Contents 1 Overview 2 Practical reasons for community 2.1 Beneficial canvassing 2.2 Editing interests 3 Human reasons for community 3.1 A parallel: road rage 3.2 Casting light on the shadow 3.3 Impervious to bullets 3.4 A healthy addiction 4 Conclusions 5 See also


Overview[edit] Consider: The community is dependent on the encyclopedia. This page wouldn't be here if Wikipedia wasn't. Alternatively, it would be here, but the site would likely be called "Wikiblog." The encyclopedia is dependent on the community. It is impossible to change consensus, discuss designs, and figure out neutrality if there's no way for editors to talk amongst themselves. Therefore, community and encyclopedia are inexorably intertwined on Wikipedia. Without the encyclopedia, the community would not exist, and without the community, the breadth of the encyclopedia would not exist. Without community, we'd not only become our competition—we'd also become less accurate.


Practical reasons for community[edit] Beneficial canvassing[edit] Usually it's a bad idea to canvass, but there's actually such a thing as good canvassing when it comes to improving the site—mainly when it deals with behind-the-scenes maintenance. For example, if it weren't for one user bringing articles for creation's backlog to the attention of other members of the community who had never heard of it before (like many users before they saw a user make a post about it), the massive backlogs would never have been cleaned up. Editing interests[edit] Category-populating userboxes are one of the user-friendly ways of pulling together the huge amount of editors on the site in hopes of finding those with similar interests to help edit the lower-traffic areas of the site. Walk down any given street and it's unlikely you'll find many people interested in the Napoleonic Wars. You might even try posting a classified ad in the local newspaper in vain. However, drop by our interest category and magically, you have a huge pool of editors who are more than likely willing to help research some changes for an article on the subject.


Human reasons for community[edit] Although subject interest categories and userboxes have overt functional purposes, some simply seem to have no purpose whatsoever. After all, why on earth, would someone need to know that someone is flirtatious or that someone prefers editing in a sauna in order to improve an article on astronomy? Simple: they serve to remind us that when even the most heated debates can take place in content disputes, Wikipedia is still in the real world, and that the person with whom you are arguing is actually a person—not just some text on a screen. A parallel: road rage[edit] Picture of traffic, in case you've been lucky enough to never see it in your whole life. A similar phenomenon exists with road rage: people seem to be more likely to get angrily frustrated when stuck in traffic when compared to a being in a long line at the grocery store. Both environments are expected to always be plagued with the same problems (e.g., long waits, slow progress, annoying children), yet there's something qualitatively different about being in an environment where you see primarily tail lights (or, as most people call them, idiots) versus being in an environment where you are primarily face-to-face with another human being. Waiting in line stinks, but at least you can talk to people. Arguably, the same dichotomy exists on Wikipedia. We're primarily text-based in our interactions, and editing is done by following in the footsteps of those that have come before you. Editors rarely see the faces of other editors, and even more rarely do they ever enjoy the luxury of voice-to-voice or face-to-face contact. Essentially, editing consists largely of staring at tail lights. Consequently, this may cause more heated debates on controversial topics and may account for increased personal attacks and other ad hominem arguments, including allegations of cabalism. After all, it's easy to picture an evil, shadowy cabal when the only real images you are able to form of its members are just that—faceless shadows. Casting light on the shadow[edit] In order to humanize the otherwise shadowy and mysterious creatures that edit Wikipedia (i.e., you), it is necessary to bring them into human light. As a result, much of the purpose of some of the more subjectively "pointless" areas of Wikipedia actually play an invaluable role: they serve to remind us that the person on the other end of any passionate debate or edit war is, like you, a human. They serve to show us that no matter how much we disagree, the vast majority of us will usually be able to rationally figure out a good middle ground solution. Most importantly, these otherwise MySpace-y things serve to remind us, as cliché and redundant as it sounds, that we're not simply me, but rather that we're we. After all, we are the ones who must accurately and without undue bias describe existence, itself, as everyone experiences it, while being sure to avoid the temptation of simply siding with that which one point of view thinks it should be or worse: that which another group thinks it absolutely must be. Impervious to bullets[edit] Tip: If you're ever involved in a content dispute, imagine everyone, including yourself, is dressed like Superman. It's hard to make personal attacks when everyone is wearing something silly. Ironically, the things that humanize us and make us more vulnerable to criticism have the end result of making it harder to actually hurt us. Simply observe many bathroom stalls, highway overpasses, and riots throughout the world and one will realize a rule of thumb to destruction: the less alive the target is, the easier it is to destroy it. Whether it be a remarkable feat of engineering (e.g., an overpass for a highway), a critical barrier for modesty (e.g., a bathroom wall), or the coolest and most visited encyclopedia on the internet (e.g., Wikipedia), all share a common plague: vandalism. Thus, it seems that it's easier for people to deface something if the one doing so either does not realize how it negatively affects others or simply does not grasp the amount of hard work and dedication that has gone into creating that which is seemingly so easy to destroy. A healthy addiction[edit] Wikipedia is addictive. The fact you found this page and got this far into reading it is proof that we've hooked you. ;) But, how did this happen? Most people probably don't get addicted to their chemistry books in high school, and most chemists probably don't constantly revisit their freshman chemistry books on a regular basis, but here on Wikipedia, the opposite behavior is commonplace. People watchlist articles, constantly update them, and participate actively in things like writing essays about the site—all on their free time. Our secret? Wikipedia is an extremely diverse, well-developed social group in which you can start drama, stop drama, find drama you never knew existed, learn something you never knew, chat in real-time, catch troublemakers in the act, give someone something special, meet like-minded individuals in real life, or just plain joke around. Long story short, we realize that while we're technically supposed to be only an encyclopedia, and that while technically we're supposed to be all professional and such, we realize that if that ever happened, we'd break our addiction to our community and our friends, and the site would fail. So, despite being addicts, we're totally fine with it, because we know we're actually doing something good for the world.


