Contents 1 Purpose of the principles 2 Context is everything 3 Common sense 4 Ignore all rules 5 Consensus 6 Wikilawyering 7 See also


Purpose of the principles[edit] The principles, and accompanying rules, on Wikipedia are solely intended towards creating and distributing a free, quality encyclopedia to everyone. The requirements of verifiability, reliable sourcing and other content rules seem the "most obvious" to many contributors. However, all of the principles are equally central to this goal. The principle underlying the behavioral rules allows us to work towards a healthy collaborative environment for contributors. The principle underlying our non-free content criteria is intended to ensure we protect the mission of a free encyclopedia. The rules exist to support Wikipedia's mission and should be interpreted in that context. Jimbo Wales once spoke these wise words: “ Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language. Asking whether the community comes before or after this goal is really asking the wrong question: the entire purpose of the community is precisely this goal. (Jimbo Wales) Wikipedia-l mailing list (8 March 2005). ”


Context is everything[edit] Each individual case will have its own context. While the rules are useful for the most common circumstances, often there is no hard and fast rule that can be applied. For example, whether a small press publication can be considered a reliable source depends on a number of factors. Does the publishing house have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy? Is the author a notable or respected expert in relation to the subject of the work? There are many other factors that could be considered. We cannot absolutely determine whether such small publishers (as a single group) are reliable or unreliable, so it is unlikely that the rules will specifically address such a group. Context and editorial discretion are essential in such judgments. All of the rules must be taken in context. Each of them provides context to the others. For example, examine the core content rules. Verifiability, neutral point of view, no original research, reliable sources and citing sources should be considered as a whole. Each of them provides context and reinforcement to the others. Original research can be avoided by citing claims to reliable sources that can be verified by other editors, for example. Editors must also consider the rules in the broader context of the wiki editorial process and the goal of improving Wikipedia.


Common sense[edit] See also: Wikipedia:Use common sense We are encouraged to use some sense and discretion. It is impossible to make hard rules that cover every context. We must use some rational thought and judgment in our decisions, rather than slavishly following the wording of policy without thought. Why isn't "use common sense" an official policy? It doesn't need to be; as a fundamental principle, it is above any policy.


Ignore all rules[edit] See also: Wikipedia:Ignore all rules and Wikipedia:Be bold Rules cannot cover every possible circumstance and sometimes may impede us from improving the encyclopedia. In those cases, we should be bold and do what is best. In the same spirit, the letter of policy will always fall short of completely encompassing the spirit of policy. We should feel free to do whatever is most faithful to the spirit of the policy, whether or not the specific circumstance is spelled out in the policy. Nobody owns articles, so if you see a problem that you can fix, do so.


Consensus[edit] See also: Wikipedia:Consensus Consensus is a fundamental part of the wiki process. The principles explained in the various policies and guidelines are generally backed by a very broad consensus. While the wording of the various rules may come under dispute, or change in the course of the normal wiki process, the basic principles underlying those policies are rarely disputed. How those principles apply to individual cases is best determined by forming a consensus among the involved editors – registered or unregistered. The BOLD, revert, discuss cycle is a popular method of reaching consensus, and may be useful for identifying objections, keeping discussion moving forward and helping to break deadlocks. Some editors will see any reversion as a challenge, so be considerate and patient. While discussing matters, it is very important that you conduct yourself with civility and assume good faith on the part of others. Edit warring (repeatedly overriding or reimplementing contributions) is highly discouraged. In cases where a consensus is not forthcoming, it may be helpful to seek some assistance in reaching an agreement. A cordial atmosphere is essential to consensus-building. Editors should be respectful and kind in order to foster a calm collaborative environment. Many negative behaviors are not explicitly covered by the rules, but are frowned upon and essentially discouraged by the rules. Baiting and rude comments may not reach the "threshold" of personal attacks, but they are just as harmful and disruptive. The principles of disallowing personal attacks and preventing disruption similarly discourage comments made with the same negative intent and impact.


