Wikipedia:Ignore all rules/Versions

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  • Ignore all rules: If rules make you nervous and depressed, and not desirous of participating in the wiki, then ignore them entirely and go about your business. —first preserved version, suggested by Larry Sanger in 2001
  • If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. —current version
  • Improve and maintain Wikipedia. This is more important than any other rule.
  • If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. Every rule exists for a purpose. Sometimes a rule must be broken to achieve its intended purpose. A rule that needs frequent breaking will eventually be amended.
  • If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. But try not to ignore people.
  • Use your best judgment, treat your fellow contributors with respect, and focus on building the encyclopedia. (circa June 2007)
  • Good sense, initiative, and consideration for others are more important than rules. (ex- fr:wiki, about July 2007)
  • Show consideration for others, use common sense, and focus on improving and maintaining content. If the 'rules' prevent any of this, ignore them.
  • The policies, guidelines and essays at Wikipedia do not constitute any kind of formal rule-set: independent thinking is encouraged in each potential "rule" situation.
  • The rules are important, but don't obsess over them. After all, sometimes they are wrong. If they prevent you from improving the encyclopedia, ignore them and use your best judgment. (from talkpage, July 2007)
Two brothers were novices at a monastery. The Zen master summoned the brothers to his chamber and said to the elder brother "Go cross the bridge over the deep valley to the west and present yourself to the master of the monastery there, as a sign of respect. Remember to ignore the rules if they prevent you from completing your task."
So the elder brother went to the edge of the valley and found that the bridge had collapsed. He returned to the monastery, saying, "Master, the bridge is gone and the valley is far too wide to circumvent. I cannot complete my task."
The master summoned the younger brother and told him "Go finish the task that I gave to your elder brother. Remember to ignore the rules if they prevent you from completing your task."
The younger brother set out on his task. He returned to the monastery the next day, and told the master "The master of the monastery across the valley sends his greetings."
Stunned, the elder brother said, "This is impossible! How was he able to cross the valley?"
The master said, "It does not matter."
And the elder brother was enlightened.
  • Obey every single rule precisely and to the letter. Otherwise the encyclopaedia will fall apart.
  • Ignoreallrules-notebook.jpg
  • Knowing the rules is more important than following them.
  • Stay on topic, talk sense, and you might be capable of helping.
  • Think straight please, and we'll get some work done, thanks.
  • If following the rules doesn't produce a good result, don't follow the rules.
  • if the rules get in the way of making a good encyclopedia, toss 'em. Yes, we meant it. Yes. Go ahead.


There's way too much red tape on wiki

Sometimes that tape is rather sticky

You wouldn't be wrong, not by a particle,

To say we each should write an article

Instead of having to engage

In drafting one more policy page

Which (we lose sight of this) is very

Clearly something ancillary

Can't we all straddle this wide fence

With just a bit of common sense?


  • IAR is not a poem.