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Wikipedia:Essay directory

This is a descriptive directory of Wikipedia essays and related information pages located in the Wikipedia namespace. There are currently around 1,890 essays, with over two dozen categories to separate them for searching.
You can also search essays by:

  • A Special:Search, just include the words "Wikipedia essays" (with your other search-words) to hunt a topic inside an essay (note search may result with many non-essays).


Note: Essays and information pages represent the opinion(s) or summaries of an individual or group of editors and are intended to supplement or clarify a process while sometimes offering advice. Essays and information pages are not one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, thus have no official status within the community. Following the instructions or guidance given in an essay or information page is optional, as they may be written and edited by anyone without overall community oversight.

List of Wikipedia essays

About essays

About Wikipedia

Privacy and security

  • Advice for parents – offers a brief introduction to Wikipedia for parents and legal guardians.
  • Guidance for younger editors – advice for young editors about what they should be aware of.
  • How to not get outed on Wikipedia – some editors of Wikipedia, having their "real life" identity discovered can be a major problem, threatening their well-being, careers, or even personal safety. There are a variety of steps you can take to help protect yourself from this happening.
  • IP edits are not anonymous – editing Wikipedia with an IP address as your identifier is often less anonymous than editing with a normal account.
  • On privacy, confidentiality and discretion – all should be careful about revealing and handling personal and/or private information, as your rights to privacy may not extend as far as you believe.
  • Personal security practices – intended as a guideline for user security concerns and practices on Wikipedia. It adapts some information from the Wikimedia foundation's privacy policy to address some personal security concerns that may arise in the course of editing Wikipedia.
  • Protecting children's privacy – all users, including children, are permitted to edit anonymously without submitting identifying information. Reasonable efforts to discourage children from disclosing identifying personal information are appropriate.
  • Responding to threats of harm – anyone who observes potentially suicidal or violent behavior should notify Wikipedia administrators quickly. (Editors may not provide counselling services or professional referrals).
  • Strong passwords – a strong password is a password used that is hard for a vandal, or anyone, to crack.
  • User account security – editors should use a strong password to avoid being blocked for bad edits by someone who guesses or "cracks" other editors' passwords.
  • Why create an account – you don't need to be registered to edit, however it does provide additional features and privacy.
  • Wikipedia is a volunteer service – editors on Wikipedia are mainly volunteers. Editors can contribute as much as they want, and however long they desire.
  • Wikipedia is anonymous – Wikipedia can be anonymous. But there are various ways your identity can be revealed.
  • Wikipedia is in the real world – your activity here has real consequences, because Wikipedia is in the real world.

About editors

  • Competence is required – not every person belongs at Wikipedia, because some people are not sufficiently competent.
  • Disruptive user – examples of what would make someone a disruptive user.
  • Editorial discretion – common sense and Wikipedia policy dictate that editors must practice discretion regarding the proper inclusion of relevant and well-sourced content.
  • Editor integrity – editors have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of Wikipedia and respect intellectual property rights of the sources they draw upon when they create and improve encyclopedia pages.
  • Editors matter – Wikipedia's most important resource is its contributors.
  • Editors will sometimes be wrong – individual editors, and even groups of editors, are sometimes wrong.
  • Expert editors – expert editors are important to Wikipedia.
  • Ghostwriting – organizations and individuals bypassing the conflict-of-interest guideline by supplying approved drafts of articles about themselves.
  • Here to build an encyclopedia – the distinguish constructive and non-constructive behaviour of editors.
  • Honor system – how editors are trusted to obey all the rules and do the right thing. There is no central authority and no police force, just the assumption of good faith.
  • IP users – guest users or unregistered users are users who edit Wikipedia without registering for an account
  • IP addresses are not people – with some exceptions, unregistered users can edit articles and participate on talk pages in the same way as registered users.
  • Levels of competence – all editors go through a series of levels in their understanding of Wikipedia.
  • New account – a new account is a registered user which has too few contributions to obtain a definite reputation, or is registered too recently for it.
  • Newbies aren't always clueless – just because someone is new, does not mean they have no idea what they are doing.
  • Paid editing (essay) – some editors (usually for money) creating or editing a Wikipedia article for an individual or entity.
  • Retiring – sometimes active users decide to retire from, or leave, Wikipedia and may return at any point.
  • Single-purpose account – many single-purpose accounts turn out to be well-intentioned editors with a niche interest, a significant number appear to edit for the purposes of promotion or showcasing their favoured point of view.
  • User rights are not a golden ticket – user rights, as they appear in the log, do not denote a hierarchy of Wikipedians. Rollback, sysop, checkuser, oversight etc. are not special groups. While we call these privileges, they are not a measure of status.
  • What administrators doadministrators are regular unpaid editors who have access to tools which give them the ability to protect pages, delete pages, and block users.
  • Wikipedians – the volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia's articles, unlike readers who simply read them.
  • You are not irreplaceable – how every good-faith editor is important to the overall success of Wikipedia.

