Wikipedia:List of guidelines

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Categories of guidelines[edit]

Because there are a large number of guideline pages (over 200), they are subcategorized, using the {{subcat guideline}} template, according to their purpose.

  • Behavioral guidelines outline ways for editors to behave and interact with each other on talk pages and elsewhere at Wikipedia.
  • Content guidelines apply only to the article namespace (unless otherwise specified in the guideline), and offer advice on identifying and including encyclopedic information in articles.
  • Deletion guidelines explain criteria and procedures for deleting unwanted pages.
  • Editing guidelines usually provide non-content advice about categorization, navigation or other how-to-edit advice.
  • Naming conventions detail the correct ways to name articles on particular topics.
  • Notability guidelines outline the criteria that a subject must meet to merit a Wikipedia article.
  • Style guidelines contain extensive advice on writing style, formatting, grammar, and more.


Assume good faith
Unless there is strong evidence to the contrary, assume that people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it.
Conflict of interest 
Do not use Wikipedia to promote yourself, your website, or your organization.
Disruptive editing
Participants with a pattern of edits that has the effect of disrupting progress toward improving an article or the fundamental project of building an encyclopedia may be blocked or banned indefinitely.
Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point
State your point. However, do not spam Wikipedia, disingenuously nominate articles for deletion, push rules to their limits, or otherwise create work for other people just to prove your point.
Contributors have different views, perspectives, and backgrounds, sometimes varying widely. Treating others with respect is key to collaborating effectively in building an encyclopedia.
Please do not bite the newcomers
Many new contributors lack knowledge about Wikipedia policies. Nevertheless, always understand that new contributors are prospective "members" and are therefore our most valuable resource.
Sign all of your posts on Wikipedia talk pages by typing ~~~~ to be accountable and to help others understand the conversation, but do not sign in articles.
Talk page guidelines
Talk pages are for polite discussion serving to improve the encyclopedia, and should not be used to express personal opinions on a subject.
User pages
You can use your user page to add a little information about yourself or to help you to use Wikipedia more effectively. However, remember that Wikipedia is not a blog, webspace provider, or social networking site.
See also
Appealing a block. Canvassing. Courtesy vanishing. Deceased Wikipedians Guidelines. Gaming the system. Rollback. Spam blacklist. Linking to external harassment.


Avoid writing or editing an article about yourself, other than to correct unambiguous errors of fact.
Citing sources
For writing and formatting references using different citation styles.
Content forking
Articles should not be split into multiple articles just so each can advocate a different stance on the subject.
External links
External links should be kept minimal, meritable, and directly relevant to the article. Wikipedia is not an advertising opportunity.
Fringe theories
Care must be taken when writing content about fringe theories. Fringe theories should be covered only where their influence has been recognized by independent reliable sources and otherwise removed.
Images must be relevant to the article that they appear in, properly referenced, and large enough to reveal relevant details without overwhelming the text.
No disclaimers in articles
Wikipedia contains spoilers, potentially objectionable material, and more. There is generally no need to warn readers of this.
Non-free content and Non-free use rationale guideline
Non-free content—including all copyrighted content—can only be used in specific cases and must be employed judiciously.
Duplicating the work of others without proper attribution is unethical and can bring the project into disrepute. Give credit where it's due.
Reliable sources (medicine)
Information about identifying and using appropriate sources to comply with Wikipedia's Verifiability policy.
It is not acceptable to delete information on the basis that it might "spoil" a reader's experience of a narrative work.
Wikipedia is not for things made up one day
Resist the temptation to write about the new, great thing you or your friends just thought up.
See also
Accuracy dispute. Anarchism referencing guidelines. Days of the year. Do not create hoaxes. Logos. No 3D illustrations. Non-U.S. copyrights. Offensive material. Patent nonsense. Portal guidelines. Do not include the full text of lengthy primary sources. Scientific citation guidelines. Spam. WikiProject Video games article guidelines.


Deletion process
An overview of the processes by which articles get deleted.
Speedy keep
Closing debates at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, and related pages, with a result of "speedy keep".
Deletion guidelines for administrators
Administrators should mostly use the Wikipedia:Proposed deletion, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, and Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion pages when they think a page should be deleted. There are a few limited exceptions, which are given at Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion.


See also: Category:Wikipedia editing guidelines for a full list
Article size
discusses the optimal size for articles.
Be bold
Wikis develop faster when people fix problems, correct grammar, add facts, make sure the language is precise, and so on. We expect everyone to be bold. It is okay.
Resolving the conflicts that arise when a single term is ambiguous—when it refers to more than one topic covered by Wikipedia.
A shortcut is a specialized type of redirect page that provides an abbreviated wikilink to a project page or one of its sections, usually from the Wikipedia namespace.
Categories, lists, and navigation templates
This guideline helps editors choose appropriate grouping techniques.
Link articles upwards to create categories.
Overcategorization makes categories more crowded and less useful.
Creation of subpages in main namespace is not allowed. Subpages may be created in other namespaces using the slash (/) character.

Naming conventions[edit]

See also: Category:Wikipedia naming conventions for a full list
Category names
Category names should be specific, neutral, inclusive, and follow certain conventions.
Image file names
Image files should have readable file names.
Naming conventions (capitalization)
Always lowercase any words following the first in a page title, unless they are part of a proper noun.
Naming conventions (use English)
The title of an article should generally use the version of the name of the subject that is most common in the English language, as found in reliable sources. This makes it easy to find, and easy to compare information with other sources.


Only subjects that have received significant outside attention warrant being included on Wikipedia.


See also: Category:Wikipedia style guidelines and Wikipedia:WikiProject Manual of Style (to join a group of editors that maintain the guidelines in this category)
Manual of Style
This is the most important style guideline, and the "parent" of all the other style guidelines. It provides guidance on matters such as spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and formatting.
Manual of Style (dates and numbers)
Consistent standards in the use and formatting of dates and numbers make articles easier to read, write, and edit.
Manual of Style (footnotes)
Footnotes serve two purposes. First, to add explanatory material that might be distracting if included in the main text. Second, to present citations of sources that support the text's assertions.
Manual of Style (layout)
Common principles guide formatting of large-scale article components in most cases. Complicated articles may be best modeled on the layout of an existing article of appropriate structure.
Manual of Style (lead section)
The lead should define the topic and summarize the body of the article with appropriate weight.
Manual of Style (linking)
Provide links that aid navigation and understanding, but avoid cluttering the page with obvious, redundant and useless links.
Manual of Style (words to watch)
Be cautious with expressions that may introduce bias. Use clear, direct language.

Recent changes[edit]

See also[edit]

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