Wikipedia:Shadowless Fists of Death!
|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: Don't mindlessly quote policy or guideline titles at other editors in arguments. It's obnoxious and counter productive. Explain thyself.|
- "I would really really appreciate it if people actually bothered to read policy/guideline pages rather than just quoting them like some fighters in an old kung fu movie ("WP:Drunken fists!" "WP:RETAIN!" "WP:Flying mongoose!" "WP:DIACRITICS!" "WP:Shadowless Fist of Death!")" – Volunteer Marek, some time on 5 April 2011
Wikipedia policy and guideline titles, for example WP:RS, WP:OR, WP:NPOV and many others, especially WP:SFoD, are NOT magical incantations which, when invoked at the proper moment will defeat your opponents in arguments. Editors should not mindlessly invoke various Wikipedia guidelines and policies, or just their shortcut names, like some kind of magical mantras, without having bothered to read the actual guideline/policy, or adequately explaining how a particular policy/guideline actually applies in a particular case.
Because policy pages are in wiki format, anyone can change their content at any time – and do. There are groups of Wikipedians who devote their time to debating what these policy pages should say. One is better off not invoking or quoting policy, but explaining oneself clearly and succinctly, and linking to policy pages only when it serves as a useful shortcut. More times than not, the average Wikipedian's understanding of policy is more accurate than what the relevant page actually states, and it may take a critical incident to force the community to bring the page up to date.
Furthermore, invoking certain policies or essays can often backfire. One common example is when an editor, who has WP:TE or WP:COI hurled at her or him, immediately invokes WP:AGF. Unless the editor's following sentences prove remarkably persuasive, everyone reading the thread for more than entertainment purposes will be busy studying that editor's contribution history very carefully, expecting to find further examples of misbehavior.