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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). 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 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.
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. AGF has been described as "the first principle in the Wikipedia etiquette". According to one study of users' motives for contributing to Wikipedia, "while participants have both individualistic and collaborative motives, collaborative (altruistic) motives dominate." 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. 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). To be clear, at Wikipedia, "ownership behavior" – even subtle ways of acting proprietary about entries – is prohibited.
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