|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.|
State your point; don't prove it experimentally
Discussion, rather than unilateral action, is the preferred means of changing policies, and the preferred mechanism for demonstrating the problem with policies or the way they are implemented. This means that an individual who opposes the state of a current rule or policy should not attempt to create proof that the rule does not work in Wikipedia itself.
In the past, many contributors have found their Wikistress levels rising, particularly when an issue important to them has been handled unfairly in their view. The contributor may point out inconsistencies, perhaps citing other cases that have been handled differently. And the contributor may postulate: "What if everyone did that?"
(This neglects two important things about Wikipedia: it is inconsistent, and it tolerates things it does not condone. These are arguably not defects.)
In this situation, it is tempting to illustrate a point using either parody or some form of breaching experiment. For example, the contributor may apply the decision to other issues in a way that mirrors the policy they oppose. These activities are generally disruptive: i.e., they require the vast majority of nonpartisan editors to clean up or revert the "proof".
In general, such edits are strongly opposed by those who believe them to be ineffective tools of persuasion. Many readers consider such techniques spiteful and unencyclopedic, as passers-by are caught in the crossfire of edits that are not made in good faith, and which, indeed, are designed to provoke outrage and opposition. As a general rule, points are best expressed directly in discussion, without irony or subterfuge. Direct statements are the best way to garner respect, agreement and consensus.
Gaming the system
Gaming the system is the use of Wikipedia rules to thwart Wikipedia policy. In many cases, gaming the system is a form of disruption, such as obstinately reverting an edit exactly three times a day, and then "innocently" maintaining that no rules are being violated. The three-revert rule should not be construed as an entitlement to revert, and doing so is regarded as disruption. Doing this over a prolonged period of time leads to sanctions, and, in extreme cases, a permanent ban.
- If somebody suggests that Wikipedia should become a majority-rule democratic community...
- do point out that it is entirely possible for Wikipedians to create sock puppets and vote more than once.
- don't create seven sock puppets and have them all agree with you to prove him wrong.
- If someone creates an article on what you believe to be a silly topic, and the community disagrees with your assessment on en:Wikipedia:Articles for deletion...
- do make your case clearly on AfD, pointing to examples of articles that would be allowable under the rules the community is applying.
- don't create an article on an entirely silly topic just to get it listed on AfD.
- If someone lists one of your favourite articles on AfD and calls it silly, and you believe that there are hundreds of sillier legitimate articles...
- do state your case on AfD in favour of the article, pointing out that it is no more silly than many other articles, and listing one or two examples.
- don't list hundreds of non-deletable articles on AfD in one day in order to try to save it.
- If an article you've nominated for deletion on AfD is not deleted...
- do reconsider whether your nomination was justified.
- don't frivolously nominate the same article for featured article status.
- If someone deletes information about a person you consider to be important from an article, calling them unimportant...
- do argue on the article's talk page for the person's inclusion, pointing out that other information about people is included in the article.
- don't delete all the information about every person from the article, calling it unimportant.
- If you wish to change an existing procedure or guideline...
- do set up a discussion page and try to establish consensus
- don't push the existing rule to its limits in an attempt to prove it wrong, or nominate the existing rule for deletion
- If you're upset someone didn't follow process in making a change...
- do find out why they did it and attempt to convince them otherwise
- don't reverse an arguably good change for no reason other than "out of process"
- If you feel that a particular attack should not be called "terrorist"...
- do argue on the article's talk page that the term "terrorist" is not neutral and should be removed.
- don't add the word "terrorist" to articles on dozens of other incidents, which only some people believe constitute "terrorism".
Egregious disruption of any kind is blockable by any administrator — for up to one month in the case of repeat offenses that are highly disruptive. Editors involved in arbitration are likely to find that violating the spirit of this guideline may prejudice the decision of the Arbitration Committee. See en:Wikipedia:Arbitration policy/Precedents for examples of the Committee's views on various types of disruptive behavior.
On a related note, please don't attempt to put misinformation into Wikipedia to test our ability to detect and remove it; this wastes everyone's time, including yours. See en:Wikipedia:Hoaxes.
Don't stuff beans up your nose
Don't rush to head off new ideas for vandalism, as you may give vandals that very idea:
"Prophylactic admonition may trigger novel mischief"-- From en:Wikipedia:Don't stuff beans up your nose.