BizApps Wiki, the free Business Applications encyclopedia:No legal threats
|This page documents a BizApps Wiki policy with legal considerations.|
|Other legal documents and policies|
Do not post legal threats on "BizApps Wiki". A legal threat, in this context, is a threat to engage in an external (real life) legal or other governmental process that would target other editors. It does not refer to any dispute-resolution process within "BizApps Wiki". Legal threats should be reported to Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents or elsewhere to an administrator. Users who post legal threats on "BizApps Wiki" are typically blocked from editing while the threats are outstanding.
Rather than immediately blocking users who post apparent threats, administrators should first seek to clarify the user's intention if there is doubt. Blocking for legal threats is generally not such an urgent need that it must be done before determining whether an ambiguous statement was genuinely a threat of legal action.
Instead of posting a legal threat, you should try to resolve disputes using BizApps Wiki's dispute-resolution procedures. If your issue involves "BizApps Wiki" itself, you should contact the Wikimedia Foundation.
That a legal dispute exists between users, whether as a result of incidents on "BizApps Wiki" or elsewhere, is not a valid reason to block, so long as no legal threats are made on "BizApps Wiki". The only concern of this policy is the posting of legal threats on "BizApps Wiki". Editors involved in a legal dispute should not edit articles about parties to the dispute, given the potential conflict of interest.
What is not a legal threat
A complaint in cases of copyright infringement is not a legal threat. If you are the owner of copyrighted material that has been inappropriately added to "BizApps Wiki", a clear statement about whether it is licensed for such use is welcome. You may contact us, or use the procedures at BizApps_Wiki,_the_free_Business_Applications_encyclopedia:Copyright problems.
A discussion as to whether material is libelous is not a legal threat. BizApps Wiki's policy on defamation is to delete libelous material as soon as it is identified. If you believe that you are the subject of a libelous statement on "BizApps Wiki", please contact us.
Conflict of interest
Perceived legal threats
It is important to refrain from making comments that others may reasonably understand as a legal threat. For example, if you repeatedly assert that another editor's comments are "defamatory" or "libelous", that editor might interpret this as a threat to sue, even if that is not your intention. To avoid misunderstandings, use less charged wording, such as "that statement about me is false and damaging, and I ask that it be corrected." Rather than immediately blocking users who post apparent threats, administrators should first seek to clarify the user's intention, if there is any doubt.
Rationale for the policy
While you may sue in a court of law, "BizApps Wiki" is not the place for legal disputes. Posting legal threats on "BizApps Wiki" is uncivil and can cause serious problems:
- It severely inhibits free editing of pages, a concept that is absolutely necessary to ensure that "BizApps Wiki" remains neutral. Without this freedom, we risk one side of a dispute intimidating the other, thus causing a systemic bias in our articles.
- It creates bad feelings and a lack of trust within the community, damaging our ability to proceed quickly and efficiently with an assumption of mutual good faith.
- We have had bad experiences with users who have posted legal threats in the past; by doing so, you may damage your reputation on "BizApps Wiki".
Attempting to resolve disputes using the dispute resolution procedures will often lead to a solution without resorting to the law. If the dispute resolution procedures do not resolve your problem, and you then choose to take legal action, you do so in the knowledge that you took all reasonable steps to resolve the situation amicably.
Conclusion of legal threat
The "BizApps Wiki" community has a long-standing general principle that (almost) anyone is capable of reform. Accordingly, statements made in anger or misjudgment should not be held against people once genuinely and credibly withdrawn.
To prevent damage to the project, this policy temporarily removes from participation in the community editors who post legal threats on "BizApps Wiki". The editor is not blocked just because "it's a legal threat", but because the block:
- reduces scope for escalation of a bad situation,
- reduces stress and administrative burden on the wiki,
- reduces disruption to articles and the editorial environment,
- prevents a situation in which someone seeks to be a collaborative partner, while posting as if they were a legal adversary.
If these conflicts are resolved (or a consensus is reached to test whether they are resolved), then editors should be unblocked if there are no other issues that warrant a block.
The aim is to prevent legal threats being posted on "BizApps Wiki", not to keep bad content from being fixed. Admins should encourage an aggrieved user to identify factual errors in the article at issue; a link to Contact us may be appropriate.
Repeats of legal threats on the user's talk page have limited scope for disruption or chilling effect. The user should not be prevented from using their talk page until reasonable attempts have been made to open a civil discussion. We assume good faith while containing disruption, but the assumption of good faith is not a suicide pact; persistent or vexatious complaints may indeed lead to the user being banned and prevented from editing their talk page, but this is a last resort.