Etiquette, Civility

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Etiquette, Civility

Cormac Lawler
Hi all, as the title suggests, I'm writing about etiquette.
Specifically, whether it's ok to delete  valid questions or comments
from a talk page (in the particular case I'm talking about, deleting a
question from their own user talk page).

Personally, I think this is highly uncivil. "Sorry, I am just going to
ignore you, no, in fact, I am going to pretend you never asked the
question in the first place" (without even the "courtesy" of saying
this). However, there is scant mention of this in policy or guideline
pages (admittedly, I've only looked at English Wikipedia and
Wikibooks). Why?

Is it not considered rude to ignore someone? Is refusing to answer
questions not an ominous sign in a collaborative environment? (Ok,
when someone has just asked their umpteenth ignorant question, it
might be understandable, but this was my first contact with the
person.)

For what it's worth, the only mention I found was on either project's
policy pages was on [[w:en:Wikipedia:Etiquette]], which says "don't
ignore questions". Etiquette isn't even a policy or guideline on
Wikibooks - I'm addressing that at the moment.

So, has anyone else had a similar thought or frustration? And while
I'm asking about this, I'll also ask: what's the difference between
Etiquette and Civility? As far as I can define it (in Wikimedia
terms), etiquette is about specific instances of niceness or rudeness,
whereas civility is about a whole attitude, comprised of etiquette, no
personal attacks etc. Or what do you think?

Cormac
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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Angela-5
On 3/20/06, Cormac Lawler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi all, as the title suggests, I'm writing about etiquette.
> Specifically, whether it's ok to delete  valid questions or comments
> from a talk page (in the particular case I'm talking about, deleting a
> question from their own user talk page).

What about when the question is from a troll? Would the advice about
[[don't feed the troll | not feeding trolls]] mean might actually be a
good idea in some cases?

Even if the question wasn't from a troll, should people be forced to
communicate with others when they really don't want to? If there's an
issue with an article, that can be brought up on the article talk
page, where it would be wrong to delete it, but I think users should
have some control over whether or not they want to respond to messages
on their talk page.

Angela.
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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Cormac Lawler
On 3/20/06, Angela <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 3/20/06, Cormac Lawler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Hi all, as the title suggests, I'm writing about etiquette.
> > Specifically, whether it's ok to delete  valid questions or comments
> > from a talk page (in the particular case I'm talking about, deleting a
> > question from their own user talk page).
>
> What about when the question is from a troll? Would the advice about
> [[don't feed the troll | not feeding trolls]] mean might actually be a
> good idea in some cases?
>
> Even if the question wasn't from a troll, should people be forced to
> communicate with others when they really don't want to? If there's an
> issue with an article, that can be brought up on the article talk
> page, where it would be wrong to delete it, but I think users should
> have some control over whether or not they want to respond to messages
> on their talk page.
>
> Angela.


Yes, I agree that we cannot *force* people to answer other questions.
But what I am saying is that we should be encouraging as *good
practice* a spirit of listening. In the case of a troll, I fully
reserve the right to ignore that person. But in the case of a lengthy
question posed directly to a person (deliberately avoiding the
particular page I was disputing to avoid people thinking badly of this
person while we debated a point), and then that person simply deleting
my question, I think this is very bad practice. It smacks of someone
holding their hands over their ears and shouting "I'm not listening".

I agree that we can't decree "Thou shalt answer all questions put unto
ye". That's why I see this as a guideline, not a policy - we enforce a
code of civility, but encourage an attitude of etiquette.

Cormac


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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Fred Bauder
In reply to this post by Cormac Lawler
We expect the users who are involved in a matter to maintain civil  
communication with one another. Like you, I would be at a loss to  
point to specific language. If someone is touchy about their talk  
page, use the talk page of the article or other matter you are  
concerned with.

