Wikipedia talk:Five pillars/Archive 7

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Archive 6 Archive 7 Archive 8


I would like to make a complaint about this page. I don't know about anybody else but to me it sounds like the five pillars of Islam with all of their rules. I am not Muslim myself, but I fear that some Muslims could be offended. Please reply politely! Quiggers1P (talk) 21:26, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

See Wikipedia_talk:Five_pillars/Archive_2#Disrespectful_of_Islam and other archived threads. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:36, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Almost needs to be in a FAQ at the top of the talk page! I wonder what ar:ويكيبيديا:الركائز_الخمس literally translates to; my Arabic/English dictionary is in storage. Google translator does say "Wikipedia: the five pillars." Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 03:12, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

IT IS NOT OFFENSIVE TO MUSLIMS. THIS GUY ISNT EVEN A MUSLIM. Whats wrongwrong with some inspiration from a religion? Its not as if islam is copywrighted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:19, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

First of all why on earth should Muslims be offended because we choose to use a similar form of words? Secondly, Muslims do not have any copyright on the words: Wikipedia is not censored, and even if it did offend a lot of Muslims that would not be a reason for changing our wording. Finally, there is no evidence that I am aware of that it does offend a lot of Muslims. JamesBWatson (talk) 12:02, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

It's not about the copyright of the word JamesBWatson but about decency and respect. "Five Pillars" has been used exclusively to Islam only to define their articles of faith. And for Wikipedia to capitalize on the most important aspect of Islam shows how much they disregard and disrespect Muslim beliefs. Unlike most other beliefs; Islam takes it personally and seriously when someone disrespects their beliefs. And this is something which I greatly respect about them. When a person searches for "Five Pillars" now in Google they will find Islam and Wikipedia in the first search hit. If Wikipedia doesn't rename their five methods then it shows hate and hostility to Islam period. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Darwinsbulldogs (talkcontribs) 02:46, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Embracing and adapting an Islamic idea is anti-Islamic? WFCforLife (talk) 03:01, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
When I google it I get "five pillars, the online multiplayer game". Very Islamic.--Kotniski (talk) 09:13, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
"It shows hate and hostility to Islam"????? Do you really think that all the Wikipedia users who accept this form of words do so because they hate Islam? And you say that using the same form of words shows disrespect, but you do not say in what way it shows disrespect. And so what if Islam and Wikipedia both come up in the same Google search? What on earth is wrong with that? JamesBWatson (talk) 10:24, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

You seem to be living in Lalaland James. The last I saw we live in Capitalism where people try to capitalize on their ideas. It is Violent to Steal and Capitalize on Intellectual Property owned by Islam. Yes; Islam has a Copyright on the Word "Five Pillars" whether you like it or not. If you study Islam then you will realize and know they are very protective in owning their Ideas. But it seams our Americanism only allows us to take action again Copyright Violators against those we see fit. Total Hypocrisy. Get into Reality and stop living in dream land. Islam owns the "Five Pillars" Patent and anyone who uses it is going against Intellectual Property and legal action must be taken period. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Darwinsbulldogs (talkcontribs) 17:42, 11 February 2010 (UTC) It still isn't about Copyright but about Respect to Islam. But if you want to be rude against Islam then the only card is Copyright and Islam wins on this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Darwinsbulldogs (talkcontribs) 17:46, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't think the word patent means what you think it does, Darwinsbulldogs. I also don't think it's possible to copyright a pair of words like "five pillars" any more than the members of The Beetles can copyright their name and so prevent us from having an article about them. Even if it were, since Islam is not a legal entity (and the author of the pillars themselves is long enough dead that copyright would have expired already) I'm not sure who would be taking this legal action. Still, I recommend that you read WP:LEGAL which outlies Wikipedia's policy on dealing with legal complaints: if you state that you intend to pursue a legal case against us then your account will be blocked until the case is resolved. That's not a threat (I certainly have no intention of blocking you for what you wrote above) but a friendly note.
As for the question of offense, I suggest you look at the previous discussions mentioned above, which go into that in some detail. Olaf Davis (talk) 16:58, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't believe any Islamic group would find this offensive. I've never heard of any negative reaction to T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) titling his book "The Five Pillars of Wisdom." However, the concept of five important points is common throughout classical and Asian philosophy. If "Five Pillars" is deemed offensive, it could be replaced as the "Five Elements" of wikipedia, where the maxims listed are substituted for earth, fire, wood, metal, and water.Toddisme (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:11, 15 August 2010 (UTC).

