Assume good faith is a fundamental principle on any web-based, free content, encyclopedia project. In allowing anyone to edit, we assume that most people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it.

What is good faith?

To assume good faith means to assume that someone is making a well-intentioned effort to help the wiki, even if they did something you think is wrong. Odds are, it was an accident. Assuming good faith means to assume that there is no intention of malice, that editors are trying hard to do their best, and that they are trying to do their best for the greater good of the community.

Even if someone made an edit that needs to be reverted, it does not mean that their intention in making that edit was anything less than honorable. You should approach disagreements with a sense that the other person just wants to help, so you can be a friendly, honest, and caring voice in the community rather than someone who assumes that anyone who does something differently than you is out to ruin the wiki.

Assuming good faith from new users

Making the leap from reader to editor can be really daunting, and the Publish button can be very intimidating when you know your first edit can be seen by the entire world. For that reason, you should always remember to be patient with newcomers, because they will most likely be unfamiliar with the wiki's culture and rules. They are there because they are excited to join in, but they may not understand the tools or codes that you are used to, and they most likely have not read your wiki's rules and guidelines—no matter how much you may have wanted them to. It is easy to get frustrated and impatient about this, but everyone needs a chance to learn—and at a pace that is as comfortable for them as possible.

When you can reasonably assume that something is a well-meaning error, correct it with a kind, explanatory edit summary, and even leave a message on their message wall. Do not just revert it without any explanation, and certainly do not label it as vandalism unless it actually has malicious intent behind it. Letting the users know what they did wrong not only helps them become a better editor, but the new messages bubble showing them that someone has in fact read their edits can be great for positive encouragement. Knowing that someone has read what you wrote is a great feeling, one that can get people deeply involved in wikis they care about.

All in all, remember not to act as if their mistake was deliberate. Correct them, but do not scold them. Inform, but do not intimidate. These are people you want to keep on your wiki, so why scare them off?

Exceptions

This policy does not require editors to assume good faith in the face of evidence to the contrary. Obvious vandalism, personal attacks, and other explicit policy violations should not be assumed to be good faith edits. Editors may quickly erode the assumption of good faith, and all editors contributions should be viewed in the light of past contributions. Not all editors are universally knowledgeable, and any information that is verifiability incorrect should be quickly corrected.

Final advice

Just remember that everyone you deal with has feelings, and everyone can help you build the wiki project that you love if they can be shown that their work is noticed and valued, as well as how they can improve wherever needed. Always do your best to assume good faith, and your reward will be a thriving wiki community!

See also

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