Wikipedia talk:Five pillars

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Is this page a policy or guideline, or the source for all policies and guidelines?
A: No. It is a non-binding description of some of the fundamental principles, begun by User:Neutrality in 2005 as a simple introduction for new users. For comparison, WP:NPOV and WP:NOT were begun in 2001, WP:IAR in 2002, and WP:NOR and WP:V were written in 2003.
Q: What was this page originally based on?
A: It was an expansion of WP:Trifecta.
Q: Does the title refer to the Five Pillars of Islam?
A: No. It also has nothing to do with the Five Precepts of Buddhism or the Five Pillars puzzle.
Q: Even though it has nothing to do with the Five Pillars of Islam, won't Muslim people be offended anyway?
A: Muslim editors commenting here have confirmed that there is nothing offensive in this. The Arabic Wikipedia uses exactly the same words to title their version of this essay. The words "five pillars" are not inherently sacred; the same words might be used by Muslims in everyday speech, such as to describe architectural elements in a building.
Q: Does this page list every single important principle?
A: No. It does not discuss the importance of using common sense, not charging money to readers, cooperating with Wikipedias in other languages, the desirability of making pages accessible to people with disabilities or limited internet access, or any number of other principles that the community has identified as important over the years.
Q: Where can I find similar pages?
A: See Wikipedia:Principles.
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Wikipedia must survive[edit]

Based on my experience and understanding of the project, I'd say that the long-term survival of Wikipedia is an important goal that motivates several actions taken by the Foundation and the community, including maybe the foundation of the Foundation itself. Would you agree? Under what pillar would it fall? Or is it just taken for granted? --Felipe (talk) 06:31, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

This really isn't necessary to encode in the pillars, which are more about how the Wikipedia is and how its editors should operate. The higher level statement is the Wikimedia Foundation's Mission Statement, which already says "The Foundation will make and keep useful information from its projects available on the Internet free of charge, in perpetuity." Jason Quinn (talk) 15:35, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Am so happy to be part of Wikipedia now,can't wait to give my first contribution Adebayo14292012 (talk) 18:21, 14 June 2016 (UTC)


We should add a banner so the page is better divided..talking about short cut not to overlap or sandwiching main text. Something like below....what do others think?--Moxy (talk) 06:34, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Info non-talk.svg The fundamental principles of Wikipedia may be summarized in five "pillars":

First pillar
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia: It combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers. Wikipedia is not a...................
Second pillar
Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view: We strive for articles that document and explain the major points of view, giving due weight......


Simple is good, and the current page is fine and does not need a box. Johnuniq (talk) 07:19, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

I'm against it. I'd like to leave the page simple and friendly rather than formal and cold. Also it is wrong, the page just summarizes the ones which we generally think it is a good idea for new editors to be aware of. With them and a bit of common sense they should be able to contribute constructively. It doesn't matter if we're not fully correct if this is some principles which aren't part of the formal policy and guidelines system. What it says is good enough. Dmcq (talk) 08:09, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

@Dmcq - What are you talking about its wrong ??? no change to text just a box added. You saying we need to change the text that is already there? -- Moxy (talk) 22:19, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Check the archives from last August if you want to read the background. It is technically true that Wikipedia's principles may be summarized into these five points; whether the existing summary is ideal, and whether it includes all of the important points, and whether it includes too much, is, however, is a matter of personal opinion. For comparison, this page was based on WP:TRIFECTA, which has only three, and one of the first important such statements of principles, written by Jimmy Wales, has eight. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:57, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, and that's why I created Template:Wikipedia principles many moons ago. This page, and those others, don't fit into tidy boxes, because they're older than the boxes. See also, WP:NOTAG. HTH. Quiddity (talk) 22:11, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

Inserting policy list template Suggestion[edit]

I wanted to add the Policy list sidebar to this page /article, but it just ruins the layout. maybe somebody with more layout skills can add it in a nice way. maybe the lead should be a bit longer to make it nice (add some of the history and a toc or so ) WillemienH (talk) 09:01, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

The idea is well meaning but a major attraction of this page is its simplicity. I would not support adding any kind of navbox because it would distract from the core issues. Clicking almost any of the links at 5P leads to standard pages with lots of navboxes. While checking that, I noticed that the first link looks like this:
may be summarized in five "pillars"
That link seems unnecessary and I think it should be removed in the keep it simple spirit. Johnuniq (talk) 09:40, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

Chiseling pillars 11/29 to[edit]

Heya @Risker, Johnuniq, Swarm, and Flyer22 Reborn: - Good to be working with alyawl on these pillars of ours. Sequence so far:

  1. I misread the markups on Par 1, and "fixed" something that wasn't broken
  2. Risker saved me from myself
  3. I wikifed "impartial tone" and changed "major" to significant (which is the word WP:NPOV uses in its lede). Ironic and sad that we Wikpedians have developed our own jargon. But since we already have our own technical dictionary anyway, we ought to at least use our jargon consistently. We're confusing enough as it is.
  4. Johnuniq reverted my edit: "written from a neutral point of view" is linked so another link to the same page is not needed; "the major" is easy to understand while "significant" is in the eye of the beholder
  5. I don't agree, for reasons above, but left it alone. not a big deal.
  6. I removed "carved in stone" from "Wikipedia has policies and guidelines, but they are not carved in stone; their content and interpretation can evolve over time." I noted it's a Cliché, and adds nothing to sentence. "Wikipedia has policies and guidelines, but their content and interpretation can evolve over time" says exactly the same thing, but shorter, and clear of cliché.
  7. Swarm reinserted the cliche: Totally disagree, this is a simple and direct way of explaining this pillar. The fundamental cornerstone of all rules on Wikipedia cannot be made too clear in this context.
  8. I agree with you on principle. Evolutionary change ought to be stressed. How to do that without cliche? How about "Wikipedia does have policies and guidelines, but our rules do change, with changes in consensus." (1) it's descriptive, not speculative, (2) it puts emphasis on our evolutionary process, (3) corrects the redundant "evolve over time", and (4) clearly states that we change our rules by consensus.
  9. Flyer22 Reborn: Re-added WP:Due link. WP:Due is an aspect of WP:Neutral, and too many people mistake what being neutral means on Wikipedia.
  10. I was thinking similar thoughts when I wikified "impartial tone, but Johnuniq reverted me. So I'll let you guys sort that out. no big deal to me. What is a big deal to me is that we understand each other.

Summary and commentary by LeoRomero (talk) 17:42, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

For reference, before-and-after permalinks are 04:44, 17 November 2015 and 16:44, 30 November 2015, and the change is diff. I'll need some time to digest the changes but I suspect I could easily be talked into supporting the original because even removing "the" from "the major points of view" involves a subtle change of meaning. Much of the new wording is more elegant, but careful examination would be needed to decide whether it is useful here. By the way, the ping to me in the above did not work—don't know why. Johnuniq (talk) 02:42, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

What's Missing: the Reader Experience[edit]

What seems to be missing from the five pillars is anything related to the reader's experience. Sure we try to make sure it's neutral and accurate, but there's no focus on convenience, ease of reading, good writing style, and proving relevant information to the visitor in a thoughtful manner. As a consequence, we clutter up our articles with distracting banners, hatnotes, excess images, inconsistent formatting, disorganized presentation, meandering text, and lists of miscellanea. I know there's been an effort to address that with the FA criteria and the style guide, but it's still not a part of the Five Pillars. Just saying... Praemonitus (talk) 19:16, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

That's all covered by the first pillar. It is a reference work which means it must be useful to refer to. Dmcq (talk) 13:00, 10 July 2016 (UTC)