Wikipedia:Akin's Laws of Article Writing

This page contains material which is considered humorous. It may also contain advice.
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Adapted from Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design (archive), which has explicitly listed permissions that made the "laws" are compatible with CC BY-SA 3.0 license ("Anyone is welcome to link to these, use them, post them, send me suggestions of additional laws...") Enjoy.

  1. Articles is written with source. Analysis without source is only an opinion.[a]
  2. To write a perfect article takes an infinite amount of effort. This is why it's a good idea to write them to work when some things are wrong.[b]
  3. Writing is an iterative process. The necessary number of edits is one more than the number you have currently done. This is true at any point in time.[c]
  4. Your best writing efforts will inevitably wind up being useless in the final design. Learn to live with the disappointment.[d]
  5. (Miller's Law) Seven stuff is ideal, plus or minus two.[e]
  6. (Mar's Law) Everything is linear if plotted log-log with a fat magic marker.[f]
  7. At the start of any collaboration effort, the person who most wants to be team leader is least likely to be capable of it.[g]
  8. In nature, the optimum is almost always in the middle somewhere. Distrust assertions that the optimum is at an extreme point.[h]
  9. Not having all the information you need is never a satisfactory excuse for not starting the writing.[i]
  10. When in doubt, compose. In an emergency, scribble. But be sure to go back and clean up the mess when the facts come along.[j]
  11. Sometimes, the fastest way to get to the end is to throw everything out and start over.[k]
  12. There is never a single right way of writing. There are always multiple wrong ones, though.[l]
  13. Writing is based on requirements. There's no justification for designing something one bit "better" than the requirements dictate.[m]
  14. (Edison's Law) "Better" is the enemy of "good".[n]
  15. (Shea's Law) The ability to improve an articles occurs primarily at the interfaces. This is also the prime location for screwing it up.[o]
  16. The previous people who did a similar assessment did not have a direct pipeline to the wisdom of the ages. There is therefore no reason to believe their assessment over yours. There is especially no reason to present their assessment as yours.[p]
  17. The fact that a source appears in print has no relationship to the likelihood of its being correct.[q]
  18. Past experience is excellent for providing a reality check. Too much reality can doom an otherwise worthwhile design, though.[r]
  19. The odds are greatly against you being more correct than everyone else. If your analysis says your terminal velocity is twice the speed of light, you may have invented warp drive, but the chances are a lot better that you've screwed up.[s]
  20. A bad article with a good presentation is doomed eventually. A good article with a bad presentation is doomed immediately.[t]
  21. (Larrabee's Law) Half of everything you have heard before is crap. Research is figuring out which half is which.[u]
  22. When in doubt, document. (Documentation requirements will reach a maximum shortly after the termination of a program.)[v]
  23. The schedule you develop will seem like a complete work of fiction up until the time when it ends.[w]
  24. It's called a "work breakdown structure" because the work remaining will grow until you have a breakdown, unless you enforce some structure on it.[x]
  25. (Bowden's Law) Following a nomination failure, it's always possible to refine the article to show that you really had negative margins all along.[y]
  26. (Montemerlo's Law) Don't do nuthin' dumb.[z]


  1. ^ Original research is prohibited
  2. ^ Build content to endure
  3. ^ Great Wikipedia articles come from a succession of editors' efforts
  4. ^ Nothing is in stone
  5. ^ Make it short
  6. ^ Be precise
  7. ^ Invite members to join a WikiProject as soon as possible
  8. ^ Neutral point of view
  9. ^ Be bold when making a new article
  10. ^ Citing sources may come later, but must be done before logging out
  11. ^ Blow it up and start over
  12. ^ Writing and English variations should not be changed without good reasons, hence the "wrong ones"
  13. ^ Perfection is not required
  14. ^ It is much harder to write good articles than featured articles
  15. ^ More links and references meant more rotting
  16. ^ A good or featured article from a related topic does not support your nomination. Your article nomination must follow the current good or featured article criteria.
  17. ^ Reliability of a source is independent of the medium used
  18. ^ Consensus is not easily overturned, but they can change with enough force
  19. ^ Fringe theories don't belong here
  20. ^ No amount of editing can overcome a lack of notability and Beef up that first revision
  21. ^ Don't think you are always right, other editors maybe just as right as well
  22. ^ Especially templates
  23. ^ There is an invisible deadline, especially when Wikipedia dies
  24. ^ Be systematic when clearing out backlogs
  25. ^ When your nomination is failed, it is wrong at somewhere
  26. ^ Do ignore all rules, but don't be plain dumb