[Foundation-l] Assume good faith

Brion Vibber brion at pobox.com
Sun Dec 24 10:20:51 UTC 2006

I love you guys, seriously. All of you.

And that's not just the eggnog talking... Wikipedia and all our 
Wikimedia projects are, when you think about it, *pretty darn awesome* 
and they exist because some *pretty darn awesome people* are working 

Those pretty awesome people include YOU!

YOU are pretty darn awesome!

But we do have a bit of a collective anger management problem.

There's lots of flamefests on the lists, on talk pages, on village 
pumps, in edit wars, in irc, in private mail...

I'm no saint either; I believe I used words such as "idiot" in a certain 
thread a few days ago which I really oughtn't to have.

Well, there's no point blaming anyone or saying anything specific here. 
I just want to pass on a big sloppy group hug love letter to all y'all 
Wikimedians out there.

Remember, folks, a community like this functions because its members are 
willing and able to communicate to reach some end goal.

If you're about to type off another e-mail or talk page note in anger, 
please... get off the computer for a second. Get a beverage of your 
choice, take a walk, eat a cookie, make a sandwich, tell a joke, stretch 
your legs, anything -- just cool off a second.

When you get back to the computer, pretend for a second that the other 
person might have a point. Even if they are wrong, consider whether what 
you're typing will lead to a useful conversation or if you know it'll 
just make them mad and provoke a further negative response.

The worst thing you or I can do is to assume the other person is a jerk 
who refuses to listen to reason and, therefore, we can and should ignore 
anything they say.

I know I'm often guilty of assuming bad faith and taking on an automatic 
defensive position.

What say we all give the opposite a try when we notice ourselves slipping?



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