Wikipedia:You can't follow all the rules, all the time
This is an essay on WP:Ignore all rules, WP:Consensus, and WP:Dispute resolution.
|This page in a nutshell: 'Because the rule says so' is not a valid argument for doing something. Focus on improvements, not rules.|
In building consensus, there are times when everyone will argue that such or such change breaks their preferred rule and thus simply can't be made. It's a good time to apply the WP:Ignore all rules policy and focus on how the proposed change makes the encyclopedia better regardless of what the rules say.
If the change makes the article better in some way and worse in some other way, editors should comment on which one of these options is more important for themselves or others, not how the change fits this or that rule – because it's impossible to comply with all of them at once.
In this situation, rules are still useful, as they contain ideas on how the change is likely to improve the article, or make it worse in particular ways. Just don't argue that a change should be made or prevented just because the rule says so; that's not the nature of rules. Policies and guidelines are collections of principles that many editors agree to be good ways to make the encyclopedia better; but they are of general nature, and must be evaluated for each particular situation to assess if they apply, and if they indeed make it better or not.
Editors who insist that rules must be followed for their own sake, without explaining how doing it will improve the encyclopedia, are themselves breaking the rules, as Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. However, in all cases please remember that "Ignore all rules" is not a call to disregard the opinions of other editors. Decisions on how to change an article must be made by a consensus of editors roughly agreeing on an acceptable solution.