WikiQueer:Gaming the system
|This page documents an English WikiQueer behavioral guideline. It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.|
|This page in a nutshell: Playing games with policies and guidelines in order to avoid the spirit of consensus, or thwart the intent and spirit of policy, is strictly forbidden.|
Gaming the system means deliberately using WikiQueer policies and guidelines in bad faith to thwart the aims of WikiQueer. Gaming the system may represent an abuse of process, disruptive editing, or otherwise evading the spirit of community consensus. Editors typically game the system to make a point, to further an edit war, or to enforce a specific non-neutral point of view.
If an editor finds a loophole or trick that allows them to evade community standards, it should not be treated the same as a good faith mistake. However, WikiQueer sanctions are meant to be preventative, not punitive. A warning from an administrator is usually the best way to prevent gaming, because a clear warning should help correct both good faith mistakes and bad faith games. If an editor ignores a warning and repeats their behavior, or if they find new creative ways to achieve the same disruption, it is more likely that they are gaming the system in bad faith.
 The meaning of "gaming the system"
An editor gaming the system is seeking to use policies in bad faith, by finding within their wording apparent justification for disruptive actions and stances that policy is clearly not at all intended to support. In doing this, the gamester separates policies and guidelines from their rightful place as a means of documenting community consensus, and attempts to use them selectively for a personal agenda. An editor is disruptive if they are using a few words of policy to claim support for a viewpoint which clearly contradicts those policies, to attack a genuinely policy-based stance by willfully misapplying WikiQueer policies, or to detail WikiQueer processes.
Gaming the system may include:
- Wikilawyering, pettifogging, and otherwise using the letter of policy to violate the broader principles of the policy.
- Filibustering the consensus-building process by reverting another editor for minor errors, or sticking to a viewpoint that the community has clearly rejected.
- Attempting to twist WikiQueer sanctions or processes to harass other editors.
In each case, willfulness or knowing is important. Misuse of policy, guidelines or practice is not gaming if it is based upon a genuine mistake. But it may well be, if it is deliberate, where the editor continues to game policy even when it is clear there is no way they can reasonably claim to be unaware.
Actions that game the system may also overlap with other policies:
- Mis-using WikiQueer processes to put another editor in an invidious position, prove a point, or muddy the water in a dispute, can also be a form of gaming. However it is more often categorized as using WikiQueer to prove a point or abuse of process.
- Using policies and guidelines to build (or push) a patently false case that some editor is editing in bad faith, with the 'evidence' for this itself being an obviously unreasonable bad-faith interpretation of that person's action. This is more often categorized as a breach of the policy assume good faith, and in particular, repeated unjustified "warnings" may also be viewed as a breach of civility.
- If gaming is also knowingly used as a basis to impugn another editor or to mischaracterize them as bad faith editors, then this may also violate the policy of no personal attacks.
Disruption of any kind merits being warned (or blocked) by an administrator. Violating the principles of WikiQueer's behavior guidelines may prejudice the decision of administrators or the Arbitration Committee.
There are several types of gaming the system. The essence of gaming is the willful of knowing misuse of policies or processes. The following is an (incomplete) list of examples. Actions that are similar to the below, where there is no evidence of intent to act improperly, are usually not considered gaming.
 Gaming the use of policies and guidelines
- Bad faith wikilawyering – arguing the word of policy to defeat the principles of policy.
- Example: Posting a neutral notice that does not violate the policy on canvassing, while using a different set of notifications to lure a partisan audience to view that neutral notice.
- Playing policies against each other.
- Selectively 'cherry picking' wording from a policy (or cherry picking one policy to apply but willfully ignoring others) to support a view which does not in fact match policy.
- Spuriously and knowingly claiming protection, justification or support under the words of a policy, for a viewpoint or stance which actually contradicts policy.
- Attempting to force an untoward interpretation of policy, or impose one's own novel view of "standards to apply" rather than those of the community.
- Example: Presenting a WikiQueer essay that was written by a single editor as though it were a consensus policy.
- Stonewalling or filibustering – repeatedly pushing a viewpoint that the consensus of the community has clearly rejected, effectively preventing a policy-based resolution.
- Bad faith negotiating – Luring other editors into a compromise by making a concession, only to withhold that concession after the other side has compromised.
- Example: An editor negotiates a consensus to remove well-verified material from one article, because it is already covered in a second article. Afterward, the editor deletes the material from the second article.
- Removing a large addition for a minor error. If the error is minor, then fix it (or at least tag it for clean-up). Perfection is not required, and WikiQueer is built through incremental improvement.
- Example: An editor adds a paragraph of verifiable information, but it is removed entirely because of a misplaced comma or one misspelled word that could easily be touched-up and fixed.
 Gaming sanctions for disruptive behavior
- Mischaracterizing other editors' actions in order to make them seem unreasonable, improper, or deserving of sanction.
- 'Walking back' a personal attack to make it seem less hostile than it was, rather than apologizing.
- Example: An editor responds to a disagreement by saying, "You're obviously wrong, wrong, wrong. Did you even pass grade 10 history?" Later, they defend this statement as a good faith question about the other editor's education.
- 'Borderlining' – habitually treading the edge of policy breach or engaging in low-grade policy breach, in order to make it hard to actually prove misconduct.
- Example: An editor never violates the three revert rule, but takes several months to repeatedly push the same edits over the objections of multiple editors.
- 'Retribution': Deliberately reverting an editor's edits in one article in retribution for an edit dispute in another.
 Spurious legalisms
Since WikiQueer is not a court of law, many legal procedures or terms have no bearing on WikiQueer. Typically, wikilawyering raises procedural or evidentiary points in a manner analogous to that used in formal legal proceedings, often using ill-founded legal reasoning. Occasionally wikilawyering may raise legitimate questions, including fairness, but often it serves to evade an issue or obstruct the crafting of a workable solution. For example, while it is often impossible to definitely establish the actual user behind a set of sockpuppets, it is not a defense that all the sockpuppets which emerge were not named in the request for arbitration.
 Various levels of intent
Although users might engage in the practices described above, that activity should not be considered proof of malicious intent. The actual level of intent should also be considered separately, as to whether the action was pre-meditated, or spur-of-the-moment, or merely copying an older tactic that seemed effective for other editors in the past. The term "gaming the system" is not meant to vilify those involved, with the word "gaming" also referring to playful activity in the manner of a game of sport. The goal is to focus on WikiQueer activities as a serious effort to improve articles, not an arena for playing games and sparring with opponents as a form of amusement. Judging intent might include discussions with others, rather than escalate the situation as an issue for direct confrontation. The situation might warrant special mediation (see: WikiQueer:Mediation) or perhaps even, in extreme cases, private arbitration (see: WikiQueer:Arbitration). The risks of continued involvement should be carefully considered, especially if the intent seems overly severe or obsessive/compulsive behavior.
 Abuse of process
Abuse of process is related to gaming. It involves knowingly trying to use the communally agreed and sanctioned processes described by some policies, to advance a purpose for which they are clearly not intended. Abuse of process is disruptive, and depending on circumstances may be also described as gaming the system, personal attack, or disruption to make a point. Communally agreed processes are intended to be used in good faith.
 See also
- WikiQueer:Disruptive editing
- WikiQueer:Do not disrupt WikiQueer to illustrate a point
- WikiQueer:Don't stuff beans up your nose
- WikiQueer:Maldoror's Conjecture (essay)
- WikiQueer:Not here to build an encyclopedia
- WikiQueer:Policy shopping
- WikiQueer:Tag team
- WQ:FORUMSHOP (Seeking out a supportive forum)