Battlestar Wiki:Ownership of articles

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
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 2006 October 25.

This is a derivative work from Wikipedia's Ownership of Articles, which is permissible under the GNU FDL license. All related edits will be released under this same license.
Battlestar Wiki Policy
Article Standards

Article Standards & Conventions
Keeping articles concise
Assume good faith
Official sources and citations
Neutral or Real point of view
Spoiler Policy
What Battlestar Wiki is
What Battlestar Wiki is not
Avoiding "fanwanking"
Descriptive terms
"Alternate universe" products

Sysop ← Interaction → User

Page Moves
Username policy
Check user

Site Wide

Civility, etiquette and personal attacks
Edit war
Things you just don't do
Ownership of articles
Words of wisdom for the paranoid
... is not a forum


Air Lock
High Traffic
Types of users

Inactive Policies
Razor Material

This article is about the control of content, not the ownership of copyright for content, which is addressed elsewhere.


Some contributors feel very possessive about material (be it categories, templates, articles, images or portals) they have donated to this project. Some go so far as to defend them against all intruders. It's one thing to take an interest in an article that you maintain on your watchlist. Maybe you really are an expert or you just care about the topic a lot. But when this watchfulness crosses a certain line, then you're overdoing it. Believing that an article has an owner of this sort can be a mistake that people make on Battlestar Wiki.

You can't stop everyone in the world from editing "your" stuff, once you've posted it to Battlestar Wiki. As each edit page clearly states:

If you don't want your material to be edited mercilessly or redistributed by others, do not submit it.

If you find yourself warring with other contributors over deletions, reversions and so on, why not take some time off from the editing process? Taking yourself out of the equation can cool things off considerably. Take a fresh look a week or two later. Or if someone else is claiming "ownership" of a page, you can bring it up on the associated talk page. Appeal to other contributors, or consider the dispute resolution process.

Although working on an article does not entitle one to "own" the article, it is still important to respect the work of your fellow contributors. When making large scale removals of content, particularly content contributed by one editor, it is important to consider whether a desirable result could be obtained by working with the editor, instead of against him or her - regardless of whether he or she "owns" the article or not. See also Civility, Etiquette and Assume good faith.

Don't sign what you don't own

Since no one "owns" any part of any article, if you create or edit an article, you should not sign it. As for credit, the exact contributions of all editors are seen with their names on the "History" pages. This is the Battlestar Wiki equivalent of a byline.

On the other hand, when adding comments, questions, or votes to "talk" pages, it is good to "own" your text, so the best practice is to sign it by suffixing your entry with --~~~~. For more editing "do"s and "don't"s, you might want to go through the brief tutorial. At least with existing pages, you can get an idea of where it's appropriate to add your signature by noting what previous contributors have done.

Ownership examples


  • Minor edits concerning layout, image use, and wording are disputed on a daily basis by one editor. The editor may state or imply that changes must be reviewed by him/her before they can be added to the article.
  • Article changes by different editors are reverted by the same editor for an extended period of time to protect a certain version, stable or not. This does not include vandalism.
  • An editor appears on other editors' talk pages for the purpose of discouraging them from making additional contributions. The discussion can take many forms: it may be purely negative, consisting of threats and insults, often avoiding the topic of the revert altogether. At the other extreme, the owner may patronize other editors, claiming that their ideas are interesting but that they lack the deep understanding of the article necessary to edit it.


  • "Are you qualified to edit this article?"
  • "Revert. You're editing too much. Can you slow down?"
  • "You obviously have no hands on experience with widgets."

Types of ownership

The most common type of ownership conflict is between users: those involving primary editors and ownership issues concerning multiple editors.

Primary editors

Primary editors, that is to say, one editor who takes ownership of an article, should be approached on the article talk page with a descriptive header that informs readers about the topic. Always avoid accusations, attacks, and speculations concerning the motivation of editors. If necessary, ignore attacks made in response to a query. If the behavior continues, the issue may require dispute resolution, but it is important to make a good attempt to communicate with the editor on the article talk page before proceeding to mediation, etc.

In many cases (but not all), primary editors engaged in ownership conflicts are also primary contributors to the article, so keep in mind that such editors may be experts in their field and/or have a genuine interest in maintaining the quality of the article and preserving accuracy. Editors of this type often welcome discussion, so a simple exchange of ideas will usually solve the problem of ownership. If you find the editor continues to be hostile, makes personal attacks, or wages revert wars, try to ignore disruptive behavior by discussing the topic on the talk page. If the ownership behavior persists after a discussion, dispute resolution may be necessary, but at least one will be on record as having attempted to solve the problem directly with the primary editor. A common response by a primary editor confonted with ownership behavior is to threaten to leave the project. Since the ownership policy encourages such editors to take a break, it may be wise to let them leave and return when they are ready.

Multiple editors

The involvement of multiple editors, each of which defends the ownership of the other, can be highly complex. The simplest scenario usually comprises a dominant primary editor who is defended by other editors, reinforcing the former's ownership. This is often informally described as a tag team, and can be frustrating to new and seasoned editors. As before, address the topic and not the actions of the editors. If this fails, proceed to dispute resolution, but it is important to communicate on the talk page and attempt to resolve the dispute yourself before escalating the conflict resolution process.

Resolving ownership issues

While it may be easy to identify ownership issues, it is far more difficult to resolve the conflict to the satisfaction of the editors involved. A few simple strategies may be helpful:

  • Stay calm, assume good faith, and remain civil: Accusing other editors of owning the article may appear aggressive, and could be perceived as a personal attack. Address the editor in a civil manner, with the same amount of respect you would expect. Often times, editors accused of ownership may not even realize it, so it's important to assume good faith. Some editors may think they are protecting the article from vandalism, and may respond to any changes with hostility. Others may try to promote their POV, failing to recognize the importance of the NPOV policy.

Brevity and Relevance

Brevity is the soul of wit. Primary and multiple editors may put their heart and soul into enriching an article, only for others to find that the article is too detailed. Often, this may occur with articles containing a great deal of derived content information, or articles related to immense lists or histories, such as filographies.

Keep in mind that the Concision Fairy frowns on articles that are excessively long, particularly if the article's content or detail may be indirectly related (or unrelated) to Battlestar Wiki's mission. Again, all editors (especially primary editors) should step back to know when enough is enough, especially if the data can be found in a more germane external source, such as Wikipedia or Memory Alpha.

See also