Wikipedia:Ignoring all rules – a beginner's guide
|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.|
|This page in a nutshell: Ignore all rules – but only for good reasons|
or, in its original form:
- If rules make you nervous and depressed, and not desirous of participating in the Wiki, then ignore them and go about your business.
Perhaps the spirit of the rule could be said in an even better way:
- Use your common sense over anything else.
There are multiple legitimate purposes for this rule to exist. For example:
- It prevents Wikipedia turning into a bureaucracy where nothing happens, and helps cut down on red tape. No one can read all the rules, and it encourages people to be WP:BOLD.
- It means things can be done which might be against the word of the policy but passes the essence of them. It's the equivalent of "Use your common sense" – a typical example is if you think something notable is being deleted that doesn't quite fit in policy.
- It tries to prevent people getting obsessive and stressed over little things. Stop worrying about the little things: if you're doing things for the greater good, that's all that matters even if it turns out you were wrong.
- It allows for consensus to adapt over time, allowing rules to change. Since Wikipedia is consensus, think of it as Wikipedia's jury nullification.
However, many people seem to misunderstand the spirit of the rule, and think it's a convenient excuse to ignore anything they disagree with. This goes against the intention of the rule. Essentially, WP:IAR has some things implied:
- Don't cite Ignore All Rules for acting like an idiot. Civility always applies, and don't try to disrupt Wikipedia.
- Don't abuse Ignore All Rules if you're an admin using admin features.
- Don't use it out of pure laziness. Ideally, read the relevant policies and cite WP:IAR explaining the reasons why, despite the policy also acknowledging that this isn't always possible due to the sheer breadth of policy, guidelines and bureaucracy.
- Don't use it to try to create rifts in the community.
- Don't try and use it to get around WP:CONSENSUS (deleting stuff that people disagree with in an article, for example).
Think of it like "free speech". It exists, but there are limitations. Use your common sense!
- Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, except for the one about consensus – another essay in the spirit of this one.
- WP:Enforcement – Some rules are being enforced, so they cannot be easily ignored.