LGPedia:Don't Bite The Newcomers
Please DO NOT bite the newcomers
- Understand that newcomers are both needed by and are of value to the community. By empowering newcomers, we improve the diversity of knowledge, opinions and ideals on LGPedia, enhance its value and preserve its neutrality and integrity as a resource.
- Remember, We have a set of rules and standards and traditions, but they must not be applied in such a way as to thwart those newcomers who take that invitation at face value. It is entirely possible for a newcomer to this site to bring a wealth of experience from other venues, together with ideas and creative energy which, current rules and standards notwithstanding, may further improve our community and LGPedia itself. It may be that the rules and standards need revising or expanding; some of what the newcomer seems to be doing "wrong" at first may prove to actually improve LGPedia. Observe for a while and, if necessary, ask what the newcomer is trying to achieve before defining what he or she is doing as "wrong" or "substandard".
- If you do determine, or sincerely believe, a newcomer has made a mistake, such as forgetting to put book titles or the names of ships in italics, or failing to make useful links, try to correct the mistake yourself. Don't slam the newcomer; remember, this is a place where anyone can edit and, in a very real sense, it is therefore each person's responsibility to edit, not to criticize or supervise others.
- Remember that newcomers often don't realise that edit histories are saved. So when their edits are deleted, they will often panic, start an edit war or leave LGPedia because they mistakenly assume that hours of work have been irretrievably deleted. Please gently let newcomers know that their work is never lost and can always be retrieved from the history. Teach them that they can negotiate on Talk pages and that if all else fails they can always revisit the article a few months later to negotiate with a new set of editors.
- If you really feel that you must say anything at all to a newcomer about a mistake, please do so in a constructive way. Begin by introducing yourself with a Standard user greeting on the user's talk page to let them know that they are welcome here, and present your corrections calmly and as the contributor's peer, perhaps also pointing out things they've done that you like. If you can't do that, then it may well be better to say nothing.
- Other newcomers may be hesitant to make changes, especially major ones, such as moving, due to fear of damaging LGPedia (or of offending other LGPedians, or being flamed). Teach them to be bold, and do not be annoyed by their "timidity".
- While it is fine to point a new user, who has made a mistake, towards the relevant policy pages, it is both unreasonable and unfriendly to suggest that they stop taking part in votes, AfD discussions etc. until they "gain more experience". This both discourages new editors and may deprive LGPedia of much needed insights.
- When giving advice to newcomers, tone down the rhetoric a few notches from the usual mellow discourse that dominates LGPedia. Make the newcomer feel genuinely welcome, not as though they must win your approval in order to be granted membership into an exclusive club. Any new domain of concentrated, special-purpose human activity has its own specialized strictures and structures, which take time to learn, and which benefit from periodic re-examination and revision.
- Do not call newcomers disparaging names such as "sockpuppet" or "meatpuppet". If a lot of newcomers show up on one side of a vote, you should make them feel welcome while explaining that their votes may be disregarded. No name-calling is necessary.
- LGPedia Assume good faith on the part of the newcomer. They most likely want to help out. Give them a chance!
- Remember, Behavior that appears malicious to experienced LGPedians is more likely due to ignorance of our expectations and rules. Even if you're 100% sure that someone is a worthless, no-good, Internet troll, a vandal, or worse, conduct yourself as if they're not. By being calm, interested, and respectful, your dignity is augmented, and you further our project.
- Remember that you were once a newcomer also. Treat others as (if possible, better than) you would want to be treated if you had just arrived at LGPedia.
How to avoid being a "Biter"
In more general terms, one can also avoid being accused of being a "biter" by:
- Avoiding intensifiers in commentary (such words as terrible, dumb, stupid, bad, good, and so forth, and exclamation marks).
- Modulating one's approach and wording.
- Striving to respond in a measured manner.
- Accepting graciously another person's actions or inactions in a given situation or context.
- Acknowledging differing principles and a willingness to reach consensus.
- Opening oneself towards taking responsibility for resolution of conflicts.
- Reciprocating where necessary.
- Active listening.
Consciously choose the steadfast ground. Strive to be a responsible LGPedian. By fostering goodwill, one will not provoke or be provoked easily, and will allow new LGPedians to devote their time and resources towards building an encyclopedia that everyone is encourged to improve.
What to do if you feel you have been "bitten"
If you have "bitten" someone, or feel that you have been "bitten", there are a number of things to keep in mind, and alternatives to choose from:
- Actively choose to learn from the incident.
- Consider alternatives that could have been used by the "biter" to achieve a more desirable response for yourself, and if you encounter a similar situation in the future, consider acting in the latter manner if the situation warrants.
- Graciously point out that one is encouraged that someone took the time to acknowledge your actions.
- Consider that negative "biting" incidents are transitory - one should not feel the need to pacify one's actions as a result of non-constructive commentary. Extract the wisdom that may have been unintentionally veiled, and choose to take that away as valuable experience.
- Choose to point out in a reasoned manner any offense taken, and learn to recognize when the message cannot be received. The recipient may be unable or unwilling to accept fault or otherwise, and it may be better to move on to other things than to dwell on the "bite".
- Consider that the biter's complaints may be valid, even if they were delivered in a rude or hurtful manner.