The Editorial Guidelines regarding oversight and quality focus on three areas: (i) tone, breadth and depth of contributions; (ii) editorial review procedures; and (iii) conflict and dispute resolution.
Tone, Breadth and Depth of Contributions
The AHLA is an organization with diverse members having varied interests. Thus, the overarching tone of the Wiki must be one of neutrality. Authors should avoid partisan phrases and inflammatory language. Authors also may not comment on identifiable vendors, services or products. Wiki articles should not contain any material that could be perceived as promoting or marketing a particular firm, company, product or service. If the Editorial Committee identifies entries that violate these policies, the Committee may offer the author of the content a period of 48 hours in which to revise the content, or the Committee—or any AHLA member with editing rights on the Wiki—may remove or revise the content at any time. Aggrieved contributors may appeal content removal decisions to the chair of the editorial committee, and then to the Editorial, Conent, and Technical Committee chairs of the Wiki Pilot Project.
Users who identify offensive or problematic content should inform the Editorial Committee via email at editors [at] ahlawiki [dot] org.
Wiki entries are intended to inform, not to persuade. Authors should endeavor to address alternate, supported points of view, from an objective, neutral perspective. The Wiki is also collaborative in nature, so content that begins with a bias may be tempered through subsequent amendment and revision by fellow contributors. If a contributor includes language from a particular point of view, the contributor is encouraged to denote within the article that it represents a particular point of view, and set aside some space in the article for another contributor to offer a differing point of view. The Wiki community at large (with the guidance of the Content Committee) is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of entries.
The Wiki will be limited to those issues affecting the practice of law relevant to health care practitioners. Given the breadth of such legal issues, the scope of the Wiki is, likewise, potentially quite broad. Over time, the Wiki is expected to expand to fill those parameters. At inception, however, articles for the Wiki should focus on core issues of the broadest interest to AHLA members.
The scope of entries will vary, based on the nature of the subject matter being addressed. As a general rule, Wiki entries should be limited to 10,000 words. The Wiki must be flexible, however, so if the Content Committee determines that an individual entry is unwieldy, it may decide to subdivide the entry into multiple related entries. Notwithstanding the desire to maintain a specific limit on the length of entries, any article must be of sufficient depth to provide an analytical framework for the issue, with citation to adequate supporting authority for peers to verify the author's legal conclusions, if any.
Editorial Review Procedures
Editorial review is intended to improve the quality of the work product in the Wiki. Editorial review is not an opportunity to silence an opinion or position with which the editor disagrees, but should instead be used to ensure the integrity of the legal conclusions and propriety of the sources cited. Articles with an inappropriate bias are, however, subject to editorial review and may be modified before being released into the Wiki.
Editorial review will ensure that articles are neutral, include appropriate citation, and are non-disparaging of individuals, organizations, or institutions. Editorial review will ensure that articles are consistent with the overarching tone of neutrality (or at least disclosure of views). Editorial review is not a process of legal verification; that function will be served by peer review through other users and the Content Committee. Editorial review will further the AHLA Wiki's conflict and dispute resolution goals by eliminating any poorly sourced content.
Conflict and Dispute Resolution
Content-related conflict or dispute involves dissonance between articles on related topics, disagreement among users over legal conclusions drawn from authorities cited in an article, or selection of articles for publication on the same or similar topics.
The AHLA Wiki's Content Committee will typically vet content to ensure harmony between articles on related topics. Similarly, by complying with the AHLA Wiki's overarching theme of neutrality, authors should be able to avoid drafting content that conflicts with articles on related topics. Through peer review (where required or appropriate), and because of the user-collaborative nature of the Wiki itself, individual articles will be subject to ongoing evaluation and editorial update. The Content Committee may choose to elevate certain articles as "recommended reading" on a given topic, giving an added level of priority in the event of conflict. In addition, user comments and feedback will be used to assess content and assess authoritativeness. Finally, the Editorial Guidelines and Content Committees may undertake projects to police content in an effort to eliminate conflicts.
Last Reviewed November 24, 2009