Help:Application of Discussion Rules

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This page is for all members. Moderators, see Help:Moderating G2G.

The ability to communicate positively and productively is fundamentally important to our mission to grow a free and increasingly-accurate collaborative family tree. Thank you for helping!

If you have seen what you believe to be a problematic message, or someone has pointed you to Help:Discussion Rules in reference to a message you have posted, see the guidance here. As you consider your next step be sure to keep in mind points III and IV of our Honor Code:

III.) We know mistakes are inevitable. We don't want to be afraid to make them. We assume that mistakes are unintentional when others make them and ask for the same understanding.

IV.) We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don't act accordingly.

Conflicts are common. For help resolving them, start at Problems with Members.


If You Spot an Accidental Violation

Most members will not be aware of Help:Discussion Rules until it has been pointed out to them. Also, since many WikiTree participants do not speak English as a first language and we come from diverse cultures, misunderstandings and misinterpretations are common. Therefore, don't hesitate to contact a member if you spot a message from them that may be accidentally violating a rule. Your timely, friendly message will help prevent the escalation that may otherwise occur.

Here are examples. These are usually sent via private message.

This is an important issue but I worry that it could cause an unnecessary controversy. You may want to hide your message per <>.

You probably want to edit your message to avoid using anyone's name. Check out <> if you're not familiar with it.

Your sarcasm is amusing and you're making a good point, but others may not "get" the humor <>. You might want to clarify so there is no misunderstanding.

There's a strict rule on WikiTree about discussing the genealogy of living people in public messages. Maybe you want to edit or hide this? See <>.

Just a note: since there's a disagreement here we should all observe the three-message guideline on <>.

I see where you're coming from, but I feel like some of your wording is right on the edge of what's described on <>.

Don't hesitate to send a message like this even if the problematic message was posted by a WikiTree Mentor, Moderator, Ranger, Project Leader, Mediator or Team Member. Everyone makes mistakes.

Flag the Message if You Need Help

If you see what may be a serious violation and you're not comfortable contacting the person directly, or if you're just not sure what to do, flag the message.

Look for the "flag" link below the G2G post or profile comment. This will report the message to moderators. (In G2G, if two members flag a comment it will be temporarily hidden. Moderators can unhide it or take other actions.)

You can also follow the Help:Problems with Members procedure. If the procedure directs you to file a Mentor Intervention Request be sure to quote from the message with appropriate context and include the message URL. A direct URL link for any message can be obtained by clicking where it says "answered", "commented" or "posted" below the message.

If Your Message Was Flagged

If someone believes that a message you posted may be problematic, usually the best thing to do is to clarify your original intent. Even if you don't see any problems with your message you may be able to easily edit it or further explain your meaning and/or apologize for any misunderstanding.

Often this will fully avoid any escalation and moderators won't need to get involved.

If you do not want to edit or apologize and/or you do not think that the other member acted appropriately in the way in which they contacted you, start at Help:Problems with Members.

If you do not agree with a rule you can propose a rule change. Unless or until the rule is changed adhere to the current rule.

Don't hesitate to contact a Mentor if you aren't certain what you should do.

If you were not contacted

If your message was flagged and the flag has not been cleared but you have not been contacted by Moderators, feel free to email the group at

This page was last modified 21:13, 19 February 2022. This page has been accessed 2,637 times.