Wikipedia:There is no deadline
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
|This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia is a work in progress. Don't rush to edit, it's not a competition.|
Wikipedia is not working to a deadline. There are various points of view on what this lack of a deadline means.
View one: Don't rush to create articles
We can afford to take our time, to consider matters, to wait before creating a new article until its significance is unambiguously established.
Wikipedia is not Wikinews and has no need to scoop anyone. Turn this into a strength by working on your article in your userspace or scratchpad until you have the best possible article, fully referenced, a masterpiece of neutrality. And if someone beats you to it, makes that first place in the edit history, so what? Merge in what you have and turn a stub or whatever into a good article. Wikipedia is not a competition either.
Above all, creating an article without establishing the basis of the content and its significance is a bad idea. There really are no points for being first; being the author of the best and most neutral content will earn you far greater kudos.
View two: Don't rush to delete articles
We can afford to take our time to improve articles, to wait before deleting a new article unless its potential significance cannot be established.
Wikipedia is not paper and has no need to work towards a deadline. There is no finished version expected soon, and it is perfectly acceptable to let the editing process fashion an article up to our standards eventually. And if it takes a long time for that process to work, so what? Wikipedia is a work in progress, and will always remain so. There is no publication date and Wikipedia does not have to be finished today. It merely needs to have improved on yesterday. Perfection is neither desired nor achievable.
Remember also that consensus can change over time. New people may bring fresh ideas, established users may change their minds when new things come up, and we all may find a better way to do things.
Above all, the principle of creating an article which is unfinished was once a consequence of the now historical second rule of Wikipedia, Always leave something undone (though the present procedural policy no longer discusses this). By creating an unfinished article, you encourage other people to contribute; collaboration on articles will earn you far greater respect than solo editing.
View three: Don't postpone dispute resolution
Whether the addition/removal to the article can be justified or not, it is sometimes better to handle the dispute at the time it occurs. Generally referenced additions can be viewed and evaluated by other users more easily, since it is much easier than tracking the additions / removals from article history, and generally "let it go" cases are forgotten after a while, unless an editor bothers to check every single entry in article history. Also discussing cases after a while may consume much more time than early solved conflicts since non-solved conflicts generally turn out as personal conflicts between editors. Moreover since editors try to edit in their free time where they can do anything else, they may not find such time in the future to edit or discuss these matters to improve Wikipedia. And it is frequent that some users act WP:POV or WP:BIASed (and WP:Systemic bias in the worst cases) because of their political or religious views or they may not have any expertise in the article they edit. From time to time they may have WP:COI, or act like they WP:OWN the article, they may take things personally and may not be WP:POLITE (verbally or worse with their editing style) so, whether or not you assume WP:GOODFAITH, you may not come to an agreement. At those times, you may seek third party review help from uninvolved editors to come to an agreement between both parties.
View four: There are a lot of deadlines
There is a deadline — or many small deadlines — we aren't aware of. People die, move away from editing or reading, Little Johnny's homework is due. Meanwhile we have articles that have been unreferenced since 2001, articles that have been stubs since 2001 and so forth — and the amount of identified work keeps growing. Without continual improvement and automation the potential of Wikipedia will be only partially fulfilled — moreover without a sense of urgency these things will not be done in a timely fashion.
View five: It's not a competition
Just as there is no deadline, there's also no enforced plan for writing Wikipedia. No specific tasks are assigned to specific individuals. While one editor may have a to-do list or a page in their user sandbox ready to start a new article, another editor may beat them to the punch either unknowingly or deliberately.
Editors shouldn't get upset when they lose the opportunity to create a new article. No one owns an article that hasn't even been written yet. When you miss out on a chance to create a new article, instead of feeling robbed or slighted or considering acts of vengeance, you might look and see if there's any way you can still contribute. Maybe there are grammatical errors or typos you can correct, or you have text you could add.
- There is a deadline
- Information is being lost in the real world all the time. Wikipedia is an opportunity to ensure that it isn't, before it's too late.
- The deadline is now
- People are reading Wikipedia now, and if what's there isn't true, they are being misled by it now. Thus, misleading information must be removed or corrected as soon as possible.
Deadlines in Wikipedia
Although Wikipedia itself if not working to a deadline, processes and WikiProjects within it often have deadlines. For example:
- Deletion process in Wikipedia has a maximum deadline of 21 days. Article deletion discussions have a deadline of seven days but may be extended to 14 or 21 days with sysop approval. As such, Article Rescue Squadron always works to a deadline.
- Request for adminship and Requests for bureaucratship both have strict deadlines.
- Featured Article nominations won't last open forever. Nominators must be ready to resolve raised objections at shortest of notices.
- The Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team has some flexible deadlines. For instance, it hopes to release Version 0.9 "some time in 2013".
- The Did You Know project will only consider submissions of articles that have been either created, expanded at least fivefold, or were unsourced BLPs newly sourced and expanded at least twofold, "within the past five days".
- WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors has regular time limits and deadlines for its month-long Backlog Elimination Drives and week-long Blitzes, and for consideration of articles in its Copyedit of the Month contest.
- Wikipedia:Beef up that first revision
- Wikipedia:Don't demolish the house while it's still being built
- Wikipedia:Don't panic
- Wikipedia:Editing policy
- Wikipedia:Potential, not just current state
- Wikipedia:Rome wasn't built in a day
- Wikipedia:The world will not end tomorrow
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a work in progress
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a volunteer service