Fred

On Mar 20, 2006, at 2:00 AM, Cormac Lawler wrote:

> Hi all, as the title suggests, I'm writing about etiquette.
> Specifically, whether it's ok to delete  valid questions or comments
> from a talk page (in the particular case I'm talking about, deleting a
> question from their own user talk page).
>
> Personally, I think this is highly uncivil. "Sorry, I am just going to
> ignore you, no, in fact, I am going to pretend you never asked the
> question in the first place" (without even the "courtesy" of saying
> this). However, there is scant mention of this in policy or guideline
> pages (admittedly, I've only looked at English Wikipedia and
> Wikibooks). Why?
>
> Is it not considered rude to ignore someone? Is refusing to answer
> questions not an ominous sign in a collaborative environment? (Ok,
> when someone has just asked their umpteenth ignorant question, it
> might be understandable, but this was my first contact with the
> person.)
>
> For what it's worth, the only mention I found was on either project's
> policy pages was on [[w:en:Wikipedia:Etiquette]], which says "don't
> ignore questions". Etiquette isn't even a policy or guideline on
> Wikibooks - I'm addressing that at the moment.
>
> So, has anyone else had a similar thought or frustration? And while
> I'm asking about this, I'll also ask: what's the difference between
> Etiquette and Civility? As far as I can define it (in Wikimedia
> terms), etiquette is about specific instances of niceness or rudeness,
> whereas civility is about a whole attitude, comprised of etiquette, no
> personal attacks etc. Or what do you think?
>
> Cormac
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Lars Aronsson
In reply to this post by Cormac Lawler
Cormac Lawler wrote:

> Is it not considered rude to ignore someone?

If that "someone" is a troll or a stalker, it is they who are
rude, and not their victim.  Some questions are nothing but
provocations ("have you stopped beating your wife?" being the most
well-known example). You cannot really have rules to keep people
from being rude, because the truely rude will always abuse such
rules to their own benefit.  We're all volunteers here, nobody is
forced to do any work or answer any questions.


--
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  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Cormac Lawler
On 3/20/06, Lars Aronsson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Cormac Lawler wrote:
>
> > Is it not considered rude to ignore someone?
>
> If that "someone" is a troll or a stalker, it is they who are
> rude, and not their victim.  Some questions are nothing but
> provocations ("have you stopped beating your wife?" being the most
> well-known example). You cannot really have rules to keep people
> from being rude, because the truely rude will always abuse such
> rules to their own benefit.  We're all volunteers here, nobody is
> forced to do any work or answer any questions.


This is all fine if we want to create a rule that gives flexibility to
people acting in good faith, and doesn't expect them to answer stupid,
petty, provocative or otherwise pointless questions. But that's not
what I'm talking about here. To repeat, with a bit more context, what
I'm talking about is a situation where i noticed that two users were
in an edit conflict, which provoked a question on this person's talk
page, which this person deleted. I then made a similar comment that
was more broad in scope, and the user then deleted this. I restored my
question, asking to please discuss the matter with me. He deleted
again.

I'm not being rude, I'm not trolling (I might have come across
slightly authoritatively, and I've apologised for this). I'm asking
for clarification on a point of conflict, and pointing out where their
behaviour isn't very helpful, which this person refuses to talk about.
(The full context of this makes it even worse, but I'm deliberately
not giving it here to be fair to the person, who admittedly is pretty
new.) I can't believe that people here don't think this is clearly
being uncivil. What I'm arguing for is a general point of at least
*trying* to engage with other people -  this is showing good faith.
Sure, we work as volunteers, but we also work in an inherently
collaborative environment. Give them a chance - don't delete a comment
on your first contact with someone, unless it is itself clearly
uncivil. And, to be clear, I'm not talking about a rule or law to hold
people to - I'm simply talking about setting out good and bad examples
of behaviour. It'd be pretty clear if someone was trolling and used
the fact that someone didn't respond to a question against them, that
this person was still a troll. But that's just not the case here.

Cormac

>
>
> --
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>   Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Cormac Lawler
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder
On 3/20/06, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:
> We expect the users who are involved in a matter to maintain civil
> communication with one another. Like you, I would be at a loss to
> point to specific language. If someone is touchy about their talk
> page, use the talk page of the article or other matter you are
> concerned with.
>
> Fred


Yup. Well, for reasons I won't go into, I think the talk page from
whence the matter came is just as sensitive for the person in
question, so I've asked to move to my talk page instead. Like I said,
this user is quite new, so I'm just simply trying to encourage
conversation. And lest anyone go off and do their homework trying to
find out who this person is, let me say that it really doesn't matter
- for now at least. I'm just trying to get opinions and ideas here for
the moment.

