Guild Wars Wiki:Assume good faith
This page is an accepted guideline on the Guild Wars Wiki.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all contributors should follow. Before editing this page, it is suggested to gather consensus on the talk page first.
Always assume, if no evidence exists to the contrary, that the intentions behind an edit are in good faith.
- Correct errors, but remember that most errors are unintentional or not believed to be errors.
- Explain your reasoning if you disagree with an edit, and explain applicable policies if it appears a user is unaware of them.
- Examine your own views and consider whether another's opinion regarding an edit for the wiki might be the better option.
Assuming good faith
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 the Guild Wars Wiki would be doomed from the beginning.
So, when you can reasonably assume that something is a well-intentioned error, correct it without just reverting it or labeling it as vandalism. When you disagree with someone, remember that they probably believe that they are helping the project. Consider using talk pages 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 the Guild Wars Wiki's culture and rules.
Corollary: Always explain your revert.
A newcomer's behavior probably seems appropriate to him or her and a problem usually indicates unawareness or misunderstanding of the Guild Wars Wiki's 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.
Intentions, not actions
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 the Guild Wars 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. It is never necessary that we attribute an editor's actions to bad faith, even if bad faith seems obvious, as all our countermeasures (i.e. reverting, blocking) can be performed on the basis of behavior rather than intent.
Of course, there's a difference between assuming good faith and ignoring bad actions. If you expect people to assume good faith from you, make sure you demonstrate it. Don't put the burden on others. Yelling "Assume Good Faith" at people does not excuse you from explaining your actions, and making a habit of it will convince people that you're acting in bad faith.
Why not to assume bad faith
When edit wars get hot, it's easy to forget to assume good faith.
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 rarely forget.
- Losing sight of the ideal: making articles acceptable to everyone. Every revert (rather than change) of an edit, no matter how outrageous you feel the edit was, is a loss of potentially good information. Consider figuring out why the other person felt the article was wrong. Then, if possible, try to integrate their point, but in terms you consider neutral. If each side practices this they will eventually arrive at a mutually agreeable article.
Dealing with troublesome edits
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.
Also note that this guideline does not imply that all editors are equally knowledgeable. If an editor adds information that is simply incorrect—this is usually easily verifiable on the Guild Wars Wiki—you are allowed to immediately revert the article to its correct state, provided you state why in your edit summary and you do not do so as part of a revert war.