Wiki is not UseNet, and it's not SlashDot. It's quite possibly one of the most civil online discussion forums you'll find. Maybe a little dull, even......
You certainly have the freedom to participate using a personally confrontational style. Hey, it's a free Wiki, nobody's stopping you. But be aware that most people who do so don't stick around too long. They may find themselves annoyed by all the people posting "Hey, please be less confrontational", and they may even find their contributions ignored by the others. Eventually, they get frustrated that all this conversation seems to be routing its way around them, and they end up leaving.
So if you find the civility here difficult, you have basically three options:
- Read this page, tell yourself, "Oh, these people are a waste of time," and go straight to some other online discussion forum.
- Ignore this advice, and rampage all over the Wiki, contributing in a confrontational manner. Find yourself increasingly frustrated by how people here won't listen to anything you say because they can't stand the way that you're saying it. Months later tell yourself, "Oh, these people are a waste of time," and leave after much aggravation has been caused for yourself and others, and go straight to some other online discussion forum.
- Take a deep breath, and learn how to be as polite as necessary. Master the fine art of respectful disagreement and disagreeing respectfully. Remind yourself that civility is a sign of strength, not weakness. Read a lot. Change your own opinion a few times, maybe change the opinions of others, too. Stick around, read, write, learn, educate.
Obviously, many of us would prefer you exercise the third option. We want your controversial opinion. We want you to come in and disagree with us. We want to MakeRoomForAllViewpoints
. But we also firmly believe that LifesTooShort
(to spend it in ways that are not enjoyable), and if you present us a seed of insight behind a thicket of personal attacks, we'll simply ignore it. That would be a loss, both for you, and for us. Please don't let that happen.
We prefer politeness in this forum. While we may CriticizeBluntly from time to time - sometimes a blunt instrument is more effective than a gentle one - we prefer to do so politely and constructively.
- Telling someone that they are wrong is acceptable. Telling them that they are an idiot is not. We usually DeleteInsults. Some people think that swagger and an attitude of IdontSufferFoolsLikeYou are acceptable forms of behavior. We do not.
- Questioning someone's credentials is OK if relevant; but please avoid a contest of DuelingCredentials.
- However, please do not be a HostileStudent. If someone tells you that you are wrong, especially someone with extensive knowledge on the subject matter, please consider the possibility that you are.
- That said, wiki is a social forum more than an academic forum; novices are encouraged to participate. An advanced degree is not required to comment on this site; further many of the matters discussed here are matters of opinion and conjecture rather than established scientific doctrine.
- Please participate in earnest; please come here with a desire to learn. We don't appreciate trolls; if it is your goal to flog a particular dead horse without considering the possibility that someone else's point of view might be more correct, consider finding a different place to do it.
- It is far better to make claims which are limited in scope but correct, than it is to make grandiose claims that are wrong for all but a few special cases. Use care when extrapolating from specific circumstances to the general case.
- Please don't assume that the readers of this site are idiots, and that you have a duty to the rest of us to protect us all from material you consider wrong-headed or nonsense. We're smart people here, and we can decide for ourselves what is wheat and what is chaff.
- Restrain TheDesireToDelete. It is a greater offense to the community to remove what might be valuable, than it is to leave what might be nonsense. Given time, the cream will rise to the top in any case. Words here that might be incorrect are not as much of a nuisance as you might think; we're grown-ups and we can handle it.
What is the difference (or nuance) between RespectfulDisagreement? and DisagreeingRespectfully?? (EnglishIsNotMyFirstLanguage?) -- ViktorRosenfeld
To DisagreeRespectfully? is a situation where each individual respects that the other has a differing firm view, and thus does not try to argue or discuss the situation further with the individuals involved. RespectfullyDisagreeing? is when a differing points of view discussion is on-going between individuals, but they are courteous and well-mannered in the course of this discussion (they discuss and disagree gracefully).
One secret of wiki is that much of the politeness comes from volunteer editors that tone down the flames after the fact. One of the simplest edits is to remove or revise comments directed at individuals. I invite everyone to edit these pages until only the valuable words remain. -- WardCunningham
See also: DeleteInsults, PositiveDialogueCommunity, PolitenessConsideredHarmful, IamaStrangeLoop