Memory Alpha  AboutPolicies and guidelines → Do not disrupt Memory Alpha to prove a point
Memory Alpha
This page describes one of Memory Alpha's policies and guidelines.

Please read through the policy below to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please post them on the talk page.

State your point; do not prove it experimentallyEdit

Discussion is the preferred means for demonstrating the problem with policies or the way they are implemented.

In the past, some archivists have found their wikistress levels rising, particularly when an issue important to them has, in their view, been handled unfairly. The archivist may point out inconsistencies, perhaps citing other cases that have been handled differently. Moreover, the archivist may postulate: "What if everyone did that?"

While such examples are legitimate to cite in a discussion, two important aspects of Memory Alpha should also be considered: it is inconsistent, and it tolerates things that it does not condone. (Some argue that these are not defects.)

In this situation, it is tempting to illustrate a point using either parody or some form of breaching experiment. For example, the archivist may apply the decision to other issues in a way that mirrors the policy they oppose. These activities are generally disruptive: i.e., they require the vast majority of editors to clean up or revert the "proof."

In general, such edits are strongly opposed by those who believe them to be ineffective tools of persuasion. Some readers consider such techniques spiteful and unencyclopedic, as passers-by are caught in the crossfire of edits that are not made in good faith, and which are designed to provoke outrage and opposition. Generally, points are best expressed directly in discussion, without irony or subterfuge. Direct statements are the best way to garner respect, agreement, and consensus.

Specific kinds of "disruption to illustrate a point"Edit

Gaming the systemEdit

For further information, see Gaming the system at Wikipedia.

Gaming the system means using Memory Alpha policies and guidelines in bad faith, to deliberately thwart the aims of Memory Alpha and the process of communal editorship. Gaming the system is subversive and, in some cases, a form of disruption. It usually involves improper use of (or appeal to) a policy, to purposefully derail or disrupt Memory Alpha processes, to claim support for a viewpoint which clearly contradicts those policies, or to attack a genuinely policy-based stance.

Examples of gaming include (but are not limited to):

  1. Wikilawyering
  2. Playing policies against each other
  3. Relying upon the letter of policy as a defense when breaking the spirit of policy
  4. Mischaracterizing other editors' actions to make them seem unreasonable or improper
  5. Selectively "cherry picking" wording from a policy (or cherry picking one policy to apply such as verifiability but willfully ignoring others such as neutrality)
  6. Attempting to force an untoward interpretation of policy, or impose one's own view of "standards to apply" rather than those of the community
  7. False consensus
  8. Stonewalling (willfully stalling discussion or preventing it moving forward)
  9. "Borderlining" (habitually treading the edge of policy breach or engaging in low-grade policy breach to make it hard to actually prove misconduct)
  10. Abuse of process

Gaming can sometimes overlap with policies and guidelines such as disruptive editing (including "disruption to illustrate a point"), incivility (including posting of repeated spurious "warnings"), personal attacks, and failure to assume good faith.

If there is no evidence of improper intent or there is a genuine mistake, it is not usually considered to be gaming. It may well be, however, if the action is deliberate, or it is clear there is no way they can reasonably claim to be unaware.

Refusal to "get the point"Edit

In some cases, editors have perpetuated disputes by sticking to an allegation or viewpoint long after it has been discredited, repeating it almost without end, and refusing to acknowledge others' input or their own error. Often such editors are continuing to base future attacks and disruptive editing upon the erroneous statement to make a point.

Memory Alpha is based upon collaborative good faith editing and consensus. When a stance passes the point of reasonableness, and it becomes obvious that there is a willful refusal to "get the point" despite the clear statement of policy, and despite reasoned opinions and comments provided by experienced, independent editors, administrators or mediators, then refusal to get the point is no longer a reasonable stance or policy-compliant – it has become a disruptive pattern, being used to make or illustrate a point.

Note that it is the disruptive editing itself, not the mere holding of the opinion, that is the problem.


On a related note, please do not attempt to put misinformation into Memory Alpha to test our ability to detect and remove it; this wastes everyone's time, including yours. See Do not create hoaxes at Wikipedia.


  • If somebody suggests that Memory Alpha should become a majority-rule democratic community...
    • do point out that it is entirely possible for archivists to create sock puppets and vote more than once.
    • do not create seven sock puppets and have them all agree with you.
  • If someone creates an article on what you believe to be a silly topic, and the community disagrees with your assessment on Pages for deletion (Pfd)...
    • do make your case clearly on Pfd, pointing to examples of articles that would be allowable under the rules the community is applying.
    • do not create an article on an entirely silly topic just to get it listed on Pfd.
  • If someone lists one of your favorite articles on Pfd and calls it "silly", and you believe that there are hundreds of sillier articles...
    • do state your case on Pfd in favor of the article.
    • do not list hundreds of other articles on Pfd in one day to try to save it.
  • If an article you've nominated for deletion on Pfd is not deleted...
    • do reconsider whether your nomination was justified.
    • do not frivolously nominate the same article for featured article status.
  • If someone deletes information about a person you consider to be important from an article, calling them "unimportant"...
    • do argue on the article's talk page for the person's inclusion, pointing out that other information about people is included in the article.
    • do not delete all of the information about every person from the article, calling it "unimportant".
  • If you wish to change an existing procedure or guideline...
    • do set up a discussion page and try to establish consensus
    • do not push the existing rule to its limits in an attempt to prove it wrong, or nominate the existing rule for deletion
  • If you're upset someone didn't follow process in making a change...
    • do find out why they did it and attempt to convince them otherwise
    • do not revert an arguably good change for no reason other than "out of process" (see Ignore all rules at Wikipedia)
  • If you think that a particular template is silly and pointless...
    • do discuss the matter on the template's talk page, or more broadly in Ten Forward
    • do not forge an implausible award to yourself to highlight how silly you think it is
  • If you think someone unjustifiably removed your additions to an article with the edit summary "unsourced"...
    • do find a source for your additions
    • do not remove all unsourced content on the page or re-add your information claiming that the entire page is unsourced
  • If you think that this list of examples has become excessively long and boring...
    • do suggest that half of them may be deleted without loss for the understanding of the guideline
    • do not add 47 more cases, however plausible they are

Note that egregious disruption of any kind is blockable by any administrator.

See alsoEdit

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