, and even apologizing for it. Doing so will make you look like someone who can admit that they are wrong, and lend more weight to your words later on. It's also polite.

When someone admits that they are wrong, this is generally a good occasion to back off and to stop criticizing them for it. Remember to assume good faith. If they admit that they're wrong and go back to doing the exact same thing, that is one thing, but after an apology it is respectful to step back and give them a chance to show that they have learned.

It is also worth noting that admitting mistakes should be a voluntary process. Demanding apologies is a more or less worthless activity.