Do not make personal attacks anywhere in Wikipedia. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks harm the Wikipedia community and the collegial atmosphere needed to create a good encyclopedia. Derogatory comments about other editors may be removed by any editor. Repeated or egregious personal attacks may lead to sanctions including blocks.
There is no rule that is objective and not open to interpretation on what constitutes a personal attack as opposed to constructive discussion, but some types of comments are never acceptable:
These examples are not exhaustive. Insulting or disparaging an editor is a personal attack regardless of the manner in which it is done. When in doubt, comment on the article's content without referring to its contributor at all.
Personal attacks are disruptive. On article talk pages they tend to move the discussion away from the article and towards individuals. Such attacks tend to draw battle lines and make it more difficult for editors to work together.
Contributors often wish to have their viewpoints included in articles. Through reasoned debate, contributors can synthesize these views into a single article, and this creates a better, more neutral article for everyone. Every person who edits an article is part of the same larger community—we are all Wikipedians.
The prohibition against personal attacks applies equally to all Wikipedians. It is as unacceptable to attack a user with a history of foolish or boorish behavior, or one who has been blocked, banned, or otherwise sanctioned, as it is to attack any other user. Wikipedia encourages a civil community: people make mistakes, but they are encouraged to learn from them and change their ways. Personal attacks are contrary to this spirit and damaging to the work of building an encyclopedia.
As a matter of polite and effective discourse, arguments should not be personalized. That is, they should be directed at content and actions rather than people.
When there are disagreements about content, referring to other editors is not always a personal attack. A posting that says "Your statement about X is wrong because of information at Y", or "The paragraph you inserted into the article looks like original research", is not a personal attack. However, "The statement..." or "The paragraph inserted..." is less likely to be misinterpreted as a personal attack because it avoids referring to the other editor in the second person. "The paragraph inserted here into the article looks like original research" is especially advantageous because the DIFF cuts down confusion. Similarly, discussion of a user's conduct or history is not in itself a personal attack when done in the appropriate forum for such discussion (for example, the other editor's talk page, or WP:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents).
Editors should be civil and adhere to good wiki etiquette when describing disagreements. The appropriate response to an inflammatory statement is to address the issues of content rather than to accuse the other person of violating this policy. Accusing someone of making personal attacks without providing a justification for your accusation is also considered a form of personal attack. (See also: Incivility.)
Often the best way to respond to an isolated personal attack is to simply ignore it. Sometimes personal attacks are not meant as attacks at all, and during heated and stressful debates editors tend to overreact. Additionally, because Wikipedia discussions are in a text-only medium, nuances and emotions are often conveyed poorly which can easily lead to misunderstanding. While personal attacks are not excused because of these factors, editors are encouraged to disregard angry and ill-mannered postings of others when it is reasonable to do so, and to continue to focus their efforts on improving and developing the encyclopedia.
If you feel that a response is necessary and desirable, you can leave a polite message on the other user's talk page. Avoid responding on a talk page of an article, as this tends to escalate matters. Likewise, it is important to avoid becoming hostile and confrontational yourself, even in the face of abuse. Although templates have been used at times for this purpose, a customized message relating to the specific situation is often better received. When possible, try to find compromise or common ground regarding the underlying issues of content, rather than argue about behavior.
Attacks that are particularly offensive or disruptive (such as physical threats, legal threats, or blatantly racist or sexist insults) should not be ignored. Extraordinary situations that require immediate intervention are rare, but may be reported on the administrators' noticeboard.
Discussion of behavior in an appropriate forum (e.g. user's talk page or Wikipedia noticeboard) does not in itself constitute a personal attack.