Sheesh! what's wrong with people? There's nothing offensive about this. Period. And I'm a Muslim. Rlinfinity (talk) 00:26, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

I am Muslim and I personally feel there is absolutely nothing offensive about this essay. User:Dybabdulwadud ((talk) D. Y. B. (Abdul Wadud) 13:52, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Indeed, thank you very much for your input and welcome to Wikipedia. (talk) 01:27, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Islam again

My second half step-sister's cousin once removed's grandfather is muslim and he refuses to let his children on Wikipedia due to this!

If Wiki doesn't care or won't admit to stealing from Islam then why not change it to something else? why not make it five guidelines or the like? why make it pillars and why 5? some muslims are VERY protective of their faith and only those living under a rock for the past few decades can deny that.

isn't this site supposed to be welcoming for all? why are you aiming to piss off a chunk of 1.5 billion people and for what? so you can have a cutesy sounding info page to go after you look at your plate of cookies welcome graphic? i am not offended by this, but i can see it being offensive to many and I do feel it was a poor choice of phrase. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hcharry (talkcontribs) 01:11, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

As a Christian, the only thing I would say is this: If the name of the article were "The Beatitudes of Wikipedia," and the subheadings had sly names like "Blessed are those who assume good faith" and "Blessed are those who boldly edit," I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't take at least some offense at it. (talk) 03:34, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

It doesn't and it has no analogue of that so what's your point? Dmcq (talk) 14:06, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
How is it not analogous? (talk) 04:12, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I must admit that when a person just asserts a fish is like a moose it is quite hard to argue with them that it isn't. It is really up to you to point out any items of similarity you see. Dmcq (talk) 10:06, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Hi Dmcq:
I'm not familiar with the Five Pillars of Islam other than their association with the religion; the response by Шизомби suggests that they might not(?) be core principles.
Still, my equation was Golden Rule and nothing more: "If I value this, maybe they value that in the same way." As far as knowing if Muslims treat the Five Pillars with the same conviction as Christians do the Beatitudes, again, I don't know for sure.
Indeed, that uncertainty could be another reason for prudence. (talk) 00:48, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Dmcq is quite right. Beyond the title "five pillars," it's not analogous; the pillars themselves are not modeled after or worded like the Islamic ones, just as these Google Books "five pillars" -islam are not. "Five pillars," incidentally, is not to be found in the Qur'an or any hadith as far as I know. It is derived from hadith in the Book of Faith, the first chapter of Sahih Muslim. The word pillars appears parenthetically interpolated by either by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj or the English translator. A good question would be who first called them the "five pillars," actually using the word "أركان" or "pillars." Also, أركان means several other things besides "pillars" and is also the tree Argan. Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 15:28, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Regarding the analogy, I don't know of any other "Five Pillars" in English usage--especially in terms of "principles to follow."
Also, the books you cited disappear among Muslim ones if you search the string "five pillars" alone (without adding the "-islam"). I won't argue that nobody uses the phrase in a secular sense, only that Wikipedia's own pillars go to every new registrant; and a phrase that doesn't connote religion might be better than one that does.
I can't comment on the Arabic, but I certainly appreciate the information. It just seems unusual to think that a Muslim who spoke English wouldn't make an association between the faith term and the very common Wikipedia pillars. (talk) 04:12, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Even if it is a similar idea to the Islam one why should anyone object to it being used for good principles of work and getting along with ones fellow editors? For instance 'commandments' are used in, that's a pretty right wing evangelical crowd by any measure. As a Christian do you object to that? Dmcq (talk) 10:06, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a good example. The devil's always in the details when it comes to what people hold close to their hearts (as far as Christianity is concerned, whole denominations are formed along one or two divisions).
The Conservapedia page isn't worded "The Ten Commandments of Conservapedia," so it doesn't really resonate as much. Plus these commandments stop at seven.
Feel free to chuckle; but again, minor differences can actually make all the difference.
Accuse me of splitting hairs. I think a good faith edit would be to drop the "five" and make it "The Wikipedia Pillars" or "The Pillars of Wikipedia." (talk) 00:48, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
There'd still be five of them though. And the Islamic ones are sometimes called just "The Pillars of Islam" [1] So probably "The Pillars of X" should be off limits in every nation for all time. Or not. In six years' time, no Muslim organization has complained, and not one mullah has issued a fatwa. It seems a trivial thing to be worrying about, given that. Incidentally, in another comment of yours above you evidently misunderstood something I wrote. For most muslims each of the "pillars" are indeed core principles which can be found in the Qur'an and hadith. The term "five pillars" itself for those core principles is something that evidently came later. Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 04:38, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
It looks like you're part of a group that edits the English pages on Islam, so I'm not going to disagree with your statements on the religion itself. A new member as of yesterday, Dybabdulwadud is a Muslim and has posted on this page that no offense seems apparent in the "pillars" phrase. Your info and that post certainly go in the plus column for the phrase. (talk) 01:27, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I have inquired with one of Wikipedia's Arabic speakers, and have helpful information:
  • The Arabic Wikipedia, which may have a higher proportion of Muslim editors than any other WMF project, has a page almost identical to this one. You'll find it at ar:ويكيبيديا:الركائز الخمسة (Click the link. It will look very familiar.)
  • That page uses "The Five Pillars" as its title. (The words, in order from left to right, are "five" "the pillars" and "Wikipedia" [after the colon].)
  • The word for pillars used in that title is exactly the same word as the word for pillars used for the Five Pillars of Islam.
Now please ask yourself: If using the word pillars in this context were patently offensive to Muslims, don't you think that the Arabic Wikipedia would have found a different term? They've got options, after all. And since they didn't, don't you think it reasonable to conclude that this use of the word pillar is not offensive to the vast majority of Muslims, and that therefore we should not be taking offense on their behalf? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:03, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Hi WhatamIdoing:
Many thanks indeed for sharing the link to the Arabic site. I tried to find what I could using Chrome's translate feature:
1. The talk page for their Wikipedia pillars was deleted in 2009. Google translate just gives me this:
00:44, 3 April 2009 Meno25 Talk | contribs deleted " Wikipedia talk: Five pillars " content was: header talk
22:28, 23 January 2008 Lord Anubis Talk | contribs deleted " Wikipedia talk: Five pillars " content was: 'In the name of God and never put our trust in God We 1_ Kalabina Sudan first and the sons ...' (and the only contributor was' Jomamn2525 '
18:38, 20 December 2007 MediaWiki Talk | contribs deleted " Wikipedia talk: Five pillars " blank page

