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Assume good faith

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To assume good faith is a fundamental principle on the Psychology Wiki. As we allow anyone to edit, it is clear that we assume that most people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it. If this weren't true, projects like Psychology Wiki would be doomed from the beginning.

So, when you can reasonably assume that something is a well-intentioned error, correct it without just reverting it or labeling it as vandalism. When you disagree with someone, remember that they probably believe that they are helping the project. Consider using talk pages to explain yourself, and give others the opportunity to do the same. This can avoid misunderstandings and prevent problems from escalating. Especially, remember to be patient with newcomers, who will be unfamiliar with Psychology Wiki's culture and rules.

A newcomer's behavior probably seems appropriate to him or her and a problem usually indicates unawareness or misunderstanding of the culture of the Psychology Wiki. It is not uncommon for a newcomer to believe that an unfamiliar policy should be changed to match their experience elsewhere. Similarly, many newcomers bring with them experience or expertise for which they expect immediate respect. Behaviors arising from these perspectives are not necessarily malicious.

Correcting someone's error (even if you think it was deliberate) is better than accusing him or her of lying because the person is more likely to take it in a good-natured fashion. Correcting a newly added sentence that you know to be wrong is also much better than simply deleting it.

Assuming good faith is about intentions, not actions. Well-meaning people make mistakes, and you should correct them when they do. You should not act like their mistake was deliberate. Correct, but don't scold. There will be people on the Psychology Wiki with whom you disagree. Even if they're wrong, that doesn't mean they're trying to wreck the project. There will be some people with whom you find it hard to work. Again, this doesn't mean they're trying to wreck the project. However, if it means they annoy you, it is never necessary that we attribute an editor's actions to bad faith, even if bad faith seems obvious, as all our countermeasures (i.e. reverting, blocking) can be performed on the basis of behavior rather than intent.

When "edit wars" get hot, it's easy to forget to assume good faith.

If you assume bad faith, several things may happen:

  • Personal attacks: Once you've made a personal attack, the target will probably assume bad faith. The edit war will get even uglier.
  • Losing sight of the Neutral point of view (NPOV) policy. The ideal is to represent views fairly and without bias. Every revert (rather than change) of a biased edit is a NPOV defeat, no matter how outrageous the edit was. Consider figuring out why the other person felt the article was biased. Then, if possible, try to integrate their point, but in terms you consider neutral. If each side practices this they will eventually meet at NPOV—or a rough semblance of it.

Of course, there's a difference between assuming good faith and ignoring bad actions. If you expect people to assume good faith from you, make sure you demonstrate it. Don't put the burden on others. Yelling "Assume Good Faith" at people does not excuse you from explaining your actions, and making a habit of it will convince people that you're acting in bad faith.

This policy does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of evidence to the contrary. Things which can cause the loss of good faith include vandalism, personal attacks, sockpuppetry and edit warring. Assuming good faith also does not mean that no action by editors should be criticized, it only means that one should not ascribe said action to malice. Automatically accusing the other side in a conflict of not assuming good faith regardless of their motivation is failing to assume good faith in itself.

See also

  • Other related policies and guidelines advising what to do (and what not to do), to help demonstrate that you are editing in good faith:
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