Contributing to Wikipedia

Philosophy

  • Articles must be written – how articles should be created before linked in articles.
  • Avoid vague introductions – how the lead of articles should summarize the contents of the article.
  • Be a reliable source – the best way you can be a good source is by strictly adhering to the guidelines pertaining to them.
  • Best practices for editors with close associations – suggestions for how to edit successfully, if you have a close association or involvement with the topic you are editing.
  • Cohesion – how text and other information is organized and structured within an articles.
  • Concede lost arguments – how making explicit concessions when an argument is lost is good.
  • Don't lie – how editors should refrain from lying at all times.
  • Explanationism – the concept of Wikipedia's purpose as being to some degree based in explanations.
  • Every edit must stand on its own feet – how small changes are good, but each change must improve the article and preserve its integrity.
  • Honesty – how honesty is expected in all processes of Wikipedia, including content discussion, the dispute process and all other functions of the community.
  • Gender-neutral language – how gender-neutral language should be used where this can be done with clarity and precision
  • Introduction to structurism – an editing philosophy emphasizing interconnection, organization, and uniformity as the best way to improve the usefulness of content across all Wikimedia projects.
  • Most ideas are bad – how most proposals are bad and how to handle that point.
  • News policy abuse – breaking news should not be covered by a new Wikipedia article.
  • Not editing because of Wikipedia restriction – how some articles should not be written although we'd like to write it.
  • Oversimplification – how not to oversimplify material in the effort to make it more understandable.
  • Paradoxes – the major conceptual contradictions within our project
  • Paraphrasing – how editors should generally summarize source material in their own words.
  • Readers first – how whenever we write something, we should always put our readers first.
  • Responsible tagging – the best care should be taken to only add the most relevant and specific tags, and leave an explanation on the talk page so that others can understand what the problem was/is.
  • Student assignments – students that edit Wikipedia as part of an assignment should improve Wikipedia – without any serious violations of content norms.
  • Snowball clause – you should use common sense and don't follow a process for the sake of it; But, if in doubt, then allow discussions to take place.
  • Tagging pages for problems – "Tags" (Template messages) should be used to clearly identify problems with Wikipedia pages to indicate to other editors that improvements are needed.
  • Tendentious editing – how to recognize bad editing, how to avoid it, and how not to be accused of it.
  • Time management – your time reading and editing Wikipedia may be limited, thus you should focus your editing toward the most enjoyable and productive goals.
  • Too long; didn't read – the cause of excessive length, suggestions on how to reduce it, and a reminder to always exercise civility with other editors when paring.
  • What "Ignore all rules" means – how most rules are ultimately descriptive, not prescriptive; they describe existing current practice.
  • Words of wisdom – editors should remember that the goal is encyclopedic information and should attempt to set aside their egos while they are here at Wikipedia.
  • Writing about women – the subtle and more obvious ways in which titles, language, images and linking practices on the English Wikipedia can discriminate against women.
Discussions and consensus
  • Adjectives in your recommendations – editors choose to put adjectives in their recommendations (sometimes described as votes or !votes); there is disagreement on if this is a good practice or not
  • Avoiding talk-page disruption – how best to use clear, expository, and even-handed responses in clashes over a new contribution.
  • Arguments to avoid on discussion pages – while involved in a discussion, there are arguments that can make or break a case.
  • Arguments to avoid in edit wars – when an edit war takes place, arguments should be productive and should be aimed at reaching an agreement, and not about acting superior, having it one's way, or otherwise discounting the other(s) involved.
  • BOLD, revert, discuss cycle – making bold edits is encouraged, as it will result in either improving an article, or stimulating discussion. If your edit gets reverted, do not revert again. Instead, begin a discussion with the person who reverted your change to establish consensus.
  • BRD misuse – two types of editors exhibiting behaviors that misuse the BOLD, revert, discuss cycle.
  • Confusing arguments mean nothing – a confusing argument has little to no meaning and can be ignored in Wikipedia discussions.
  • Closing discussions – and when discussions should be closed.
  • Discussing cruft – many Wikipedians use cruft as a shorthand term to describe content that is inappropriate for Wikipedia.
  • Don't bludgeon the process – it is not necessary or desirable to reply to every comment in a discussion.
  • Don't restore removed comments – users may remove comments from their own talk page. There is no need for others to replace those comments.
  • Don't revert due solely to "no consensus" – how if the only thing you have to say about a contribution to the encyclopedia is that it lacks consensus, it's best not to revert it.
  • Don't drink the consensus Kool-Aid – speaking out against consensus and policy is not disruptive if it is done with civility.
  • Editors can change their minds – how if an editor changes position during Wikipedia discussions, all it means is the discussion process is working.
  • Follow the leader – it is not necessary to agree with the nominator or the first editor to comment. Do not be ashamed to be in the minority.
  • Do not use edit history to escalate the conflict – if the user has already removed one's uncivil comment, pulling it from edit history "for open discussion" may just escalate the conflict.
  • I just don't like it – expressing a like or dislike for the issue in question is not a helpful or useful argument in a discussion.
  • IPs are human too – unregistered users can edit articles and participate on talk pages in the same way as registered users. Their input is just as important in building consensus.
  • Method for consensus building – the basic recommended consensus decision-making process.
  • Nothing – editors who use the "everything" argument are urged to provide more detail of their argument.
  • Notification – if you begin a discussion of another user on a common notice board, it is expected that you will notify the subject user by posting a message on their talk page.
  • Polling is not a substitute for discussion – how some decisions on Wikipedia are not made by popular vote, but rather through discussions to achieve consensus. Polling is only meant to facilitate discussion, and should be used with care.
  • Provide diffs – editors making claims about the conduct of other editors, should make sure to provide diffs as evidence during discussions.
  • Shadowless Fists of Death! – its best not to mindlessly quote policy or guideline titles at other editors in arguments. It's obnoxious and counter productive. Explain thyself.
  • Sham consensus – a consensus may not be relied on, because it violates a policy, a guideline, or an ArbCom decision.
  • Silence and consensus – how consensus is assumed when there's no evidence of disagreement.
  • Supervote – several varieties of supervote, most of them are problematic.
  • Tag team – using meatpuppetry to coordinate the actions of multiple editors to circumvent the normal process of consensus is inappropriate.
  • What is consensus? – disputes on Wikipedia are settled by editing and discussion, not voting.
  • What "no consensus" means – a "no consensus" result means differs depending on the nature of the discussion.
  • Wikipedia is not Whack-A-Mole – editors should not rush in to a discussion pointing at lots of policies without expanding on why you're doing so.

