Wikibooks:Assume good faith

Trust and respect for people's good intentions whenever you can help to encourage cooperation and collaboration at Wikibooks.

Assume good faith means to trust other people's intentions are sincere and honest. It is an honor system with expectations that you be polite, respectful, civil, skeptical of your suspicions, and trust that other people are doing likewise. View what is written about you as constructive criticism, and clarify your intentions as you feel the situation warrants.

Honest mistakes can and do happen. Make no assumptions when you address concerns. Even an edit which may seem to add apparent nonsense or removes significant content with no explanation may be an accident, an experiment, or a case where he or she thinks their reasons are self-explanatory. Similarly, when you encounter what you believe to be untrue claims, ask constructive questions and never assume things. Remember intentions can be good even when you do not understand or agree with decisions.

Vandalism is intentionally destructive. The expected assumption of good faith is not a shield against the consequences of bad behavior—Wikibooks Administrators can block users from editing, if there appears to be no other viable recourse. However, problems can often be resolved by contacting the person to politely express concerns and constructive alternatives, like what things he or she can do to help out. Only when reasonable communication attempts fail should you report the user's behavior to Administrators. Note that such reporting is in itself a statement that the assumption of good faith has failed, and thus should not be done prematurely.


Here are some examples of how to address common concerns:

  • Out-of-scope material added. Move material to the discussion page or to where it is within scope, and explain where the material went in the edit summary.
  • Wanted links added. You can fix links to point to existing pages within the book, temperately point links to external websites with more information, replace links with missing information, or encourage someone else to fix it by adding {{dewikify}} to the page. People may need help understanding that books are expected to be self-contained and to include explanations directly.
  • Incorrectly titled. Move the page to the correct title, with a link to the naming policy in the move summary.
  • Inconsistent style. Make a minor edit, replace HTML with wiki markup, add wiki markup to plain text, and make corrections that follow the book's manual of style. Explain what was changed and point to Help:Editing or the book's manual of style in the edit summary.
  • Fixed word variants. People may fix unfamiliar spelling variants of words. However, books should attempt to use a consistent variant of English. Use a minor edit to restore the correct variants of words and point people to a major English dictionary like Wiktionary for variations in spelling.
  • Inaccuracies. You can clarify the facts, or add {{disputed}} to the page to encourage discussion.