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Contributors to Waihekepedia, whether placing fresh content or editing the work of others, do need to keep a few simple guidelines in mind. The purpose of the project is to compile a reliable online knowledge repository about all things Waiheke. This means only verifiable facts, presented from a neutral point-of-view, are acceptable.
Conflicts of interest
Don’t get us wrong – this is not dry-as-dust Britannica, or even the rather serious wikipedia, and there’s nothing wrong with having some fun. But to advance any outside interests over the interests of Waihekepedia is considered a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest exists when the purpose of a contributor or editor is not to increase the website’s verifiable knowledge base about Waiheke, but to advance the interests of some other person or organisation. When that happens, other editors or administrators will remove the content and, if anyone unhelpfully persists in adding non-neutral content, an administrator will lock the page. A neutral point-of-view is not negotiable. It is essential to the purposes of the site.
This doesn’t mean, for example, that someone who owns a business or is involved in an issue or project can’t contribute or edit copy about that business, issue or project. Often on the island they are the very people who hold the most knowledge about that business, issue or project. But it does mean they cannot advance one point-of-view or opinion over others at the expense of neutrality. It’s easy – simply ask yourself: Is this an opinion or a fact that can be verified? If it’s a verifiable fact, it gets the green light. If you aren’t sure, go to the page’s discussion area and ask for help from others. The central concept behind Waihekepedia is a collective voice.
Don’t be afraid to contribute or edit. The very idea behind the site is that together, as a community, Waiheke Islanders can collectively weed out the non-neutral stuff and create an accurate, changing and living record of our extraordinary historical, social, political and natural environments.
Under New Zealand law defamation takes place if any published material simply lowers the reputation of a person within their community, in the widest sense of the word. This is an extremely wide net and contributors to Waihekepedia are warned of the potentially serious consequences of defaming another person or organisation. While truth is a defence to charges of defamation, it is up to the writer to prove the truth of the statement and not up to the person allegedly defamed to prove it is untrue. This is often harder than it sounds.
To avoid such issues arising, when editors are contributing or editing material about another person, they should be at pains to avoid accusations or pejorative personal statements of any kind. Record facts about people, not opinions. If in doubt, leave it out. When writing about a person’s involvement in any issue, keep to the issue. In sporting parlance, play the ball, not the person.
Any deliberate attempts at defamation will result in an editor’s access to the site being removed. Any inadvertent defamation will be removed as soon as it is brought to the attention of an administrator, if it has not already been removed.