User:Quiddity/How it Works

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A tour of Wikipedia, using annotations from me and navbox examples. Read the yellow, skim the blue.




These are entry-points, to the worldviews that drive Wikipedia. They're not the origin, but they are the map, such as it is.




These archetypes all exist, and have to work together. It's great when they balance, and often aggravating/unhealthy (for the project, and the editors) when they don't. (Images from the meta:Research:Editor Lifecycles study)

Graph titled "Namespace distrubution by Archetype"

Graph titled "User distribution by Archetype" Graph titled "Archtype user proportion by year"



Numerous ways to navigate the encyclopedia have been inherited and construed,


v · t · e






along with many different approaches to the Help system.

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And then there are the manuals themselves. The Policies Guidelines & Styleguides (sometimes called wikilaw, pejoratively after those who practice it at extreme velocities) are a glorious mixture of:   technical recommendation, summarized precedent of older discussions, nuanced philosophical perspective, and practical how-to.   [We used to have the phrase "descriptive, not prescriptive" somewhere in there,1234 but it was too zen, and was excised a few years ago.   ╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻   So it goes.]










There are hundreds of projects engaged in cleaning and building specific-aspects, including:

And so many more; including the overwhelming:

If you're not [confused / worried / outraged / overwhelmed / hopeful] then you're not paying attention!



And with the essays, we loop back to philosophy. The essays are (almost) all nuggets of truth, but expressed in wildly different writer's voices. They variously offer: metaphorical exaggerations, crude oversimplifications, besmirchments of opposing perspectives, commonsense clarifications, fabulous epiphanies, and insights to laugh along with.



~~ fin ~~



"I divide my officers into four classes as follows: the industrious, the lazy, the clever, and the stupid.

Each officer always possesses two of these qualities.

Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff.

Use can, under certain circumstances, be made of those who are stupid and lazy.

The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest leadership posts. He has the requisite nerves and the mental clarity for difficult decisions.

But whoever is stupid and industrious must be got rid of, for he is too dangerous." – General Freiherr Von Hammerstein-Equord[1]




Wikipe-tan trifecta sign.png Remain neutral Don't be a dick Ignore all rules




(It's rarely simple!

  • Remain neutral.
  • Try to work/smile/love/laugh/work alongside the other humans.
  • Ignore nothing, detail is everything, but try not to get lost.)





See also, Exformation as brilliantly explained by Ze Frank. Our discussions (throughout Wikipedia, and throughout life) are overflowing with exformation. It's a useful thing to understand. The newcomers don't have any, and the regulars have too much!


"A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a metaphor?" – Marshall McLuhan1