Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a forum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia is not a "forum". It does not have "moderators", but it does have administrators. Wikipedia is not the chat page of the web site of an interest group, nor is it the message board of an alumni association or a pub darts team. It is not a social or business networking site such as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn, nor is it a free personal web host. Discussions at Wikipedia are centred around getting a job done, and all users have wide-ranging powers to maintain the quality of articles, discussions, and to develop and maintain policies - more than they would ever be allowed to do on their favourite local fishing-club forum.

Wikipedia is more comparable to an open-source software undertaking such as Linux (a computer operating platform), phpBB (Internet forum software), or the Mozilla Foundation (Firefox browser, etc.), where the end product is developed in a public, collaborative manner. It is similar to a company (in our case, a Nonprofit organization) that manufactures, produces, or publishes an end product (in our case, an electronic encyclopedia). That product is distributed free of charge to clients (our readers) either through the internet – developed to be a pool of human knowledge and culture – or on other media. Virtual meetings (Requests for comment) take place among the staff (our volunteers), and other discussions take place in product development departments (our article project management), in some other places, including the offices of individual co-workers (our users' talk pages), article talk pages, and in dispute resolution and disciplinary departments (our noticeboards).

Unlike most companies, Wikipedia has a very flat hierarchy for the vast majority of decision making, everyone is involved in its running, and no one has more than one vote on its various debates. All discussion is open to the general public who can also take part and vote.[1] Some "after work" discussion takes place either online such as in Skype, chat rooms, e-mail or in a real local pub or other venue at Wikipedia face-to-face meetings; however, there is generally far less actual socialising either online or offline among the thousands of regular contributors, than would be expected to be normal in a company of equivalent size. Except for its small executive and development core of salaried employees at the headquarters of the WMF that operates several wiki projects that include the Wikipedia, all collaborators are voluntary telecommuters or homeworkers.

Equivalent of a "moderator" in Wikipedia[edit]

All Wikipedia users are/have the capacity to act as "moderators". They can add, revert, delete article content, or flag articles for possible deletion; they may file and participate in reports for misconduct and misuse of editing tools, and in some cases they may close discussions and deletion debates.[1] They may even issue official user warnings to other editors. However, only administrators may physically delete entire articles, protect articles from improper editing and disruption, and block users (a physical block implemented by the site software).

Occasionally some contributors and/or commentators are banned (forbidden to post on certain pages or topics), and some may be blocked. Editors are banned as an outcome of the dispute resolution process; violation of a ban may result in a block. Obvious and/or serious cases of violation of policy such as disruptive editing, copyright infringement, vandalism, libel, etc., may be unilaterally blocked by an administrator, while less clear instances or cases opened by non-admins will be decided by the dispute resolution process. Extremely serious or very delicate matters, and disciplinary action concerning administrators are handled in discussions by the Arbitration Committee, which may or may not be publicly discussed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Depending on their user status.
  2. ^ a b c Essays may reside in a user's space, or if the author considers an essay to be of greater general importance, it may be moved to Wikipedia space, where it can be edited, expanded, and improved by any editor. Comments and suggestions on any essay can be made by anyone at any time on the talk page of any essay.
  3. ^ Do not post an enquiry, complaint, or a request for help in more than one noticeboard. If it's the wrong place, you will be redirected.