Wikipedia:What Wikipedia Should Be
|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.|
What should Wikipedia be? It should be a learning institute, an example to other encyclopedias, and a friendly, helpful community. There are other things that people think Wikipedia should be, but this essay feels these points are the most important. Under each topic, you will find a context and a notes section. The topics will be listed in order of importance, not in order of alphabet or something similar. If you don't like the way they are put, please ask on the talk page and your questions will be answered.
A learning institute
Context: Wikipedia should be a place where people can learn about anything that interests them. Wikipedians should look for ways to expand Wikipedia's content and keep material that appears to be quality and up to date.
- Notes: This point should not be confused with Wikiversity's purpose, which is to establish and maintain free learning materials, environments, activities, and communities. However, Wikiversity often coordinates with Wikipedia for content that is needed, due to its limited amount of contributions. Nearly every pWiki, however, has a similar statement, so do not confuse them.
An example to other encyclopedias
Context: Wikipedia's content should meet the same standards met by other encyclopedias, such as Encyclopædia Britannica. Articles should be kept up to date and include accurate and thoroughly-referenced information. Articles that do not currently meet Wikipedia's standards should be improved—or deleted if absolutely necessary.
- Notes: Unfortunately, this principle is not followed all of the time. Most everyone on Wikipedia has been in one edit war or another over errors in content. However, errors have been found in other encyclopedias that were corrected here. And of course, we always have errors, but this is a good excuse to edit them plenty.
A friendly, helpful community
Context:Wikipedia should be a place where newcomers are welcomed. New editors should not be looked down upon for their lack of experience, but rather greeted warmly and introduced to editing. Wikipedia should be a place where editors work together for the greater good rather than argue amongst themselves. Wikipedia has come as far as it has through teamwork, rather than independent action that ignores the concerns of other editors.
- Notes: A friendly community that meets up to enhance the productivity of the encyclopedia can be confused with networking sites, but it really is a different thing, although some of the things that are community-related (i.e., talk pages, IRC, etc.) are also friend-making related. Be careful if you evaluate something to be one or the other and then discover that it is really both.