2. The history of the article is almost entirely full of bots. However, these edits do stand out:
11:41, 5 November 2007 Meno25 Talk | contribs m (6130 bytes) transfer of Wikipedia: the foundations of the five to Wikipedia: the five pillars : retrieval retreat
11:38, 5 November 2007 Meno25 Talk | contribs m 6130 bytes retrieved amendments Hatem Lafraidi talk to last version by User: fisherman | fisherman retreat
19:12, November 4, 2007 Hatem Lafraidi Talk | contribs m 6409 bytes Wikipedia is not a dictionary or glossary of this phrase requires us to ponder retreat
18:21, November 4, 2007 Fish Hunter Talk | contribs m 6130 bytes transfer of Wikipedia columns five to Wikipedia: the five principles retreat
17:10, 4 November 2007 Elfenomeno Talk | contribs m 6130 bytes transfer of Wikipedia: the five pillars to Wikimedia five tasks : non-living
It looks like "transfer" means "changed" more than anything else, but I'm absolutely guessing on that.
In truth, I'm not sure what these mean other than there was some disagreement (argument?) on the edits. At the time, Meno25 was an admin and used bots to edit/author thousands of articles.
3. This Arabic Wiki has 16 admins and a little over 143,000 articles. You're right. It's safe to say that a majority of this work might be edited by Muslims; however, it's probably not safe to say that a majority of Muslims have edited (and even read) them.
4. Although Google does translate the title page to "Wikipedia: Five pillars," the intro messages on user talk pages translate to:
Rules of the five major encyclopedia
In short, I agree that it might not be a big deal. I certainly don't represent all Christians when I made the Beatitudes analogy; there might be plenty who have no problem with it.
It's also good that a few Muslims have contributed to this discussion, including a new member (Dybabdulwadud) who signed up yesterday; again, it would be inaccurate to say they represented all members or a majority of the faith, but dismissing their input would be wrong too.
I'm still lost as to why the creators of the Wikipedia pillars, with all this online information available, wouldn't make more of an effort to avoid religious connotation--positive or negative.
Thanks in any case for the discussion and the resources. (talk) 01:27, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
"My second half step-sister's cousin once removed's grandfather is muslim and he refuses to let his children on Wikipedia due to this!"


