Opinions are an important part of SeattleTechWiki and, in many cases, adding your opinion is encouraged.
When to add your opinion
- DO add your opinion on service providers, companies etc. that will be useful for others.
- DO add your opinion on best practices in SeattleTechWiki Guides.
- DO add your opinion on useful resources, information, and service providers.
- DO add your opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of particular technologies.
- DON'T add your opinion on which programming language is the best one.
Guidelines for opinions
The following guidelines are intended to ensure that opinions are useful to users and remain valuable.
- All opinions must be noted and attributed.
- Do not let opinions get in the way of facts. For example, on a page about X, do not intersperse opinions with the rest of the article. Instead, choose the most appropriate place. Frequently, this will be the end of the article or section.
- Opinions, positive or negative, should be stated in a non-inflammatory way, hopefully with a rationale. For example, write "I dislike X because they charge too much" rather than "X sucks" or "X rocks". No personal attacks.
- Opinions should be appropriate. For example, do not give your opinion on X, Y, and Z, on the page about W unless you are comparing them (but, in that case consider whether a Comparison or Best page should be created).
- Do not edit someone else's opinions, except to fix typos or formatting problems.
- Do not remove someone else's opinion, no matter how strongly you disagree with it. Instead, post your own opinion. In rare cases, administrators may move an inappropriate or inflammatory comment, possibly to a talk page. In very rare cases, an administrator may remove a comment which is also perceived to have no value (e.g., "X sucks").
- This is in marked contrast to COI (Conflict of Interest) restrictions on many public wikis.
- Even in opinions, you must be truthful. Not being truthful may make your comments libelous or fraudulent.
Many pages on SeattleTechWiki, including the numerous Guides, contain advice, which is different from opinions. Advice does not have to be explicitly attributed, though every contribution to the wiki is implicitly attributed in the edit history.
The difference between advice and opinion is best shown with some examples:
- Fact: In the US, Software patents are issued by the Patent and Trademark Office.
- Advice: Software startups should consider patents as part of their IP protection strategy.
- Opinion: Patents are not a practical way for software startups to protect their IP. (needs attribution)
- Unacceptable opinion: Software patents are evil. (not allowed)
- Fact: The thisUser blog is written by Roy Leban.
- Advice: The thisUser blog is a good source of information about UX (User Experience).
- Opinion: The thisUser blog is the best UX blog. (needs attribution)
- Unacceptable opinion: The thisUser blog rocks! (not allowed)
- Fact: John Doe is a lawyer specializing in small business law.
- Advice: John Doe has received some critical reviews. Before retaining a business lawyer, check out what reviews they have received.
- Opinion: I was not happy with John Doe. I thought he had a hard time understanding the business issues we have as a startup. (needs attribution)
- Unacceptable opinion: John Doe was awful. (not allowed)
Conflict of interest
SeattleTechWIki does not have a rule against contributions in which you have a conflict of interest (COI) as there are on many public wikis. Facts which are appropriate for the wiki may simply be added, even if you have an interest in the fact. When contributing opinions or advice in which you have a conflict of interest, you must use appropriate attribution. If you are not sure if something is a fact or opinion, err on the side of attribution. If you see a fact that you know to be true that was contributed by somebody else with unnecessary attribution (because they were unsure), feel free to remove the attribution.
Advertising is not opinion or advice and is not welcome. Information that might appear in an advertisement (including both facts and opinions) but is not in and of itself an advertisement itself is welcome. Facts do not need to be attributed, but companies adding a large amount of factual information may wish to do so. Opinions, as noted above, need to be attributed and may be attributed to a company. There is currently no strict definition of what constitutes advertising and it is hoped that no strict definition is needed.