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This page is considered an official policy on Star Trek Expanded Universe. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow. Except for minor edits, please make use of the discussion page to propose changes to this policy.

Please do not make personal attacks anywhere in STEU. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks will not help you make a point; they hurt the STEU community and deter users from helping create a good encyclopedia.

Don't do it

There is no excuse for personal attacks on other contributors. Please do not make them.

Consequences

Remember that disputes on talk pages are accessible to everyone on the Internet. The way in which you conduct yourself on STEU reflects on STEU and on you.

Being reasonable

Different contributors may not agree on an article. Members of opposing communities reasonably wish to express their views and in the Star Trek universe we all have different ideas how things should be and shouldn't be in our view of the Trek universe. Remember to accept that we are all part of the same community as we are all STEUDians.

Examples

Examples of personal attacks

Specific examples of personal attacks include but are not limited to:

  • Accusatory comments such as "George is a troll", or "Laura is a bad editor" can be considered personal attacks if said repeatedly, in bad faith, or with sufficient venom.
  • Negative personal comments and "I'm better than you" attacks, such as "You have no life."
  • Racial, sexual, homophobic, ageist, religious, political, or ethnic epithets directed against another contributor. (Disagreement over what constitutes a religion, race, sexual preference, or ethnicity is not a legitimate excuse.)
  • Using someone's affiliations as a means of dismissing or discrediting their views — regardless of whether said affiliations are mainstream or extreme.
  • Profanity directed against another contributor.
  • Threats of legal action.
  • Threats of violence, including death threats.
  • Threats of vandalism to userpages or talk pages. May be direct or indirect.
  • Threats or actions which expose other editors to political, religious or other persecution.
  • Posting a link to an external source that fits the commonly accepted threshold for a personal attack, in a manner that incorporates the substance of that attack into STEU discussion. Suggesting a link applies to another editor, or that another editor needs to visit a certain link, which contains the substance of an attack.

Examples that are not personal attacks

Debate is an essential part of the culture of any wiki. Be civil and adhere to good etiquette when stating disagreements to avoid personalizing them and try to minimize unnecessarily antagonistic comments. Disagreements with other editors can be discussed without resorting to personal attacks. It is important not to personalize comments that are directed at content and actions, but it is equally important not to interpret impersonal comments as personal attacks. Examples of comments that are not personal attacks include:

  • Disagreements about content such as "Your statement about X is wrong" or "Your statement is a point of view, not fact" are not personal attacks.
  • Remarks describing an editor's actions and made without involving their personal character should not be construed as personal attacks. Stating "Your statement is a personal attack..." is not itself a personal attack — it is a statement regarding the actions of the user, not a statement about the user. (It can however be a harmful statement if it's untrue.) A comment such as "responding to accusation of bad faith by user X" in an edit summary or on a talk page is not a personal attack against user X.
  • A comment in an edit history such as "reverting vandalism" is not a personal attack if it's concerned with clear vandalism, although otherwise it is. "Vandalism" imputes bad intentions and bad motives to the person accused. If the edit that is being reverted could be interpreted as a good-faith edit, then don't label it as vandalism.

Be aware of WikiLawyering

This policy can be a prime candidate for WikiLawyering, which can be defined as asserting a technical interpretation of the policy to override the principle it expresses. This page is frequently edited and examples and remedies that do or do not appear here may have been edited to suit one editor's perspective, but not be generally agreed to by the community. In the end, common sense is more important than the exact wording in this and other policy articles, including the examples included above.

Alternatives

Instead:

  • Discuss the facts and how to express them, not the attributes of the other party. This does not mean that you have to agree with the other person, but just agree to disagree.
  • Never suggest a view is invalid simply because of who its proponent is.
  • Explore issues in a less public forum like e-mail if a debate threatens to become personal.
  • Read Wikipedia:Resolving disputes.

Remedies

If you are personally attacked, you should ask the attacker to stop and note this policy. If he or she continues, consider following the dispute resolution process. You might also consider removing particularly clear-cut personal attacks as discussed in the essay Wikipedia:WP:RPA; however, you should be very careful not to define "personally attack" too broadly, or to do this too frequently. From an Wikipedia arbitration committee finding-of-fact:

The remove personal attacks guideline (and the application thereof) is controversial. It has often been abused by malefactors, and may not have community consensus. It should, at most, be interpreted strictly and used sparingly. [1]

If you find yourself using this remedy frequently, you should reconsider your definition of "personal attack." When in doubt, follow the dispute resolution process instead.

In extreme cases, an attacker may be blocked under the "disruption" clause of the blocking policy, though the practice is almost always controversial. Personal attacks requiring urgent action can be reported to the sysops.

A misguided notion: "Kicking them while they are down"

There may be certain STEUDians who are unpopular, perhaps because of ill-considered behavior in the past. It is only human to imagine that such users might be fair game for personal attacks. This notion is misguided; people make mistakes, often learn from them and change their ways. The NPA rule applies to all users irrespective of their past history or how others regard them.

Community spirit

It is your responsibility to foster and maintain a positive online community. Personal attacks against any user - regardless of his/her past behavior - are contrary to this spirit.

Off-wiki personal attacks

As with the attacks defined above, personal attacks on other editors in off-STEU venues reflect badly on the attacker and are unlikely to achieve a positive outcome. STEU acknowledges that it cannot regulate behavior in media not under the control of STEU and Wikia, but personal attacks elsewhere may create doubt as to whether your on-wiki actions are being conducted in good faith. Posting personal attacks or defamation off-site is harmful to the entire community, and to your relationship with it.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

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