Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a volunteer service
|This essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline; it is intended to be an explanatory supplement to Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not.|
|This page in a nutshell: The editors on Wikipedia are mainly volunteers. Editors can contribute as much as they want, and however long they desire.|
Wikipedia is a volunteer service. What does this mean?
- Almost all contributions are made on the free time of their contributors
- There are no set crews or teams working on articles on any topic, just those who come along and volunteer information whenever they wish
- Anyone can take a break for any period of time or drop out whenever they like
- You can always stop working on one group of articles, take up working on another for a while, then resume the previous one, with no expectations from others
- You have the right to quit and never return, no questions asked, no explanation needed
- There is no minimum or maximum anyone can contribute
- There is no deadline
Reasons why one may not be editing
There are various reasons why one cannot immediately edit one or more pages as they should be in order to enable it to meet certain standards, or even to prevent it from being deleted. If an editor states his/her intentions to make some improvement, but that more time is needed for any reason, this should very much be respected.
Sometimes, an editor may have the intention to improve an article, but finding information on the topic may be time consuming. This may include reading books, newspapers, journals, or web sites and studying the information contained within them, deciding which of these to read, or writing this information in encyclopedic form. Rome was not built in one day. Neither is Wikipedia.
Other Wikipedia activities
Many editors are busy with creating or editing a series of articles or other materials, or otherwise making other improvements to Wikipedia, and therefore, cannot have any disruption to work on any unrelated materials.
Some people may be dedicated to Wikipedia as their number one cause in life. However, most editors are not. Editing Wikipedia is usually more in the nature of a hobby, which ranks in personal importance behind editors' personal lives and (usually) their employment.
Because Wikipedia is completely voluntary, under no circumstances are editors obligated or expected to make any edits, respond to any messages, or to otherwise have any involvement. Please don't presume that if a fellow editor has not responded to your message that you have offended them or that they are insulting you: assume good faith and remember that life might have gotten complicated and by drawing negative inferences from their lack of editing you might be making it less attractive for them to productively contribute to the project in the future.
Sometimes Wikipedia can be stressful. When this happens, sometimes the best thing to do is take a break. If you're not enjoying editing, then it is time to take a break – don't be a wikipediholic. Remember, if things don't go your way, it's not the end of the world. If stress is bothering you, try looking at these adorable kittens.
Editing Wikipedia is often one among many hobbies. An editor may spend months playing video games, hiking, reading, visiting friends, or watching the grass grow. They may show up to edit Wikipedia whenever they feel like it.