Wikidot Community Posting Guidelines

1. What are the WCPG?

1.1. The WCPG were developed by pieterh and the Wikidot Community administrators (the "Tribal Council") as a way of protecting discussions from disruptive behavior. These guidelines explain how to avoid conflict and misunderstanding, and set out a number of steps that site admins can take to intervene when users violate the WCPG.

1.2. This text may be revised from time to time without notice or notification. If you wish to follow updates, please watch this page.

2. Where do the WCPG apply?

2.1. The admins of any site can choose to apply the WCPG to the forums of that site. The WCPG cover all types of forum: Forum module, per-page comments, and other types of forum. "Post" means any kind of content: page edits, image uploads, tags, comments, etc. Site admins will inform their users that the WCPG apply, using the WCPG logo and a link to this page.

3. The Posting Guidelines

3.1. Seriously disruptive behavior

The WCPG treats the following types of activity as "seriously disruptive":

  1. Attacking or disparaging other Wikidot users.
  2. Provoking others into getting angry ('trolling').

3.2. Clarity and brevity:

  1. Keep comments short, usually one short paragraph.
  2. Keep comments specific, making one or two points, no more.
  3. Place larger contributions on their own pages and link back to them.
  4. Explain problems and background before proposing solutions.
  5. Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  6. Provide clear reasons if you dislike something.
  7. Define abbreviations when first using them.

3.3. Respect for others:

  1. Avoid politics and religion unless these are the topic under discussion.
  2. Give others a chance to reply to your comments.
  3. Avoid repeating comments or arguments already made.
  4. Keep forum signatures small and inoffensive.
  5. Respect that the person who starts the thread morally "owns" the thread.
  6. Do not hotlink to images hosted on other sites.

3.4. Objectivity:

  1. Remain as objective and unemotional as possible.
  2. If you're tired, drunk, depressed, or angry, take a break from posting.
  3. Avoid sarcasm because it will make others feel hurt and insulted.
  4. Review each post as a permanent statement before saving.
  5. If you complain, take action or suggest a solution.

4. Applying the WCPG

4.1. The WCPG are not formal rules but guidelines that help contributors, and help site admins intervene when they feel there is a thread that has gotten out of control due to posters ignoring the guidelines or when they feel there is a risk of this happening due to seriously disruptive behavior. In many cases, posts may violate the WCPG without harm. It is up to admins to judge when to intervene.

4.2. The WCPG aims to guide an admin to doing this fairly:

  1. If the user who starts a thread (the "thread host") feel that specific users are hijacking, disrupting, or diverting a thread, he/she may ask a site admin to help.
  2. A site admin who considers a posting to violate the WCPG in force on a site will send a personal message (PM) to the poster explaining why. Posters should take such warnings seriously, and take a break from posting while they reconsider. They may edit their posts if there are no replies.
  3. If the poster continues to violate the WCPG (in the eyes of the admin), the admin can temporarily ban the poster from the site. The temporary ban should be for 24 hours.
  4. If the poster continues to violate the WCPG (after a ban is lifted), the admin can permanently ban the poster from the site. If the site allows non-member comments, the admin may delete future comments by the banned poster.

5. What can a User do?

5.1. When/if you are temporarily or permanently banned, you can complain at the Community forum. The Community admins (the "tribal council") acts as a soft authority in case of all disputes between site admins and users. However, note that site admins are under no obligation to undo a ban.

6. The Historical Record

6.1. Under the WCPG, offending posts are never deleted (spam, inappropriate content and other posts that violate the Wikidot Terms of Service may be deleted independently of the WCPG). All permanent bans are announced as replies to the specific post(s) that caused the permanent bans.

7. Conflicts of Interest

7.1. When a site admin is himself or herself directly involved in discussions that violate the WCPG, that admin may not affect a temporary or permanent ban. Another admin must take responsibility for this.

7.2. There is no mechanism for banning admins from a site: abusive admins will rapidly find their sites banned by users.

8. Examples of Undesirable Behavior

8.1. There's a discussion between some people, and two users are getting heated, and writing long comments filled with detailed argumentation. The thread host feels that the discussion is "rabbit holed", i.e. stuck in useless detail, and asks the users to keep their comments shorter, to the point, and to give others a chance to reply. The posters tell the thread host to shut up. The thread host then invokes the WCPG and temporarily bans the two posters. Sanity returns to the thread.

8.2. Several users are complaining about the signature of one user, which is promoting a political ideology. The site admin asks the user to change his signature. The user refuses, and the site admin then looks at the users' contributions and decides they are not worth the fuss. He temporarily bans the user, and later, permanently bans him. He complains about censorship and tells other people to avoid that site but the admin points to the WCPG and people feel it was fair.

8.3. There's a user who keeps jumping into threads with confusing, complex, and slightly off-topic posts. People can't figure out whether he's a spammer, a joker, or just living on a different planet. The site admins feel that this user is driving away other contributors. They ask him to take more care, and he asks, "who says I can't post, this is freedom of speech!" The admins point him to the WCPG, and ban him.

8.4. A site admin is talking to a user who's very annoyed at a change on the site. The user doesn't want to help improve things, but instead starts to attack the site admin personally, and posting long lists of complaints, many going back years. The site admin finds himself spending more and more time trying to answer these complaints but every answer seems to provoke more complaints. Finally, he asks the Tribal Council for help, who point him to the WCPG, which luckily were used in the original site template.

8.5. There are two sites competing for the same community, and one of the site admins has decided to destroy the other site. Using an alias, he goes into the other site and looks for divisive issues, and then focusses on these. He gets everyone arguing about the CSS theme, about whether the sidebar should go left or right, and about whether the font is too large or too small. After several weeks, the community is paralyzed. The site admins discover the WCPG and apply it. Somewhat later, their site recovers.

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