From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


  1. The highest position anyone can hold on the project is "editor". Every other position on the project works in support of the work of editors. You do not 'advance' to any position on the project. An arbitrator does not outrank an admin does not outrank an extended confirmed editor does not outrank an editor. See this hierarchical structure of Wikipedia. Anyone acting in good faith on the project is a member of the "community". Note how everything is beneath the community.
  2. The newest editor, acting in good faith, should enjoy the same privileges as the most experienced editor. This ideal, however, is frequently demonized. As the project ages, the need to protect what has already been done is an ever increasing pressure. The amount of learning a new editor needs to do to contribute at a high level is far greater now than in years before. Thus, many new editors are improperly viewed with disdain because they do not yet possess the knowledge and experience to contribute at a high level. This tendency destroys the very lifeblood of the project. Editor attrition is inevitable, if for no other reason than death. Everyone must be replaced for the project to continue. If new, good faith editors are welcomed with walls and harsh treatment the project will eventually die. We must be better than that. This project was founded on the absolutely absurd idea that anyone can edit. Despite heavy criticism, Wikipedia has succeeded in creating by far the most powerful and comprehensive encyclopedia the world has ever seen. Nothing is even remotely close. If we walk away from the principle of "anyone can edit" we might as well close up shop.
  3. This isn't a fight. There's no score. It doesn't matter if you 'win' or 'lose' an argument. There's no such thing. The only thing that matters in the context of your work on Wikipedia is whether or not the project is improved. If you are having a hard time accepting that your voice was not heard or is in a minority, don't express your frustration on Wikipedia. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, take in a movie, have a drink. None of our opinions ultimately matter. Five years from now, no one will remember what you say. What matters is the project.
  4. The most powerful, and the most underutilized method of ending a disagreement on the project is disengagement. Walk away. If two people are having an argument, and one person walks away, there's no argument anymore. That is, unless the remaining person starts arguing with themselves. Some people have powerful reasons for not being able to walk away. If that is the case, then learn the power of listening and understanding. You do not have to be right or wrong, and being either is insignificant compared to listening to the other party and gaining an understanding of their concerns. Refusing to listen and insisting on being right is guaranteed to fail. The drive to be right is guaranteed to fail its primary purpose. Build on listening.
  5. You don't have all the answers, and never will. The project is too large for one person to understand all facets of its operation. It's ok. If you think you can improve something, be bold and do it. If someone reverts what you do, engage in discussion.
  6. Vandalism is inevitable. No matter how many bots, how many tools, and how many editors work to combat vandalism, it will always happen. There will always be a new crop of bad faith editors who try to disrupt the project. Over time, we continue to develop better processes for handling vandalism. You may sometimes come across vandalism that is quite old (example; see 'glamour', which wasn't removed until seven years later [1]). This may seem alarming, but it isn't. It's part of the natural process of creating this great work. Just fix it and move on. Warning vandals is important for several reasons. Some vandals stop after knowing someone is watching. Warning them with escalating warnings eventually leads to a level 4 warning, which if violated can then be reported and they will likely be blocked. Without escalating warnings, some vandals are never blocked.
  7. Members of ArbCom, Bureaucrats, and Administrators are just as likely to commit an error as any experienced editor. There are third rails for their behavior, and they are expected to abide by those additional restrictions. See WP:ADMINCOND and WP:ARBCOND. Nevertheless, remember they are as human as you are.
  8. Wikipedia is a free content project. It is critical to understand gratis versus libre. Anything that takes away from the libre mission of the project is a hindrance to the project. If you are not here for the libre mission, you are in the wrong place. Wikia might be more to your liking.
  9. One of the least enforced but most critical policies on the project is our need to remain civil at all times, no matter the provocation. If something you might say would be unacceptable at a large meeting of professionals in a conference room, then it is unacceptable here. Insults very often are an insight into the person making them, not on the target of the aspersions. Insults will never yield positive outcomes. Incivility reduces productivity, engagement, and idea generation.
  10. Consensus is critical to cooperative editing. Without it, people are simply shouting at each other. Consensus doesn't mean you agree. Sometimes the consensus feels very wrong. That's ok. Disagreement, however, is not a permission slip to edit against consensus.