Policies & Guidelines

Jump to navigation Jump to search

For editing guidelines, click here

Policies and Guidelines

The following policies are adapted from Wikipedia. Click here for the original article on Wikipedia.

Purpose of WikiDoc

The purpose of WikiDoc is to create a high-quality, free-content medical encyclopedia in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual respect among contributors. Use of the site for other purposes, such as advocacy or propaganda or furtherance of outside conflicts, is prohibited. Contributors whose actions are detrimental to the objectives of WikiDoc may be asked to refrain from them, even when these actions are undertaken in good faith.

Battlefield Conduct

WikiDoc is a reference work, not a battlefield. Each and every user is expected to interact with others civilly, calmly, and in a spirit of cooperation. Borderline personal attacks and edit-warring are incompatible with this spirit. Use of the site to pursue feuds and quarrels is extremely disruptive, flies directly in the face of our key policies and goals, and is prohibited. Editors who are unable to resolve their personal or ideological differences are expected to keep mutual contact to a minimum. If battling editors fail to disengage, they may be compelled to do so through the imposition of restrictions.

Accuracy of Sources

The contents of source materials must be presented accurately and fairly. By quoting from or citing to a source, an editor represents that the quoted or cited material fairly and accurately reflects or summarizes the contents and meaning of the original source, and that it is not being misleadingly or unfairly excerpted out of context. Failure to accurately reflect sources, whether by accident or design, is a serious matter as it undermines the integrity of the encyclopedia. Repeated failures to represent sources accurately may result in sanctions.

Single Purpose Accounts

Single purpose accounts and editors who hold a strong personal viewpoint on a particular topic covered within WikiDoc are expected to contribute neutrally instead of following their own agenda. In particular, they should take care to avoid creating the impression that their focus on one topic is non-neutral, which could strongly suggest that their editing is not compatible with the goals of this project.


WikiDoc users are expected to behave reasonably, calmly, and courteously in their interactions with other users. Unseemly conduct, such as personal attacks, incivility, assumptions of bad faith, harassment, disruptive point-making, and gaming the system, is prohibited. Making unsupported accusations of such misconduct by other editors, particularly where this is done repeatedly or in a bad-faith attempt to gain an advantage in a content dispute, is also unacceptable.


Users who have been sanctioned for improper conduct are expected to avoid repeating it should they continue to participate in the project. Failure to do so may lead to the imposition of increasingly severe sanctions.

Neutral Point of View

All WikiDoc articles must be written from a neutral point of view, with all relevant points of view represented in reasonable proportion to their importance and relevance to the subject-matter of the article. Undue weight should not be given to aspects that are peripheral to the topic. Original research and synthesized claims are prohibited. Use of a WikiDoc article for advocacy or promotion, either in favor of or against an individual, institution, or idea that is the subject of the article, is prohibited.


  • Assume good faith. Wiki Doc has worked remarkably well so far based on a policy of nearly complete freedom to edit. People come here to collaborate and submit helpful medical information.
  • Treat others as you would have them treat you.
  • Be polite, please!
    • Irony isn't always obvious - text comes without facial expressions, vocal inflection or body language. Be careful of the words you choose — what you intended might not be what others perceive, and what you read might not be what the author intended.
  • Please register yourself and sign and date your posts to talk pages (not articles!), unless you have some excellent reasons not to do so.
  • Work toward agreement.
  • Argue facts, not personalities.
  • Don't ignore questions.
    • If another disagrees with your edit, provide good reasons why you think it's appropriate.
  • Concede a point, when you have no response to it; or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste.
  • Be civil.
  • Although it's understandably difficult in a heated argument, if the other party is not as civil as you'd like them to be, make sure to be more civil than him or her, not less.
    • That way at least you're not spiralling down to open conflict and name-calling by your own accord, you're actively doing something about it: taking a hit and refraining from hitting back - everybody appreciates that (or at least they should).
    • However, don't hesitate to let the other party know that you're not comfortable with their tone in a neutral way -- otherwise they might think you're too dense to understand their "subtlety", and you'll involuntarily encourage them (e.g. "I know you've been sarcastic above, but I don't think that's helping us resolve the issue. However, I don't think your argument stands because...").
  • Be prepared to apologize.
    • In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so.
  • Forgive and forget.
  • Recognize your own biases and keep them in check.
  • Give praise when due. Everybody likes to feel appreciated, especially in an environment that often requires compromise. Drop a friendly note on users' talk pages.
  • Remove or summarize resolved disputes that you initiated.
  • Help mediate disagreements between others.
  • If you're arguing, take a break; if you're mediating, recommend a break.
    • Take it slow. If you're angry, take time out instead of posting or editing. Come back in a day or a week. You might find that someone else has made the change or comment you wanted for you. If no one is mediating, and you think mediation is needed, enlist someone.
    • Walk away or find another Wiki doc article to distract yourself; there are a number of articles on Wikidoc!
  • Remember the things that Wiki Doc is not.
  • Review the list of faux pas.
  • Avoid reverts and deletions whenever possible, and stay within the three revert rule, except in cases of clear vandalism. Explain reversions in the edit summary box.
    • Amend, edit, discuss.
  • Remind yourself that these are people you're dealing with. They are individuals with feelings and probably have other people in the world who love them. Try to allow dignity to others.

