Wikipedia:NLT/ENGLISH

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Use dispute resolution rather than legal threats, for everyone's sake!

Do not make legal threats or Pseudo-Legalistic threats on Wikipedia.

You should always first attempt to resolve disputes using Wikipedia's dispute resolution procedures.

If you must take legal action, we cannot prevent you from doing so. However, we require that you do not edit Wikipedia until the legal matter has been resolved – one way or the other – to ensure that all legal processes happen via proper legal channels. You should instead contact the person or people involved directly. If your issue involves Wikipedia itself, you should contact Wikipedia's parent organisation, the Wikimedia Foundation.

If you make legal threats you may be blocked from editing so as not to exacerbate the matter through other than legal channels. Users who make legal threats will typically be blocked from editing indefinitely, while legal threats are outstanding.

Users who make Pseudo-Legalistic Threats are also subject to blocking. Pseudo-Legalistic threats are threats between users to take some form of adverse action through the Framework of Policies on Wikipedia. Users tend to react to both forms of legal threats the same way.

The bottom line is that users should not ever make threats against one another in any form, legal or otherwise. If you feel strongly about a situation and wish to pursue legitimate complaint channels on Wikipedia, please just go ahead and do so without making threats. Threats erode trust and eventually damage the collabortive environment necessary to create a good encyclopedia.

Legal threats and Pseudo-Legalistic threats are subject to a mandatory 12 month block, subject to appeal and review by a steward or the Wikimedia Foundation, on the Cherokee Wikipedia. In other words, they are not to be tolerated.

Legal complaints

A polite, coherent complaint in cases of copyright infringement or attacks is not a "legal threat" nor is pointing out violations of Wikimedia Foundation Policies.

If you are the owner of copyrighted material which has been inappropriately added to Wikipedia, a clear statement about whether it is licensed for such use is welcome and appropriate. You may contact the information team, contact the Wikimedia Foundation's designated agent, or use the procedures at Wikipedia:Copyright problems.

It is Wikipedia policy to delete libellous material when it has been identified. If you believe that you are the subject of a libellous statement on Wikipedia, please contact the information team.

Rationale

Apart from being incivil, making any form of threats, legal or otherwise, causes a number of serious problems:

  • It severely inhibits free editing of pages, a concept that is absolutely necessary to ensure that Wikipedia remains neutral. Without this freedom, we risk one side of a dispute intimidating the other, thus causing a systemic bias in our articles.
  • It causes bad feelings and a lack of trust amongst the Wikipedia community, damaging our ability to proceed quickly and efficiently with an assumption of mutual good faith.
  • Wikipedia has had bad experiences with users who have made legal threats in the past, and by making legal threats, you may damage your reputation on Wikipedia.

Attempting to resolve disputes using the dispute resolution procedures will often lead to a solution without resorting to the blunt tool of the law. If the dispute resolution procedures do not resolve your problem, then you can rest in the knowledge that you have taken all reasonable steps to resolve the situation amicably, if you should then choose to take legal action.

See also