WikiIslam:Policies and Guidelines
This page contains a summary of the general policies and guidelines that everyone is expected to adhere to at WikiIslam and is required reading for all editors.
Content on WikiIslam should:
- be related to a neutral, non-apologetic, and non-polemical understanding of Islam
- be based on fully referenced facts, mainstream Islamic sources, and scholarly secondary sources
- be written in a professional and scholarly manner, refraining from sarcastic, offensive, sensationalist or extremist language.
- be tailored to accommodate a universal audience, not only certain countries, demographics or knowledge-backgrounds.
- remain neutral towards other religions, world-views and political positions, neither promoting nor criticizing them.
WikiIslam is an international site with administrators, editors and contributors from all over the world. Readership is vast and not saturated by any demographic of visitors, so the content should reflect this. Material should be tailored to accommodate, as best as possible, a universal audience.
WikiIslam is not a political site. The site does not have a left or right-wing political agenda, nor is it a counter-jihad site. Articles concerning immigration, culture wars, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and other related issues are strictly prohibited. Articles should always remain neutral towards all religions and world views, neither promoting nor criticizing them.
Editors are expected to take a scholarly and rational approach in their conduct and criticisms. Editors should stay away from extremist, sensationalist, sarcastic or emotional commentary by letting the facts speak for themselves. Articles should also be free from vulgar, offensive, or slang language. In short, articles should include no personal opinions or deductions, only referenced facts.
Any analysis of Islam should be based on its own mainstream rules and religious sources, meaning articles should never endorse (but may simply document or challenge) fringe theories unsupported by the majority of evidence. There should be no personal opinions or abstract deductions, and every statement of fact must be supported by reliable, published sources. Use of secondary sources to present a historical-critical perspective is also encouraged. Content of this sort should derive from content published by reliable academic journal and presses (e.g. Fred Donner's Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, published by Harvard University Press).
Copying and pasting articles from other sites is not allowed. Nor is, for various reasons, copying and pasting articles from Wikipedia. However, there are some exceptions to this rule e.g. where a suitable Wikipedia article is going to be deleted or has been deleted. If something specific is being quoted from another site, it should be made clear that it is a quotation.
Formatting a WikiIslam article differs from when writing on a standard word processor. Wikis use text codes to create particular elements of the page (e.g., headings). This markup language is known as wikitext (or wiki-markup) and is designed for ease of editing.
The Source Editing page will teach editors how to edit from the articles source. It also teaches how to use types of quoting, linking, and important templates for all editors. Learning the WikiIslam source language will make editing much easier and intuitive.
Editors who are wondering how to create specific parts of an article should go here.
All statements of facts, especially those that are likely to be challenged, must be referenced using inline citations. Naked URLs are not sufficient. What is being referenced should be easily identifiable without having to leave the page through an external link. Minimal information (if available) should include the URL, page title, author, publisher and the date of publication. Each link must also be archived to avoid link rot. When quoting from these sources, bold or italic emphasis may be added, but underlining and all-capitals should be avoided.
WikiIslam articles should be based on reliable, published sources. More importance is placed on pro-Islamic, religious Muslim sources over neutral secular sources. However, multiple references from both types of sources are preferred. Furthermore, references that are cited must explicitly support any claims being made. There are three types of sources:
Primary sources are original materials, an artifact, a document, a recording, or other source of information that was created at the time under study. In an article about a book it would be the book itself. In the case of a person, it would be the subject itself. WikiIslam's criticism of Islam is based on its own sources, the Qur'an, hadith and Islamic scholars. So primary sources are not limited and may be freely used in articles. However, only published and recognized translations of primary sources are to be used, and they must be quoted exactly as they appear in the cited reference.
Secondary sources are documents or recordings that relate or discuss information originally presented elsewhere. For example, a statement by a scholar about a certain battle in the history of Islam would be a secondary source. News articles that report on a development or an incident are also secondary sources. Statements of fact concerning Islam from polemic sources such as books, articles or commentaries by individuals such as Robert Spencer, Pamela Gellar, Mark A. Gabriel etc. are not to be used under any circumstances as references on WikiIslam. If editors come across any such statements, they must remove them immediately.
Tertiary sources are sources that rely upon primary and secondary sources. Unlike secondary sources, they attempt to provide a broad introductory overview of a topic. The New Encyclopedia of Islam would be an example. They may be used as well. There are a variety of encyclopedias.
Usernames should be chosen appropriately and should not be promotional, misleading, disruptive or offensive towards a race, religion or social group in any way. Usernames that fall under any of these categories will be renamed by an administrator.
Userpages should not be used as placeholders or homes for articles and essays. Personal email addresses should also not be displayed. Active editors with over 50 constructive edits are permitted to post links. However, these should also be chosen appropriately and they should try to keep the number of links within 10.
The purpose of a talk page is to provide space for editors to discuss changes directly relating to its associated article or project page. Acceptable topics for discussion include concerns directly relating to the page, such as inaccuracies, formatting, renaming, merging and suggestions for further improvement. They are not there for debating the subject of the article or for general attacks on the site or its editors.
Talk pages should not be blanked, and other users' messages should not be removed or altered unless a valid reason is provided. All new discussion topics should be given a relevant heading and created at the bottom of the page, below all previous discussions, and all messages should be signed and follow the rules concerning indentation. Users should avoid excessive emphasis and be concise; capital letters are considered shouting, and long, rambling messages or SMS language may be difficult to understand and will be ignored. For continuity of discussion, comments should be kept on the same talk page where they were initiated.
Good indentation makes prolonged discussions on talk pages easier to read and understand. Replies should always be indented and placed beneath the last comment. Indents are achieved by typing one or more leading colon ":" characters at the very left margin, just before the new text about to be added. With every new comment added, the number of colons must be increased by one.
