OrthodoxWiki:Mediation

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This page is an official policy on OrthodoxWiki. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. If you are part of the administration, please feel free to update this page as needed, but make sure that changes you make to this policy really do reflect OrthodoxWiki's perspective before you make them.


This document aims to outline how disputes over articles will be dealt with on OrthodoxWiki.

In cases of dispute, an appeal may be made to Fr. John or one of the other sysops asking for intervention. (The sysops are collectively usually very good at catching things like this quickly, but somethings may fall through the cracks.)

Appeals to the sysops may be made publically on their User_talk pages, or privately through the email link on their main User page.

Fr. John (or the other sysops) will appeal to the OrthodoxWiki's NPOV policy and ask that the contibutions steer away from taking any particular position in the conflict, but rather present the issues disputed in as descriptive and non-passionate a manner as possible.

If or when it is appropriate to recount the history of some conflict or disputed issue in an article, we will be interested in knowing who said what when and why (where is optional, I guess, though context is important).

In some cases, he (or the other sysops) may decide that certain pieces of information should not be included. Perhaps their veracity is questioned, or perhaps they are not edifying. (Not that we mean to cover over all unpleasant facts, but that this is not the place to defame or humiliate others.)

OrthodoxWiki is not a place to grind out ideological or personal battles. We assume that all our contributors are adults, able to take part in a reasonable discussion, even in cases of disagreement. Moreover, as Orthodox Christians, we hope for a genuine mutual love, even of one's enemies, and ask that all contributors and sysops pray for each other, especially in cases of disagreement.

Once a sysop has made an intervention (whether solicited or not), users should not re-assert the edits which have been rejected. If they do so, they should expect to be banned, probably on a temporary basis.

User:FrJohn has the final say in disputed matters, though he takes advice from the sysops very seriously.

Disputed Articles

The most contentious area in OrthodoxWiki has been pages dealing with the Western Rite. I'm not sure why that is -- maybe the folks committed to the vision of Western Rite feel embattled and tend to become a little defensive? Enough speculation!

The only other major area that has been contentious has been the relations between the Chalcedonian ("Eastern Orthodox") and non-Chalcedonian ("Oriental Orthodox") churches.

Other than these two areas, and apart from various individual edits, things have been pretty peaceful so far, thanks be to God!

No Legal Threats

Don't make legal threats against other users of OrthodoxWiki. Apart from being rude, doing so causes a number of serious problems:

  • It severely inhibits free editing of pages, a concept that is absolutely necessary to ensure that OrthodoxWiki remains neutral. Without this freedom, we risk one side of a dispute intimidating the other, thus causing a systematic bias in our articles.
  • It causes bad feelings and a lack of trust amongst the OrthodoxWiki community, damaging our ability to proceed quickly and efficiently and with an assumption of mutual good faith.
  • A legal threat may lead to you being blocked from editing (on a case by case basis), so as not to exacerbate the problem through other than legal channels.

Instead, first attempt to resolve disputes using the above-mentioned dispute resolution procedures. This will oftentimes lead to a solution without resorting to the blunt tool of the law. If the dispute resolution procedures do not resolve your problem then you can use the law in the knowledge that you have taken all reasonable steps to resolve the situation amicably.

But, if you really feel the need to take legal action, we cannot prevent you from doing so. However, we ask that if you do so then you do not edit OrthodoxWiki until the matter of law is settled, one way or the other, to ensure that all legal processes happen via proper legal channels.

If you do decide to proceed with legal action, you should deal with it privately with the user by e-mail. Do not thrash out the issue in a OrthodoxWiki forum or talk page; you may find that other users take the side of the other party. (Would you really want to sue a group of users if that happened?) If your issue involves OrthodoxWiki itself, you should contact OrthodoxWiki's chief administrator, FrJohn.

NOTE: "No legal threats" does not mean, of course, that claims of copyright infringement are not to be made. If you are the owner of copyrighted material which is on OrthodoxWiki, a clear statement about whether it is licensed for such use is welcome and appropriate. Copyrighted material not licensed for OrthodoxWiki (with very limited fair-use exception) is not welcome on OrthodoxWiki.

Similarly, slander, libel, or defamation of character is not to be tolerated on OrthodoxWiki; true instances of such writing, that might legitimately expose OrthodoxWiki to legal sanction, should immediately be called to the attention of an administrator and/or the community at large. Disagreements as to the identity of a person, their motivations for a given action, opinions of third parties about them, etc. do not fall under slander, however, and legal threats cannot be used to have points of view enshrined in an article.

These guidelines have been adapted from w:Wikipedia:No_legal_threats. See also MeatBall:LegalThreat.

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