Battlestar Wiki:Things you just don't do, not even in war

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BSG WIKI Policy.png This page is an official policy of Battlestar Wiki.
This policy is considered by the community and its leadership to be the status quo of Battlestar Wiki and is not to be countermanded or ignored, though changes to it can be discussed on the appropriate talk page. This policy was implemented on 5 October 2006.
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BW:THINGS
BW:CAIN
BW:WAR
This is a derivative work comprising of documents from Wikipedia's Don't be a dick, Don't be dense, or Don't disrupt Wikipedia to prove a point which is permissible under the GNU FDL license. All related edits will be released under this same license.
Battlestar Wiki Policy
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Things you just don't do
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When Galen Tyrol becomes disgusted at Tigh's ideas for more suicide bombings against the Cylons, he tells him,

"These are things you just don't do, Colonel, not even in war."

This is also true, in the case of Battlestar Wiki, when contributing.

Don't emulate Crashdown

Don't emulate Crashdown, or, "Don't be dense". If people abided by this, other policies would flow naturally and be intuitive.

"Don't emulate Crashdown" is the basic underlying message of every editorial and policy in a social space. All rules are an attempt to define the boundaries of density. To be dense (as Crashdown was), essentially, is to be slow to understand or comprehend a point, usually because the person is unaware or ignorant to the specific problem caused by their action.

Although there is a vast amount of space on the Battlestar Wiki server, it is still insufficient to provide a detailed accounting of density and its various flavors (stupidity, obstinacy, Cainery, utter lunacy), with (perhaps) one episodic exception.

The nature of density is such that the dense are rarely aware of their density, and so it is probably more helpful, albeit more frustrating, to explain the specific problem to a dense user rather than simply citing this policy and assuming they'll figure it out.

Remember: "Assume good faith" is a nicer restatement of "Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice." Try not to be stupid either, which brings us to our next policy...

Don't be a Cain

Don't be a Cain, also known as "Don't be a dick" on Wikipedia, is the fundamental rule of all social spaces. Every other policy for getting along is a special case of it. Although nobody is empowered to ban or block somebody for being a dick (as this would be an instance of being a dick), it is still a bad idea to be one.

No definition of being a dick has been provided. This is deliberate. If a significant number of reasonable people suggest, whether bluntly or politely, that you are being a dick, the odds are good that you are not entirely in the right.

Being right about an issue does not mean you're not being a dick. Dicks can be right — but they're still dicks; and their message won't be heard, because no one likes listening to dicks, no matter how correct or in the right they are. To paraphrase a central tenet of Battlestar Galactica: It's not enough to be right. One must be worthy of being right.

If you've been labeled as a dick, especially if you have have been told this by several people in a particular community, it might be wise to consider the possibility that it is true. If you suspect that you may be a dick, the first step is to become aware of it. Ask yourself what behavior might be causing this perception. Try changing your behavior and your mode of presentation--in particular, identify the harsh words in your communications and replace them with softer ones.

If appropriate, apologize to anyone to whom you may have been a dick. It's okay; this won't make you seem weak! On the contrary, people will take notice of your willingness to cooperate and will almost always meet your efforts with increased respect.

Telling someone "Don't be a dick" is something of a dick-move in itself, so don't bandy the criticism about lightly. Don't emulate Crashdown may be sufficient, but see that page before citing it.

Don't pull a "Roslin" to prove a point

State your point. Don't prove it experimentally.

When Laura Roslin began the quest to find the true coordinates for Earth, she walked over nearly everyone and everything to make it happen because she felt it was right.

Discussion, rather than unilateral action, is the preferred means of changing policies, and the preferred mechanism for demonstrating the problem with policies or the way they are implemented. This means that an individual who opposes the state of a current rule or policy should not attempt to create proof that the rule does not work in Battlestar Wiki itself.

In the past, many contributors have found their Wikistress levels rising, particularly when an issue important to them has been handled unfairly in their view. The contributor may point out inconsistencies, perhaps citing other cases that have been handled differently. And the contributor may postulate: "What if everyone did that?"

