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Hello All - I may be being a tad daft here, and the answer may already have been written, but is this page designed to be a guide for what to do with uncivil comments, or just some preliminery suggestions that are up for discussion.

Personally I would have quite a problem with replacing people's comments with more "acceptable" words, but of course if this is just a list of preliminaery suggestions then including that option is very sensible. Tompagenet 11:44, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

what does that mean a tad daft ?
What does "a tad daft" mean? lysdexia 00:12, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
these are just ideas I throw on the paper. Clearly, some may appear very wrong to some, not so wrong to others. The replacement of words is sometimes practiced on the french wikipedia. There are labelled changed. Some accept this, and some do not.
if you have any other ideas about what to do with threatening, insulting and degrading comments, please add them :-) Do you think a comment explaining how you deserve to die, or saying you are a nazi, or claming you are a lier are ok, or not ok ? Do you think people have to live with them being public, or not ? Which impact do you think such comments have on the general spirit of WikiLove ?
Anthere - Thanks for getting back so quick!
If you sign your posts with four ~ then it's easier to see who wrote a response. To answer your question, "tad" means "a little", and "daft" means "minor stupidity" so what I was originally writing was that I may have been being a little stupid, as I didn't know if my questions had already been answered elsewhere; I was unaware if this Uncivility page was being written because of some earlier discussion
On the subject of what to do with people who write highly offensive comments - I believe that if a user places comments that within 24 hours of being placed the community can agree are offensive (through a similar system to the votes for deletion page, but much quicker) then that user is banned, and all edits from the point they placed the offending comment onwards are removed from Wikipedia - they are treated as vandalism.
No, "tad" does not mean "a little" and "daft" does not mean "minor stupidity". Though what would I expect from someone who admits to being "a a little minor stupidity"? lysdexia 00:12, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
But these are only the worse cases, and right now, even the worses cases are not treated that way...
As far as I'm concerned, WikiLove doesn't mean being an idiot and accepting that everyone can be as rude to you as they like. At some point people who are destructive should be kicked off Wikipedia, and I believe sooner rather than later. I'd rather get rid of a new person who is being an idiot and offending many than keep him/her on and risk alienating several other users who are good, honest contributors. Tompagenet 12:47, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Notes on incivility[edit]

Some things I'd like to note:

  • I think it's important to differentiate between incivility and vandalism. The first is being a bad citizen; the second is not being a citizen at all.
  • Uncivil people make great contributions to Wikipedia every day. If they were better participants in the Wikipedia community, they would help others participate, and thus exponentially expand their contribution.
    • Give some examples? I'd like to get to know them. lysdexia 00:12, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
      • RK.
  • A ban is uncivil. It's saying that the community is better off without that person's participation. It may sometimes be necessary, but it is definitely a last resort.
  • I believe most uncivil behavior comes from an unawareness of being watched. People who don't act professionally need to be engaged and responded to in a civil manner. The vast majority will clean up their act once they know that they have a reputation to conserve.
  • I also believe that uncivil behavior comes from not recognizing that there's a real person on the other end of that nym or IP address. Responding as a person reminds the person acting uncivilly that they need to behave as they would with anyone else working on a project.
  • Incivility tests our own civility. The answer to uncivil behavior is not to resort to uncivil technical responses; it's to engage, educate, and integrate. Turning around a non-productive Wikipedian into a constructive, civil one means that we've strengthened the community and thus improved the prospects for our project's success. Rejecting an uncivil citizen means we have not only lost that person's potential contributions, but the contributions of those people they would have engaged and invited.
nod. I agree.

In other words, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Act like a real human being, and you'll get real human behavior out of the other side. It's more work, and it's distracting, but it eventually pays off. --Evan 21:10, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

It does not alway work...
You catch even more flies with a corpse; what's your point? lysdexia 00:12, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Uncivil" and "Incivility"[edit]

So, English is a weird language. "Uncivil" is the adjective, "incivility" is the noun. "Incivil" and "uncivility" are both obsolete.

I moved this page accordingly. --Evan 20:56, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

thanks :-)

More formal, less informal[edit]

Hi Ant, I just got to reading my mail... right off the bat, I dont think we want the "more heat than light" reference. It's a "loose term" that makes this whole business seem less serious. It's difficult enough to define "civility" for codification -- even moreso when the material uses wikiterms we want to limit, in favor of sharp and clear deliniation. -WikiLove, Steversion 08:50, 21 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I removed more heat than light.

