Rules to consider/Confer in e-mail debate

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I just wanted to explain a little of the background behind this proposed rule.

I have participated in more unpleasant exchanges here on Wikipedia than I care to count. There are almost always good grounds for these exchanges--people who debate things here are generally very intelligent and their opinions are backed by substantial reasoning. But, as happens almost everywhere else on the Internet, harsh feelings, often or usually based in misunderstandings and incomplete communication, tend to spoil the thing. I really don't want Wikipedia to become another debate forum or flame-fest. I think we will work best if we avoid all unnecessary controversy, and if we must engage in controversy, that we practice wikipetiquette as far as we are able.

I think it would be great if we all made it a habit of saying, when appropriate, "Hey, this is getting a little too unpleasant for Wikipedia, which is supposed to be a nice place focused on creating an encyclopedia. I'll write you privately. (Or: My e-mail address is X@Y.Z. Could you write me, please, or post your address, so we can resolve this amicably in private?)

If more of us did this, I think Wikipedia could become a much more pleasant place to work on this worthy project. Please, let's not let such a great project be slowed down by personal difficulties. I really do think we can avoid that. --Larry Sanger

I think that sounds preferable to the current way (making a public spectacle, people taking sides, slinging barbs and arrows ... seems too much like it belongs in a colosseum, most of the time). But I should say I have no problem at all debating things in wikipedia, only I'd prefer it go private if it becomes a bit personal or disrespectful. And of course everyone likes to see the happy reconciliation.  :-) --KQ

Note being a net techie I don't know how hard this would be to set up, but what about a "usenet" group? Alt.pedia.debate (not alt.wikipedia to prevent it turning up in search engines). Then we could legitimately say "take it to usenet". Just a thought - MB

Starting a group in the traditional 'Big 8' hierarchy involves a long, fussy procedure; starting one in the alt hierarchy is easy but getting news servers to carry it is not so easy. I don't think it's appropriate for a world-distributable newsgroup, anyway. It may be possible to set up a newsgroup on the Nupedia server and have it archived by Nupedia (not quite a 'private' newsgroup, but not fully public - keep Google out of it). Would a mailing list be a good 'middle ground' between fully public discussion and private email? -- Claudine