These archetypes all exist, and have to work together. It's great when they balance, and often aggravating/unhealthy (for the project, and the editors) when they don't. (Images from the meta:Research:Editor Lifecycles study)
And then there are the manuals themselves. The Policies Guidelines & Styleguides (sometimes called wikilaw, pejoratively after those who practice it at extreme velocities) are a glorious mixture of: technical recommendation, summarized precedent of older discussions, nuanced philosophical perspective, and practical how-to. [We used to have the phrase "descriptive, not prescriptive" somewhere in there,1234 but it was too zen, and was excised a few years ago. ╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ So it goes.]
If you're not [confused / worried / outraged / overwhelmed / hopeful] then you're not paying attention!
And with the essays, we loop back to philosophy. The essays are (almost) all nuggets of truth, but expressed in wildly different writer's voices. They variously offer: metaphorical exaggerations, crude oversimplifications, besmirchments of opposing perspectives, commonsense clarifications, fabulous epiphanies, and insights to laugh along with.
Ignore nothing, detail is everything, but try not to get lost.)
See also, Exformation as brilliantly explained by Ze Frank. Our discussions (throughout Wikipedia, and throughout life) are overflowing with exformation. It's a useful thing to understand. The newcomers don't have any, and the regulars have too much!