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Dispute resolutionEdit

No matter how well you edit Wikipedia, and no matter how simple and obvious your changes may seem, you are very likely to end up in a dispute. This becomes more and more likely as you get into more contentious areas of Wikipedia. The higher the number of page views and the more evocative the subject - the more likely the area is going to be considered contentious.

Stay in the top three sections of this pyramid.

I'm going to go through the different methods of dispute resolution there are on Wikipedia. They are all covered at the dispute resolution page and the tips there are really worth taking.

Simple ResolutionEdit

No. I'm not expecting you to back down. You obviously believe what you are saying, and there is nothing wrong with that. What you can do though is attempt to resolve the dispute. How??? I hear you ask.

Firstly assume good faith, remember the person you are in a dispute with is also trying to improve the encyclopedia. They are not trying to deliberately damage the encyclopedia. Try to see things from their point of view and see if you can both come to a compromise.

Keep calm. There's no urgency to the change you are trying to put in or take out, it will wait until the discussion is complete. If you try to fight by edit-warring to keep your preferred version there is a large chance that you will get nowhere and face a block. So, instead follow Bold, Revert, Discuss - one editor makes a Bold edit, which they feel improves the encyclopedia. A second editor reverts the edit as they disagree. The two (or more) editors discuss the matter on the talk page until they come to an agreement or proceed along Wikipedia's dispute resolution process.

When it comes to the discussion, I want you to try and stay in the top 3 sections of the pyramid to the right. You've heard the phrase "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit" right? Well, this pyramid explains the different forms of disagreement. Attacks on the character of an editor is never going to help anything. If an editor is "attacking" you, don't respond in kind - stay focused on the editor's argument and respond to that.

If you think about what you are saying and how the editor is likely to respond you realize that you have a choice. Your comment will generally go one of two ways, 1): it will address the editors argument and put forward a counterargument which the opposing editor will be able to understand, and 2): It will not address the situation, thereby infuriating the other editor and escalating the drama.

Accusations of attacks, bad faith, ownership, vandalism or any number of negative suggestions are going to fall into (2). If there are issues with one of these problems, follow Wikipedia's dispute resolution process and try to keep a cool head. If needs be, walk away and have a cup of tea. Play a game of "racketball". Whatever you do to calm down and just not be on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia dispute resolution processEdit

If the simple techniques don't work (and you'd be amazed how often they do, if you try them), Wikipedia does have some methods of dispute resolution


If you want someone to talk to but not necessarily step in, there is an WP:Editor Assistance notice board. The editors there are experienced and can offer suggestions about how to resolve the situation.

Third opinionEdit

You can get someone uninvolved to step in and give an opinion on a content dispute. WP:3O has instructions on how to request a third editor to come in and discuss the situation. Another option to get a third opinion is to go to the project noticeboard associated with the article to ask for an opinion (the talk page lists which projects are associated with the article). Finally, you could leave a message at a relevant noticeboard - WP:SEEKHELP


If the issue won't go away, even after a couple of people have weighed in, you can try Mediation. There are two processes here. Informal (WP:MEDCAB) and formal (WP:RfM). There's also WP:DRN which is fairly informal but focuses more on content disputes. The editors involved with all of these processes specialize in resolving disputes.

Request for CommentEdit

You can use WP:RfC to draw community discussion to the page. You are likely to get a larger section of the community here than a 3O request. There is also an option to Request comment on a user. This is rarely necessary and should not be taken lightly. Only after almost every other route of dispute resolution has been taken should this happen - and it requires at least two editors having the same problem with one editor to be certified.


I really hope you'll never see this place in a case. It's the last resort, the community has elected its most trusted willing volunteers to preside over the most complicated cases. Have a read of WP:ARBCOM if you like, but try not to end up there.


If an editor is acting badly, there are a few boards where you can get some help. Template:Noticeboard links

Remember: you could be wrong!Edit

You could be acting against consensus! But as long as you are open to the possibility and have been sticking the top 3 sections of the pyramid, there's nothing wrong with disagreeing. Just make sure you are aware that at some point you might have to realize you are flogging a dead horse.


If you have any questions, ask them now! Or would you like to take the test?