Your what? Anyways, as an atheist, I think it should be the "Rules of Wikipedia". It is SECULAR and offends no one. --SomeDudeWithAUserName (talk with me!) 00:34, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

This page is an essay

We seem to have several editors who don't seem to know much about essays on Wikipedia. So here's a quick reference guide, and perhaps that will help:

Claim: "This page is too popular to be an essay!"
Reality: So what? Essays can be popular. WP:ATA is "just" an essay, and it gets thousands of page views each month.

Claim: "This page is too widely accepted to be an essay!"
Reality: So what? Essays can be widely accepted. WP:BRD is "just" an essay, and it is widely accepted.

The fact is that this page is an essay. We don't need to spam a huge tag at the top of the page to announce this fact, but it is an essay. It's an essay in part because Wikipedia really only has three options for 'advice pages':

  1. Policies, which this isn't (it was never even proposed to the community).
  2. Guidelines, which this isn't (same).
  3. Essays, which is our catch-all category.

I suppose that if this page provided practical information, we could call it a help or how-to page -- but it doesn't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:21, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Actually, there's also: 4. {{Infopage}} --Cybercobra (talk) 19:18, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I think that's the same group as help and how-to pages, don't you? WP:MERGE, for example, is tagged as an infopage. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:32, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Then add another one called "founding principles". There's already a nice nav box for it. The lack of category for something doesn't define what that thing is. This isn't an essay, regardless of whether you agree with it or not. Gigs (talk) 21:21, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
This is NOT a founding principle page because 1- was not created at the creation of Wikipedia; 2- was not created by Jimbo or the Foundation nor with any of their input 3- was not created with any input from the Community-at-large 4- not created through any normal channels in which our policies or guidelines come about. It was the work of ONE individual, begun in their user space for the purpose of greeting and saying hi to new editors. We now have standardized templates that do that (and generally we've moved away from them in favor of personal messages). It is an essay.Camelbinky (talk) 22:01, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
The "nice nav box" is rather incomplete.
This page has exactly the same status as WP:TRIFECTA, WP:PURPOSE, and other pages about WP:Principles. If it's okay to list the other pages in Category:Wikipedia essays, then why not this page? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:32, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
What is the need to fix this page so it is perfectly compatible with some governance ideal where everything is nicely arranged in the right box? The whole point of WP:5P is that there are a few guiding principles which derive from who-cares-where, and people should just get on with improving the encyclopedia. We may be engaged in a futile attempt to establish the consistency of the system itself. Johnuniq (talk) 23:02, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Because sometimes there are things that are worded wrongly and then taken by editors to mean something totally different than intended and editors game the system and "wikilawyer" (a terrible word btw and totally not the word we should use for the act) or just newbies naively become fanatics regarding things like "laws" and the 5P being unchangeable and a "constitution" and such. If its broken, we need fix it. So we are fixing it. If you dont see a problem then dont worry about it and you are free to improve the encyclopedia. Dont see why those that say "why dont we work on the encyclopedia" and try to stop these back-stage changes dont themselves go worry about editing articles and leave us alone to fix the back-stage problems that exist. Ignoring the problems that exist is not a solution.Camelbinky (talk) 23:51, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm more of a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" person myself. I thought the last discussion was supposed to be about the fifth pillar and this one about the essay marker. As far as I'm concerned the essay marker can be put in though I liked having the page nice and clean. Dmcq (talk) 08:35, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
@Camelbinky: My sentence about "a few guiding principles ... improving the encyclopedia" was meant as my interpretation of the general philosophy here that there is no bureacracy, and no need to work out things like precisely what category tags should be on this page. Please provide an example where WP:5P presented a real problem so we can focus on what needs to be fixed. Johnuniq (talk) 10:15, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I think we need to talk about what you mean by the "essay marker". You removed a very discreet link to the Wikipedia essays category. This took up no space on the screen, was only noticeable if you happened to scroll down all the way past the navboxes, and had a practical benefit in terms of helping people find this page.
But now you think that adding the large template
to the top of the page is acceptable? WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:18, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I removed that essay tag when I was trying to remove the bit about wikilawyering. I never said I wanted a big box at the top about essays. Sorry if talking about essay marker confused you, I meant sticking it into the category essay. I think a big box at the top about essays would be silly, I don't see why it needs to be put in the essay category, it'll just get consistency fanatics wanting to put the big box at the top but I don't have any strong objections. Dmcq (talk)
