For example, while it is often impossible to definitely establish the actual user behind a set of sockpuppets, it is not a defense that all the sockpuppets which emerge were not named in the request for arbitration.
As another example, the Three-Revert Rule is a measure of protection against edit warring. An editor who intentionally reverts the same article three times every day is not breaching the letter of this rule, but violates the principle of the rule – and can thus be sanctioned for revert warring.
See en:special:diff/30673532 for an actual example of conflation of judicial proceedings and Wikipedia arbitration procedures (It is probable the poster intended this to be satire in an attempt to make a point about a particular editing dispute).
Advocacy in Wikipedia编辑
Use of authentic legal skills by legal professionals or other persons trained and skilled in the arts of negotiation and advocacy is welcome in proceedings of the Arbitration Committee and on Wikipedia in a variety of contexts. Please see Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/How to present a case for some suggestions regarding effective advocacy. Precis: common sense trumps process.
A common mistake of misguided advocacy is when a person assigns themselves a mediator and proceeds with judging the sides by telling them whether they are right or wrong instead of helping the sides to better state their positions and to find common grounds. It is not uncommon that one side is wrong indeed, and in such a case a mediator starts looking as if taking sides thus alienating the wrong side and triggering their defense instincts, further entrenching them away from the amicable resolution.
Some Wikipedians allege that the charge of wikilawyering is used, particularly by Wikipedians more influential than them, to avoid giving careful attention to their claims. It is also said that newer users tend to believe nuanced complex policy (particularly WP:NPOV) conforms to their point of view, and will repeatedly refer to policy rather than providing rationale for their edits.
The word "Wikilawyering" typically has negative connotations, much like the term "meatpuppet"; those utilizing the term should take care that it can be backed up and isn't frivolous (see WP:NPA and WP:CIVIL).
In cases where it is possible a user is simply mistaken or naive and not deliberately deceiving others, efforts should be made to educate them rather than labeling their actions as "wikilawyering".
As any pejorative, the term is easily misused. As any pejorative, it is an offense towards a fellow Wikipedian. At the same time, the notions of offense (in a debate) and insult should not be confused. While there is a blurred gray zone between offense and insult, the major distinction is that an offense in a debate is argumentative, while an insult is ... an insult, i.e., an act of demeaning an opponent. An offense is always specific, i.e., addresses a particular argument or reasoning, while an insult is generalizing and dismissive. For example the phrase "You are wikilawyering" is an insult. On the other hand, the message "Therefore I conclude that you are stretching the WP:NOT policy here beyond common sense, i.e., you are wikilawyering", while aggressive, is not an insult, but rather a pointer to an identifiable wikibehavioral pattern.
In any case an accusation of wikilawyering is never a valid argument per se, unless an explanation is given why particular actions may be described as wikilawyering, and the term "wikilawyering" is used as a mere shortcut to these explanations.
Occasionally, editors who engage in semantic discussions about the language of a policy or guideline, or propose minor changes in the wording of a policy or guideline, will be accused of wikilawyering. In such cases, it may make sense instead to assume good faith and engage in the discussion productively rather than tar those editors with the wikilawyering brush. And simply being a stickler about Wikipedia policies/guidelines and process does not make an editor a wikilawyer; remember that Wikipedia has an Arbitration Committee closely modelled on a court of law, a system of elections of administrators and bureaucrats, Featured Article & Good Article review procedures, and various other formal processes.
- Wikipedia:Policy shopping