|This page in a nutshell: Editors should refrain from lying, because it damages the encyclopedia and the online Wikipedia community.|
Editors should refrain from making false statements on Wikipedia. There are many ways that editors can lie on Wikipedia, such as deliberately using a quote out of context to mislead readers, fabricating a reference, stating content is not included in an article when it actually is, or making untrue accusations about the conduct of another editor. As well, there are many reasons that editors lie: to back up their argument about article content, support their position in a policy discussion, or advance a biased point of view in an article.
Regardless of the ways that Wikipedia editors lie or their reasons (or rationales) for lying, this conduct is harmful to the quality of the encyclopedia, as it can lead to incorrect or biased information in articles. Cases where false information is found in Wikipedia articles hurt the reputation of the encyclopedia. False information added to many types of articles, such as a medical article or a prescription drug article, could have serious real-world consequences. As well, making false, negative statements about a living person can expose Wikipedia to legal issues for defamation.
Lying is also harmful to the online Wikipedia community which edits and develops the encyclopedia. The online community requires editors to work in good faith and behave in a civil manner with each other. When editors make false accusations against other editors on Talk pages, this is the type of negative behavior that can lead to editors leaving the project. As well, when editors are found to have made false claims about holding degrees or other credentials, this can reduce other editors' trust and weaken the reputation of the encyclopedia (see Essjay controversy).