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.

Behavioral[edit]

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.
Etiquette
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.
Signatures
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.

Other behavioural guidelines[edit]

Appealing a block
A block is not a punishment but a way to prevent disruption. Blocked users should understand the reasons for the block and convince administrators that they won't disrupt the project if they are unblocked.
Article feedback response
The Article Feedback Tool gives users an easy option to leave suggestions on how to improve pages.
Canvassing
When notifying other editors of discussions, keep the number of notifications small, keep the message text neutral, and don't preselect recipients according to their established opinions. Be open!
Changing username
How bureaucrats approach requests at Wikipedia:Changing username/Simple and Wikipedia:Changing username/Usurpations.
Courtesy vanishing
Courtesy vanishing means any user in good standing—upon leaving Wikipedia forever—may request renaming of their account; deletion or blanking of user pages; and possibly the deletion or blanking of discussions related to his or her conduct.
Deceased Wikipedians Guidelines
An organized procedure for dealing with the accounts, userpages, and user rights of deceased Wikipedians as established by community consensus.
Gaming the system
Playing games with policies and guidelines in order to avoid the spirit of consensus, or thwart the intent and spirit of policy, is strictly forbidden.
Linking to external harassment
Links that contain privacy violations or malicious harassment should be avoided. Links in articles are a matter for sound editorial judgement.
Reviewing
Reviewing consists of determining whether a new revision is broadly acceptable for public view, and if not, editing the article to obtain an acceptable revision.
Rollback
Rollback is available to all administrators, and can be given to other users upon request, subject to the approval. It allows the last user's consecutive edits on a given page to be undone with a single mouse click.
Spam blacklist
The Spam blacklist is a control mechanism that prevents an external link from being added to an English Wikipedia page when the URL matches one listed at MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist.

Content[edit]

Autobiography
Avoid writing or editing an article about yourself, other than to correct unambiguous errors of fact.
Citing sources and Scientific citation guidelines
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
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.
Plagiarism
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 and Reliable sources for medicine
Information about identifying and using appropriate sources to comply with Wikipedia's Verifiability policy.
Spoiler
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.

Other content guidelines[edit]

Accuracy dispute
Articles for which much of the factual accuracy is actively disputed, should have a {{Disputed}} warning place at the top, and are listed at Category:Accuracy disputes.
Anarchism referencing guidelines
In order to determine whether a given source is reliable with regard to claims concerning anarchism, the Anarchism Task Force provides this guideline.
Do not create hoaxes
Do not deliberately add hoaxes, incorrect information, or unverifiable content to articles. Articles about notable hoaxes are acceptable.
Do not include the full text of lengthy primary sources
Quotes of any original texts being discussed should be relevant to the discussion (or illustrative of style), and should be kept to an appropriate length.
Logos
When using images of logos, care must be taken about copyright, trademark and editorial concerns.
No 3D illustrations
Don't use pictures which can only be correctly viewed with special 3D equipment.
Non-U.S. copyrights
A work that is in the public domain in its home country can sometimes be under copyright in the United States, and so can not be used on Wikipedia, which is subject to U.S. law.
Offensive material
Wikipedia articles may contain offensive words and images, but only for a good reason. Do not use disclaimers.
Patent nonsense
Guideline for dealing with nonsense text.
Portal guidelines
General guidelines and best practices for portals.
Spam
Spam is the inappropriate addition of links or information to Wikipedia, with the purpose of promoting an outside organization, individual or idea.
Television Episodes; Record Charts; WikiProject Days of the year articles; Video games articles
Guidelines for these contents.

Deletion[edit]

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.

Editing[edit]

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.
Disambiguation
Resolving the conflicts that arise when a single term is ambiguous—when it refers to more than one topic covered by Wikipedia.
Shortcut
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.
Categorization
Link articles upwards to create categories. Categorization of people (By year. By ethnicity, gender, religion and sexuality). Redirect categories. User categories.
Overcategorization
Overcategorization makes categories more crowded and less useful.
Subpages
Creation of subpages in main namespace is not allowed. Subpages may be created in other namespaces using the slash (/) character.
Guidelines for certain types of articles
Broad concept articles. Reviewing good articles. Recent year articles. Stubs. Set index articles. Redirects (Soft redirects).
Other editing guidelines
Copying within Wikipedia and Wikimedia. Hatnote use. Summary sections. High-risk templates protection. Page blanking. Preparing images for upload. Red links. Reference desk guidelines. Substitution use. Updating articles ('As of' technique).

Naming conventions[edit]

See also: Category:Wikipedia naming conventions for a full list
Article titles
Main page for naming conventions for article tiles. Also has links to topic-specific conventions on article titles.
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 article 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.

Notability[edit]

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

Style[edit]

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.

Readability[edit]

Accessibility
The page outlines the goals of making web pages easier to navigate and read.
Understandability
Strive to make each part of every article as understandable as possible to the widest audience of readers.

Recent changes[edit]

See also[edit]

Tutorials
Related essays