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Common practices[edit | edit source]
This section lists common practices. Why do these common practices work? When do they fail and why?
- Think before you act. Think about whether each action is going to make things better or worse. If an action might make things worse, give active consideration to not doing it.
- Take care writing on topics you are passionate about. Create learning resources in a way that does not argue for one point of view. Remember that it is difficult to be unbiased when you are biased.
- Avoid drama. Focus on content, not on people. Look for common ground. Your free time could be better spent to improve Wikiversity's content.
- Don't take Wikiversity too seriously. Remember that Wikiversity is a hobby and not an obligation or commitment. Keep a good community spirit up and make good edits as a community.
- Listen to other people and acknowledge that you understand other people's point of views. Text communications can be ambiguous and often more difficult to interpret than speech. Text comes without facial expressions, vocal inflection, or body language. It is easy to misjudge other editors' moods and intentions. Make your proposals and responses clear. If someone disagrees with you, make sure you try to understand why. Try to see where they are coming from. Take the time and effort to explain why you think your suggestion(s) might be preferable, and answer their questions politely. Don't ignore them (unless it's for a very good reason, i.e they themselves are being unreasonable.) Respect them. Restating people's view fairly and accurately, like "You seem to be saying [paraphrase of opposite opinion or suggestion]," or "As I understand you...," acknowledges that you are paying attention and not just waiting to interject with points of your own. Even if you are sure you haven't misunderstood what someone is trying to say to you, listening carefully and communicating effectively will help keep you from missing something important.
- Acknowledge and apologize when you are wrong or being unfair. You are only human. Sometimes you make mistakes and are not always right. In the heat of the moment you might sometimes say things that were better left unsaid; the least you can then do is make amends and admit your mistakes. Why argue infinitely when you can apologize?
- Say something nice. People typically only bother to comment or use talk pages when they have a problem or complaint. Unsurprisingly this can create a negative atmosphere that leads to heated arguments, annoyance and people taking offense, whether or not that was your intent. If you like what you read say so! Do not assume that by not complaining that people ought to know their work is appreciated. A few compliments can proactively smooth things over and make people less likely to simply take offense at your criticism. A safe approach is to "sandwich" your complaint between compliments, with something positive at the beginning and end with your commentary.
- If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. If you're in a situation where you can't think of anything nice to say and saying something is likely to just anger people, then don't say anything at all. Often times someone else shares the same views. Allow someone who's more level headed to discuss the issues instead.
- Assume the best about people whenever possible. Assume good faith. Wikiversity has worked remarkably well so far based on a policy of openness. This suggests that most people who visit do want to help and do succeed in trying to do so.
- Take it slow. There is no time limit for a discussion. If you're angry, take a break from posting or editing. Come back in a day or a week. You might find that someone else has made the change or comment you wanted while you were away.
- Limit and qualify your statement and try posting comments as questions, especially if you're not totally sure. Blanket statements or statements asserting the truth of opinions that can inflame the reader and sometimes, if you identify it as your own personal point of view, it can help make it seem less insulting to those who disagree. In this way, you can still emphasize your strong feelings on the topic, and communicate exactly the same opinion, but do so in a less inflammatory way.
- Help moderate other people's disagreements when you come across them. This is the same concept as pulling apart the two people engaged in a fist fight. Sometimes it is best to just state that the discussion is too heated (in a metaphorical sense).
- Remove or summarize old complaints. Once you are fairly certain that the person you're critiquing has seen your complaint (e.g., they've responded to it), be honorable about removing or summarizing it. The participant will sometimes feel reluctant to remove criticism out of fear that it will make them appear fearful of evaluations from others. You can go even a step further and thank them for addressing (or at least considering) your issue.
- Avoid deleting things as a matter of principle. When you amend and edit, it is remarkable how you might see something useful in what you might be about to remove. Almost everyone – including you – has something useful to say. Deletion upsets people and makes them feel they have wasted their time; at the very least leave some indication of your rationale in an edit summary, if not in an entry on a talk page or in a message to a user or users you think might be perturbed by your action.
- Go play in a Project:Sandbox, especially one you've created yourself in your userspace. It gives you a chance to ease discipline and get a few things off your chest -- go ahead, you probably won't frighten the punters too much, but consider others and resist using anything likely to upset or distress a random visitor.
- Sometimes you just need to walk away. There are a countless numbers of users who can take over for you. If you are not making progress, do not waste your personal time. Take a time out and work on other resources, or take a break from Wikiversity in general. Go get some fresh air or cook up a nice snack in the kitchen. You can bookmark the learning resource and return in a week or two. Allow some other Wikiversity participants to handle the situation.
- Always be welcoming to people. Everyone has something of value to contribute. Encourage people and welcome their ideas, even ideas you disagree with or from someone you are in conflict with. When people are allowed to be heard and to participate, they are less likely to feel neglected or alienated. If people feel neglected or alienated valuable contributions may be lost.