NSWiki:Dispute resolution

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This article has been taken in large part from the Wikipedia article on this subject.

NSwiki articles often have more than one user working on them, and sometimes users will disagree about how the article should be written. If you have a disagreement over an article, try to reach a truce and stop editing until you can resolve the issue. Please do not engage in edit wars with other users; this is not a helpful method of dispute resolution and does not improve NSwiki. Instead, follow the process outlined here to resolve disagreements and prevent them from turning into serious disputes.


The best way to resolve a dispute is to avoid it in the first place.

Be respectful to others and their points of view. When someone makes an edit you consider biased or inaccurate, improve the edit, rather than reverting it. Provide a good edit summary when making significant changes that other users might object to. If you encounter rude or inappropriate behavior, resist the temptation to respond in kind.

First resort: talk to the other parties involved

The first resort in resolving almost any conflict is to discuss the issue on a talk page. Either contact the other party on that user's talk page, or use the talk page associated with the article in question. Never carry on a dispute on the article page itself. When discussing an issue, stay cool and don't mount personal attacks. Take the other person's perspective into account and try to reach a compromise. Assume that the other person is acting in good faith unless you have clear evidence to the contrary.

Both at this stage and throughout the dispute resolution process, talking to other parties is not simply a formality to be satisfied before moving on to the next forum. Failure to pursue discussion in good faith shows that you are trying to escalate the dispute instead of resolving it. This will make people less sympathetic to your position and may prevent you from effectively using later stages in dispute resolution. In contrast, sustained discussion and serious negotiation between the parties, even if not immediately successful, shows that you are interested in finding a solution that fits within our policies.

Further dispute resolution

If talking to the other parties involved fails, you should try one of these three methods to resolve the dispute. Which ones you choose and in what order will depend on the nature of the dispute, and the preferences of people involved.

Discuss with third parties

  • To develop a consensus on a disputed topic, you may need to expose the issue to a larger audience. You can do this by requesting community comment on the issue. For disputes over the content of an article, if you have not agreed to a truce before this point, you should do so now. This allows others to fairly consider the issue without the confusion of ongoing edits, which are likely to aggravate the dispute. If an edit war persists and a truce is not feasible, request that the page be protected to allow the process to move forward.

Conduct a survey

  • If consensus is difficult to gauge from discussion alone, or if some users seem to be ignoring the consensus, consider conducting a publicized opinion survey. The survey should be carefully designed to present all sides of the dispute fairly. When the survey questions have been drafted, announce the survey by listing it at NSwiki:Current surveys. Note that informal straw polls can be held at any time if there are enough participants in the discussion, but publicizing the survey can get more of the community involved and increase the weight given to the results.


  • Request mediation of the dispute. Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral person works with the parties to a dispute. The mediator helps guide the parties into reaching an agreement that can be acceptable to everyone. When requesting formal mediation, be prepared to show that you tried to resolve the dispute using the steps listed above.

Last resort: Arbitration

If you have taken all other reasonable steps to resolve the dispute, request Arbitration. Be prepared to show that you tried to resolve the dispute by other means. Arbitration differs from Mediation in that the NSwiki administration will consider the case and issue a decision, instead of merely assisting the parties in reaching an agreement. If the issue is decided by Arbitration, you will be expected to abide by the result. If the case involves serious user misconduct, Arbitration may result in a number of serious consequences.