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Criticism of assume good faith

Noto Emoji Pie 1f4c4.svg This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

Criticism of assume good faith usually centers around the question of whether such assumptions are likely to be correct or likely to be beneficial. Some have argued that it might be better to just say, "Don't assume bad faith." David Gerard noted on 18 February 2014, "'assume good faith' makes more sense when you realise it's a nicer restatement of 'never assume malice when stupidity will suffice'. It certainly doesn't mean 'assume correctness'." Isarra suggested that AGF "was a way to avoid assumptions - another way of saying to give people the benefit of the doubt".

Dan Andreescu argued, "violence is a particularly efficient way of getting what you want. 'Assume good faith' is just a way to apologize in advance for employing violence. And honestly, I come from a culture where violence is a totally acceptable form of communication, and I'm a violent communicator."

On Wikinews, AGF is rejected as intrinsically incompatible with news production. Pi zero noted, "AGF, if taken literally by its name, advocates assuming something, which contributors to an information provider should never be encouraged to do. If taken the way it seems to be meant (per WP:ZEN), it teaches people to say something different than what you mean, also not good. And, AGF can be, and is, used successfully by people of bad faith to avoid responsibility for their own behavior and get their victims in trouble."