RBCWiki:Resolving Disputes

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Resolving Disputes

Before you read this

Before reading this, it should be understood that this text is a guideline, not any strict set of rules. Think of it as a soft nudge in what we all hope is the right direction, or think of it as a set of friendly suggestions, or think of it like a salad-bar, and take what you want and leave the rest. :)

To quote the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself, and 99% of the time things will be fine.

Avoiding disputes

A variety of very positive entertaining and fun methods exist for helping to positively resolve disputes, before bringing in a third party or bugging cliff.

Focus on content

The most important first step is to focus on content, and not on editors. Wikis are built upon the principle of collaboration and assuming that the efforts of others are in good faith is important to any community...even RavenBlack City.

When you find a passage in an article that you find is biased or inaccurate, improve it if you can. If that is not easily possible, and you disagree with a point of view expressed in an article, don't just delete it! Rather, balance it with what you think is neutral. Use the {{cite}} tag, and remember it's not a demand for proof, just a suggestion to enhance.

Always explain your changes in the edit summary to help other editors understand the reasoning behind them. If an edit is potentially contentious, explain why you made the change and how it improves the article. If your reasoning is complex, add a section to the talk page of the article to explain it and refer to that section in the edit summary. If your edit gets reverted, you can discuss the reversion with other editors on the talk page, but DON'T SIMPLY REVERT IT BACK.

In summary: Don't take others' actions personally. Explain to them what you're doing, and always be prepared to change your mind.

Stay cool

Most situations are not urgent, even if you think they are.

Please give both you and the other party some time. Often it helps to just take a deep breath and sleep on it. Don't worry! You always can fix the problem later. (You can go back to the page history of an article at any time, to find the version of the article that you last worked on, and compare that to the current version to see whether there are still things that you'd like put in or taken out.)

Take a long term view.

In due course you will probably be able to return and carry on editing it, when the previous problems no longer exist and the editor you were in dispute with might themselves move on. In the meantime the disputed article will evolve, other editors may become interested and they will have different perspectives if the issue comes up again.

This is particularly helpful when disputing with new users as it gives them a chance to familiarize themselves with the RavenBlack CityWiki's policy and culture. Focus your contributions on another article where you can make constructive progress.

Discuss with the other party

When discussing an issue, remember to stay cool. If you encounter rude or inappropriate behavior, don't respond likewise. Take the other editor's perspective into account. Assume that an editor is acting in good faith until it's absolutely clear that they're not. It's at that point where you should consider dispute resolution processes that involve third parties.

Talking to other parties is not a formality; it's an imperative to the smooth running of any community. Not discussing will make people less sympathetic to your position and may prevent you from effectively using later stages in dispute resolution. In contrast, sustained discussion and serious negotiation between the parties, even if not immediately (or even remotely) successful, shows that you are trying to find a solution.

Also consider negotiating a truce or compromise. This is also important if you intend to solicit outside opinions because it allows others to consider the issue fairly without the confusion of constant ongoing edits.

Resolving disputes

If the previous steps fail to resolve the dispute, try one of the following methods. Which ones you choose and in what order depends on the nature of the dispute and the preferences of people involved.

Ask for a third opinion

If you need neutral outside opinions in a dispute involving only two editors, turn to a fellow player in the city and have them help arbitrate. You will find that once a third party has made a decision, most folks will agree, only the most stubborn will ignore it or attempt to re-interpret it.

Ask about the subject

Ask others about the subject, just in case it is you that is wrong. (Yes, even you can make errors)

Ask about a policy

See if the situation has already been addressed in the policy pages.

For incivility

Turn to an admin for problems with uncivil editors. First, however, consider ignoring it. You can often get much more accomplished by rising above uncivil comments, and staying focused on the task at hand. I know, it's very hard with some people, but try anyway.

Request a comment

Ask others to comment on the issue. (Please don't bother cliff, he already knows what's going on, and is watching to see how you handle it)

Informal mediation

If things are getting a bit tricky, it might be useful to ask some cool heads to look in and help out. Sometimes editors who provide third opinions or respond to requests for comments may be willing to help mediate a dispute, if it is requested.

Contact an Admin

If you REALLY have to, they are happy to help! List of syops.

Last resort

Ask cliff.

See Also

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