Wikilawyering[edit] See also: Wikipedia:WikiLawyering and Wikipedia:Gaming the system Sometimes editors will erroneously place a strong focus on the exact wording of policy. This is commonly referred to as "WikiLawyering". Contributors should assume good faith and explain to someone making legalistic arguments of policy that the spirit of the rules is what is most important. Very often, new editors are used to environments and online activities where the rules are very exacting. Experienced editors should take the time to explain the principles at the core of the rules to help new editors learn and adjust. Sometimes editors may attempt to manipulate situations by relying on a very strict reading of the wording of a policy. A common example is an editor making exactly three reverts and waiting for another day before making three reverts again. This is an attempt to "game" the three revert rule. However, the rule itself notes that the 3RR limit is an "electric fence". That is, it is a hard limit, rather than an entitlement and revert warring may be considered disruption regardless of whether that "hard limit" has been reached. For example, breaking the 3RR limit over a 25-hour, or even 36-hour, period instead of the "standard" 24 may still be judged an infraction. The principle behind 3RR is avoiding disruptive edit warring, and that is more important than the exact count of reversions.


See also[edit] Wikipedia:Administration Wikipedia:Expectations and norms of the Wikipedia community Wikipedia:Editorial oversight and control Wikipedia:Principles Wikipedia:Reasonability Rule Wikipedia:The role of policies in collaborative anarchy Wikipedia:Wikipedia in brief v t e Wikipedia principles     Five pillars Statement of our principles Jimbo's statement Historic principles Simplified ruleset Synopsis of our conventions Wikimedia principles Common to all projects (in Meta-Wiki) Principles Other essays on Wikipedia's principles v t e  Basic information on Wikipedia Main Help directory menu FAQs Reference desk Help desk About Wikipedia Administration Purpose Who writes Wikipedia? Organization Censorship Introduction Why create an account? In brief General disclaimer What Wikipedia is not Readers' FAQ Parental advice Navigation Introduction Searching Viewing media Help Mobile access Other languages Researching with Wikipedia Citing Wikipedia Students help Readers' index Copyright Book creation Contributing to Wikipedia Main tutorial Tutorials and introductions The answer Dos and don'ts Learning the ropes Common mistakes Newcomer primer Plain and simple Your first article Wizard Young Wikipedians The Adventure Protocols and conventions Five pillars Introduction Simplified ruleset Simplified MoS Etiquette Expectations Oversight Principles Ignore all rules The rules are principles Core content policies Policies and guidelines Policies Guidelines Vandalism Appealing blocks Getting assistance Requests for help Request editor assistance Disputes resolution requests IRC live chat Tutorial Village pump Contact us Wikipedia community Community portal Dashboard Noticeboards Departments Maintenance Task Center Essays Meetups WikiProjects Sourcing and referencing Finding sources Combining sources Referencing Introduction Citations Citation Style 1 Citation templates Footnotes Page numbers Cite errors Information Editing Toolbar Conflict VisualEditor User guide Category Diffs Email confirmation Infoboxes Linking Link color Manual of Style Introduction Simplified Namespaces Page name URLs User contribution pages Using talk pages Introduction Archiving Image and media files Images Media files How-to Guide to page deletion Image deletion Logging in Merging pages Page renaming Requests Redirecting Reset passwords Reverting Uploading images Introduction Wiki markup Wiki markup Cheatsheet Barcharts Calculations Columns HTML Lists Magic words For beginners Music symbols Sections Sounds Special Characters Tables Introduction Templates Documentation Messages Tools Transclusion Visual file markup Tutorial Directories Abbreviations Contents Edit summaries Essays Glossary Index The Missing Manual Shortcuts Tips Tip of the day Wikis Teahouse (interactive help for new editors) Ask for help on your talk page (a volunteer will visit you there) Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:The_rules_are_principles&oldid=813289915" Categories: Wikipedia information pages


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