Development of Wikipedia

  • 100K featured articles – the challenge of accomplishing the goal of 100,000 more Feature-quality articles.
  • A navbox on every page – navigaton box templates can be useful as a tool for navigation.
  • Acronym Overkill – articles should reflect acronym use in the 3rd party sources.
  • Adding images improves the encyclopedia – adding images to articles and essays is an easy way to improve the encyclopedia.
  • Alternatives to the "Expand" template – better ways to say "this article needs more information" than using a template.
  • Amnesia test – you should forget everything you know about the subject before editing.
  • An unfinished house is a real problem – unfinished articles are not harmfully, however they should be made accurate and readable before saving.
  • Articles have a half-life – the time it takes for a substance to degrade to half its former quantity and what to do about it.
  • Avoid mission statements – organizational statements generally should not be included in articles.
  • Avoid template creep – its best not to overuse templates.
  • Beef up that first revision – hew page patrollers judge the articles by their first mainspace revisions; they prefer these to already contain basic context, assertion of notability, and sources.
  • Categories are different from articlescategories and articles serve different purposes in Wikipedia.
  • Categories versus lists – the category system causes more problems than it solves.
  • Categorising fiction – categorising fictional constructs on Wikipedia can be problematic.
  • Specialized-style fallacy – Wikipedia has its own Manual of Style; facts on a subject are drawn from reliable sources, but no subset of them dictates how Wikipedia must write – we do not not mimic any particular genre or trademark.
  • Concept cloud – how brainstorming can help editors to overcome editorial struggles, and conceptualize, in a material way, the way an article is formed.
  • Complete bollocks – articles that are obviously false should be treated differently from similar articles.
  • Creating controversial content – how new articles or facts that are especially controversial can survive severe dispute.
  • Don't demolish the house while it's still being built – how a short article should be marked as a stub and edited, and expanded, rather than simply deleted.
  • Don't hope the house will build itself – how a little planning and a little effort is all that is needed to prevent an article from being deleted.
  • Don't include every update – newly released information is good, but can end up as clutter if everything goes into an article.
  • Don't panic – you should always keep an eye on yourself when you are involved in a dispute.
  • Don't overuse quotes – many articles use quotations to represent opinions of significant people. This is a mistake.
  • Editing on mobile devices – the challenges of editing with smartphones.
  • Editors are not mindreaders – someone can distinguish the incomplete, unreferenced article you've just created but plan to improve from one that will never be improved?
  • Featured articles may have problems – featured articles are not necessarily to be emulated; focus on our policies and guidelines.
  • Give an article a chance – its best not to nominate newly created articles for deletion.
  • How to contribute to Wikipedia guidance – the creation of new guidance and to the improvement or updating of existing guidance.
  • Run an edit-a-thon – an "edit-a-thons" improves the encyclopedia and can be a great way to help new Wikipedians learn to edit.
  • Ignore STRONGNAT for date formats – provides a rational argument for refusing editors who insist on using a date format that matches the most common style in a particular country
  • Keep it short and simple – rules and procedure pages should be simple and short, or else people will not read them.
  • Let the dust settle – its best to wait till things have calmed down before creating an article about current topics to Wikipedia. For breaking news, use Wikinews or current events.
  • Merge Test – If a merge will result in an article too large to comfortably read or the deletion of encyclopedic content, it should not occur.
  • "Murder of" articles – articles titled "Murder of [victim]" are a possible solution to the notability guidelines that would bar articles on the perpetrator or victim.
  • Not everything needs a navbox – navigation-box templates can be useful as a tool for navigation, but use them sparingly.
  • Nothing is in stone – easy is it for Wikipedia to change and that all should pay attention to the changes.
  • Permastub – some stub articles have no reasonable prospect for expansion.
  • Potential, not just current state – its best to keep articles based on their potential notability and verification, not just how they look now.
  • Printability – editors decide whether or not any given type of article-namespace redirect is suitable for an offline, CD/DVD or print version of Wikipedia.
  • Proseline – articles being comprehensive and up-to-date is perfectly reasonable and okay to a point, but "proseline" (timelines) tends to degrade the quality of the articles
  • Pruning article revisions – publicists may want tips on legitimately reporting clients' achievements and have their articles stay in Wikipedia, not deleted.
  • Put a little effort into it – when creating a new article, even if it is a stub, try to put in at least a little bit more than just the absolute minimum.
  • Redirects are cheap – redirects take up minimal system resources, so it doesn't really hurt things if there are a few of them scattered around.
  • Restoring part of a reverted edit – it is sometimes better to remove the content that is objectionable, instead of entirely reverting an edit.
  • Robotic editing – the manual performance of the same or similar edit to multiple, perhaps numerous pages.
  • Specialized-style fallacy – Wikipedia has its own Manual of Style; facts on a subject are drawn from reliable sources, but how content is styled is a matter for the Wikipedia community.
  • Temporary versions of articles – reasons for and against temporary versions.
  • There is a deadline – the preservation or survivability of the knowledge is at stake. Contribute it to Wikipedia before it's too late.
  • There is no deadline – Wikipedia is a work in progress. Don't rush to edit: it's not a competition.
  • The deadline is now – when an article contains unverifiable content, it needs to be corrected now before someone reads it and is misled by it.
  • The world will not end tomorrow – an encyclopedia should not begin to move at lightning speed to keep up with the rat race of the outside world.
  • Walled garden – articles should have outgoing and incoming links to the wider encyclopedia.
  • What an article should not include – some things rarely, if ever, should appear in the saved version of an article.
  • Wikipedia is not being written in an organized fashion – Wikipedia grows organically, thus the quality of pages is varied.
  • Writing better articles – advice on how to write an effective article, including information on layout, style, and how to make an article clear, precise and relevant to the reader.
  • Wikipedia is not about YOU – Wikipedia is not the place to promote a topic with which you have personal involvement.
  • Wikipedia is not a fan website – Wikipedia is a user-edited website, it is an encyclopedia, not a fan website.
  • Wikipedia is not a newspaper – Wikipedia is not a journal of current news.

Deletion of content

Wikipedia's code of conduct

Civility

  • Wikipedia:A weak personal attack is still wrong – advises that mild severity of a personal attack does not make the personal attack okay
  • Wikipedia:Advice for hotheads – argumentative, cantankerous and curmudgeonly personalities can avoid getting themselves into trouble
  • Accepting other users – working cooperatively with other users and assume good faith. Wikipedia is a collaborative project.
  • Apologizing – we should not be afraid to apologize, and reminds us to apologize with sincerity.
  • Civil POV pushing – the dispute resolution process has a difficult time dealing with civil POV pushers.
  • Compromise – negotiation skills often assist editors in delicate situations.
  • Divisiveness – content on your user page might be seen by some as "divisive" it is recommended that you may choose to expand the content in question.
  • Encouraging newcomers – the more guidance you offer novice editors, the better they will get at using Wikipedia.
  • Keep it down to earth – workable solutions that have a realistic chance at succeeding..
  • Thank you – we all like to be respected, and we all deserve respect.
  • Truce – when in a dispute, attempt to reach a compromise or declare a truce.
  • High-functioning autism and Asperger's editors – Autistic and Asperger's editors may have different wiring patterns in their brains, but that does not mean they cant contribute.
  • How to be civil – editors should offer constructive comments, forgive editors, be polite, and walk away if you have to.
  • How to improve civility – you should treat your fellow editor as a respected and admired colleague, who is working in collaboration with you on an important project.
  • Imagine others complexly – civility issues, misunderstandings, and discomfort on Wikipedia can sometimes arise from a failure to imagine others complexly.
  • Maintaining a friendly space – Wikipedia should strive to provide a respectful, transparent, and positive experience for everyone.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder editors – editors with OCD may have different wiring patterns in their brains, and you may have to learn how to interact well with them, but they can still make a valuable contribution to Wikipedia.