A long discussion will cause indentation to become too deep, which can make it difficult to read in narrower browser windows. When this occurs, editors should consider resetting the level of indentation by outdenting their next comment. Outdenting must be performed by using the "Outdent" template.
Signing comments on talk pages, both for the article and non-article namespaces, facilitates discussion by helping identify the author of a particular comment. Occasional forgetfulness is understandable but if certain editors continually ignore requests to sign their comments, any new comments by them should be reverted and a discussion should be initiated on their user talk page.
Customized signatures, like usernames, should be chosen appropriately and not be promotional, misleading, disruptive or offensive. They must include at least one direct internal link to the editor's user page, user talk page, or contributions page, allowing other editors easy access to their talk page and contributions log. Images or templates should not be used in signatures as this may cause unnecessary server load.
Pending changes protection has been implemented to help maintain the quality of the sites content and to minimize vandalism. This means changes from new and anonymous IP editors are reviewed by other editors (usually within 24 hours) before they appear on the website. Once a new user demonstrates that their edits are factually correct, properly formatted and comply with guidelines, they will receive the 'Editor' user right which means their own edits will be approved automatically.
It is the responsibility of each individual editor to make sure that their own edits are of a high standard. Edits should not be made with the expectation that someone else will fix the problems those edits may have caused (e.g. spelling, punctuation, formatting, broken links/redirects etc.).
When a user makes contributions that need corrections or cleanup by another editor, these issues should be explained to them on their talk page. If their contributions continue to suffer from the same issues after being corrected two or three times and having the matter explained to them, editors should then revert their future edits, ask them to see their talk page (in the edit summary) and consult with other editors and administrators.
Assuming good faith is the assumption that a user's edits and comments are made in good faith. This guideline does not prohibit discussion and criticism. Rather, editors should not attribute the actions being criticized to malice unless there is specific evidence of malice or obvious vandalism. If an editor wishes to express doubts about the conduct of another user, they should substantiate those doubts with specific diffs and other relevant evidence, so that people can understand the basis for their concerns. WikiIslam administrators and other experienced editors involved in dispute resolution will usually be glad to help, and are very capable of identifying policy-breaching conduct if their attention is drawn to clear and specific evidence.
Pending Changes Protection
Pending changes protection has been implemented on WikiIslam to help maintain the quality of its content and to minimize site vandalism. This does not contradict the site's claim of being "the online resource on Islam that anyone can edit." All it means is that changes from new and anonymous IP editors are reviewed by other editors (usually within 24 hours) before they appear on the website.
This is not unusual for an open wiki. A common criticism of wikis is that "anyone can edit them, so that mean anyone can insert false information". Pending-changes protection alleviates this issue while also maintaining the Wiki's open collaborative nature.
Edits need to reviewed for two reasons:
- To make sure new content is factually correct, properly formatted and comply with site guidelines.
- To prevent vandalism/removal of content by new and IP address users
After it is ascertained that you understand how to make appropriate contributions to the site, you will receive the 'editor' user right which means your own edits will be approved automatically. You can also request the 'editor' right by leaving a message on the talk page.
Editors with the 'review' right are able to review other editors' changes. Access to the review right can be requested by leaving a message on the talk page. After you have the reviewer right, you can view unreviewed changes to the site on the following two pages:
When using text or images from another website, editors should make sure that the material is not copyrighted. If it is, they must ask permission from the original content owner(s) before using it. Copyright holders may contact WikiIslam to have their concerns addressed.
The goal of WikiIslam is to create an encyclopedic information source with all information being referenced through the citation of reliable published sources, so as to maintain a standard of verifiability.
For this reason, all contributors should recognize that it is their responsibility to ensure that material posted on WikiIslam is not defamatory. Libel or defamation is defined as the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation.
It is WikiIslam policy to delete libelous material when it has been identified. This policy applies to living people.
Individuals who believe they are the subject of a libelous statement on WikiIslam should contact the site with details of the article and error.
Due to constant vandalism, disruptive editing, non-compliance with guidelines and a lack of time, pro-Islamic submissions are currently not being accepted. This change is only temporary, and the present list of pro-Islamic articles can still be viewed here. For debates and general discussions about Islam, users can visit a forum (e.g. the FFI forum).
Assuming Good Faith
Assuming good faith is a fundamental principle on WikiIslam. It is the assumption that a user's edits and comments are made in good faith. Most people try to help the project, not hurt it. This guideline does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of obvious evidence to the contrary (vandalism). Assuming good faith does not prohibit discussion and criticism. Rather, editors should not attribute the actions being criticized to malice unless there is specific evidence of malice.
When disagreement occurs, try to the best of your ability to explain and resolve the problem, not cause more conflict, and so give others the opportunity to reply in kind. Consider whether a dispute stems from different perspectives, and look for ways to reach consensus.
When doubt is cast on good faith, continue to assume good faith yourself where you can. Be civil rather than attacking editors or edit-warring with them. If you wish to express doubts about the conduct of fellow editors, please substantiate those doubts with specific diffs and other relevant evidence, so that people can understand the basis for your concerns. Although bad conduct may seem to be due to bad faith, it is usually best to address the conduct without mentioning motives, which might exacerbate resentments all around.
Dealing with Bad Faith
Even if bad faith is evident, do not act uncivilly yourself in return, attack others, or lose your temper over it. It is ultimately much easier for others to resolve a dispute and see who is breaching policies, if one side is clearly acting appropriately throughout.
WikiIslam administrators and other experienced editors involved in dispute resolution will usually be glad to help, and are very capable of identifying policy-breaching conduct if their attention is drawn to clear and specific evidence.