(This neglects two important things about Battlestar Wiki: it is sometimes inconsistent, and it tolerates things it does not condone. These are arguably not defects.)

In this situation, it is tempting to illustrate a point using either parody or some form of breaching experiment. For example, the contributor may apply the decision to other issues in a way that mirrors the policy they oppose. These activities are generally disruptive: i.e., they require the vast majority of nonpartisan editors to clean up or revert the "proof."

In general, such edits are strongly opposed by those who believe them to be ineffective tools of persuasion. Many readers consider such techniques spiteful and unencyclopedic, as passers-by are caught in the crossfire of edits that are not made in good faith, and which, indeed, are designed to provoke outrage and opposition. As a general rule, points are best expressed directly in discussion, without irony or subterfuge. Direct statements are the best way to garner respect, agreement and consensus.

At Battlestar Wiki, sometimes the wheels turn slowly, but surely. If one is patient, "rightness," "truthfulness," and "correctness" will rise to the surface, even if the point or idea is not initially accepted.

Gaming the system

Gaming the system is the use of Battlestar Wiki rules to thwart Battlestar Wiki policy. Another popular way to describe this is "using the letter of the law to defeat the spirit of the law." In many cases, gaming the system is a form of disruption, such as obstinately nominating yourself for RFAs repeatedly or attempting to politik votes from other online sources, which many consider to be in bad form.

Examples

  • If somebody suggests that Battlestar Wiki should become a majority-rule democratic community...
    • do point out that it is entirely possible for Wikipedians to create sock puppets and vote more than once.
    • don't create seven sock puppets and have them all agree with you to prove him wrong.
  • If someone creates an article on what you believe to be a silly topic, and the community disagrees with your assessment on deletion...
    • do make your case clearly on the talk page of the article in question, pointing to examples of articles that would be allowable under the rules the community is applying.
    • don't create an article on an entirely silly topic just to get it considered for deletion as well.
  • If someone tags one of your favorite articles for deletion and calls it silly, and you believe that there are hundreds of sillier legitimate articles...
    • do state your case on the talk page of the article in question in favour of said article, pointing out that it is no more silly than many other articles, and listing one or two examples.
    • don't tag hundreds of non-deletable articles with the delete tag in one day in order to try to save it.
    • do consider creating the article on Wiki Frakr. We welcome almost all silliness there. Silliness must be extremely high quality and work on several levels to remain included in Battlestar Wiki mainspace.
  • If an article you've tagged for deletion is not deleted...
    • do reconsider whether your nomination was justified.
    • don't frivolously nominate the same article for featured article status.
  • If someone deletes information about a person you consider to be important from an article, calling them unimportant...
    • do argue on the article's talk page for the person's inclusion, pointing out that other information about people is included in the article.
    • don't delete all the information about every person from the article, calling it unimportant.
  • If you wish to change an existing procedure or guideline...
    • do set up a discussion page and try to establish consensus
    • don't push the existing rule to its limits in an attempt to prove it wrong, or nominate the existing rule for deletion
  • If you're upset someone didn't follow process in making a change...
    • do find out why they did it and attempt to convince them otherwise
    • don't reverse an arguably good change for no reason other than "out of process"
  • If you feel that a particular attack should not be called "terrorist"...
    • do argue on the article's talk page that the term "terrorist" is not neutral and should be removed.
    • don't add the word "terrorist" to articles on dozens of other incidents, which only some people believe constitute "terrorism".

Egregious disruption of any kind is blockable by any administrator — for up to one month in the case of repeat offenses that are highly disruptive.

Hoaxes

On a related note, please don't attempt to put misinformation into Battlestar Wiki to test our ability to detect and remove it; this wastes everyone's time, including yours. Here at Battlestar Wiki, fan fiction and fanwanking is considered misinformation in canonical articles. If such behavior is misinterpreted by an administrator as vandalism (commonly performed by users who add spam links to articles), your actions could find you blocked from editing much longer than what the offense may normally warrant.

Don't stuff beans up your nose

Don't rush to head off new ideas for vandalism, as you may give vandals that very idea:
"Prophylactic admonition may trigger novel mischief"-- From Wikipedia:Don't stuff beans up your nose.