Behavioural philosophy

  • Admitting you're wrong – you can make friends and influence enemies on Wikipedia by learning when to admit you're wrong.
  • An uncivil environment is a poor environment – how being civil encourages others to be civil. Work towards building a collaborative workspace.
  • Avoid instruction creep – guidance that is too wordy and tries to cover all the bases and every conceivable outlying case tends to become counterproductive.
  • Avoiding difficult users – only a few users are difficult, so they should be avoided.
  • Be the glue – how following WP:AGF can be a tactic that will let you either discover common ground when you're really facing good faith, or empirically establish that you aren't.
  • Civility warnings – the best practice in leaving those notifications and warnings.
  • Drama – creating and spreading drama disrupts and harms Wikipedia – and it may get you blocked.
  • Don't be high-maintenance – editors should not threaten to quit, or otherwise make trouble, if you don't get your way.
  • Enjoy yourself – editing should be fun.
  • Expert retention – the issue of how to attract and retain expert specialists, given the anarchic and often frustrating nature of Wikipedia, is one that many Wikipedians feel needs to be addressed.
  • Expect no thanks – we should edit Wikipedia for the love of the project, not primarily with the hope of being thanked, however a little more thanks would go a long way.
  • Expressing thanks – common methods for communicating your thanks to other users.
  • Failure – how failure is a good thing because people are prone to mistakes, and they learn as a result of them.
  • Ignore personal attacks – if someone attacks you personally, you should ignore it, rise above it, and continue to comment solely on relevant content.
  • Forgive and forget – how editors should stop fighting. Forgive others, apologize, and move on.
  • It's not the end of the world – how If people disagree with you or revert your edits, it probably doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
  • Nobody cares – how lack of action by others can mean lack of interest.
  • Policy shopping – how it is best to present all justifications for a change at one time (not incrementally).
  • Reasonableness – reasonable people with good intentions can still disagree over matters of substance.
  • Relationships with academic editors – Wikipedia is not a place to make an academic reputation, nor to post still-unpublished theories, and attempting academic defence of material is an emotional danger to one's self.
  • Staying cool when the editing gets hot – how editors should remain calm when in an editing dispute. Respond politely and assume good faith.
  • There is no seniority – The number of edits (or if the editor is a Wikipedia Administrator) does not mean that they are always right. Seniority does not add weight to arguments.
  • Taking the road less traveled – doing things differently from others can often yield better results.
  • The grey zone – how editors should not fall between the cracks.
  • The last word – the importance that you always ensure that you get "The Last Word".
  • The rules of polite discourse – how editors may need to take a "time out" and try to discuss the issue calmly.
  • There is no Divine Right Of Editors no editor, administrator or otherwise, is superior or above the law.
  • Wikipedia is not about winning – how all should work together to build a reliable encyclopedia, not try to prove themselves to be "better" than others
  • Writing for the opponent – how editors should represent all point of views neutrally and with due weight, even if you disagree with the view.
  • You can search, too – search engines exist for a reason, and it is not other editors' job to use one for you.
Positive actions
  • Assume the assumption of good faith – when involved in a discussion, it is best to think very carefully before citing WP:AGF.
  • Assume no clue – you should assume that people don't know what they're doing before you assume bad faith.
  • Avoid personal remarks – all should focus on editing, stay civil, don't make it personal.
  • Call a spade a spade – it's okay to call a spade a spade – to speak plainly – but remember to remain civil, and to stay focused on improving the encyclopedia.
  • Candor – being honest and frank can be beneficial before an editing disagreement gets worse.
  • Deny recognition – recognition is a motivation for vandalism. Trolls require food. Don't feed the trolls.
  • Don't link to WP:AGF – it can occasionally be useful to link to Wikipedia:Assume good faith, but there are many reasons not to.
  • Don't overlook legal threats – when editors blank articles or make legal threats, they may have good cause. Stop and look carefully before assuming they're disruptive or wielding a banhammer.
  • Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass – if the debate has died, don't revive it.
  • Encourage full discussions – editors are encouraged to fully discuss all arguments in AfD discussions. If you bring up a point in the discussion, it is okay if someone else responds to it.
  • Get over it – editors should not get frustrated over a dispute. Get over it and move on.
  • How to lose – knowing how to "lose" a debate, with civility and grace, is sometimes as important as winning it.
  • Ignore all dramas – if the dramas prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore them.
  • Just drop it – if you want an argument to stop, best you stop arguing.
  • Keep it down to earth – editors should aim for workable solutions that have a realistic chance at succeeding.
  • Mind your own business – if editors are in a dispute that has nothing to do with you, then stay away.
  • Thank not criticize – editors should focus on the positives of a user more than the negatives. Try earning them carrots rather than sticks.
Negative actions
  • Don't accuse someone of a personal attack for accusing of a personal attack – you should not retaliate if accused of a personal attack. Return to the discussion of the issue at hand.
  • Don't be a WikiBigot – intolerance on the basis of people's ethnicity, race or other characteristic is not acceptable.
  • Don't be an ostrich – you should help other editors when they need help. Don't ignore them.
  • Don't be ashamed – sometimes, an edit made in good faith does not comply to policy or consensus. Don't be ashamed of making mistakes.
  • Don't be a fanatic – editors need to recognize that all Wikipedia editors are ultimately colleagues working together, listen with civility, and try to find ways to respect and incorporate others' viewpoints and material as well as your own
  • Don't be inconsiderate – if people were considerate, we wouldn't need any other policies about behaviour. If people are telling you that you're inconsiderate, chances are that you need to change your behaviour.
  • Don't be obnoxious – its best to avoid behaving in away that is unpleasant and offends or annoys other editors.
  • Don't be prejudiced – all should give every user a fair chance.
  • Don't be rude – it is crucial that everyone be considerate to others in all situations.
  • Don't call editors trolls – calling an editor a troll can be viewed in itself as disruptive.
  • Don't call a spade a spade – editors are unlikely to listen to anything further that you say once the dispute escalates to name calling.
  • Don't call the kettle black – someone will call other people names while at the same time reminding them to not make personal attacks.
  • Don't come down like a ton of bricks – editors should not create rancor amongst good faith contributors. People are not obliged to memorize policies and guidelines before editing.
  • Don't cry COI – its best not to attack editors because they are paid editors or have a conflict of interest.
  • Don't cry wolf – you should not make accusations of harassment or personal attacks lightly.
  • Don't edit for power – you should not edit Wikipedia just for power and to become an admin. Edit Wikipedia to build an encyclopedia!
  • Don't enlist the masses – calling uninformed fellow editors in simply for the safety in numbers does not make you a winner.
  • Don't give a fuck – the idea that attachment to things (articles, policies, AfDs, etc...) which are essentially beyond your control is a stumbling block to being a good Wikipedian.
  • Don't ignore all rules if your decision is biased – its best not to ignore a rule solely because you like (or dislike) the subject.
  • Don't take the bait – goading others into making uncivil comments is a common tactic. Don't be fooled.
  • Don't template the regulars – when dealing with experienced users, it is generally more effective to write them a short personal message than to apply a standardized template.
  • Don't fight fire with fire – all should stay civil, even under the most intense flames.
  • Don't remind others of past misdeeds – you should not criticize a repentant editor in good standing for past mistakes or behavior that have stopped reoccurring.
  • Don't throw your toys out of the pram – temper tantrums and expressions of anger are counter-productive.
  • Don't help too much – you should help newcomers when they need it, however don't spoon feed them.
  • Don't overwhelm the newbies – you should not ask newcomers to read all the policies and guidelines.
  • Don't shoot the messenger – you should research thoroughly what is ultimately the cause of a conflict before you mouth off about it.
  • Don't shoot yourself in the foot – you should consider your own actions before bringing attention to the actions of others.
  • Don't spite your face – when faced with enforcing a solution that will predictably escalate the evident problem beyond present levels, back off and seek other, less inflammatory, actions to go about solving it.
  • Don't stuff beans up your nose – if you tell people not to do something, your advice may backfire and instead tempt them to do it.
  • Don't tear others' heads off – all should be careful with taking preventative action against newcomers.
  • Griefing – griefers are similar to trolls, with the main difference being that griefers will sometimes act in groups, in the form of tag team editing.
  • No angry mastodons – there are several ways to de-escalate conflicts over flipping-out.
  • No, you can't have a pony – when discussion doesn't go your way, stamping your feet and becoming an impediment to further discussion won't help.
  • Passive Aggressive – being passive aggressive to other editors, especially newcomers, makes you look unprofessional and mean.
  • Tag bombing – adding multiple tags without explaining the reason is disruptive.
  • Witchhunt – accusations against other editors should not be made in the absence of any value in doing so.
  • You can't squeeze blood from a turnip – some troublesome users do not want to change and the community's energies are limited.
Vandalism

