Proposal:Resolution for friendly editing

    From Strategic Planning
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    The status of this proposal is:
    Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

    This proposal is associated with the bolded strategic priorities below.

    1. Achieve continued growth in readership.
    2. Focus on quality content
    3. Increase Participation.
    4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
    5. Encourage Innovation

    If not English, in what language is this proposal submitted?:


    Rude persons should never have the power to abuse, warn or ban others, and there should be an easy way to report them. Typical messages should use friendly wording, rather than all threats.


    The need for friendly welcomes and communications, from editors to users attempting to add to a page (especially new users). (Also the need to match up instruction pages with the instructions bots are given).


    As a new user it's difficult for me to know where to go for help. Wikipedia information pages are so long and complicated. Every page I've ever looked at on Wiki has links and when I read the rules, from what I understood, it said that just about any links could be added including youtube, as long as they were relevant and useful. Although your page says this isn't really a place for complaints, I don't know where to go to get help. I emailed a mediator but received no response. There's no way I will personally communicate with the incredibly rude person who told me to 'stop spamming or you will be banned!!!' I've never spammed in my life. I received no welcome from this person after I added links (I'm a brand new user), just a couple of complicated, long bot messages saying 'don't add this link,' but it removed all of my links. When I tried to add all of my links again, except for the ones mentioned on the complicated bot message, I got a terribly rude warning 'you will be banned' from the person. I feel I've been abused by this person and it is because the way Wiki has been set up, that I've been abused by a total stranger. I wouldn't allow anyone in 'real life' to 'talk' to me that way and this site allows self-important, unfriendly people, so-called 'editors' to talk to others anyway they like. Wiki needs a some basic changes. If a person has a complaint, it should be easy to find out where to go to address the problem. No editor shoud be allowed to be rude, that's incredible. First, as this was my first addition to a page and I was a new user, I should have gotten a message that said thank-you new user for trying to contribute. Then it should have benn explained to me that all of my links were bad, if they were, not just one or two. Then I wouldn't have tried to keep adding the others. That would've kept me from getting warnings (which I didn't even see right away) and a horribly unfriendly message from some person, saying stop spamming and I'm about to be banned! There's no excuse for rudeness on any website. That person shouldn't be editing, no one should be, who's unfriendly! Because I've been so abused, I certainly won't ever try to post ever again to Wiki and when this has been resolved and the editor who was so rude has been told to be very friendly or be banned from editing, I'll remove my account and never visit Wikipedia again. (Wildmint 06:23, 14 August 2009 (UTC))

    Key Questions

    Potential Costs

    Some issues:

    • Typical warning messages will need to be reworded, into more friendly wording.
    • New dialogues will be needed for TALKING WITH, rather than SHOUTING AT, users.
    • The long-term cost can be reduced by creating templates with friendly wording.
    • Also, costs will be reduced by converting an upset enemy into a helpful friend.
    • Bad-reputation cost will be reduced, as a predictable trend, because many users are deeply offended and report their hideous experiences on other websites, to be seen for years to come.
    • The cost of dialogues can be minimal, because it is not imperative to check responses instantly; in fact, a message could indicate a few-days span: "Please describe briefly (below) why would wish to... and I will check back in a few days." By indicating a delay period, of a few days, that gives the users time to think about, or re-edit, their reply. Also, the admin is allowed some extra time (a few days) to juggle other issues before checking for the reply.

    Other cost issues should be added to this list above.


    The following is an example of the rude wording, which accuses a person (a new user) of "if you continue spamming" (as in "if you continue beating your children" or other "wiki-universal" truths). Anyway, here are the offensive, accusatory messages: [1]

    • Please stop adding inappropriate external links to Wikipedia. It is considered spamming and Wikipedia is not a vehicle for advertising or promotion. Since Wikipedia uses nofollow tags, additions of links to Wikipedia will not alter search engine rankings. If you continue spamming, you will be blocked from editing Wikipedia. ThemFromSpace 06:46, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
    • This is the last warning you will receive for your disruptive edits. The next time you insert a spam link, you will be blocked from editing Wikipedia. Persistent spammers may have their websites blacklisted preventing anyone from linking to them from all Wikimedia sites as well as potentially being penalized by search engines. ThemFromSpace 03:01, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

    Those messages certainly are full of threats, but concisely threatening in a very efficient manner (in terms of short insults).

    As an example of friendly wording, perhaps a short message could be worded instead as:

    • It appears you have added inappropriate external links to Wikipedia. It is considered spamming, because Wikipedia is not a vehicle for advertising or promotion. Since Wikipedia uses nofollow tags, additions of links to Wikipedia will not alter search engine rankings. Could you explain (below) why you wish to add those links? RareFriendlyAdmin 02:24, 7 July 2010

    I think the key difference, really, is to ask a person for their opinions of the situation, rather than start the ruthless countdown to the instant they can be finally blocked. However, note that talking with users can be time-consuming, and it is much quicker (ignoring any long-term repercussions), to shout at them and have them leave disgusted, rather than attempt to get them to alter their plans to work within the Wikipedia rules. Working with people is still called "work", so barking commands can seem faster than the effort needed to learn what a user wishes to do.


    1. "User_talk:Wildmint", English Wikipedia, 20 July 2009, web: User_talk:Wildmint or diff-links: *625 *544.

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