Being civil and assuming good faith is a mainstay on Wikipedia.
Everyone makes mistakes, both behavioral (such as personal attacks
) and content-based (such as adding original research
). Most of the time, we can correct such mistakes with simple reminders. However, there will be disagreements on Wikipedia for which no policy or guideline has an easy answer. When disagreements happen, ill intent may not be involved. Keep a cool head
, and consider dispute resolution
if disagreements seem intractable; many of them are not.
Violation of policies—such as engaging in sock-puppetry
, violating consensus
, and so on—may be perpetrated in either good or bad faith. There are processes for dealing with all of these, and sanctions
for repeated violation of policy will apply regardless of whether bad faith was involved or not.
Good faith and newcomers
It is important to be patient with newcomers, who will be unfamiliar with Wikipedia's culture and rules, but may nonetheless turn out to be valuable contributors.
A newcomer's behavior probably seems appropriate to them, and a problem in that regard usually indicates unawareness or misunderstanding of Wikipedian culture. It is not uncommon for a newcomer to believe that an unfamiliar policy should be changed to match their notion of how things should function, especially if they notice that there is already some level of disagreement over the policy in question. Similarly, many newcomers want to have their contributions to articles accepted without question, especially those which pertain to subjects on which they have extensive knowledge. Behaviors arising from these perspectives, while possibly misguided, are usually not malicious and should not be treated as such. Many new users who lack an intuitive grasp of Wikipedia customs are gradually brought around, once the logic behind these customs becomes clearer to them.
Good faith and copyright
When dealing with possible copyright violations, good faith means assuming that editors intend to comply with site policy and the law. That is different from assuming they have actually complied with either. Editors have a proactive obligation to document image uploads, etc. and material may be deleted if the documentation is incorrect or inadequate. Good faith corrective action includes informing editors of problems and helping them improve their practices.
Good faith and administerial action
When dealing with potential breaches of policy, administrators should assume good faith when dealing with the parties. Editors should not be assumed to have breached policy; rather, evidence to that effect should be produced.