Wikipedia:What would Jack do?

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Christians ask themselves "What would Jesus do?" (WWJD) as a reminder to act in a manner of which He would approve.

Wikipedians, too, often find themselves in situations where the opinion or concurrence of another editor is sought. Such individuals may be held in regard by editors on all sides of a conflict and be seen as a voice of reason, independent of the personal differences complicating a dispute.

Fortunately for the maintenance of the acronym, JackofOz is one example (among many) of such an editor. During the drafting of the Wikipedia:Reference desk guidelines, a number of contributors found themselves isolated by ideology; progress obstructed by multiple examples of, as Jack himself put it, "one editor dismissing another forever because of past disagreements that have led to their future contributions being adjudged worthless, sight unseen."[1] So, unable to reason with each other, and comfortable with Jack's position in previous disputes, editors invoked him as an example of neutrality,[2] an appeal to reason,[3] an unbiased arbiter,[4] and keeper of the peace.[5]

Not so different from you.

In most conflicts there is a Jack. But agreeing with him or her on past issues does not make his or her opinion on any subsequent matter inherently more valuable. Similarly, it is unfair to dismiss the contributions of other editors based on a prior conflict. A good rule of thumb for constructive policymaking is to assume good faith and treat every new idea as if Jack had proposed it, even if you disagree with everything else the proposer has ever written. Try to treat every edit with "beginner's mind", irrespective of past differences you may have had with the editor.

When you find yourself in such a situation, ask "what would Jack do?", and then do what Jack would do. If you do, others will too, and you will realize they—and you—are not so different from Jack after all.

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