Expectations for perpetual perfection[edit]

I'm not sure we can expect everyone to be perfect all of the time. Some of these things are extremely minor (eg. writing "fixing sloppy spelling"), and some of them are necessary for order in Wikipedia (eg. suggesting a ban). Nobody in Wikipedia is being so uncivil that Wikipedia can't function. Most incivility is just a matter between two people, and should be handled as such. Any suggestions for just personally being civil are simply implied by unwritten rules of manners, and those who won't act according to those rules won't do any better with written rules of civility (unless, of course, they are autistic, but that's different). LittleDan 02:58, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC)

  • I agree here. I think people writing for example "fixing sloppy spelling" is perfectly acceptable. I think we need to differentiate between people who are doingvery serious disruptive things, and those who just partake in the normal discourse of Wikipedia. If people are being highly and needlessly offensive then they need to be removed from the project. I also agree with LittleDan that we don't really need very many written rules for this; it's fairly obvious based upon a general code of good manners. Tompagenet 12:34, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Implausible conclusion[edit]

RE: Even if "civility" is just an informal rule, its the only term that can apply, and it's the only reasonable way to delimit acceptable conduct from the unacceptable.

What evidence supports a conclusion that one subjective word -- civility -- is the only relevant concept? The conclusion seems to excuse readers from further considering affective courses of action. This seems to forestall any better understanding as "unreasonable."

Instead of labeling people as vandals, bad citizens, incivil or wards of Satan it seems to me a more reasonable response to unwanted prose entered in the database would be to position one's cursor over "edit this page", to click the left mouse button, and to replace unwanted material with that which better suits an editor's preference. If an editor wants to avoid an edit war, they can compile prose intended to best reflect the competing interests of other editors. Other approaches seem to introduce tension between the goal of creating an accurate, ostensibly neutral encyclopedia and the covert goal of forming a community.

I see volumes and volumes of ill-informed and obviously flawed meta-prose about proper community behavior, but I have documented a vast void of discussion about simple linguistic approaches to describing diverse and conflicting points of view. That's why Wikipedia appears to have become a constant battle-ground -- people are so busy telling each other who they should be they have no time to learn how to edit. Forming a community encourages introduction of all sorts of personal values, whereas focusing on developing inclusive content in articles encourages discussion focused primarily on content. I might contribute my skills by creating or improving articles, but I resent efforts to use the appeal to edit as a recruitment tool for an ill-defined community burdened with all sorts of subjective values about how people should behave toward each other. If that's the game here, I can sell my editorial abilities elsewhere for good money, and use this forum to practice the very civil community building skills demonstrated by the United States Marines in Iraq.

The recurring flaw I see among editors who aspire to be community leaders here is the belief that readiness to change editorial styles is a result of a person's durable character. That conclusion is simply not based in science. Human behavior is a fluctuating product of interpersonal interaction. I am willing to be as "bad" a citizen as I need to be to demonstrate that unwanted behavior is a malleable product of circumstance and not evidence of a character flaw.


About the article, define "right" and "incivility". Wikipedia does not have the right to tell people not to be uncivil. Its only rights are to demand the truth and fitness in all matters. Manners, morality, and all that pseudo-intellectual red tape take a back seat to being right and even driving through. All conflicts can be ended in a single stroke if the incurrer (like I) is skilled and smart enough to destroy all POVs by thorough and relevant tearing apart of lacking and peripheral arguments and their postulates. Censorship is unethical, so a mediator twisting and spinning what needs to be said on both sides is foolish. To end flamewars, either side must not drip or save their comments so that their thread is drawn out over weeks; they must unload their whole stance at once, or in as few replies as possible, so that the flames are as large as possible; then their size will be enough to kill something or someone of that conflict. Only right and wrong matter in debate; good and bad have no place and using either as a motive or tool is in itself wrong. And in dealing out right material, things and people should get what they deserve: the whole, sheer truth no matter how the other might react. If the other is hurt by the truth, that's such's problem. There would not be a problem with wrong, careless, lazy, sloppy, or deluded users if everyone would bother to tell and straighten them (That's "correct them" for slaves to Latin.). But almost no one does. Societies over the world have twisted and deluded values not to encourage its members to right others' mistakes, say, of spelling, grammar, speech, translations, claims, opinions, beliefs, judgements. So many mistakes go on on the internet, especially of spelling, and other people keep posting around them as if they didn't exist. These people are idiots. They are part of the problem, encouraging stupidity, blindness, and carelessness which plague the world into larger fields of partaking. Stupid people run the world. They must be taught a lesson. They must be destroyed, so the better-than-people can take over and strike awe, fear, love, and hate into them like they've never seen before. lysdexia 00:12, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)