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PathfinderWiki:Disruptive editing policy

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This page is an official policy on the PathfinderWiki.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow.

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Disruptive editing is a pattern of edits that can extend over a considerable period of time or number of articles, and which has the effect of disrupting progress toward:

  • improving an article
  • recruiting and retaining active contributors
  • the fundamental project of building PathfinderWiki

Summary

PathfinderWiki, like any successful wiki, owes much of its success to its openness. However, that very openness sometimes attracts people who seek to exploit the site as a platform for pushing a single point of view, self-promotion, or to unduly promote a minor point of lore. While canon sources are considered valid and constructive chroniclers occasionally make mistakes, sometimes a chronicler creates long-term problems by persistently editing content to add information not relevant to the Pathfinder campaign setting or Paizo Inc. products, or remove valid content that they unilaterally deem irrelevant, or insist on giving undue weight to a minor point of lore.

Collectively, disruptive chroniclers harm PathfinderWiki by:

  • degrading its reliability as a reference source
  • exhausting the patience of productive chroniclers who might quit PathfinderWiki in frustration when a disruptive chronicler continues with impunity
  • creating low-value work for Administrators that distracts from improving PathfinderWiki and contributes to Administrator burnout

It is essential to recognize patterns of disruptive editing. One act by itself might not violate policy, but part of a series of acts that constitute a pattern can. Disruptive edits might not occur all in the course of any given period of time, and might not consist of the repetition of the same act. Nevertheless, a series of edits over time can form a pattern that seriously disrupts the project.

Disruptive chroniclers might seek to disguise their behavior as productive editing, but distinctive traits separate them from productive chroniclers. When discussion fails to resolve the problem, and when an impartial consensus of chroniclers from outside a disputed page agree (through requests for comment or similar means), further disruption can lead to more serious remediating action. In extreme cases, this could include a temporary or permanent block from PathfinderWiki, usually through a consensus decision.

How disruptive chroniclers evade detection

Disruptive editing already violates site policy, but certain chroniclers can successfully disrupt articles and evade disciplinary action for one of several possible reasons:

  • Their edits occur over a long period of time. In this case, no single edit may be clearly disruptive, but the overall pattern is disruptive.
  • Their edits are largely confined to Discussion pages or Forum threads, and indicate a pattern of initiating or extending debates in ways that are ultimately non-constructive as opposed to constructive discussion toward finding and building consensus. See the "Fail or refuse to 'get the point'" section.
  • Their edits often avoid gross breaches of policy, especially by refraining from posting explicitly prohibited content, even though they interfere with civil and collaborative editing meant to improve the article.
  • Their edits remain limited to articles that very few people watch.

Signs of disruptive editing

This policy concerns gross, obvious, and repeated violations of fundamental policies, not subtle questions about which reasonable people may disagree.

A disruptive chronicler:

  • Is tendentious: continues editing an article or group of articles in pursuit of a certain point for an extended time despite opposition from one or more other chroniclers. Tendentious editing does not consist only of adding material; some tendentious chroniclers engage in disruptive deletions as well.
  • Cannot satisfy the canon policy; fails to cite sources, cites unofficial sources, removes valid sources, omits necessary context, misrepresents reliable sources, or embeds speculation in factual content.
  • Engages in "disruptive cite-tagging"; adds unjustified {{Source}} tags to an article when the content tagged is already sourced, or uses such tags to suggest that properly sourced article content is questionable.
  • Does not engage in consensus building by
    • repeatedly disregarding other chroniclers' questions or requests for explanations concerning edits or objections to edits.
    • repeatedly disregarding other chroniclers' explanations for their edits.
  • Rejects community input: resists moderation or requests for comment, continuing to edit in pursuit of a certain point despite an opposing consensus from impartial chroniclers.

In addition, such chroniclers might:

  • Campaign to drive away productive contributors: act counter to policies and guidelines, engage in sockpuppetry/meatpuppetry, etc. on a low level that might not exhaust the general community's patience, but that operates toward an end of exhausting the patience of productive rules-abiding chroniclers on certain articles.

Fail or refuse to "get the point"

Chroniclers might perpetuate disputes by sticking to an allegation or viewpoint long after the consensus of the community has decided that moving on to other topics would be more productive. Such behavior is disruptive to PathfinderWiki. Believing that one has a valid point does not confer upon them the right to act as though their point must be accepted by the community when they have been told that it is not accepted. The community's rejection of their idea is not proof that it has failed to hear them.

Advise such chroniclers to stop writing, listen, and consider what the other chroniclers are telling them. Ask them to make a strong effort to see other sides of the debate, and work on finding points of agreement. Do not confuse "hearing" with "agreeing with".

Sometimes, even when chroniclers act in good faith, their contributions may continue to be disruptive and time wasting, for example, by continuing to say they don't understand what the problem is. Although chroniclers should be encouraged to be bold and just do things if they think they're right, sometimes a lack of competence can get in the way. If the community spends more time cleaning up chroniclers' mistakes and educating them about policies and guidelines than it considers necessary, and the chronicler shows few or no signs of improving their practices or their past mistakes, sanctions might have to be imposed.

Point-illustrating

When one becomes frustrated with the way a policy or guideline is being applied, it might be tempting to try to discredit the rule or interpretation thereof by, in one's view, applying it consistently. Sometimes, this is done simply to prove a point in a local dispute. In other cases, one might try to enforce a rule in a generally unpopular way, with the aim of getting it changed.