Cormac

>
> On Mar 20, 2006, at 2:00 AM, Cormac Lawler wrote:
>
> > Hi all, as the title suggests, I'm writing about etiquette.
> > Specifically, whether it's ok to delete  valid questions or comments
> > from a talk page (in the particular case I'm talking about, deleting a
> > question from their own user talk page).
> >
> > Personally, I think this is highly uncivil. "Sorry, I am just going to
> > ignore you, no, in fact, I am going to pretend you never asked the
> > question in the first place" (without even the "courtesy" of saying
> > this). However, there is scant mention of this in policy or guideline
> > pages (admittedly, I've only looked at English Wikipedia and
> > Wikibooks). Why?
> >
> > Is it not considered rude to ignore someone? Is refusing to answer
> > questions not an ominous sign in a collaborative environment? (Ok,
> > when someone has just asked their umpteenth ignorant question, it
> > might be understandable, but this was my first contact with the
> > person.)
> >
> > For what it's worth, the only mention I found was on either project's
> > policy pages was on [[w:en:Wikipedia:Etiquette]], which says "don't
> > ignore questions". Etiquette isn't even a policy or guideline on
> > Wikibooks - I'm addressing that at the moment.
> >
> > So, has anyone else had a similar thought or frustration? And while
> > I'm asking about this, I'll also ask: what's the difference between
> > Etiquette and Civility? As far as I can define it (in Wikimedia
> > terms), etiquette is about specific instances of niceness or rudeness,
> > whereas civility is about a whole attitude, comprised of etiquette, no
> > personal attacks etc. Or what do you think?
> >
> > Cormac
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
>
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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Robert S. Horning
In reply to this post by Cormac Lawler
Cormac Lawler wrote:

>This is all fine if we want to create a rule that gives flexibility to
>people acting in good faith, and doesn't expect them to answer stupid,
>petty, provocative or otherwise pointless questions. But that's not
>what I'm talking about here. To repeat, with a bit more context, what
>I'm talking about is a situation where i noticed that two users were
>in an edit conflict, which provoked a question on this person's talk
>page, which this person deleted. I then made a similar comment that
>was more broad in scope, and the user then deleted this. I restored my
>question, asking to please discuss the matter with me. He deleted
>again.
>
>Cormac
>  
>
The issue here is really the ability of the "owner" of a user talk page
to censor the content on that talk page.  I'm using the term "owner"
very loosly here, and I know that, but in this case the talk page is
directly tied to a specific user account by default with MediaWiki
software, and has features built in where that user will be notified
with a special message if some new content is added to that page.
 Certainly by custom among Wikimedia users this has been used as a
communications venue for asking questions that are addressed to a
specific user.  Sometimes, like in the case of Jimbo's user page, it
sometimes becomes a community forum, but this is really quite unusual.
 Admins sometimes have this happen occasionally to a lesser degree, or
for very active Wikimedia users.

In this sense, the user who has set up the account should also be able
to control what the public in general is going to be seeing associated
with this user.  And in the specific case of the user that you have been
having a conflict with Cormac, he is using his user talk page as a
registration site for people who are interested in enrolling in the
Wikiversity class that he is putting together and offering to teach.
 Keeping it free from non-registration comments seems to be a general
goal of this user in this situation.  This is not a standard practice or
a typical experience for a user talk page, but it certainly is an
interesting and innovative use for user talk pages.

I think it would breech common courtesy and ettiquette (not necessarily
policy here) if you were delete content from somebody else's user talk
page, and IMHO would be a much larger concern or a sign of vandalism
even.  That is certainly not the issue being discussed.

--
Robert Scott Horning


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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Fred Bauder
In reply to this post by Cormac Lawler
In this situation the user who is deleting other users attempts to  
communicate with them is clearly in the wrong. Two metapolicies are  
being violated, Assume good faith and our consensus decision making  
policy. If they are not willing to negotiate they are apparently  
trying to impose their will in other ways, reverting, etc. What we  
have here is a failure to communicate. It's a shame that that line  
was put into the mouth of a fascist in Cool Hand Luke. Talking things  
over in good faith is one of our basic assumptions.