Sanctions

  • Block on demand – self-requested block will be done by some, but not all, Wikipedia administrators
  • Don't lower the boom just yet – administering sanctions with a light hand, combined with ongoing monitoring and coaching, can be more effective than coming down hard, like a ton of bricks.
  • Disruptive sanctions – restricting an editor's ability to contribute to the encyclopedia is inherently a measure of last resort.
  • Give 'em enough rope – it may be better to just unblock them and make it clear that this is their last chance....and see what happens.
  • Guide to appealing blocks – understand in full the reasons of your block before requesting an unblock is your best bet.
  • I have been blocked – a block is a measure used to protect Wikipedia from possible improper activity in breach of editorial policies.
  • Sanctions – sanctions act to limit or remove user privileges and may lead to blocks and bans.
  • Sanctions against editors should not be punitive – administrative sanctions against editors are not punitive, and imposed solely to prevent harm to the encyclopedia
  • Standard offer – discuses a process an editor that gets hit with a siteban or an indefinite block can do.
  • Suicide by admin – refers to a set of actions by Wikipedia editors that lead to an editor being blocked indefinitely.

Multiple accounts

  • Anything to declare? – if you have alternate accounts, declare them now.
  • Clean start – a user who is not under current restrictions or blocks may stop using their current account and start using a new one.
  • Consequences of sock puppetry – the use of a second account, unless explicitly permitted by the rules, is a violation known to many as sock puppetry.
  • Dealing with sock puppets – sock puppetry is a problem at Wikipedia and you can help make a difference by reporting them to the proper admin board and by your conduct when dealing with them.
  • Lurkers – one should never assume a user is a sockpuppet – it can create bad feeling and violates our "Assume good faith" policy.
  • Obvious sock is obvious – if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
  • Signs of sock puppetry – there are many possible signs of sock puppetry or other multiple account usage. But none of them are absolute proof sock puppetry is occurring.
  • Sleeper account – a sleeper account is still enabled and it is still possible to use it. However, any such use of an account must conform to Wikipedia guidelines, particularly those of sock puppetry.

Copyright

  • Basic copyright issues – the basic requirements for uploading images to the English language Wikipedia.
  • Close paraphrasing – closely paraphrased material that infringes on the copyright of its source material should be rewritten or deleted to avoid infringement, and to ensure that it complies with Wikipedia policy.
  • Copying text from other sources – with the exceptions of short quotations and text copied from a free source, text from other sources may not be copied into Wikipedia. Doing so is a copyright violation and may constitute plagiarism.
  • Copyright on emblems – the status of flags, coats of arms, seals, and similar official symbols, as well as drawings of such emblems, under United States copyright law.
  • Declaration of consent for all enquiries – discuses the process of uploading media which protects both the uploader and Wikipedia users by making clear to both how shared content can be used.
  • Donating copyrighted materials – the process of how editors who would like to grant permission to Wikipedia to use their own previously published work,
  • Quotations – the guidelines of how brief excerpt from an original source can be used in Wikipedia articles.
  • Mirrors and forks – publications that copy Wikipedia content should follow the licensing terms; however, many others fail – accidentally or intentionally – to place the notice required by these terms.
  • Multi-licensing – it is best to use multiple licensing for one's contributions made to Wikipedia so that they are in the public domain or licensed under alternative licenses in addition to the CC-BY-SA license (and GFDL, often).
  • News agencies and fair use – Wikipedia's non-free content criteria requires that fair use images
  • Plain and simple non-free content guide – Wikipedia's copyright guidelines are probably the most complicated part of the whole site and breakdown of what the rules are and what they mean.
  • Restricted materials – free images may still have restrictions independent of their copyright status, but they are still considered free.
  • Spotting possible copyright violations – a guide to spotting violations of the Wikipedia copyright policy that are simple copy-and-pastes from other websites.