Such tactics are highly disruptive to the project. If a chronicler feels that a policy is problematic, the policy's talk page is the proper place to raise those concerns. If the chronicler simply disagrees with someone's actions in an article, discuss it on the article Discussion page or Forum.

Note that a chronicler can legitimately make a point, without disrupting PathfinderWiki to illustrate it.

Distinguished from productive editing

Chroniclers often post minor trivia and facts to articles. This fits within PathfinderWiki's mission so long as the contributions do not give undue weight to an inappropriate or biased point of view. The burden of evidence rests with the chronicler who initially provides the information or wishes the information to remain.

Chroniclers can reasonably present controversies documented by reliable sources, including canon sources in in-universe articles and verifiable sources in real-world articles. This exemption does not apply to settled disputes, although mentioning such disputes in the article might be appropriate if the controversy itself was notable.

Well-meaning chroniclers can be misled by fringe, old, official but non-canon, or low-tier canon sources, or make honest mistakes when representing a citation. Such people can reasonably defend their positions but should concede the issue when they encounter better evidence or impartial feedback. Articles that document discredited hypotheses are acceptable, but should be well-sourced and attributed with sufficient context.

Identifying a disruptive chronicler

In order to protect against frivolous accusations and other potential exploitation, no chronicler should be blocked until after a consensus of neutral parties has agreed that a chronicler has behaved in a disruptive manner. This consensus can be achieved through requests for comment or similar means. This does not include chroniclers whose edits constitute violations of other edit restrictions (including violation of other policies), who may be blocked for such edits independent of this policy.

Guidelines for dealing with a disruptive chronicler

In general, most situations can benefit from a gradual escalation, with hope that each step may help resolve the problem, such that further steps are not needed.

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These are guidelines for enforcing this policy.
Note that the steps in this section should be considered guidelines for chroniclers who believe they are engaging with a disruptive chronicler, and that each situation might warrant a different approach.

When in doubt, assume good faith.

  • First unencyclopedic or disruptive edit by what appears to be a disruptive chronicler
  • Assume good faith. Do not confront the suspected chronicler. However, revert uncited or unencyclopedic modifications, or unwarranted deletions. Use an edit summary that describes the problem in non-inflammatory terms. Remain civil. Post to the article's Discussion page asking for discussion and/or sources. Please do not bite the newcomers, and be aware that you might be dealing with someone who is new and confused, rather than a disruptive chronicler.
  • If the chronicler repeats the disruptive edit:
  • Revert again if they haven't responded at the talk page. Ensure that you or someone else has posted a clear explanation for the difference in opinion on the article's Discussion page. Refer to this policy in your edit summary. If possible, suggest compromises at the Discussion page.
  • If the reverting continues, and they are inserting unsourced information or performing unwarranted deletions:
  • Revert, and request feedback from an Administrator. Provide revision comparison pages—diffs—of the multiple reverts by the tendentious chronicler. Keep your post short (no more than 250–500 words), well-diffed (multiple diffs showing evidence), and focus on user conduct issues (the tendentious chronicler is not engaging in discussion, inserting unsourced information, and ignoring talk page consensus). Try to avoid going into detailed article content issues, as it might reduce the likelihood that an Administrator will understand the complaint. Remain civil at all times, and avoid engaging in additional reverts yourself.
  • If the tendentious chronicler is using sources, but the sources are of low quality, misinterpreted, or lack context:
  • If only two chroniclers are involved, seek a third opinion.
  • If more chroniclers are involved, try an open request for comment on the forum.
  • Suggest mediation.
  • If mediation is rejected or unsuccessful, or the problems continue:
  • Notify the chronicler you find disruptive on their User talk page.
    Include diffs of the problematic behavior. Use a section name or edit summary to clearly indicate that you view their behavior as disruptive, but avoid being unnecessarily provocative. Remember, you're still trying to de-escalate the situation. If other chroniclers are involved, they should post their own comments too, to make it clear that the community disapproves of the tendentious behavior.
  • If the tendentious chronicler continues reverting:
  • Assuming that it's one chronicler against many at this point, continue reverting the tendentious chronicler. If they exceed three reverts in a 24-hour period, contact an active administrator on their User talk page and avoid performing excessive reverts yourself. However, one tendentious chronicler cannot maintain problematic content in the face of multiple other chroniclers reverting their edits.
  • If the tendentious chronicler is not reverting edits rapidly, or there aren't enough chroniclers or active Administrators involved to enforce our policies:
  • Engage additional active Administrators on their User talk pages.
  • If the chronicler continues to ignore consensus of a public request for comment:
  • Again request Administrator intervention, and point to consensus from the request for comment. An Administrator should issue a warning or temporary block as appropriate.

Blocking and sanctions for disruption

  • Disruptive editing can result in warnings, then escalating blocks, typically starting with a 24-hour editing block.
  • Accounts used primarily for disruption can be blocked indefinitely.
  • If a pattern of disruption is subtle or long-term, and informal discussions are ineffective, a request for comment can be used to document the problem and establish a consensus for a ban.

Be kind, and be careful

Be as patient and kind as possible. Techniques such as reverting need to be combined with sincere efforts to turn the chronicler toward productive work. Only when chroniclers prove themselves unwilling or unable to set issues aside and work harmoniously with others, for the benefit of the project, should they be regarded as irredeemable and politely but firmly removed.


This policy is adapted from Wowpedia's disruptive editor policy and Wikipedia disruptive editing guidelines, which are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license, as is this modified version.