Please note that some of the following are of sufficient importance to be official Vetbook policy. Violations (and especially repeated violations) may lead to the offender being blocked or banned from editing Vetbook.
- Be impeccable with your word and speak with integrity
- No personal attacks: A personal attack is saying something negative about another person. This mainly means:
- No insults: Do not make ad hominem attacks or say something you may regret later. Instead, avoid making assumptions and explain what is wrong with an edit and how to fix it. What others say is a projection of their own reality.
- Do not threaten people: For example, threatening people with "admins you know" or having them banned for disagreeing with you. Explaining to an editor the consequences of violating Vetbook policies, like being blocked for vandalism, is permitted however.
- Do not make legal threats: Threatening a lawsuit is highly disruptive to Vetbook, for reasons given at the linked page.
- Never post personal details: Users who post what they believe are the personal details of other users without their consent may be blocked for any length of time, including indefinitely.
- Do not misrepresent other people: The record should accurately show significant exchanges that took place, and in the right context. This usually means:
- Be precise in quoting others: When describing other people's contributions or edits, use diffs. The advantage of diffs in referring to a comment is that it will always remain the same, even when a talk page gets archived or a comment gets changed.
- Do not use the talk page as a forum or soapbox for discussing the topic. The talk page is for discussing how to improve the article.
The purpose of a Vetbook talk page (accessible via the talk or discussion tab) is to provide space for contributors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page. Article talk pages should not be used by veterinarians as platforms for their personal views on a subject. Conflicts in standard methods of disease diagnosis or treatment can be aired on these pages, but users must be respectful with their comments or will be blocked.
- Communicate: If in doubt, make the extra effort so that other people understand you. Being friendly is a great help. It is always a good idea to explain your views; it is less helpful for you to voice an opinion on something and not explain why you hold it. Explaining why you have a certain opinion helps to demonstrate its validity to others and reach consensus.
- Stay on topic: Talk pages are for discussing the article, not for general conversation about the article's subject (much less other subjects). Keep discussions focused on how to improve the article. Comments that are plainly irrelevant are subject to archival or removal.
- Be positive: Article talk pages should be used to discuss ways to improve an article; not to criticize, pick apart, or vent about the current status of an article or its subject. This is especially true on the talk pages of biographies of living people. However, if you feel something is wrong, but are not sure how to fix it, then by all means feel free to draw attention to this and ask for suggestions from others.
- Stay objective: Talk pages are not a forum for veterinarians to argue their personal point of view about a controversial issue. They are a forum to discuss how the points of view of reliable sources should be included in the article, so that the end result is neutral. The best way to present a case is to find properly referenced material.
- Deal with facts: The talk page is the ideal place for issues relating to verification, such as asking for help finding sources, discussing conflicts or inconsistencies among sources, and examining the reliability of references. Asking for a verifiable reference supporting a statement is often better than arguing against it.
- Share material: The talk page can be used to "park" material removed from the article due to verification or other concerns, while references are sought or concerns discussed. New material can be prepared on the talk page until it is ready to be put into the article; this is an especially good idea if the new material (or topic as a whole) is controversial.
- Discuss edits: The talk page is particularly useful to talk about edits. If one of your edits has been reverted, and you change it back again, it is good practice to leave an explanation on the talk page and a note in the edit summary that you have done so. The talk page is also the place to ask about another editor's changes. If someone queries one of your edits, make sure you reply with a full, helpful rationale.
- Make proposals: New proposals for the article can be put forward for discussion by other editors if you wish. Proposals might include changes to specific details, page moves, merges or making a section of a long article into a separate article.
- Sign your posts: To sign a post, type four tildes (WikiSysop (talk) 02:43, 8 August 2012 (EDT)), and they will be replaced with your username and time stamp, like this: Example 13:21, 9 May 2008 (UTC). Please note that it is impossible to leave an anonymous comment because your user name or IP address is recorded in the page history.
- Be concise: Long, rambling messages are difficult to understand, and are frequently either ignored or misunderstood. If you need to make a detailed, point by point discussion, see below for how to lay this out.
- Keep the layout clear: Keep the talk page attractively and clearly laid out, using standard indentation and formatting conventions. Avoid repetition, muddled writing, and unnecessary digressions. Talk pages with a good signal-to-noise ratio are more likely to attract continued participation. See Talk page layout.
- Be welcoming to newcomers: People new to Vetbook may be unfamiliar with policy and conventions. Please do not bite the newcomers. If someone does something against custom, assume it was an unwitting mistake. You should politely and gently point out their mistake, reference the relevant policy/guideline/help pages, and suggest a better approach.