Wikipedia's content protocols

Neutral point of view

  • Advocacy – Wikipedia is not a venue for raising the visibility of an issue or agenda.
  • Academic bias – if an Wikipedia article has an academic (scholarly) bias, it does not mean taking sides and it is not a violation of WP:NPOV.
  • Activist – advice for determining if an article is being unduly influenced by activists, as well as advice on how to deal with the various problems caused by violations of Wikipedia's policies.
  • An interest is not a conflict of interest – a conflict of interest can be cited as a cause for some other violation, but the existence of a conflict of interest by itself is not a policy violation.
  • Be neutral in form – being neutral in both content and in form is an asset.
  • Coatrack – articles about one thing shouldn't mostly focus on another thing.
  • Controversial articles – controversial articles, by their very nature, require far greater care to achieve a neutral point of view.
  • Criticism – articles should include both positive and negative viewpoints from reliable sources, without giving undue weight to particular viewpoints, either negative or positive.
  • Describing points of view – article should represent the POVs of the main scholars and specialists who have produced reliable sources on the issue.
  • Let the reader decide – you should not consider a statement neutral just because you agree with it.
  • Endorsements (commercial) – how commercial endorsements of goods, services, businesses, companies, nonprofits, and famous persons present special editorial challenges that require particular care.
  • External criticism of Wikipedia – how criticism of Wikipedia from professors and journalists may be biased.
  • Neutral and proportionate point of view – Wikipedia does not aim for the midpoint between them. Rather, it gives weight to each view in proportion to its prevalence in reliable sources.
  • Neutrality of Sources – how to deal with sources that are reliable but non-neutral.
  • NPOV dispute – when adding {{Citation needed}} and {{Dubious}} templates to articles editors should address the issues on the talk page, pointing to specific issues that are actionable within the content policies, namely NPOV, Verify, OR and BLP .
  • Partisanship – how Wikipedia's coverage of political issues needs to adhere to NPOV in the face of partisanship.
  • Systemic bias – how systemic bias created by the shared social and cultural characteristics of most editors, and it results in an imbalanced coverage of subjects and perspectives on the encyclopedia.
  • What is fringe? – how fringe theories range from theories that almost qualify as alternative mainstream theories to things that have just barely too many scientific chops to be called pseudoscience.
  • Why Wikipedia cannot claim the earth is not flat – ten types of arguments commonly used by advocates of fringe concepts and advise the neutrally-minded editor or administrator on how to defuse them.

