How to Respond to Personal Attacks on wikiHow

Does someone have a grudge against you on wikiHow? Did somebody take your edits personally, as an insult to their writing skills? Did they send you a nasty e-mail, leave a mean-spirited comment on your talk page, or vandalize all of your articles? Rather than lash back, here's how to convert your wikiHow attacker into an ally and keep the peace.


  1. Image titled Take a Critique Positively Step 9
    Clarify any misunderstandings. For example, if the person you are dealing with accuses you of being a bigot because of the way one of your articles or edits came off, you need to clarify that it wasn't your intention to alienate any group of people. Explain what you were trying to say, and show that bigotry was not on your mind when you wrote what you wrote.
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    Appreciate their contributions. Sometimes people get offended when you edit their articles, especially if they have any kind of writing experience, or are experts in the topic that they wrote about. Let that person know that their contributions on wikiHow are valued, because they are, and that you're not questioning their credentials. Rather, you're just trying to make your own contributions to making wikiHow a better place. Sometimes, what you perceive as a personal attack might be that individual defending themselves against a perceived attack from you. Again, let them know that you were not trying to attack, offend, or discredit them in any way.
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    Give them a link to the Writer's Guide (a direct quote is especially helpful) or forum comments that show why you went ahead and did what you did. For instance, let's say you rearranged someone's article to better fit wikiHow's standard format. The writer of the article might not have known that there was any basic format to stick to. If you send that person some kind of proof of previously established or agreed-upon rules that justify your actions, then that person is much less likely to take your actions personally.
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    Be willing to apologize if you did step on someone's toes. Even if you didn't break any rules, it's still a good idea to let a person know that you didn't mean to push their buttons. It's like bumping into someone on the sidewalk - you weren't doing anything wrong, but you two just collided, and typically you say "Oh, sorry!" or "Excuse me." Saying something like "I didn't mean to offend you, but I'm sorry if I did" goes a long way.
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    Attempt to reach consensus with the other person on how the page should be edited. If several attempts to reach peace fail, seek an arbitrator. The previous steps should help tone down the hostility, but you might still disagree about the way an article was written or edited. In this case, open the issue up for discussion on the article's discussion page, and let members of the wikiHow community put in their two cents until a consensus is reached. You could also seek the counsel of an admin by e-mailing him or her privately.
    • It will also help you to learn How to Recognize a Troll on the Internet.
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    Incorporate their criticism. Even if they didn't provide it in a constructive way, try to figure out how you can use this experience to become a better writer and/or editor. Try to understand what ticked the person off, and what you can do differently next time to avoid this kind of situation.


  • Some good excerpts from the Writer's Guide to remind people to keep their cool are as follows:

    • "You must expect your writing to be modified, criticized, or improved by others. Changes should be viewed in the spirit of improvement and not as a criticism of your approach or capabilities."
    • "When you disagree with another wikiHow community member please stay cool and talk things over civilly. Writers and editors who can't cooperate and work for the best interest of the group will be discouraged or prevented from participating."
  • If all else fails, let an admin or an experienced user that will give the user the warning what's going on. Explain the situation - how it started, and how you've attempted to resolve it peacefully - and ask for help.

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