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This page includes a summary of official policies on the English Wikipedia which are set out in detail elsewhere. Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered standards that all editors should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision is consistent with the underlying policies. When in doubt, discuss it on the talk page.
Where a discrepancy exists, the policy page itself overrides. Changing this page does not change policy. Likewise, adding a page to this summary does not elevate it to policy status. Policies are promoted through consensus. See Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines for more.
Articles about living persons, which require a degree of sensitivity, must adhere strictly to Wikipedia's content policies. Be very firm about high-quality references, particularly about details of personal lives. "Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material—whether negative, positive, or just questionable—about living (or sometimes recently deceased) persons should be removed immediately and without discussion from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, user pages, and project space."
Articles may not contain any unpublished theories, data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas; or any new interpretation, analysis, or synthesis of published data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas that, in the words of Wikipedia's co-founder Jimbo Wales, would amount to a "novel narrative or historical interpretation."
Articles should cite sources whenever possible. While we cannot check the accuracy of cited sources, we can check whether they have been published by a reputable publication and whether independent sources have supported them on review. Any unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
If someone challenges your edits, discuss it with them and seek a compromise, or seek dispute resolution. Do not start fights over competing views and versions. Reverting any part of any single page more than three times in twenty-four hours, or even once if long-term edit-warring is apparent, can result in a block on your account.
Do not stop other editors from enjoying Wikipedia by making threats, nitpicking good-faith edits to different articles, repeated annoying and unwanted contacts, repeated personal attacks or posting personal information.
Articles, images, categories etc. may be "speedily deleted" if they clearly fall within certain categories, which generally boil down to pages lacking content, or disruptive pages. Anything potentially controversial should go through the deletion process instead.
As a shortcut around the Articles for Deletion ("AfD") process, for uncontroversial deletions an article can be proposed for deletion, but only once. If no one contests the proposed deletion within seven days, an administrator may delete the article.
As a shortcut around the Miscellany for Deletion ("MfD") process, for uncontroversial deletions a Wikipedia-Book can be proposed for deletion, but only once. If no one contests the proposed deletion within seven days, an administrator may delete the book.
Articles which are unsourced biographies of living persons can be proposed for deletion through a special process. If no one contests the proposed deletion within seven days, an administrator may delete the article. In order to contest the proposed deletion, at least one reliable source supporting at least one statement in the article must be added.
Administrators, like all editors, are not perfect beings. However, in general, they are expected to act as role models within the community, and a good general standard of civility, fairness, and general conduct both to editors and in content matters, is expected. When acting as administrators, they are also expected to be fair, exercise good judgment, and give explanations and be communicative as necessary.
Extremely disruptive editors may be banned from Wikipedia. Please respect these bans, do not bait banned users, and do not help them out. Bans can be appealed to Jimbo Wales or the Arbitration Committee, depending on the nature of the ban.
Pages can be protected against vandals or during fierce content disputes. Protected pages can, but in general should not, be edited by administrators. In addition, pages undergoing frequent vandalism can be semi-protected to block edits by very new or unregistered editors.
Relates to material copied from sources that are either not public domain, or are not compatibly licensed without the permission of the copyright holder. Wikipedia has no tolerance for copyright violations in our encyclopedia, and we actively strive to find and remove any violations.
It is Wikipedia policy to delete libelous revisions from the page history. If you believe you have been defamed, please contact us. It is the responsibility of all contributors to ensure that material posted on Wikipedia is not defamatory.
Use dispute resolution rather than making legal threats, for everyone's sake, as we respond quickly to complaints of defamation or copyright infringement. If you make legal threats, or take legal action over a Wikipedia dispute, you may be blocked from editing, so that the matter is not exacerbated through other channels. If you do take legal action, please refrain from editing until it is resolved.
The Exemption Doctrine Policy for the English Wikipedia. The cases in which you can declare usage of a non-free image, audio clip, or video clip as "fair use" are quite narrow. You must specify the exact use, and only use the image or clip in that one context. Only use non-free content as a last resort.
Relates to the basis of using Wikipedia content in your own publications. Most of Wikipedia's material may be freely used under the CC BY-SA and GFDL licences. Which means you must credit the authors, re-license the material under CC BY-SA or GFDL, and allow free access to it.
Programs that update pages automatically in a useful and harmless way may be welcome, as long as their owners seek approval first and are careful to keep them from running amok or being a drain on resources.
CheckUser is a tool allowed to be used by a small number of editors who are permitted to examine user IP information and other server log data under certain circumstances, for the purposes of protecting Wikipedia against actual and potential disruption and abuse.
Mediation is a process that creates valid consensus with the aid of a neutral third party skilled in dispute resolution. Editors may request formal mediation from the Mediation Committee or informal mediation from any Wikipedia contributor.