This is an essay on Wikipedia:Five pillars.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
The five pillars of Wikipedia are considered fundamental to the Wikipedia project. No one pillar is more important than the other — each pillar must have the same importance for the good of the entire project.
If one pillar was less important than another, then we would just have the "four pillars of Wikipedia" — but there are five.
The Five Pillars
Here's a list of the five pillars of Wikipedia that has the equal right:
- Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia.
- Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view.
- Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute.
- Wikipedians should treat each other with respect and civility.
- Wikipedia has no firm rules.
Imagine if editors only focused on four of those five. What would the community become? What would happen to the project?
- If we stopped having Wikipedia be an encyclopedia, it might become more of a social media outlet, news source, or even a free web hosting server. That is not the purpose of Wikipedia.
- If we stopped writing from a neutral point of view, the articles would start to contain opinions, or be used as a political tool. That would not make Wikipedia better.
- If we no longer created free content, that would reduce global enthusiasm and weaken Wikipedia.
- If we stop treating each other with respect and civility, we run the risk of driving away volunteers.
- If we create and stick to firm rules, we lose flexibility.
While it certainly is valid for an editor to focus on one pillar instead of another based on their enthusiasm and knowledge, editors should be careful to not sacrifice one column for any of the others. None of the pillars are mutually exclusive. We need them all. They are our five pillars.