I'm willing to agree here and now to always oppose putting the essay blurb at the top of the article if others who tend to disagree on this being an essay agree to always support the essay category at the bottom as opposed to any "stronger" category. I think that is a good compromise, as it gives me what I want (this article being referred to as an essay on the page itself), and gives the "other" viewpoint protection against any further pushes of beating people over the head with "this is an essay".Camelbinky (talk) 02:20, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy + WP:Not every page needs a tag. This page isn't easily pigeonholed, and doesn't need to be pigeonholed. It's not broken, and doesn't need to be fixed. -- Quiddity (talk) 05:39, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Ok, seriously can you stop with the "if it's not broken, dont fix it" crap. Obviously if there are people (and it is not just me) who think things need to be changed and fixed then it is indeed broken. Don't say it isnt broken, simply say you like it the way it is. Some of us do not. Changing the FAQ from describing it as an essay (without using the word, but it was basically using the definition of an essay) is bad faith without first discussing it and I would appreciate returning it so we may FIRST discuss the change. This page obviously is controversial, does not have universal acceptance, and is NOT anything more than an essay. Those are facts.Camelbinky (talk) 15:40, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
A couple of people wishing to discredit and downplay some of the longest-standing and most widely accepted principles of the project isn't "controversy". It's disruption. Gigs (talk) 17:01, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
A couple? WhatamIdoing is not disruptive nor is he and I the only ones, Kimbruning is another long-standing editor who does not agree with the 5P among many of us. This is NOT one of the longest-standing and most widely accepted principle! It is younger than most policies like WP:V; nor does it have wide acceptance and THAT is why it is not a policy because the majority does not agree with what some fanatical "policies are laws" individuals who wish to codify and solidify things being written into stone. Please get it straight and understand that the 5P do not have any authority nor does anyone have to listen to them nor do we have to have our policies conform to what is written here. This is a summary and has less of a standing than the simplified ruleset. Thank you. If you cant understand that, then you dont understand the 5P and perhaps your abilities can be of better use somewhere else because you dont have much to contribute here. Sorry if I'm being snippy, but really, having to see What and I repeat ourselves over and over because someone comes to this page not understanding what this page is really is getting annoying. And it is simply because other individuals intentionally dont want this page labelled that causes the confusions and the questions. Those looking to have this page unlabeled do so in order to continue to claim this page is something more than it is. Please stop the lying about "long standing and widely accepted". This page is NOTHING.Camelbinky (talk) 19:44, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Please provide an example where WP:5P presented a real problem so we can focus on what needs to be fixed. Johnuniq (talk) 23:06, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes I second that. I can see you seem to be getting het up over something what with all the italics and bolding and capital letters but you do need to provide a real example of a problem Dmcq (talk) 23:21, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Regarding the FAQ at top: that was only added 6 days ago, without any announcement. Hence editors should really feel free to edit it normally.
The point Gigs was making, is that otherwise excellent editors can inadvertently cause a single-instance of disruption. Me, you, anyone! The related-essay would be WP:STICK.
Relatedly, you should always check what other people have said, before speaking for them. eg [2] and [3] and [4], etc. Kim Bruning rocks the casbah - this talkpage's archives are full of Kim's gold.
Nobody has said the pillars are (or should be) written in stone - Quite the opposite in fact, we're trying to prevent anyone from attributing any kind of official-status to this page: Not policy, not essay - We agree that they (did and do) adapt over time.
Yes, don't codify! That goes for you, too! :) -- Quiddity (talk) 00:10, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Right, I think that at some point, good faith actions can become disruptive. If you nominate WP:V for deletion, even if you think in good faith that it no longer represents consensus, or never did, that's a little disruptive. Trying to call our foundational principles, reflecting consensus arrived at through years of editing by many editors, a mere essay, seems similar to bringing a core policy to MfD. Gigs (talk) 16:22, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Gigs, this page was basically written by one editor (User:Neutrality, self-identifying as the author in 2008) as a means of expressing his own view and ideally helping new editors connect the dots.
The fact that you are holding it up as "our foundational principles" is a simple example of the practical problem. This page was written four years after Wikipedia was launched, so it's not really "foundational", and these principles aren't the "unchangeable pillars" that the original author said they were. This page is no better/more important/more valuable/less essay-like than any of the other pages about our principles, including the essay-tagged pages that it was derived from.
From the very beginning, editors have been saying, right here on this page, that this page is "just description", "not policy" and "not meant to be. It's like Wikipedia:Introduction", a "simple, general introduction". A trip through the archives shows a remarkable number of explanations about why this isn't a policy, or a guideline, or anything "official". That we're still having to explain this, after all of these years, indicates that we've got a communication problem -- and one that IMO could largely be solved by listing the page in Category:Wikipedia essays. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:08, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