Verifiability and sources

  • Allowing forensic crime data – under certain circumstances, forensic crime data may be used as primary sources on crime articles.
  • Applying Reliability Guidelines – which policies and guidelines are the most relevant to evaluating a particular source.
  • Assessing reliability – there are a number of ways in which you, as a reader, can assess the reliability of a given article
  • Bare URLs – it is preferable to use proper citation templates when citing sources.
  • Blind men and an elephant – reliable sources may be considered credible... until newer reliable sources contradict them.
  • But there must be sources! – you don't just insist there must be sources out there somewhere, prove it by providing them.
  • Cherrypicking – when selecting information from a source, include contradictory and significant qualifying information from the same source.
  • Children's lit, adult new readers, & large-print books – children's sources, adult new reader sources, and abridged large-print media are questionable and need checking for reliability before being cited.
  • Citation overkill – when citing material in an article, it is better to cite a couple of great sources than a stack of decent or sub-par sources.
  • Cite tendentious texts directly – any text which takes a side on a difficult or controversial question – especially in cases where the text represents an extreme viewpoint – should be cited directly.
  • Citing textbooks – there are several situations in which textbooks should be completely avoided as your primary source of information about a subject.
  • Clones – websites that contain information that is directly copied from Wikipedia cannot be used to establish notability or verify the accuracy of any information on Wikipedia.
  • Combining sources – articles should be based on reliable sources without implying any conclusions derived from improper synthesis.
  • Conflicting sources – if two reliable sources offer contradicting information on a subject and none of them can be demonstrated unreliable, then an article should cite both.
  • Dictionaries as sources – dictionaries and glossaries present a special challenge in determining whether one is primary, secondary, or tertiary.
  • Evaluating sources – when using primary sources, editors should stick to describing what the sources say. Any interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims require a secondary source.
  • Fruit of the poisonous tree – an otherwise reliable source attributes information to an unreliable source then that information is likewise unreliable.
  • Handling original research – material for which no reliable, published source exists is called "original research." There are various ways to deal it with.
  • Identifying and using primary and secondary sources – the best way in identifying and correctly using primary and non-primary sources.
  • Identifying and using self-published works – identifying and correctly using self-published sources.
  • Independent sources – independent sources are not necessarily "neutral" in the sense of being even-handed. An independent source may hold a strongly positive or negative view of a topic or an idea.
  • Inaccuracy – addresses what editors should do with concerns about potentially inaccurate source material.
  • Interviews – interviews generally count as primary sources, but commentary added to interviews by a publication can sometimes count as secondary-source material.
  • Law sources – some law sources may not be reliable. Others may be very complicated to use.
  • Link rot – there are steps to be taken to reduce or repair its effect., and the fact its not good to delete cited information solely because the URL to the source does not work any longer.
  • Mine a source – articles with "citation needed" tags often already have sufficient sources that simply have been under-utilized.
  • Objective sources – you should be mindful that a reliable source to you may not be so for others; try to obtain objectively reliable sourcing.
  • Offline sources – even though Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, there is no distinction between using online versus offline sources.
  • Party and person – the commonly misunderstood distinctions is between "secondary source" and "third party".
  • Perennial sources – sources that editors frequently discuss on Wikipedia. Some of these are currently deemed reliable, some are currently deemed unreliable, and some may be reliable is some circumstances.
  • Perennial websites – websites that editors frequently inquire about and how some are accepted, some are currently opposed for inclusion, and some depend on the circumstances.
  • Potentially unreliable sources – analyses specific examples of sources that might initially appear to be reliable, yet may not be.
  • POV and OR from editors, sources, and fields – how editors, sources, and fields can have a point of view and original research, and even some edits can have a POV, as long as the article in Wikipedia does not.
  • Reliable sources and undue weight – how an article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject.
  • References dos and don'ts – how good and bad things about sources.
  • Significant coverage – if a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list.
  • Sourcing content about newer phenomena – some subcultures have been around for a long time and there is significant published material from which to describe these long-term subcultures on Wikipedia.
  • Templates do not excuse citations – "citation needed" templates are not an excuse to make as many claims as you can without verification.
  • The answer to life, the universe, and everything – articles generally require significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the topic.
  • Third-party sources – every article on Wikipedia must be based upon verifiable statements from multiple third-party reliable sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.
  • Trivial mentions – notability requires significant coverage by reliable sources. Trivial mentions are not enough.
  • Use of tertiary sources – tertiary sources differ from secondary ones by not themselves providing significant analysis, commentary, or synthesis.
  • Using sources – references must be reliable sources, used in accordance with the three core content policies.
  • Verifiability, and truth – It is not enough for encyclopedic content to be verifiable via reliable sources, but it must also conform to known, objective facts.
  • Verifiability, not truth – editors may not add content solely because they believe it is true, nor delete.
  • Verifiable but not false – limiting false information in Wikipedia.
  • Verification methods – common methods that Wikipedia editors use to make their articles verifiable.
  • Verifying different types of statement – what is required to verify different types of statement in Wikipedia.
  • Videos as references – it's okay to cite movies, documentaries, TV programs and other video as references.
  • Video links – videos on user-submitted sites can sometimes be used as references or external links, but copyright infringement and unreliability will rule out the use of many of these videos.
  • Wikipedia:Tertiary-source fallacy – dictionaries, encyclopedias, and style guides do not magically trump other sources, policy, and reasoning.
  • When to cite – when a source may or may not be needed.
  • You don't need to cite that the sky is blue – although citing sources is an important part of editing Wikipedia, do not cite already obvious information.
Notability
  • Alternative outlets – there are other places for potentially useful or valuable content which is not appropriate for Wikipedia.
  • Articles with a single source – if an article is based on only one source, there may be copyright, original research, and notability concerns.
  • Bare notability – editors should be cautious with creating articles that are borderline notable. A subject that seems to be barely notable may really not be notable at all.
  • Bombardment – editors should not indiscriminately add excessive references to an article in the hope that weight of numbers will prevent it from being deleted.
  • Businesses with a single location – a subject that meets all inclusion guidelines is likely to merit an article, even if one is yet to be created. This includes many businesses with one address.
  • But it's true! – just because its out there, is not a sufficient reason to keep information on Wikipedia.
  • Common sourcing mistakes (notability) – three commons mistakes to avoid when trying to demonstrate notability through citations to sources.
  • Don't assume negative notability – all should assume good faith, take a look to see if the article's subject could be notable after all, and give a new article a little time before playing at cybermen and shouting "DELETE!"
  • Discriminate vs indiscriminate information – discuses a response to WP:IINFO and the terms "discriminate" and "indiscriminate" as they apply to collections of information.
  • Every snowflake is unique – many similar items can have encyclopedic articles of their own; article's content should describe which peculiarities distinguish one item from the others, based on critical commentary found in reliable sources.
  • Existence ≠ Notability – truth alone is not a valid criteria for inclusion.
  • Fart – just because a piece of trivial information was printed in a newspaper or gossip magazine, or on a website, there is no requirement for it to be included on Wikipedia.
  • Handling trivia – trivia is information that is not important to the subject it is being presented in relation to.
  • Google searches and numbers – the fallacies in determining the notability of a subject, is the view that the results of a Google search can be used to assess notability.
  • High Schools – high schools/secondary schools are generally considered to be notable, but they must be able to meet the relevant guidelines for notability.
  • Inclusion is not an indicator of notability – non-inclusion is not an indication of non-notability.
  • Inherent notability – ultimately, the community decides if a subject is intrinsically notable.
  • Insignificant – what is insignificant to some may be extremely significant to others.
  • Lipstick on a pig – articles whose subject does not meet notability guidelines, but have nonetheless been written with considerable care and effort, and may be embellished with sources, citations, images
  • Masking the lack of notability – excellent prose and the sheer number of citations or external links has no effect on a subject's notability.
  • Make stubs – Why make a red link, when you can make a stub?
  • News coverage does not decrease notability – articles that are subject to news coverage should not be nominated for deletion if they meet Wikipedia’s general notability requirements and notability requirements for events.
  • No amount of editing can overcome a lack of notability – when notability is legitimately invoked as an issue in a deletion nomination, the problem usually cannot be solved by more editing.
  • No big loss – deletion of any good article is a loss for the wider community and the encyclopedia in the long term, as that is knowledge lost.
  • No one cares about your garage band – its best not to start an article on your band if you don't have much of an audience yet.
  • No one really cares – its best not to make an article on a subject so trivial or arbitrary that no one could ever conceivably care about it.
  • Notability cannot be purchased – notability is not something which can be purchased through a third party.
  • Notability is not a level playing field – notability is not administered equally. In some areas, notability requirements are lower than others.
  • Notability is not a matter of opinion – during a deletion discussion, arguments for keeping the article should be based on reliable sources, not opinions.
  • Notability means impact – the concept of notability can also be described as a measure of the topic's impact, particularly with biographic articles.
  • Notability points – everything has a certain amount of notability, this can be put on a (rough) scale.
  • Notability sub-pages – notability guideline sub-pages should only be created if there is a specific need to do so.
  • Notability vs. prominence – the differences and the similarities between these two concepts.
  • Obscurity ≠ Lack of notability – just because a topic is of little interest to the general public does not mean Wikipedia should not include it.
  • One hundred words – the general notability guideline provides inadequate guidance as to what level of coverage is significant.
  • One sentence does not an article make – one sentence "articles" and "essays" should be deleted as not worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia.
  • Overreliance upon Google – Google search limitations; provides examples for custom searches
  • Pokémon test – a test that involves the comparison of the article nominated for deletion with an article for a character from Pokémon, to decide whether it is more notable.
  • Run-of-the-mill – there are some items that are very commonplace for which sources verifying their existence do exist. But there are so many of these that can be verified given the same sources, there shouldn't be an article on each one, and only those with additional sources deserve articles.
  • Significant coverage not required – the requirement of significant coverage as a criterion for notability is completely unjustifiable and absurd.
  • Solutions are mixtures and nothing else – public relations slang, like "we offer solutions", is a good indication that an article is promotional and likely not notable.
  • Subjective importance – some subjects may seem notable because they are perceived as being important. By without meeting Wikipedia's inclusion criteria, they are not notable.
  • What notability is not – argues that notability is not objective. Notability is not permanent–it can change. Notability is not judged in isolation. Notability is not a meritocracy.
  • Wikipedia is not here to tell the world about your noble cause – it is secondary coverage in reliable sources which determines if a topic should be covered by Wikipedia, not how well-intentioned it is.
Biographies
  • An article about yourself isn't necessarily a good thing – how you may face problems if there is an article about you on Wikipedia. So think about it before you really go out of your way to try to get one.
  • Anonymous dirt accretion method of biography writing – how WP:Eventualism does not apply to Wikipedia biographies. Wikipedia biographies need to be well rounded, and fair to their subjects, at all times.
  • Articles on suicides – an article about a notable suicide is not a biography, nor is it a memorial. Care must be taken both in articles and discussions not to cause further distress to the bereaved, and to stay neutral and neither to record nor synthesise original research.
  • Avoiding harm – contains a number of other ideas that were considered during the formation of the biographies of living persons policy. Many of them continue to resonate strongly with our current policy.
  • Borderline biographies – when low-notability biographies of living people are considered for deletion, closing administrators may wish to consider requiring a positive consensus to retain the article.
  • Current Events Editing – editors should refrain from making substantive changes to or creating new articles that are biographies of a living person where current events are the driving factor for edits.
  • Deletion of articles on living persons – a summary of policies relating to the deletion of articles on living persons.
  • Help with a biography of a living person – contains advice for people affected by being referred to in a Wikipedia article or on a talk page.
  • I wouldn't know him from a hole in the ground – biographies must be on subjects that are notable. Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.
  • Not every story/event/disaster needs a biography – not everything in Wikipedia requires presentation in the form of a biographical article.
  • Minors and persons judged incompetent – in light of WP:BLP, editing about minors and persons legally judged incompetent should be especially protective of their rights.
  • Primer for women's biographies – to appropriately write about women's biographies.
  • Signatures of living persons – how there is no consensus to reproduce signatures in Wikipedia articles, and there is some concern regarding reproducing the signatures of living persons.
  • Smokers – smoking, or the use of other legal tobacco products, is not inherently important enough to mention and should not be included in biographical articles by default.
  • Victim lists – lists of victims of an event are inappropriate unless the majority of listed victims have Wikipedia articles or sections of their own
  • Who is a low-profile individual – a low-profile individual is a person, usually notable for only one event, who has not sought or desired the attention.
  • Your alma mater is not your ticket to Wikipedia – its best not add a name to the "notable alumni" section of that person's alma mater unless that person is actually notable.

