Wikipedia:Wikipedia essays

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On Wikipedia, an essay is a page in the project namespace (Wikipedia:) that is written by one or more editors and that typically addresses some aspect of working in Wikipedia, but has not been formally adopted as a guideline or policy by the community at large. Such pages are categorized into Category:Wikipedia essays or a related subcategory. Essays may range from personal or minority views, to views that enjoy a wide consensus amongst Wikipedia editors. Essays typically contain the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Unlike policies and guidelines, usually no formal attempt to judge the community's support for the essay's content has been made.

How to write a simple essay[edit]

Brief guide[edit]

  • Check to see if the topic of the essay has been covered by skimming through Wikipedia:Essay directory. Avoid writing redundant essays, or (in most cases) content-forking them.
  • Start the essay as a draft in the userspace.
  • Be concise and to the point.
  • Tag the essay with {{essay}}.
  • Use {{nutshell}} to summarize the gist of the essay.
  • Create a shortcut that redirects to the essay.
  • Categorize the essay, and use any relevant navigational templates.
  • Move the essay to the project space when finished.

Creating the essay page[edit]

A Wikipedia essay may be written by anyone. Before creating an essay, it is a good idea to check if similar essays already exist. Check the "see also" section of relevant guidelines and related essays, or perform a search of Help and Project pages.

If you find an essay similar to the one you intend to write, it is recommended you modify the existing one to include your ideas.

Labeling the page as an essay[edit]

Most pages in the Wikipedia namespace have a template at the top describing their purpose. (For some pages, however, editors may agree that no tag is the best option.)

The various "essay" templates available are:

Categories: The above templates should add an essay category to the essay. However, consider adding other categories to help people find the essay.

Other templates[edit]

There are other templates you may wish to include on your essay page:


You may want to include one or more shortcut links to the essay. You may include these either in the essay template itself as {{essay|WP:desired shortcut}} or in a separate box, as {{shortcut|WP:desired shortcut}}. (See Template:Shortcut for more information.) Shortcut boxes can also be used to point to individual sections on a page. For example, the shortcut to this section is formatted as #REDIRECT [[WP:Wikipedia essays#Shortcuts]] under the page title WP:SASC (See targed redirects for more information.)


You may want to include a brief summary of what the essay is about at the top of the page. To do this, use the template {{nutshell}} below the line with the essay tag: {{nutshell|Your desired text}}.

Navigational templates[edit]

It is also possible to add one or more navigational templates to your essay, called navboxes, that list a large number of other related essays. You are also encouraged to add your essay to the relevant navbox (by clicking on the 'e' in its upper left corner). Examples include:

It is also possible to include links to a handful of closely related pages in a "See also" section. To keep your essay from being an orphan, it is also recommended that you add a link to your essay in the see also section of one or more other related pages.

Recognition templates[edit]

Improving existing essays[edit]

Instead of reserving Wikipedia space for an essay, consider developing it in your user space first.

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.

It is important to keep in mind that like anything else on Wikipedia, essays are not owned by anyone, including their creator. Nothing is in stone. However, disputes between editors writing an essay should be handled differently than when writing an article, because there's no need to agree on a single "right" version. When your viewpoint differs significantly from that expressed in an essay, it is usually better to start a new essay of your own to provide a rebuttal or alternative view, rather than re-writing an existing essay to say the opposite of what it has always said. Because the reason an essay exists is to express an editor’s POV, it is wrong to eliminate or erase that viewpoint by hijacking the essay. Essays putting forward opposing views normally prominently link to each other.

Essays placed in User namespace (i.e., user essays) are often – though not always – meant to represent the viewpoint of one user only. 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.

Acceptance of essays[edit]

The Wikipedia community has historically tolerated a wide range of subjects and viewpoints on essay pages. However, there are a handful of "essay" pages that tend to get deleted or transferred to user space. These include:

  • Writings that have no relationship to Wikipedia whatsoever. The purpose of an essay is to aid the encyclopedia itself (by providing information, instructions, interpretations, or advice) and not any unrelated outside causes.
  • Writings that violate one or more Wikipedia policies, such as spam, personal attacks, copyright violations, or what Wikipedia is not.
  • Writings that contradict or subvert policy (or other pages with established consensus), especially if they are intended to undermine, not just disagree with, those pages. Such oppositional views are, however, generally tolerated within user essays.

See also[edit]