This is an explanatory essay about Wikipedia:Dispute resolution.
This page is intended to provide additional information about concepts in the page(s) it supplements. This page is not one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community.
|This page in a nutshell: Mediation is when a neutral editor guides disputants through a discussion and towards a compromise. Anyone can act as a mediator on Wikipedia.|
Mediation is a component of the Wikipedia content-dispute resolution process. During mediation, a content dispute between two or more editors is subjected to the involvement of an uninvolved third party (who is the mediator). The role of the mediator is to guide discussion towards the formation of agreement over the disputed elements of content.
What to mediate
Mediation is to help Wikipedia editors to contribute willingly together by helping to resolve their good-faith disagreements over article content. As above, the mediation process is unsuitable for complaints about the behaviour of other editors; these should be directed to a project administrator (e.g. at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard) for evaluation. Mediation equally is not suited to parties who are disagreeing "for the sake of disagreeing" or who have no intention of compromising or discussing the thinking behind their positions. It is not an aim of mediation to produce mutual amity between the disputants, but increased tolerance and respect is an important goal.
How to mediate
Mediation in any form will have the following features:
- Editors enter into mediation voluntarily and may withdraw from mediation at any time
- The role of the mediator is to facilitate consensus-building discussion, not to arbitrate or adjudicate disputes or issue binding decisions
- The mediator is a neutral third-party in relation to both the dispute and all the involved parties
- Mediation must relate exclusively to disputes over the content of a Wikipedia page: grievances relating to the conduct of another editor are not suitable for mediation
- Where the position of one disputant is clearly unreasonable, the mediator will not subvert the integrity of the encyclopedia in order to reach a resolution
Who can mediate
Editors acting as a mediator should have a clear ability to foster an agreement (clearly incompetent or seriously inexperienced users should not mediate). Mediators should have no personal prejudice about the issues or topics in dispute. Mediators should have no significant prior involvement with the users involved.
Where to find a mediator
You can ask any neutral editor to act as a mediator for you. You can also request mediation on Wikipedia by using the Dispute Resolution Noticeboard.
Disbanded locations for soliciting a mediator include: informally, the Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal, and formally, Wikipedia:Requests for mediation and Wikipedia:Mediation Committee.
Control of mediation
One purpose of mediation is to provide a controlled venue in which a discussion can proceed towards consensus without the incivility, disruptive elements, and drama which sometimes accompany discussions on article and user pages. To achieve that control, a user who agrees to be a mediator may establish procedural and behavioral rules under which the discussion will proceed on the mediation page, the mediation page's talk page, and any subpages of those pages.
All participants in the mediation are required to either conform to those rules or to withdraw entirely from the mediation. A mediator may not, however, impose any restrictions on any participant's actions at any other place within Wikipedia, including the place at which the dispute being mediated was taking place. In order to further control the discussion, a mediator may also edit the mediation page, the mediation page's talk page, and any subpages of those pages in the same way and to the same extent that a user may edit their own talk page.
Additionally, a mediator may strike out, collapse, delete, or otherwise close all or any part of any posting on those pages which is incivil or which comments upon or seeks to discuss user conduct. Any administrator may upon request by a mediator, and after a single warning by either the mediator or the administrator, block, ban, or otherwise sanction a participant who continues to participate in mediation in a manner which violates the rules established by the mediator or the editing rights granted to the mediator.
In addition, a mediator may also condition their continued participation in the mediation upon whatever conditions they may see fit. Said conditions may include restrictions upon participants' actions in other places within Wikipedia.
Rules, conditions, edit control, and closures of incivility or conduct comments may restrict the manner and sequence in which participants in a mediation present their positions and the manner and sequence in which discussion is conducted.
But rules, conditions, and edit control must not be otherwise formulated or applied in a manner which prevents a user from participating in the mediation or which prevents a user from fully presenting their position regarding their content issues. If a user feels that a mediator is formulating or applying the rules in an unfair manner, the user should first discuss the matter with the mediator.
While rules and conditions should, to the greatest degree practical, be clearly stated as part of the mediator's offer to accept the mediation, a mediator may modify or supplement the rules and conditions during the process of the mediation to meet new or unforeseen difficulties or to better manage the mediation. The purpose of mediation is to secure a result that benefits the encyclopedia—not to ensure fairness for any one contributor. Mediators work with disputants but for the encyclopedia.
- meatball:ConflictResolution has good suggestions on how to handle conflict as a third party
- ^ The rules in this section presume that the mediation will be carried out on a page or venue other than the page at which the dispute is taking place.
- ^ That is, impose solely as a mediator. This provision is not intended to restrict the scope of authority of a mediator who is also an administrator to act as such either within the mediation or elsewhere.
- ^ Notwithstanding any effect of the talk page guidelines to the contrary. At least one warning (which may be to one or more individuals or to all individuals involved in a dispute), stating that this remedy may be used, should be given before utilizing this remedy.
- ^ Including the mediator himself or herself if he or she is an administrator (though the better practice is to request enforcement from another administrator).
- ^ Especially, but not only, in regard to civility, disruption, and compliance with Wikipedia policy and guidelines.