Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, except for the one about consensus
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors on the Wikipedia:Ignore all rules policy. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. Consider these views with discretion. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines.|
|This page in a nutshell: If the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, and there's no consensus against it, ignore them.|
- This essay is still being worked on by its original author. But don't let that stop you making your own improvements within the spirit of the piece.
Generally speaking, if you think the rules are preventing you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, you should ignore them. But sometimes there's disagreement over whether an edit really is an improvement. To help resolve edit wars, Wikipedia has a policy on consensus. Even if you think you are improving or maintaining Wikipedia, you should not ignore a consensus against you. The same policy also points out various things, notably "Office Actions" and certain declarations by Jimmy Wales, that also should not be ignored.
Why is the consensus rule special?
All other rules come under "improving or maintaining Wikipedia". The consensus rule is different because you might believe you are "improving or maintaining Wikipedia" without actually doing so. The consensus rule helps mitigate that.
What happens if you ignore the consensus rule?
You may quite reasonably justify the same edit over and over again as "improving or maintaining Wikipedia", even though a consensus of editors keeps reverting it. Of course, edit wars are bad, but your edit is an improvement, while the consensus reversion is damage, so all blame for "edit warring" lies with them.
What about all those other rules, aren't they exceptions too?
The rules about neutrality and copyright and so on serve to improve or maintain Wikipedia. We trust you to apply them appropriately. But if you're wrong, hopefully a consensus of people will tell you so.
What about decisions by Jimbo and ArbCom?
Those are covered under Wikipedia:Consensus#Decisions not subject to consensus of editors.