Wikipedia:Essays

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Wikipedia:ESSAY)
Jump to: navigation, search

Essays, as used by Wikipedia editors, typically contain information, advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. The purpose of an essay is to aid or comment on the encyclopedia and not any unrelated causes. Essays have no official status, and do not speak for the Wikipedia community as they may be created without approval. Many essays are referred to during discussions to expand on or clarify existing policy or guidelines. Following the instructions or advice given in an essay is optional.

About essays[edit]

The value of an essay should be understood in context, using some sense and discretion. Essays can be written by anyone and can be long monologues or short thesis, serious or funny. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. Although essays are not policy or guidelines many are worthy of consideration. An essay, as well as being useful, can potentially be a divisive means of espousing a point of view.

The difference between policies, guidelines, and some essays on Wikipedia maybe obscure. Essays vary in popularity and how much they are followed and referred to. Editors should defer to official policies or guidelines when essays are inconsistent with established community standards and principals.

It is not a good idea to "quote" essays as though they are policy —iincluding this essay. Essays can be written without much—if any—debate, as opposed to Wikipedia policy that have been thoroughly vetted. In Wikipedia discussions, editors may refer to essays provided that they do not hold them out as policy or consensus.

The {{essay}}, {{Wikipedia how to}}, {{supplement}} and {{Information page}} versus the {{guideline}} and {{policy}} templates give an indication as to a pages status within the community. Most essays are located in the Wikipedia namespace (e.g., Wikipedia:Reasonability Rule) and in User namespaces (e.g., User:Tony1/Spot the ambiguity). The Help namespace contains essays which provide information on using Wikipedia and its software (e.g., Help:Editing). However the Wikipedia namespace and User namespaces also contains many "how to" style essays (e.g., Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle).

Types of essays[edit]

Wikipedia essays
Typically addresses some aspect of working in Wikipedia. They have not been formally adopted as a guideline or policy by the community at large, but typically edited by the community and many often have a significant degree of consensus (e.g., Wikipedia:Tendentious editing). Essays may be moved into userspace (or deleted) if they are found to be unhelpful or to contradict a settled point of policy.
See: Category:Wikipedia essays
User essays
These are similar to essays placed in the Wikipedia namespace; however, they are often authored/edited by only one person, and may represent a strictly personal viewpoint about Wikipedia or its processes (e.g., User:Jehochman/Responding to rudeness). Writings that contradict or subvert policy are somewhat tolerated within the User namespace. The author of a personal essay located in his or her user space has the right to revert any changes made to it by any other user.
See: Category:User essays
Wikipedia information pages
These are informative essays, while not policies or guidelines themselves, are intended to supplement or clarify Wikipedia guidelines, policies, or other Wikipedia norms, processes and practices that in fact have communal consensus. Where essay pages offer advice or opinions through viewpoints, information pages supplement or clarify communal consensus in an impartial way (e.g., Wikipedia:Contributing to Wikipedia).
See: Category:Wikipedia information pages
WikiProject advice pages
WikiProjects are groups of editors who like working together. Advice pages written by these groups are formally considered the same as pages written by anyone else, that is, they are essays unless and until they have been formally adopted as community-wide guidelines or policies. WikiProjects are encouraged to write essays explaining how the community's policies and guidelines should be applied to their areas of interest and expertise (e.g., Wikipedia:WikiProject Bibliographies#Recommended structure).
See: Category:WikiProjects
Historical essays
The Wikimedia Foundation's Meta-wiki was envisioned as the original place for editors to comment on and discuss Wikipedia, although the "Wikipedia" project space has since taken over most of that role. Many historical essays can still be found within Meta:Category:Essays.

Creation and modification of essays[edit]

You do not have to be the one who originally created an essay in order to improve it. If an essay already exists, you can add to, remove from, or modify it as you wish, provided that you use good judgment. However, essays placed in the User: namespace are often – though not always – meant to represent the viewpoint of one user only. You should not normally edit someone else's user essay without permission.

Before creating an essay, it is a good idea to check if similar essays already exist. Although there is no guideline or policy that explicitly prohibits it, writing redundant essays is discouraged. Avoid creating essays just to prove a point or gamie the system. Essays that violate one or more Wikipedia policies, such as spam, personal attacks, copyright violations, or what Wikipedia is not tend to get deleted or transferred to user space.

Proposals for new guidelines and policies require discussion and a high level of consensus from the entire community for promotion to guideline or policy. See Wikipedia:How to contribute to Wikipedia guidance for more information.

Finding essays[edit]

Wikipedia:About essay searching lists over 800 essays to allow searching for key words or terms with your browser. The gist of user written essays can be found at Wikipedia:Essays in a nutshell. Essays can also be navigated via categories, the navigation template (as seen below), or Special:Search (as seen below; include the words "Wikipedia essays" with your other search-words).