Future Law Wiki Editorial Rules

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We are building this Future Law Wiki as a Knowledge Base for our Networked Communities of Practice so that members can get access to up-to-date information on the areas of research, education and capacity-building. This knowledge-base is enabled by the Future Law Institute for and on behalf of it’s members and we require the information added here to be honest, factual and reliable. In order to ensure that we all undertake the editing of content with respect for these principles we embrace the Wiki culture and Wiki 10 principles adapted for our purposes below.

Rule 1. Use Your Real Name[edit | edit source]

As this is a private members Wiki we urge you to use your real name. By logging and using your real name you can build a record of good edits, and it is easier to communicate and collaborate with others if you have a fixed, reputable identity.

Rule 2. Learn the five pillars[edit | edit source]

There are some broad principles—known as the "five pillars"—all editors are expected to adhere to when contributing to the Future Law Wiki. Future Law Wiki can publish original thought or research but the material must be properly referenced and subject to editorial approval. We do not encourage the use of this wikisite to promote your pet theory or share unpublished results. It is also not a soapbox on which to expound your personal theories or a battleground to debate controversial issues. In this respect, the Future Law Wiki fundamentally differs from other types of new media, such as blogs, that encourage editorializing. We hope that you enjoy contributing to the Future Law Wiki and that this operates as a natural extension of your enthusiasm for science. But differences of opinion inevitably arise, particularly on pages provided for discussion on how to improve articles. Treat other editors as collaborators and maintain a respectful and civil manner, even in disagreement. If you begin to find a particular interaction stressful, simply log off and come back another time. There are no deadlines.

Five Pillars[edit | edit source]

  1. Encyclopedia: Future Law Wiki combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers. However Future Law Wiki is not a soapbox, an advertising platform, a vanity press, an experiment in anarchy or democracy, an indiscriminate collection of information, or a web directory. It is not a dictionary, a newspaper, or a collection of source documents, although some of our databases are.
  2. Neutrality: We strive for content in an impartial tone that document and explain major points of view, giving due weight for their prominence. We avoid advocacy, and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them. In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view; in others, we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context rather than as "the truth" or "the best view". All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is about a living person. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong on the Future Law Wiki.
  3. Creative Commons: This resource is being built under a Creative Commons licence. You must give attribution, and if sharing information from another source, provide a link to the license, Rand indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. With the Creative Commons licence, as a member of the Future Law Collaborative you are free to:
    • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
    • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially.
  4. Respect & Civility: Respect your fellow Future Law Collaborators, even when you disagree. Apply Future Law Wiki etiquette, and do not engage in personal attacks. Seek consensus, avoid edit wars, and never disrupt the wikisite to illustrate a point. Act in good faith, and assume good faith on the part of others. Be open and welcoming to newcomers. Should conflicts arise, discuss them calmly on the appropriate Discord Channel and/or reach out to the [Law Wiki Editors] to mediate.
  5. Flexibility: The Future Law Wikisite is operated on these principles. but they are not carved in stone; their content and interpretation can evolve over time. The principles and spirit matter more than literal wording, and sometimes improving the wikisite will require making exceptions. Be bold, but not reckless, in updating articles. And do not agonize over making mistakes: (almost) every past version of a page is saved, so mistakes can be easily corrected.

Rule 3. Be Brave[edit | edit source]

The survival and growth of any wiki requires participation. The Future Law wikisite’s continuing success depends on the regular contributions of its membership. Therefore, Future Law urges all its users to be bold: if you spot an error, correct it. If you can improve an article, please do so. It is important, however, to distinguish boldness from recklessness. Start off small. Begin by making minor modifications to existing articles before attempting a complete rewrite. New editors may feel intimidated about contributing to the wikisite at first, fearing they may make a mistake. Such reticence is understandable but unfounded. The worst that can happen is that your first edits are deemed not to be an improvement and they get reverted. If this does occur, treat it as a positive learning experience and [[1]] the reverting editor for advice.

Rule 4. Know Your Audience[edit | edit source]

This Future Law Wikisite is primarily aimed at experts, lawyers, policy professionals along with NGO and community leaders, activists and reform advocates; therefore, the level of technical detail in its articles must be balanced against the ability of non-experts to understand those details. When contributing scientific content, imagine you have been tasked with writing a comprehensive scientific review for a high school audience. It can be surprisingly challenging to explain complex ideas in an accessible, jargon-free manner. But it is worth the effort. You will reap the benefits when it comes to any writing endeavours you may have.

