|This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. This is a draft proposal. It is unofficial, and it is unknown whether it is widely accepted by Wiktionary editors.|
|Policies: CFI - ELE - BLOCK - REDIR - BOTS - QUOTE - DELETE - NPOV - AXX|
Civility is a code for the conduct of edits, comments, and talk page discussions on all Wikimedia Sister Projects. Whereas incivility may be roughly defined as personally targeted behavior that causes an atmosphere of greater conflict and stress, our code of civility states plainly that people must act with civility toward one another.
The Wiktionary community has some core principles—the most important being that pages be written with a neutral point of view. After that we request a reasonable degree of civility towards others. "Civility" is a principle that we can apply to online conduct, and it's a reasonable way to delimit acceptable conduct from the unacceptable.
Wiktionary invites people to improve its pages, but sometimes there are differences of opinion. When editors weigh the pros and cons of some change, it may be difficult to comment in a constructive and civil manner. Words on talk pages and edit summaries do not transmit the nuances of verbal conversation, which may lead to small, facetious comments being misinterpreted. Uncivil remarks could escalate into a heated discussion which may not focus objectively on the problem at hand.
Incivility happens, for example, when you are quietly creating a new page, and another user tells you, If you're going to write a pointless page, could you spell-check it?
Escalation occurs when you reply, Mind your own business.
This style of interaction between Wiktionarians drives away contributors, distracts others from more important matters, and weakens the entire community.
Most of the time, insults are used in the heat of the moment during a longer conflict. They are essentially a way to end the discussion. Often the person who made the insult regrets having used such words afterwards. This in itself is a good reason to remove (or refactor) the offending words.
In other cases, the offender is doing it on purpose: either to distract the "opponent(s)" from the issue, or simply to drive them away from working on the article or even from the project, or to push them to commit an even greater breach in civility, which might result in ostracism or banning. In those cases, it is far less likely that the offender will have any regrets and apologize.
It should be noted that some editors deliberately push others to the point of breaching civility, without committing such a breach themselves.
Parties sometimes attempt to negotiate an agreement while one party is not ready to negotiate. For example, if the source of the conflict is a specific point in an article, dispute resolution may be impaired if discussion is still clouded by an uncivil exchange between both parties. It is best to clear up that issue as soon as possible, so disputants can regain their balance and clarity when editing.
Some editors are badly shaken by uncivil words directed towards them, and can't focus on the source of the conflict itself. It may help to point out to them why unpleasant words were used, and acknowledge that while incivility is wrong, the ideas behind the comment may be valid.
The offended person may realize that the words were not always meant literally, and could decide to forgive and forget them.
It can be helpful to point out breaches of civility even when done on purpose to hurt, as it might help the disputant to refocus on the issue (controversial).
During the mediation process, a third neutral party is in contact with both disputants, ensuring communication between them. The role of the mediator is to promote reasonable discussion between the two disputants. Therefore it is helpful to remove incivility voiced by User A, in rephrasing comments to User B.
At the end of the mediation process, the mediator may suggest that the disputants agree to remove uncivil comments that have remained on user and article talk pages. The editors might agree to delete pages created specifically to abuse or flame one another, and/or to remove all flaming content not relevant to the article discussion, and/or to refactor a discussion. This may allow disputants to forgive and forget offenses more quickly.
Similarly, the disputants might agree to apologize to each other.
Mediation regularly involves disputes in which one party feels injured by the other. The apology is an act that is neither about problem-solving and negotiation, nor is it about arbitration. Rather, it is a form of ritual exchange between both parties, where words are said that allow reconciliation. In transformative mediation, the apology represents an opportunity for acknowledgement that may transform relations.
For some people, it may be crucial to receive an apology from those who have offended them. For this reason, a sincere apology is often the key to the resolution of a conflict: an apology is a symbol of forgiveness. An apology is very much recommended when one person's perceived incivility has offended another.