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PvXwiki:Article Ownership

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This page is an official policy on PvXwiki.

It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow.

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PvX:OWN
PW:OWN

Some contributors feel very possessive about material (be it categories, templates, articles, images, guides, or builds) that they have donated to this project. Some go so far as to defend them against all intruders. It is one thing to take an interest in an article that you maintain on your watchlist – maybe you really are an expert or you just care about the topic a lot – but if this watchfulness crosses a certain line, then you are overdoing it. Believing that an article has an owner of this sort is a common mistake people make on PvXwiki.

You cannot stop everyone in the world from editing "your" stuff, once you have posted it to PvXwiki. As each edit page clearly states:

If you don't want your material to be edited mercilessly or redistributed by others, do not submit it.

If you find yourself warring with other contributors over deletions, reversions, and so on, why not take some time off from the editing process? Taking yourself out of the equation can cool things off considerably. Take a fresh look a week or two later. Or, if someone else is claiming "ownership" of a page, you can bring it up on the associated talk page, appeal to other contributors, or consider contacting a sysop.

Since working on an article does not entitle you to "own" the article, it is still important to respect the work of your fellow contributors. When making large scale removals of content, particularly content contributed by one editor, it is important to consider whether a desirable result could be obtained by working with the editor, instead of against him or her—regardless of whether or not he or she "owns" the article. (See also PvXwiki:Assume good faith.)

Do not sign what you do not own

Since no one "owns" any part of any article, if you create or edit an article, you should not sign it. As for credit, the exact contributions of all editors are recorded on the "History" pages. This is the PvXwiki equivalent of a byline.

On the other hand, when adding comments, questions, or votes to talk pages, it is good to "own" your text. The best practice is to sign it by suffixing your entry with "~~~~"—no spaces, no brackets, no quotes, no nothing—just the four tildes anywhere in 'Wikitext' will work. On existing pages, you can get an idea of where it is appropriate to add your signature by noting what previous contributors have done. For more editing dos and don'ts, you might want to look through the brief Editing Tutorial.

Ownership examples

Like the Sphinx guardians of Greek mythology, PvXwiki "owners" pose a riddle to all who dare edit their article.

Events

  • Minor edits concerning layout, image use, and wording are disputed on a daily basis by one editor. The editor may state or imply that changes must be reviewed by him/her before they can be added to the article. (This does not include egregious formatting errors.)
  • Article changes by different editors are reverted by the same editor for an extended period of time to protect a certain version, stable or not. (This does not include removing vandalism.)
  • An editor comments on other editors' talk pages with the purpose of discouraging them from making additional contributions. The discussion can take many forms; it may be purely negative, consisting of threats and insults, often avoiding the topic of the revert altogether. At the other extreme, the owner may patronize other editors, claiming that their ideas are interesting while also claiming that they lack the deep understanding of the article necessary to edit it.

Comments

  • "Are you qualified to edit this article?"
  • "Revert. You're editing too much. Can you slow down?"
  • "You obviously have no hands-on experience with widgets."
  • "Do not make such changes or comments until you have significantly edited or written work of this quality."
  • "I/he/we/ created this article"

Types of ownership

There are two common types of ownership conflicts between users: those involving primary editors and those involving multiple editors.

Primary editors

Primary editors, that is to say, one editor who takes ownership of an article, should be approached on the article talk page with a descriptive header that informs readers about the topic. Always avoid accusations, attacks, and speculations concerning the motivation of editors. If necessary, ignore attacks made in response to a query. If the behavior continues, the issue may require dispute resolution, but it is important to make a good attempt to communicate with the editor on the article talk page before proceeding to mediation, etc.

In many cases (but not all), primary editors engaged in ownership conflicts are also primary contributors to the article, so keep in mind that such editors may be experts in their field and/or have a genuine interest in maintaining the quality of the article and preserving accuracy. Editors of this type often welcome discussion, so a simple exchange of ideas will usually solve the problem of ownership. If you find the editor continues to be hostile, makes personal attacks, or wages revert wars (see also Only revert once), try to ignore disruptive behavior by discussing the topic on the talk page. If the ownership behavior persists after a discussion, dispute resolution may be necessary, but at least one will be on record as having attempted to solve the problem directly with the primary editor. A common response by a primary editor confronted with ownership behavior is to threaten to leave the project. Since the ownership policy encourages such editors to take a break, it may be wise to let them leave and return when they are ready.

Multiple editors

The involvement of multiple editors, each defending the ownership of the other, can be highly complex. The simplest scenario usually comprises a dominant primary editor who is defended by other editors, reinforcing the former's ownership. This is often informally described as a "tag team," and can be frustrating to both new and seasoned editors. As before, address the topic and not the actions of the editors. If this fails, proceed to dispute resolution, but it is important to communicate on the talk page and attempt to resolve the dispute yourself before escalating the conflict resolution process.

Build authors

Build ownership, in particular, presents a number of problems for PvXwiki users. Sometimes, the disagreement arises from a dispute on skills that should/should not be used, or attribute configurations, etc.

The more serious problem that arises is when an author, feeling that a build is "his/hers," takes criticism, particularly in the form of harsh votes, as a personal affront. This problem normally arises as a result of an author's specific attachment to a build which they themselves deem very good. Often, in such cases, the author will become quite distressed and/or angry and will respond in a confrontational manner.

Normally, the most important thing to do is to understand, from the point of view of the author, that criticism of a build is in no way an attack on the author. Furthermore, it is usually a good idea, particularly in these cases, for the author to distance himself/herself from the build, both to prevent possible conflict (personal attacks commonly result in these situations) and to gain a greater perspective on the build itself – normally, if an author can be brought to realize that the harsh votes were merited by the build, the problem will go away.

Resolving ownership issues

While it may be easy to identify ownership issues, it is far more difficult to resolve the conflict to the satisfaction of the editors involved. It is always helpful to remember to stay calm, assume good faith, and remain civil. Accusing other editors of owning the article may appear aggressive, and could be perceived as a personal attack. Address the editor in a civil manner, with the same amount of respect you would expect from others. Often, editors accused of ownership may not even realize it, so it is important to assume good faith. Some editors may think they are protecting the article from vandalism, and may respond to any changes with hostility.