This is an essay.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
|This page in a nutshell: Dispute resolution is not a legal system.|
When intelligent editors with different backgrounds who care about Wikipedia try to collaboratively interpret guidelines which require judgement, conflict is inevitable. Wikipedia has mechanisms to try to resolve such disputes as quickly and efficiently as possible.
You have no rights here. Wikipedia is privately owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, which sets the terms of usage. Therefore, editors have no legal right to edit it; no rights are being denied if users are blocked; and thinking in terms of a legal framework is counterproductive.
Wikipedia is not fair. Wikipedia is a subset of life; life is not fair is a notable truism about real life. If this fact is a cause of excessive stress for you then Wikipedia editing may not be a good activity for you.
It's not about you. The purposes of Wikipedia dispute resolution are:
- Help ensure encyclopedia quality.
- Allow editors to return to productive editing instead of getting bogged down in conflict.
Due to several factors, including ambiguity of policy and variety in editors who respond to requests, interventions are non-deterministic. Demands for justice, or that other editors receive the same sanctions you did for what you perceive are equivalent situations – regardless of the accuracy of the assessment – will not be well received. Pursued too persistently or vigorously, such claims may end up prompting the community to sanction you for disruption.
Ask for assistance, not punishment. It is not uncommon for it to quickly be apparent that a small number of editors will simply not be able to come to consensus. Continued and prolonged attempts at discussion in these situations can lead to frustration, acrimony, and disruption. It is good to ask for assistance from the community, but it is best not to request or demand specific solutions. It is also good to accept the possibility the consensus will turn out not to be your position; try not to view this as "you lost", so much as you helped Wikipedia achieve consensus.
Seek solutions, not justice. Different editors react differently to similar situations, which is why there is inconsistency in the outcomes of similar events. Editors are volunteers that come from different countries, cultures, and philosophies; there is no way to have true consistency in outcomes unless the system were overbearingly bureaucratic. The key is to use polite and civil discussion and persuasion, or simply agree to disagree. Cries of injustice will usually fall on deaf ears. It is better to ask for practical solutions that are reasonably fair and that consider everyone's interests. Often, it is better to wait a day or two after a decision was made to allow reflection upon the events, and for cooler heads to prevail.
- Wikipedia:Free speech
- Wikipedia:Consensus#Decisions not subject to consensus of editors
- Wikipedia:Disruptive sanctions
- Wikipedia:Advice for hotheads (the most likely personality type to be seeking "justice")