Conclusions[edit] Earth. It's not critical to understanding this essay, but since the community tends to think that pictures make articles more accessible and it's totally free for us to use even in the most random essay, here it is—arguably one of the most iconic symbols of community. Some argue that the encyclopedia should be more encyclopedic than community-oriented—that we should elect to keep interaction to a minimum in order to satisfy the prime objectives. They argue that the community is minor and secondary to the ultimate goal of creating an encyclopedia. Whether or not that approach is correct is uncertain; however, we must be careful in restricting elements of the community excessively, because it is obvious that our encyclopedia's success is directly proportional to the level and frequency of involvement of those generating its content and maintaining the backend—the community. We're technically an encyclopedia; but, we're an encyclopedia that exists because of and is maintained exclusively by the community. Because the community generates the majority of the encyclopedia's content, disagreements will occur, and it helps to keep conflicts productive using reminders that those involved are real people in real life. We're not MySpace, and that's a good thing, because on a daily basis, more people will visit us than they will MySpace (subscription required). On the other hand, thankfully we're not solely an encyclopedia, either, because based on the competition (subscription required), we wouldn't be doing nearly as well as we are now.


See also[edit] m:The Wikipedia Community m:False community Wikipedia:Administration Wikipedia:Five pillars Wikipedia:IPs are human too Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia Wikipedia:Wikipedians Category:Wikipedia humor Wikipedia:Underwear rule v t e Essays about Wikipedia Essays on building, editing, and deleting content Philosophy Articles must be written Avoid vague introductions Be a reliable source Cohesion Concede lost arguments Eight simple rules for editing our encyclopedia Don't lie Explanationism External criticism of Wikipedia Here to build an encyclopedia Most ideas are bad Need Neutrality of sources Not editing because of Wikipedia restriction Oversimplification Paradoxes Paraphrasing POV and OR from editors, sources, and fields Product, process, policy Purpose There is no seniority Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia Tendentious editing The role of policies in collaborative anarchy The rules are principles Trifecta Wikipedia in brief Wikipedia is an encyclopedia Wikipedia is a community Construction 100K featured articles Acronym Overkill Advanced source searching Adding images improves the encyclopedia Advanced article editing Advanced table formatting Advanced template coding Advanced text formatting Alternatives to the "Expand" template Amnesia test A navbox on every page An unfinished house is a real problem Articles have a half-life Autosizing images Avoid mission statements Bare URLs Be neutral in form Beef up that first revision Blind men and an elephant Cherrypicking Children's lit, adult new readers, & large-print books Citation overkill Citation underkill Concept cloud Creating controversial content Criticisms of society may be consistent with NPOV and reliability Dictionaries as sources Don't demolish the house while it's still being built Don't hope the house will build itself Don't panic Editing on mobile devices Editors are not mindreaders Endorsements (commercial) Featured articles may have problems Fruit of the poisonous tree Give an article a chance Ignore STRONGNAT for date formats Inaccuracy Introduction to structurism Law sources Link rot Mine a source Merge Test Minors and persons judged incompetent "Murder of" articles Not every story/event/disaster needs a biography Not everything needs a navbox Nothing is in stone Organizing disambiguation pages by subject area Permastub Potential, not just current state Printability Pruning article revisions Publicists Put a little effort into it Restoring part of a reverted edit Robotic editing Sham consensus Run an edit-a-thon Temporary versions of articles There is a deadline There is no deadline The deadline is now Walled garden What an article should not include Wikipedia is a work in progress Wikipedia is not a reliable source Wikipedia is not being written in an organized fashion The world will not end tomorrow Write the article first Writing better articles Deletion Adjectives in your recommendations AfD is not a war zone Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions Arguments to avoid in deletion reviews Arguments to avoid in image deletion discussions Arguments to make in deletion discussions Avoid repeated arguments Before commenting in a deletion discussion But there must be sources! Confusing arguments mean nothing Content removal Counting and sorting are not original research Delete the junk Does deletion help? Don't overuse shortcuts to policy and guidelines to win your argument Follow the leader How to save an article proposed for deletion I just don't like it Immunity Liar Liar Pants on Fire Nothing Overzealous deletion Relisting can be abusive Relist bias The Heymann Standard Unopposed AFD discussion Wikipedia