Rule 5. Do Not Infringe Copyright[edit | edit source]

With certain conditions, almost all of the Future Law Wikisite material is free for members to reuse, adapt, and distribute. You can give Future Law  permission to use material you own, but this process is non-reversible and can be time consuming. It is often better to rewrite the text in simpler language or redraw the figure to make it more accessible. This will also ensure it is more suitable for Future Law Wiki’s non-expert readership (see Rule 4).

Rule 6. Cite![edit | edit source]

To maintain the highest standards possible, the Future Law Wiki has a strict inclusion policy that demands verifiability. This is best established by attributing each statement to a reliable, published source (but see Rules 7 and 8 on excessive self-citing). Most scientists are in the fortunate position of having access to a wide body of literature, and experience in using inline citations to support their writing. Since unverified content may be removed from the wikisite at any time, provide supporting citations for every statement that might be challenged by another editor at some point in the future. Whenever possible, give preference to secondary sources (such as reviews or book chapters) that survey the relevant primary research over research articles themselves. By also providing direct hyperlinks to reliable, freely accessible online resources with your citations (biological databases or open-access journals, for example), other editors can quickly verify your content and readers have immediate access to authoritative sources that address the subject in greater detail.

Rule 7. Avoid Self Promotion (shameless or otherwise!)[edit | edit source]

Many people are tempted to write or edit articles about themselves. Resist that urge. If you are sufficiently notable to merit inclusion in an encyclopedia, eventually someone else will write an article about you. Remember that unlike a personal Web page, your Future Law Wiki biography is not yours to control. A lovingly crafted hagiography extolling your many virtues can rapidly accumulate information you would rather not be publicized. You may already have your work or your biography cited on the Future Law wikisite. If such material contains factual inaccuracies that you wish to correct, please reach out to the [Law Wiki Editors] and please permit them to add it to the article itself. Think twice, also, before writing about your mentors, colleagues, competitors, inventions, or projects. Doing so places you in a conflict of interest and inclines you towards unintentional bias. If you have a personal or financial interest in the subject of any article you choose to edit, declare it on the associated discussion page and heed the advice of other editors who can offer a more objective perspective.

Rule 8. Share Your Expertise But Don’t Argue From Authority[edit | edit source]

Writing about a subject about which you have academic expertise is not a conflict of interest; indeed, this is where we can contribute to the Future Law Wiki most effectively. When writing in your area of expertise, referencing material you have published in peer-reviewed journals is permitted if it is genuinely notable, but use common sense (and revisit Rule 7). Occasionally you may interact with another editor who clearly does not share your expertise on the subject of an article. This can often prove frustrating for experts and is the basis of much academic angst on Wikipedia. We want to avoid this on the Future Law Wikisite, and on such occasions, remember that you are assessed only on your contributions to the wikisite, not who you are, your qualifications, or what you have achieved in your career. Your specialist knowledge should enable you to write in a neutral manner and produce reliable, independent sources to support each assertion you make. If you do not provide verification, your contributions will be rightly challenged irrespective of how many degrees you hold.

Rule 9. Neutrality[edit | edit source]

All articles in Future Law Wiki should be impartial in tone and content. When writing, do state facts and facts about notable opinions, but do not offer your opinion as fact. Persons may gravitate to articles on controversial issues about which people hold strong opposing viewpoints. Avoid these until familiar with Future Law Wiki policies (see Rule 3), and instead focus on articles that are much easier to remain dispassionate about. Please note that a neutral point of view is not the same as the mainstream scientific point of view. When writing about complex issues, try to cover all significant viewpoints and afford each with due weight, but not necessarily equal weight. For example, an article on a scientific controversy should describe both the scientific consensus and significant fringe theories, but not in the same depth or in a manner suggesting these viewpoints are equally held.

Rule 10. Do not hesitate to ask for help[edit | edit source]

We recognise that this Future Law Wikisite will present a learning curve to those not familiar with collaborative editing online. Learning the syntax that instructs the software how to render the page—may appear daunting at first, however we are doing our best to create templates for each Networked Community of Practice and for each jurisdiction.