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Muppet Wiki:Assume good faith

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To assume good faith is a fundamental principle on any wiki. As we allow anyone to edit, it follows that we assume that most people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it. If this weren't true, a project like Muppet Wiki would be doomed from the beginning.

When you disagree with someone, remember that they probably believe that they are helping the project. Consider using the Forum to explain yourself, and give others the opportunity to do the same. This can avoid misunderstandings and prevent problems from escalating. Especially, remember to be patient with newcomers, who will be unfamiliar with wiki culture and rules.

A newcomer's behaviour probably seems appropriate to him or her and a problem usually indicates unawareness or misunderstanding of wiki culture. It is not uncommon for a newcomer to believe that an unfamiliar policy should be changed to match their experience elsewhere. Similarly, many newcomers bring with them experience or expertise for which they expect immediate respect. Behaviors arising from these perspectives are not necessarily malicious.

Assuming good faith is about intentions, not actions. Well-meaning people make mistakes, and you should correct them when they do. What you should not do is act like their mistake was deliberate. Correct, but don't scold. There will be people on Muppet Wiki you disagree with. Even if they're wrong, that doesn't mean they're trying to wreck the project. There will be some people you find hard to work with. That doesn't mean they're trying to wreck the project either; it means they annoy you.

If you assume bad faith, several things may happen:

  • Personal attacks: Once you've made a personal attack, the target will probably assume bad faith. The edit war will get even uglier. People, like elephants, rarely forget.
  • Losing sight of the NPOV (neutral point of view) policy. The ideal is to make articles acceptable to everyone. Consider figuring out why the other person felt the article was biased. Then, if possible, try to integrate their point, but in terms you consider neutral. If each side practices this they will eventually meet at NPOV — or a rough semblance of it.

Correcting someone's error (even if you think it was deliberate) is better than accusing him or her of lying because the person is likely to take it in a good natured fashion. Correcting a newly added sentence that you know to be wrong is also much better than simply deleting it.

This guideline does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of evidence to the contrary. Things which can cause the loss of good faith include vandalism, personal attacks, and edit warring.

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