is not Whack-A-Mole Why was the page I created deleted? What to do if your article gets tagged for speedy deletion When in doubt, hide it in the woodwork No Encyclopedic Use Essays on civility The basics How to be civil Compromise Accepting other users Enjoy yourself Expect no thanks Thank you Apologizing Truce Divisiveness Encouraging newcomers Relationships with academic editors High-functioning autism and Asperger's editors Obsessive Compulsive Disorder editors Philosophy A weak personal attack is still wrong Advice for hotheads An uncivil environment is a poor environment Be the glue Civility warnings Deletion as revenge Failure Forgive and forget It's not the end of the world Nobody cares Most people who disagree with you on content are not vandals Old Fashioned Wikipedian Values Staying cool when the editing gets hot The grey zone The last word There is no Divine Right Of Editors Most ideas are bad Nothing is clear The rules of polite discourse There is no common sense Wikipedia is not about winning Writing for the opponent Dos Argue better Assume good faith Assume the assumption of good faith Assume no clue Avoid personal remarks Avoid the word "vandal" Beyond civility Call a spade a spade Candor Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass Deny recognition Encourage full discussions Get over it How to lose Just drop it Keep it down to earth Mind your own business Don'ts Don't give a fuck Don't be inconsiderate Don't be rude Don't call a spade a spade Don't call the kettle black Don't take the bait Do not insult the vandals Don't come down like a ton of bricks Don't be ashamed Don't drink the consensus Kool-Aid Don't spite your face Don't call things cruft No angry mastodons No, you can't have a pony Don't be an ostrich Don't template the regulars Don't be a fanatic Don't accuse someone of a personal attack for accusing of a personal attack Don't fight fire with fire Don't be prejudiced Don't remind others of past misdeeds Don't throw your toys out of the pram Don't help too much Passive aggression Don't cry COI Don't be obnoxious Don't be a WikiBigot Don't confuse stub status with non-notability Don't eat the troll's food You can't squeeze blood from a turnip Wiki relations WikiLove WikiHate WikiCrime WikiBullying WikiPeace WikiLawyering WikiHarassment POV Railroading Essays on notability Notability Alternative outlets Articles with a single source Bare notability Bombardment Businesses with a single location But it's true! Citation overkill Clones Coatrack articles Common sourcing mistakes Discriminate vs indiscriminate information Every snowflake is unique Existence ≠ Notability Fart Google searches and numbers High Schools Inclusion is not an indicator of notability Inherent notability Insignificant Masking the lack of notability Make stubs News coverage does not decrease notability No amount of editing can overcome a lack of notability No big loss No one cares about your garage band No one really cares Notability/Historical/Arguments Notability cannot be purchased Notability is not a level playing field Notability is not a matter of opinion Notability is not relevance or reliability Notability means impact Notability points Notability sub-pages Obscurity ≠ Lack of notability Offline sources One hundred words One sentence does not an article make Other stuff exists Pokémon test Read the source Run-of-the-mill Significant coverage not required Solutions are mixtures and nothing else Subjective importance What notability is not What is and is not routine coverage What to include Wikipedia is not here to tell the world about your noble cause General notability guideline Independent sources Significant coverage Trivial mentions Humorous essays Humorous material Assume bad faith Assume faith Assume good wraith Assume stupidity Assume that everyone's assuming good faith, assuming that you are assuming good faith Avoid using preview button Avoid using wikilinks BOLD, revert, revert, revert Boston Tea Party Barnstaritis Don't-give-a-fuckism Edits Per Day Editsummarisis Go ahead, vandalize How many Wikipedians does it take to change a lightbulb? How to put up a straight pole by pushing it at an angle Newcomers are delicious, so go ahead and bite them No climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spider-Man Please be a giant dick, so we can ban you Please bite the newbies R-e-s-p-e-c-t Shadowless Fists of Death! The Night After Wikimas The first rule of Wikipedia The Five Pillars of Untruth Things that should not be surprising The WikiBible Watchlistitis Why not create an Account? Inactive historical references Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Unblock Emails About essays About essays Essay guide Value of essays Difference between policies, guidelines and essays Don't cite essays as if they were policy Avoid writing redundant essays Finding an essay Quote your own essay Policies and guidelines About policies and guidelines Policies Guidelines How to contribute to Wikipedia guidance Policy writing is hard Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Wikipedia_is_a_community&oldid=818731861" Categories: Wikipedia essaysHidden categories: Pages containing links to subscription-only content


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