Wiki Ethics


    1. Some loose guidelines
    2. Should anything be taboo? If so, what?
    3. Topics
    4. Philosophy
    5. Helpful Websites For Wiki Ethics
    6. Questions

The Wiki is a powerful tool and there are few strict rules, but over time the community has developed a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong. Check the Wiki Ethics/Archive as well.

If you are completely new to the Wiki, a light primer of common mistakes is located at Welcome to the Wiki.

Some loose guidelines

It likely remains true that Wikis sort themselves out. Certainly in the case of Davis Wiki, we are blessed with intelligent and respectful people. That is why any talk of ethics wouldn't be rules but mere guidelines that people might like to follow.

We would all hate to see the wiki turn into a great place to post porn and flame your professors, but this isn't likely to happen as long as we are all respectful and cooperative. Confrontational statements and material is typically ignored or removed.

Should anything be taboo? If so, what?

Possible ideas (add what you want, even if it's just a bud of an idea):

See also: Unethical Editing, Wiki Social Norms, and Welcome to the Wiki. Also, when it comes to flames, see Insults. For a specific discussion of this see Wiki Community/Inappropriate Content


There are some topics that have never (and likely will never) have a satisfactory conclusion. That's because the people who make up the Wiki feel differently about them. You can discuss them in Wiki Community/Ethics Discussion, but it is unlikely that you can present an argument that will have everybody agreeing with your personal feelings on the issue.

Here's a list:


Trying to sum up the Wiki philosophy in an artful phrase is difficult, but here are some attempts:

Note that these aren't really rules or subjects to discuss, just attempts at witty turns of phrase that convey a personal philosophy about the Wiki. Think beautiful words, not legal clauses. If you want to discuss Wiki Ethics, try the discussion area.

Helpful Websites For Wiki Ethics


Do you have a question about ethics?

Note: You must be logged in to add comments

2005-09-29 23:52:23   What's the Wiki admins stands on worthless pages? Like say I want to create a page called CoffeeShrine which is a shrine to all things coffee and I decide to put up all sorts of random coffee images and paraphernalia. It's generic, spammy, and not related to Davis, however it isn't harmful, in poor taste, or inappropriate. Would that be poor Wiki Ethics as far as the Davis Wiki is concerned? —OnceLivedInDavis

2006-10-08 17:24:48   If a user attempts to comment on a business' page from multiple accounts, tries to delete comments, and tries to alter the comments of others (from positive to negative), should any of his comments be allowed to remain? —KaiTing

2006-10-08 21:07:25   What about creating multiple (as in two) accounts solely to protect your privacy. I use a ficticious account because some of my comments are critical of Davis government and police. I'd *like* to also have a non-anonymous account for non-contriversial postings. There is *no* sockpuppetry intended. Would that be an acceptable use? —GrumpyoldGeek

2006-10-13 15:18:49   Suppose some company had some information published on their page that they'd rather not be public. It is factual information that is neither positive nor negative, but they may deem it to be sensitive. Are they within their rights to unilaterally delete such information without discussion? Is it ethical to restore the deleted information? —WilliamLewis

2008-03-05 19:09:01   I'm pretty sure that one of the comments on an apartment page is written by the property manager pretending to be a renter. It is pretty obvious, would it be ok to delete this comment? —HG

2009-05-08 13:03:06   Is it or is it not ok to delete comments off your personal page? Also, if you are rude to someone, and they are rude to you back by leaving rude comments on the page of a company you work for instead of on your personal page, is that ok? I obviously believe it is ok to delete your comments from your personal page and I believe its everyones duty to avoid arguments about these things being displayed on business pages. They are not relevent to the business nor are they relevent to they way the business operates because business and wiki comments are so entierly different. —RealComputers

2009-06-27 20:59:21   What do I do AFTER I accidentally deleted an entire page? I only wanted to delete one of my accidentlly redundant entries, but dumped the whole thing instead. My bad. I had no idea I could even do that. The post was about an apartment complex I hate living in and certainly didn't want my, or those of the mostly concurring renters to lose voice. —Marshall

2010-09-06 12:45:52   I have an issue with the page for SPCA Thrift Store. It is obvious that ktcooper works for them—and while she's done great work on the page, posing as a customer or shilling for them is really unethical. I recommend any future "customer comments" from her be removed. Over on [WWW]RocWiki we define it as [WWW]Shilling. —Users/PeterBoulay

2010-09-10 14:05:45   I have a business in Davis which received a review in WIKI that was in part highly negative. There's nothing wrong with a review that has a highly negative aspect. The reviewer wrote sincerely and has a right to his opinion, but this review and it's highly negative lead line follows all my internet business activities. When my business comes up in any GOOGLE search you immediately see this highly negative comment posted in Davis Wiki. I teach and most of my students are very happy and have been with me a long time. This person's opinion while thoroughly valid is definitely a minority opinion but it colors all my internet business activities. I am not able to take any legal action against this individual because any entry in the Davis Wiki seems shielded by anonymity. I don't know how to contact this person. Wiki makes this very difficult because there seems to be no one you may contact at Wiki to deal with legal and moral issues of this sort. I am not going to give my name because I've learned to fear anything remotely public posted on Davis Wiki but here is my phone number: 530 756-1941. I'd appreciate a human being getting back to me about my dilemma. I cannot initiate libel action against a person I don't know. —dlb

2011-09-13 11:35:14   A recently created wiki for users/evewestbessier was summarily deleted by williamlewis who claimed it was "an ad." This wiki is an overview of a local musician, community teacher, performing artist and 25+ year resident of the Davis community. We endeavored to provide complete information on Eve's commitment to the arts, community and teaching leadership. A a member oft he local music scene for three decades and a member of the music teaching profession, Eve's wiki is intended to provide the community with her personality and capabilities. it even had a Comment box at the bottom for feedback and such. We don't believe fairness or good judgement was exercised by deleting her profile without first notifying of "violations" of what is deemed a personal wiki and an ad. How can this wiki be restored and what guidance have you so this "conforms" with wiki standards. Thanks in advance for your rational contemplation of this request. Let's keep it civi. —fknochenhauer

2012-09-27 12:57:17   I found that the dentist for this business has been deleting negative comments: [WWW] Check the edit info and you will see the deletions. I feel like this page needs to be flagged! —waveform

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