Dealing With Vandalism

If you see vandalism (as defined below), revert, revert the page to an earlier version. It is often worthwhile to check the page history after reverting to make sure you have removed all the vandalism. Also, check the user contributions of the vandal - you will often find more malicious edits. Additionally, leave warning messages on the vandal's talk pages using the following system.

How to Undo Vandalism

This text has been accessed and modified from wikipedia. WikiDoc follows the same policies and procedures.

  • Go to the page, click on "history" at the top ("Page history" in some skins), and click on the time and date of the earlier version to which you wish to revert.
  • Then when that page comes up, you'll see something like "(Revision as of 22:19 Aug 15, 2002)" below the title.
  • Verify that you've selected the correct version, and click to edit the page, as you would normally. Important: in the case of vandalism, take the time to make sure that you are reverting to the last version without the vandalism; there may be multiple vandal edits.
  • You'll get a warning, above the edit box, about editing an out-of-date revision. After heeding the warning, save the page. Be sure to add the word "revert" and a brief explanation for the revert to the comments line.
  • Some WikiDocs abbreviate "revert" as "rv". A useful addition is to Wikilink the usernames associated with the versions you are reverting from and to.
  • Click on "history" again. A new line will have been added, and you'll be able to verify (by clicking on "last") that you un-did the vandalism plus all subsequent bona fide edits, if any.
  • You are responsible for re-doing all the subsequent edits which you un-did. Hint: In a vandalism case where sections of text were simply deleted and then subsequent edits were made by others, it may be easier for you to cut and paste those missing sections of text back in, than to revert and then re-do the edits.
  • Check the contribution history of the user who vandalized the article. (Click on their IP address or username. That will often bring you directly to their User contribution page, if you clicked on their IP address. If you are able to click on their username, that will bring you to their User page. In the lower left-hand corner, there is a toolbox with a "User contributions" link. Click that.) If this user is vandalizing articles, please report them to the system administrator, and they will blocked from future participation.

Warning Templates

Note that these need not be used sequentially. If the edit is clearly vandalism, consider starting with test2. For continuing severe vandalism, test3 may be skipped and a test4 given straight after a test2. If, however, you are not sure that the edit is vandalism, always start with test1.

  • {{subst:test1}}

Thanks for experimenting with WikiDoc. Your test worked, and has been reverted or removed. Please use the sandbox for any other tests you want to do. Take a look at the how to edit a page and syntax if you would like to learn more about contributing to our encyclopedia. Thanks.

  • Please do not add nonsense to Wikipedia. It is considered vandalism. If you would like to experiment, use the sandbox. Thank you.

Please stop adding nonsense to wiki doc. It is considered vandalism. If you would like to experiment, use the sandbox. Thank you.

  • Please do not gratuitously remove content from Wikipedia. It is considered vandalism. If you would like to experiment, please use the sandbox. Thank you. (a variant suitable for blanking vandalism)

Please stop removing content from wiki doc; it is considered vandalism. If you want to experiment, please use the sandbox. Thank you.

  • Please stop. If you continue to vandalize pages, you will be blocked from editing Wikipedia.

Please stop. If you continue to vandalize pages, you will be blocked from editing wiki doc.

