Wikipedia:Assume good faith

Assuming good faith (AGF) is a fundamental principle on Wikipedia. It is the assumption that editors' edits and comments are made in good faith – that is, the assumption that people are not deliberately trying to hurt Wikipedia, even when their actions are harmful. Most people try to help the project, not hurt it. If this were untrue, a project like Wikipedia would be doomed from the beginning. This guideline does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of obvious evidence to the contrary (e.g. vandalism). Nor does assuming good faith prohibit discussion and criticism, as even editors who try to improve Wikipedia may not have the information or skills necessary to succeed in their good-faith goals. Rather, editors should not attribute the actions being criticized to malice unless there is specific evidence of such.

When disagreement occurs, try as best you can to explain and resolve the problem, not cause more conflict, and so give others the opportunity to reply in kind. Consider whether a dispute stems from different perspectives, and look for ways to reach consensus.

When doubt is cast on good faith, continue to assume good faith yourself when possible. Be civil and follow dispute resolution procedures, rather than attacking editors or edit-warring with them. If you wish to express doubts about the conduct of fellow Wikipedians, please substantiate those doubts with specific diffs and other relevant evidence, so that people can understand the basis for your concerns. Although bad conduct may seem to be due to bad faith, it is usually best to address the conduct without mentioning motives, which might intensify resentments all around.

Be careful about citing this principle too aggressively. Just as one can incorrectly judge that another is acting in bad faith, so too can one mistakenly conclude that bad faith is being assumed; exhortations to "Assume Good Faith" can themselves reflect negative assumptions about others.


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