This page discusses personal attacks made against other editors. For attacks against living people who are the subjects of articles, see Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons.

Do not make personal attacks anywhere in Wikipedia. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks will not help you make a point; they hurt the Wikipedia community and deter users from helping to create a good encyclopedia. Equally, accusing someone of making a personal attack is not something that should be done lightly, especially if you are involved in a dispute. It is best for an uninvolved observer to point out politely that someone has made a personal attack, and for the discussion to return to considering the content, not the editor.

What is considered a personal attack? 編輯

Debate is an essential part of the culture of Wikipedia. Different contributors often do not agree on some of the content within an article. Contributors often are members of opposing communities who wish to have their viewpoints included in articles. Synthesizing these views into a single article creates a better, more NPOV article for everyone. Every person who edits an article is part of the same larger community - we are all Wikipedians.

Editors should be civil and adhere to good wiki etiquette when stating disagreements. Comments should not be personalized and should be directed at content and actions rather than people. However, when there are disagreements about content, referring to other editors is not always a personal attack. A posting that says "Your statement about X is wrong because of information at Y", or "The paragraph you inserted into the article looks like original research", is not a personal attack. The appropriate response to such statements is to address the issues of content rather than to accuse the other person of violating this policy.

There is no bright-line rule about what constitutes a personal attack as opposed to constructive discussion, but some types of comments are never acceptable:

  • Racial, sexual, homophobic, ageist, religious, political, ethnic, or other epithets (such as against disabled people) directed against another contributor. Disagreement over what constitutes a religion, race, sexual preference, or ethnicity is not a legitimate excuse.
  • Using someone's affiliations as a means of dismissing or discrediting their views -- regardless of whether said affiliations are mainstream or extreme.
  • Threats of legal action.
  • Threats of violence, particularly death threats.
  • Threats of vandalism to userpages or talk pages.
  • Threats or actions which expose other Wikipedia editors to political, religious or other persecution by government, their employer or any others. Violations of this sort may result in a block for an extended period of time, which may be applied immediately by any administrator upon discovery. Admins applying such sanctions should confidentially notify the members of the Arbitration Committee of what they have done and why.

These examples are not inclusive. Insulting or disparaging an editor is a personal attack regardless of the manner in which it is done. When in doubt, comment on the article's content without referring to its contributor at all.

The prohibition against personal attacks applies equally to all Wikipedians. It is as unacceptable to attack a user with a history of foolish or boorish behavior, or even one who has been subject to disciplinary action by the Arbitration Committee, as it is to attack any other user. Wikipedia encourages a positive online community: people make mistakes, but they are encouraged to learn from them and change their ways. Personal attacks are contrary to this spirit and damaging to the work of building an encyclopedia.

Responding to personal attacks 編輯

Initial options 編輯

Frequently, the best way to respond to an isolated personal attack is not to respond at all. Wikipedia and its debates can become stressful for some editors, who may occasionally overreact. Additionally, Wikipedia discussions are in a text-only medium that conveys nuances and emotions poorly; this can easily lead to misunderstanding. While personal attacks are not excused because of these factors, editors are encouraged to disregard angry and ill-mannered postings of others when it is reasonable to do so, and to continue to focus their efforts on improving and developing the encyclopedia.

If you feel that a response is necessary and desirable, you should leave a polite message on the other user's talk page. Do not respond on a talk page of an article; this tends to escalate matters. Likewise, it is important to avoid becoming hostile and confrontational yourself, even in the face of abuse. Although templates have been used at times for this purpose, a customized message relating to the specific situation is often better received. When possible, try to find compromise or common ground regarding the underlying issues of content, rather than argue about behavior.

Personal attacks do not include civil language used to describe an editor's actions, and when made without involving their personal character, should not be construed as personal attacks, for instance, stating "Your statement is a personal attack..." is not itself a personal attack.

Attacks that are particularly offensive or disruptive (such as physical or legal threats) should not be ignored. Extraordinary situations that require immediate intervention are rare, but may be reported on the administrators' noticeboard.

Recurring attacks 編輯

Recurring, non-disruptive personal attacks that do not stop after reasoned requests to cease should be resolved through the dispute resolution process. Especially when personal attacks arise as the result of heated debate over article content, informal mediation and third-party opinions are often the best ways to resolve the conflict. Similarly, Wikiquette alerts offers a "streamlined" source of outside opinion. In most circumstances, problems with personal attacks can be resolved if editors work together and focus on content, and immediate administrator action is not required.

Removal of text 編輯

The community has not reached a consensus about whether on-wiki personal attacks should be removed, although it has been a topic of substantial debate, and an essay about removing attacks has been written on it. To cite the Arbitration Committee:

The remove personal attacks guideline (and the application thereof) is controversial. It has often been abused by malefactors, and may not have community consensus. It should, at most, be interpreted strictly and used sparingly.[4]

Removing unquestionable personal attacks from your own user talk page is much less of a concern than removing comments from other pages in Wikipedia. For text elsewhere, where such text is directed against you, removal should be limited, except in unusual circumstances, to comments that are listed above as clear violations of this policy.

Off-wiki personal attacks 編輯

Wikipedia cannot regulate behavior in media not under the control of the Wikimedia Foundation, but personal attacks elsewhere create doubt as to whether an editor's on-wiki actions are conducted in good faith. Posting personal attacks or defamation off-Wikipedia is harmful to the community and to an editor's relationship with it. Such attacks may be regarded as aggravating factors by administrators and may be used as evidence in the dispute-resolution process, including in Arbitration cases.

Linking to off-wiki attacks 編輯

Links or references to off-site personal attacks against Wikipedians should be removed. The removal of such material is not subject to the three-revert rule. Linking to material that attacks, harasses, or violates the privacy of any Wikipedian is not permitted and doing so repeatedly may result in a block.[1][2]

Editors who persist in posting links to personal attacks against Wikipedians on any other site, will be treated in the same way as editors who persist in posting personal attacks on Wikipedia.

Consequences of personal attacks 編輯

Although editors are encouraged to ignore or respond politely to isolated personal attacks, that should not imply that they are acceptable or without consequences. A pattern of hostility reduces the likelihood of the community assuming good faith, and can be considered disruptive editing. Users who insist on a confrontational style marked by personal attacks are likely to be handled through the dispute resolution process, possibly including the serious consequences of arbitration, and may become subject to a community ban.

In extreme cases, even isolated personal attacks may lead to a block for disruption. Legal threats, death threats, and issues of similar severity, in particular, may result in a block without warning. However, administrators are cautioned that other resolutions are preferable to blocking for less severe situations when it is unclear if the "conduct severely disrupts the project". Recurring attacks are proportionally more likely to be considered "disruption". Blocking for personal attacks should only be done for prevention, not punishment. A block may be warranted if it seems likely that the user will continue using personal attacks.

See also 編輯

  1. The ArbCom has ruled that "[a] website that engages in the practice of publishing private information concerning the identities of Wikipedia participants will be regarded as an attack site whose pages should not be linked to from Wikipedia pages under any circumstances," [1] and that "[l]inks to attack sites may be removed by any user; such removals are exempt from 3RR. Deliberately linking to an attack site may be grounds for blocking." [2]
  2. In a subsequent arbitration, the committee rejected this principle as "too broad." [3]