Wiki-culture

  • Wikibreak – refers to a period when even an editor must be parted from Wikipedia—though, presumably only temporarily.
  • WikiBullying – refers to using Wikipedia to threaten and/or intimidate other people, whether they are Wikipedia editors or not.
  • WikiCrime – refers to an act that deliberately and seriously hurts the object of creating quality articles.
  • Wikiderata – a prose poem of advice, support, and philosophy about Wikipedia.
  • WikiFauna – a listing of characterizations related to the culture of Wikipedia and its users about themselves that other editors may find helpful to understand.
  • WikiHate – refers to counterproductive attitude and behavior pattern that takes away time from many Wikipedians.
  • WikiLawyering – refers to a pejorative term which describes various questionable ways of judging other Wikipedians' actions.
  • WikiHarassment – refers to a pattern of repeated offensive behavior that appears to a reasonable observer to intentionally target a specific person or persons.
  • Wiki-Hell – refers to the many negative situations editors will deal with daily.
  • WikiLove – refers to a general spirit of collegiality and mutual understanding among wiki users.
  • WikiPeace – refers to an idea dedicated to making Wikipedia a more peaceful place for everyone.
  • Wikipediholic – refers to someone who suffers from Wikipediholism, or obsession (addiction in some cases) with Wikipedia or other wikis (see Wikipediholism test).
  • Wiki-POV-railroading – refers to the use of bullying tactics to discredit an editor with an opposing viewpoint or eliminate them from a discussion.
  • WikiRose – refers to an editor who will stop whatever they're doing, and give their time for other editor's benefit.
  • Wikiville – refers to Wikipedia as a town, and all the users as the citizens that have positions within the community.

Essays in a nutshell

  • Article writing – a small listings of essays about editing, formatting, short articles and the use of templates.
  • Civility – a small listings of essays about Eeiquette, positive and negative interactions.
  • Consensus and discussion – a small listings of essays about interaction procedures during tlaks.
  • Deletion – a small listings of essays about the removal of Wikipedia content.
  • Notability – a small listings of essays about the criteria of content inclusion and removal.
  • Verifiability and reliable sources – a small listings of essays about the merit of references and other resources.

How-to pages

  • For a listing of "help" and "instructional" pages, see the Help directory

Humorous material

Wikipedia and User essays by category

The following is a list of Wikipedia and User essays categories.

Note: User essays are similar to essays placed in the Wikipedia namespace; however, they are often authored/edited by only one person, and may represent a strictly personal viewpoint about Wikipedia or its processes. The author of a personal essay located in his or her user space has the right to revert any changes made to it by any other user.'
To display all subcategories click on the "►":
User essays(9 C, 1,774 P)
To display all subcategories click on the "►":
Wikipedia essays(42 C, 1,848 P)

Historical essays

The Wikimedia Foundation's Meta-wiki was envisioned as the original place for editors to comment on and discuss Wikipedia, although the "Wikipedia" project space has since taken over most of that role. Many historical essays can still be found within Meta:Category:Essays.

See also