Wikipedia:The one question
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Essay on editing Wikipedia
This is an essay on the Ignore all rules policy.
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.
On Wikipedia, a great deal of virtual ink is spent debating if various policies, guidelines, and essays apply to specific situations or not, or debating secondary questions about whether or not they have sufficient consensus to apply. When you find yourself in that situation, take a step back, ignore all rules, and ask yourself the one question:
- Does it make Wikipedia better or not?
Yes → Do it, support the policy, keep the article, unblock, etc. No → Don't do it, oppose the policy, delete the article, block, etc.
Answer that question first, then pick whatever policy, guideline, essay, or argument supports the answer. Don't flip the order. If you look at a policy page first, then decide that something is good/bad because that's the conclusion of the policy, you forgot to ask yourself the one question. And you could very well end up supporting an outcome which does not make Wikipedia better.
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This audio file was created from a revision of this page dated 9 July 2020 (2020-07-09), and does not reflect subsequent edits.