Fred

On Mar 20, 2006, at 5:16 PM, Cormac Lawler wrote:

> To repeat, with a bit more context, what
> I'm talking about is a situation where i noticed that two users were
> in an edit conflict, which provoked a question on this person's talk
> page, which this person deleted. I then made a similar comment that
> was more broad in scope, and the user then deleted this. I restored my
> question, asking to please discuss the matter with me. He deleted
> again.

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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Robert S. Horning
Fred Bauder wrote:

>In this situation the user who is deleting other users attempts to  
>communicate with them is clearly in the wrong. Two metapolicies are  
>being violated, Assume good faith and our consensus decision making  
>policy. If they are not willing to negotiate they are apparently  
>trying to impose their will in other ways, reverting, etc. What we  
>have here is a failure to communicate. It's a shame that that line  
>was put into the mouth of a fascist in Cool Hand Luke. Talking things  
>over in good faith is one of our basic assumptions.
>
>Fred
>  
>
Please keep in mind this is a user talk page, and the user who "owns"
the talk page is doing the deletion.  As has been pointed out, there are
other forums for expressing dissatisfaction, including this e-mail list.
 As to the ethics of removing that content may be debateable, it is
clear that the intended user did indeed get the message, even if they
are making a statement by removing that content afterward.  Just as I
delete stuff in my in-box for my e-mail account... even if it isn't
strictly spam.

--
Robert Scott Horning


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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Cormac Lawler
Cormac Lawler wrote:

>Hi all, as the title suggests, I'm writing about etiquette.
>Specifically, whether it's ok to delete  valid questions or comments
>from a talk page (in the particular case I'm talking about, deleting a
>question from their own user talk page).
>
>Personally, I think this is highly uncivil. "Sorry, I am just going to
>ignore you, no, in fact, I am going to pretend you never asked the
>question in the first place" (without even the "courtesy" of saying
>this). However, there is scant mention of this in policy or guideline
>pages (admittedly, I've only looked at English Wikipedia and
>Wikibooks). Why?
>
>Is it not considered rude to ignore someone? Is refusing to answer
>questions not an ominous sign in a collaborative environment? (Ok,
>when someone has just asked their umpteenth ignorant question, it
>might be understandable, but this was my first contact with the
>person.)
>
>For what it's worth, the only mention I found was on either project's
>policy pages was on [[w:en:Wikipedia:Etiquette]], which says "don't
>ignore questions". Etiquette isn't even a policy or guideline on
>Wikibooks - I'm addressing that at the moment.
>
>So, has anyone else had a similar thought or frustration? And while
>I'm asking about this, I'll also ask: what's the difference between
>Etiquette and Civility? As far as I can define it (in Wikimedia
>terms), etiquette is about specific instances of niceness or rudeness,
>whereas civility is about a whole attitude, comprised of etiquette, no
>personal attacks etc. Or what do you think?
>
As I see it civility is a matter of how we express things; inappropriate
name calling would be uncivil.

Etiquette is a series of often unwritten rules that define interpersonal
protocol.  No single breach of etiquette is significant by itself, but
cumulative breaches contribute to a negative view of the person.
.
There's nothing wrong from deleting questions from one's own user talk
page after they have been there for a reasonable amount of time.  One
should strive to answer questions as much as reasonable possible.  But
there's a limit to how much can be answered, and some question can't
easily be answered.

Ec


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Re: Etiquette, Civility

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder
Fred Bauder wrote:

>In this situation the user who is deleting other users attempts to  
>communicate with them is clearly in the wrong. Two metapolicies are  
>being violated, Assume good faith and our consensus decision making  
>policy. If they are not willing to negotiate they are apparently  
>trying to impose their will in other ways, reverting, etc. What we  
>have here is a failure to communicate. It's a shame that that line  
>was put into the mouth of a fascist in Cool Hand Luke. Talking things  
>over in good faith is one of our basic assumptions.
>
It's been many years since I've seen the movie, but I would have seen
Cool Hand as more an anarchist than a fascist.  More like the kind of
guy that you could go drinking with, and be almost certain that it would
be an exciting evening.

Ec

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