Wikipedia:Taking the road less traveled
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors on the Ignore all rules policy and the Be bold guideline. 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: Doing things differently from others can often yield better results.|
The road less traveled
Metaphorically speaking, someone who takes 'the road less traveled' is acting independently, freeing themselves from the conformity of others (who choose to take 'the road more often traveled'), generally making their own choices, and perhaps leaving a new trail that will become the road more often traveled (until, of course, someone takes the road less traveled from there, and happens upon something even better than the first improvement; in that way, the cycle always repeats itself, and Wikipedia is continually made better).
|“||Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This idea of taking the road less traveled, or doing things a separate way from the way they are usually done, while applicable to many aspects of life, is in particular applicable to Wikipedia. If one, as an editor, or even as a reader, happens across a way to do something, anything, more easily or in a better fashion that it is commonly or is always done, then one should probably take the road less traveled and give it a shot. If this is done, the person in question might leave a trail that will become the road more often traveled, and has bettered Wikipedia just by doing that.
The road more often traveled
Despite the obvious advantages of taking the road less traveled, there are certain times when taking this path is not always the best choice, and it might be better just to stick with the road more often traveled. Taking another road just to circumvent the road more often traveled, the road that policy is built on, is not constructive. Making the choice of which road to take can sometimes be hard, and is very dependent on the situation. Knowing when to take the road built on Wikipedia policy and when to be a non-conformist and do something that may not be in the policy but may be in the best interests of Wikipedia is the mark of a Wikipedian who has the encyclopedia's best interests at heart.
One must assess the possible advantages, disadvantages and risks of taking either road, just as any real-life explorer or traveler would.