Wikipedia:Wikipedia essays showcase

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Wikipedia essays showcase

On Wikipedia, an essay is a page in the project namespace (Wikipedia:) that is written by one or more editors that typically addresses some aspect of working on or with Wikipedia. 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. Unlike policies and guidelines, no formal attempt to gauge their consensus has been made.

User essays have a purpose similar to essays placed in the project namespace; however, they are often authored by only one person, and may represent a strictly personal viewpoint about Wikipedia.

Featured essay

Method for Consensus Building

Wikipedia typically uses consensus to make group decisions. Left to their own devices, discussions often don't end well. Wikipedia's decline in participation has been the subject of a Wall Street Journal front-page article. Dissatisfaction with unproductive discussions has been cited as a major problem for participants. Even a WikiMedia Strategy task force is considering ideas for improving consensus-building processes.

This is a proposed recommendation for adding a simple consensus building method to discussions on Wikipedia. Initially it has to start as a voluntary experiment to see what changes are needed and how it catches on. The intent is to adhere to keeping it simple and avoid instruction creep as much as possible.

This consensus-building method encourages results that include all the editors' stated positions, like any consensus-based method. Importantly, it also mitigates the ability to filibuster or obstruct a discussion. It does that by requiring editors to state their positions up front, and obligating editors who object to a proposal to make a better proposal that includes all sides. An editor who does not make an effort to meet those obligations is more visible in having not participated, and may be excluded from the discussion if necessary to reach a conclusion. It makes it easier to show who is acting in good faith.

Even with that said, we're all human. So it can't possibly be perfect. We're looking for an improvement good enough to make Wikipedia more fun, or at least not setting up valuable volunteers to drive each other away, while retaining its basic principle of large scale consensus-based decision making. Remember the saying, Perfect is the enemy of done. So let's find what it takes to achieve these needed improvements in consensus building! Read more...

Selected quote

The fight-or-flight response developed by our pre-human ancestors may have helped them escape from angry mastodons, but it isn't constructive in an online encyclopedia.[1] Wikipedia collaboration occurs between geographically isolated people in cyberspace. Nonetheless, sometimes editors get angry and feel a natural urge to fire off an immediate retort ("fight"). The urge is accompanied by a rapid heart rate, dilated pupils, and other physiological changes associated with the body's release of adrenaline (epinephrine). Or, they get scared or peeved or weary and just log off ("flight").

One of the best experiences at Wikipedia happens among editors with deep differences. People don't have to agree about a topic to collaborate on a great article. All it takes is mutual respect and a willingness to abide by referenced sources and site policy. If you think you're right, dig up the very best evidence you can find and put that in the article. Let the other side's best evidence be a challenge to raise your own standards and always bear the big picture in mind: we're here to provide information for nonspecialists.

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  • This essay will go over the use of textbooks as references briefly.

An essay that is less than a month old can go in this space.


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The following is a list of Wikipedia essays by category. 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.

To display all subcategories click on the "►":
Wikipedia essays(41 C, 1,852 P)
Uncategorized essays(empty)
User essays(9 C, 1,763 P)
Wikipedia essay templates(1 C, 19 P)
Wikipedia behavioral essays(1 C, 57 P)
Wikipedia civility essays(1 C, 99 P)
Wikipedia competence essays(1 C, 32 P)
Wikipedia deletion essays(1 C, 96 P)
Wikipedia guidance essays(2 C, 217 P)
Humorous Wikipedia essays(1 C, 111 P)
Wikipedia neutrality essays(1 C, 51 P)
Wikipedia essays on notability(1 C, 120 P)
Wikipedia essays on style(7 C, 22 P)
WikiProject advice(5 C, 21 P)

See also

Wikipedia:Essay directory 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 the navigation template (as seen below), or Special:Search (as seen below; include the words "Wikipedia essays" with your other search-words).


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  1. ^ This assertion may be unfair to mastodons. According to Diana Reiss of Columbia University, elephants are among the species that "are thought to possess the highest forms of empathy and altruism in the animal kingdom." No mastodons were available for study. The Guardian accessed 31 October 2006