This is your last warning. The next time you vandalize a page, you will be blocked from editing wiki doc.
If the vandal strikes again, list them at wiki doc:Administrator intervention against vandalism. The blocking admin leaves this on the vandal's talk page:

You have been temporarily blocked from editing for vandalism of wiki doc. If you wish to make useful contributions, you may do so after the block expires. Remember to sign and timestamp your warnings by leaving four tildes (like this: Chief wiki 11:51, 31 January 2006 (EST)).

Trace IP

Also, consider tracing the IP. Find owners by using ARIN, RIPE or APNIC (if an address is not in one, it will probably be in another), then add name of owner to the talk pages of users who vandalise.

Types of Vandalism

These are the most common forms of vandalism on wiki doc:

  • Blanking - Removing all or large parts of articles (commonly replacing the text with profanities) is a common vandal edit.
  • Spam - Adding inappropriate external links for self-promotion.
  • VandalBot - A script or "robot" that attempts to vandalize or spam massive numbers of articles (hundreds or thousands), blanking, or adding commercial links. Another type of VandalBot appears to log on repeatedly with multiple random names to vandalize an article.
  • Childish vandalism - Adding graffiti or blanking pages. (The female cyclist vandal is an example of this type.) Note that this page, itself, has been repeatedly blank page vandalized since June 11, 2005.
  • Silly vandalism - Users will sometimes create joke articles or replace existing articles with plausible-sounding nonsense, or add silly jokes to existing articles (this includes Mr. Pelican Shit.) A better place for content that is intentionally of a joking or nonsensical nature is the Uncyclopedia or WP:BJAODN.
  • Sneaky vandalism - Vandalism which is harder to spot. Adding misinformation, changing dates or making other sensible-appearing substitutions and typos (e.g. [2] which was reverted because the source material is easily available).
  • Attention-seeking vandalism - Adding insults, using offensive usernames, replacing articles with jokes etc. (see also wiki doc:No personal attacks)
  • User page vandalism - Replacing User pages with insults, profanity, etc. (see also wiki doc:No personal attacks)
  • Image vandalism - Uploading provocative images, inserting political messages, making malicious animated GIFs, etc. Repeatedly uploading images with no source and/or license information after notification that such information is required may also constitute vandalism.
  • Template vandalism - Adding any of the above to templates.
  • Page move vandalism - Moving pages to offensive or nonsense names. Most infamous example was Willy on Wheels. However, wiki doc now only allows users with 25 edits or above to make page moves, and the reason must be stated.
  • Redirect vandalism - Redirecting articles or talk pages to offensive articles or images. One example is the Autofellatio redirect vandal.
  • Link vandalism - Rewriting links within an article so that they appear the same, but point to something irrelevant or ridiculous (e.g. France).
  • Avoidant vandalism - Removing afd, copyvio and other related tags in order to conceal or avoid entries to risk deletion.
  • Random character vandalism - Replacing topical information with random characters, or just adding random characters to a page. "aslkdjnsdagkljhasdlkh," for example.
  • Changing people's comments - Editing signed comments by another user to substantially change their meaning (e.g. turning someone's vote around), except when removing a personal attack (which is somewhat controversial in and of itself). Signifying that a comment is unsigned is an exception. e.g. (unsigned comment from user)
  • Official policy vandalism - Deleting or altering part of a wiki doc official policy with which the vandal disagrees, without any attempt to seek consensus or recognize an existing consensus. Improving or clarifying policy wording in line with the clear existing consensus is not vandalism.
  • Copyrighted material vandalism - Knowingly adding copyrighted material to wiki doc articles in violation of wiki doc policy is vandalism. Because users may be unaware that the information is copyrighted, or of wiki doc policy in this regard, such action only becomes vandalism if it continues after the relevant policy and copyrighted nature of the material have been established.

What Vandalism is Not

Although sometimes referred to as such, the following things are not vandalism and are therefore treated differently:

  • Newbie Test - New users who discover the "Edit this page" button sometimes want to know if they can really edit any page, so they write something inside just to test it.
  • This is not vandalism!
  • On the contrary, these users should be warmly greeted, and given a reference to the Sandbox (e.g. using the test template message) where they can keep making their tests. (Sometimes they will even revert their own changes.)
  • Learning Wiki Markup and Manual of Style - Some users require some time to learn the wiki-based markup, and will spend a little time experimenting with the different ways to make external links, internal links, and other special characters.
  • Rather than condemning them as vandals, just explain to them what our standard style is on the issue in hand—perhaps pointing them towards our documentation at wiki doc:How to edit a page, and the like.
  • NPOV violations - The neutral point of view is a difficult policy for many of us to understand, and even wiki doc veterans occasionally accidentally introduce material which is non-ideal from an NPOV perspective. Indeed, we are all blinded by our beliefs to a greater or lesser extent. While regrettable, this is not vandalism.
  • Bold Edits - wiki docs often make sweeping changes to articles in order to improve them—most of us aim to be bold when updating articles. While having large chunks of text you wrote removed, moved to talk, or substantially rewritten can sometimes feel like vandalism, it should not be confused with vandalism.
  • Mistakes - Sometimes, users will insert content into an article that is not necessarily accurate, in the belief that it is. By doing so in good faith, they are trying to contribute to the encyclopedia and improve it. If you believe that there is inaccurate information in an article, ensure that it is, and/or discuss its factuality with the user who has submitted it.
  • Bullying or Stubbornness - Some users cannot come to agreement with others who are willing to talk to them on an article's talk page, and repeatedly make changes opposed by everyone else.
  • This is a matter of regret—you may wish to see our dispute resolution pages to get help. However, it is not vandalism.
  • Harassing or Making Personal Attacks - We have a clear policy on wiki doc of no personal attacks, and harassing other contributors is not allowed.
  • Some forms of harassment are also clear cases of vandalism, such as home page vandalism.
  • However, harassment is not in general vandalism.
  • Hoaxes - Don't disrupt wiki doc to illustrate a point with Hoaxes. This has been done before, with varying results.
  • Some wiki docs suspect that the majority of hoaxes here are attempts to test the system. I
  • If you are interested in how accurate wiki doc is, a less destructive test method is to try to find inaccurate statements that are already in wiki doc, and then to check to see how long they have been in place (and if possible, correct them).

Image Use Policy

In a nutshell, be very careful when uploading copyrighted images, fully describe images' sources and copyright details on their description pages, and try to make images as useful and reusable as possible. This page is a brief overview of the policies towards images — including format, content, and copyright issues — on the English-language edition of Wikidoc. If you have specific questions, you should go to the most specific policy page related to your question, for a prompt and accurate response. For information on uploading go to Special:Upload.

Below this brief checklist of image use rules is the detailed reasoning behind them.

  1. Always tag your image with one of the image copyright tags. When in doubt, do not upload copyrighted images.
  2. Always specify on the description page where the image came from, such as a URL, or a name/alias and method of contact for the photographer. Don't put credits in images themselves.
  3. Use the image description page to describe an image and its copyright situation.
  4. Use a clear, detailed title. Note that if any image with the same title has already been uploaded, it will be replaced with your new one.
  5. Upload a high-resolution version of your image whenever possible (this does NOT apply to fair use images and use the automatic thumbnailing option of the Wiki image markup to scale down the image. MediaWiki accepts images up to 20 MB in size. Do not scale down the image yourself, as scaled-down images may be of limited use in the future.
  6. Crop the image to highlight the relevant subject.
  7. If you create an image that contains text, please upload also a version without any text. It will help WikiDocs in other languages translate them.
  8. Use JPEG format for photographic images, and SVG format for icons, logos, drawings, maps, flags, and such, falling back to PNG when only a raster image is available. Fair use icons, logos, drawings, maps, flags, and such should be uploaded in PNG format instead of SVG. Use GIF format for inline animations, Ogg/Theora for video. Do not use Windows windows bitmap format images; they are uncompressed and take up too much space.
  9. Add good alternative text for images.
  10. Think twice before uploading shocking pictures. If an image concerns you, discuss it on the relevant article talk page.

Enforcement of Policies

Most policies and guidelines are thus enforced by individual users editing pages, and discussing matters with each other. Some policies are also enforced by temporary blocks (notably as a mechanism for dealing with vandalism) by Administrators.

  • In extreme cases the Arbitration Committee may make a ruling to deal with highly disruptive situations, as part of the general dispute resolution procedure.

Restricted Features

Some features of the software which could potentially be misused, such as deleting pages and locking pages from editing, are restricted to Administrators, who are experienced and trusted members of the community.

  • Policies particularly relevant to Administrators include:
  • Protection policy (When and why to protect a page)
  • Blocking policy (Blocking users to deal with vandalism or to enforce decisions of the arbitration committee)

All information on this page is attributed to Wikipedia and its contributors

Additional Links