Good faith

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"Bona fide" redirects here. For other uses, see Bona fide (disambiguation).
For Wikipedia's guideline on good faith edits, see Wikipedia:Assume good faith.

In philosophy, the concept of good faith (Latin: bona fides, or bona fide for "in good faith") denotes sincere, honest intention or belief, regardless of the outcome of an action; the opposed concepts are bad faith, mala fides (duplicity) and perfidy (pretense).

In law, bona fides denotes the mental and moral states of honesty and conviction regarding either the truth or the falsity of a proposition, or of a body of opinion; likewise regarding either the rectitude or the depravity of a line of conduct. As a legal concept bona fides is especially important in matters of equity (see Contract).[1][2] Linguistically, in the U.S., American English usage of bona fides applies it as synonymous with credentials, professional background, and documents attesting a person's identity, which is not synonymous with bona fide occupational qualifications.

In law[edit]

Main article: Good faith (law)

In contract law, the implied covenant of good faith is a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly and fairly, so as not to destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract.

In Wikipedia[edit]

Public wikis such as Wikipedia depend on implicitly or explicitly assuming that their users are acting in good faith. The concept appears in Wikipedia's principle of "Assume good faith" (AGF), which has been a stated guideline since 2005.[3] AGF has been described as "the first principle in the Wikipedia etiquette".[4] According to one study of users' motives for contributing to Wikipedia, "while participants have both individualistic and collaborative motives, collaborative (altruistic) motives dominate."[5] Users are expected to "assume good faith" when interacting with one another even when it is argued that some users deserve karma points to differentiate their contributions.[6] Wikipedia's AGF policy asks editors to assume that fellow editors contribute "in good faith" and therefore behave in a civil manner even when an "obvious" problem such as individual "ownership" of a page (a person reverting edits to "his" or "her" article – which could affect the aim of clarity and utility – in pursuit of the literary glory).[7] To be clear, at Wikipedia, "ownership behavior" – even subtle ways of acting proprietary about entries – is prohibited.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "good faith". Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  2. ^ Good Faith as an international principle of law
  3. ^ "Wikipedia:Assume good faith". Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 13 May 2005, 20:31 UTC. 
  4. ^ Goldspink, Chris (2007). "Normative self-regulation in the emergence of global network institutions: The Case of Wikipedia, Proceedings of the 13th ANZSYS Conference - Auckland, New Zealand, 2-5 December 2007; Systemic Development: Local Solutions in a Global Environment" (PDF). [dead link]
  5. ^ Wagner, C., Prasarnphanich, P. (2007) Innovating collaborative content creation: the role of altruism and wiki technology. Proceedings of 40th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 3-6 January 2007, Hawaii
  6. ^ Reagle, Joseph M.; Lawrence Lessig (2010). Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia (1st ed.). MIT Press. p. 244. ISBN 9780262014472. 
  7. ^ VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN (5 November 2010). "What Wikipedia is Best at Explaining". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 

External links[edit]