Help:Introduction to policies and guidelines/All

Wikipedia actually has few strict rules, but rather is founded on five fundamental principles. Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are developed by the community to clarify these principles and describe the best way to apply them, resolve conflicts, and otherwise further our goal of creating a free and reliable encyclopedia.

Policies express the fundamental principles of Wikipedia in more detail, and guidelines advise how to apply policies and how to provide general consistency across articles. Formal policies and guidelines have a notice at the top of their pages, and the prefix "Wikipedia:" or "WP:" before their page name.

While there is a policy or guideline for almost every issue imaginable, no one is expected to know all of them! Luckily, there are a handful upon which all others are based. The next few sections describe the most significant of these, representing the general spirit of Wikipedia's rules. Knowing these basics makes discussions and ing easier and more productive.


Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia, and the community constantly strives for accuracy. Articles should be neutral and should contain only verifiable information and opinions that already exist in reliable sources.


A pile of pages in the shape of a heart

Writing on Wikipedia is highly collaborative. There are two good starting points for how to get along with other ors: be bold, and be civil.

When ing, be bold! Most s make the encyclopedia better, and mistakes can always be reverted or corrected. If you see something that can be improved, improve it, and do not be overly concerned with breaking anything. If the change is in the spirit of improvement and makes sense to others, the odds are good that everything will turn out all right and the change will be kept. If not, it's easy for someone to change it back.

Being civil entails remaining polite and assuming good faith when interacting with others, and focusing on the content of s rather than on personal issues. It requires participating in a respectful and considerate way, without ignoring the positions and conclusions of others. Assuming good faith means that we assume by default that other people's intentions are to improve the project. If criticism or moderation is needed, we discuss ors' actions but do not accuse them of harmful motives without clear evidence.

Editors typically reach consensus as a natural and inherent product of ing; generally, someone makes a change or addition to a page, then everyone who reads it has an opportunity to leave the page as it is or change it. Being reverted may feel a bit deflating, but do not take offense, as it is a common step in finding consensus. If you have a disagreement or suggestion, express it on the article's talk page, and politely discuss the change until a consensus can be reached. Never repeatedly undo another or's s; this is called warring and is disallowed. As a last resort, you can file a request for help resolving a dispute.

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