I could understand it being given some new designation, but
  1. I'm unconvinced that the 5P fits the definition of WP:ESSAYS
  2. The 5P is vastly more influential than anything else in Category:Top-impact Wikipedia essays, and on a fundamentally different level from them. (The 5P is the same as whatever WP:TRI, WP:SR, WP:SOP, and WP:BRIEF are. Old, Undisputed, Unlabeled, and basically fine that way.) I'd remove the wikiproject-essays banner, if we weren't in the middle of a discussion.
  3. On a purely practical level, if the essay-category is added, it will inevitably start a continuous series of arguments about whether the page needs the {{essay}} banner.
  4. Regarding its significance, the 5P is prominently linked from: WP:Policies and guidelines, WP:List of policies, WP:About, WP:NOT#Style and format, WP:Ignore all rules, all Category:Wikipedia policy list templates, meta:Five Pillars, meta:Educational materials, outreach:Wikipedia Ambassador Principles, outreach:Using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education (Bookshelf), and elsewhere.
  5. I'd repeat the request from multiple editors above, to please please point out instances where the lack of "official-classification" is causing an actual and significant problem. (That is, causing a problem with an otherwise good editor. Because we shouldn't allow instruction-creep merely to fend off stubborn/adversarial editors, like Wolfkeeper for example).
I usually have great admiration for your ability to interpret community-wide consensus, and even cleanly separate it from your own opinions, but in this case I'm still unconvinced. HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 00:56, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Not everything has to "fit" into the arbitrary "boxes" of policy/guideline/essay.

I think, right now, if I were to describe this page, it would be a summary or overview page, which offers navigational aid to finding the relevant policies, guidelines, etc.

But that aside, is this really an arguement worth having? - jc37 01:31, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

  • I'd prefer we leave it as it the special thing it is and not label it as policy, essay etc. If I had to pick something though I'd go with policy, because I view it as a fundamental part of the place. Hobit (talk) 01:04, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
IMO, the argument about "this isn't a policy because it wasn't created via such-and-such methods" is futile wikilawyering. I think this page's status is an excellent example of WP:IAR- it isn't technically a "policy" in terms of how it was agreed upon, but it reflects community consensus and is an important element (summary) of our !rules. We can have a straw poll or something if anyone really thought this doesn't reflect consensus, or we could call it a guideline, or whatever. The point is, in the words of the fifth pillar, "Wikipedia does not have firm rules". There's no reason to quibble over the status of what is clearly a fundamental policy(/guideline). ☻☻☻Sithman VIII !!☻☻☻ 06:10, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Solid hardcore policy

Jimbo was asked for his view on WP:5P. I am placing a link to the comments here for future historians interested in this topic. In brief, Jimbo's reply when questioned on the status of 5P was "solid hardcore policy" (and, yes, we know that is just one person's opinion). There are some other interesting comments which I interpret as a claim that 5P was written as a summary of the defacto core principles that had evolved during the early years. The discussion is at User talk:Jimbo Wales#WP:5P (and here is a diff for the current last-added comment, and a permalink).

It has been pointed out on this talk page that 5P is not policy (let alone "solid hardcore policy"). Yes, that's true, and we all know it. However, Wikipedia's policies are a description of current best practice, and anyone questioning the status of 5P could try working here in a way that conflicts with 5P: I suggest that significant and persistent editing in a manner incompatible with 5P would lead to a block. Johnuniq (talk) 00:44, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Whatever on Earth is going on on this page? I see a lot of talking, but no one seems to be specifying what, exactly, they object to on this page, What is wrong with the page? By all means lets have an RfC or whatever and fix it. But what is it? Herostratus (talk) 02:19, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
The dispute is over the cats, not the page's contents. Should this page be listed in Category:Wikipedia essays (along with the other pages on this subject), or not?
I'm in favor of multiple cats (=more opportunities to find it), and of the "essays" cat as a means of reducing the endless procession of uninformed people tagging it for the "policy" cat, but Quiddity's point about people then wanting to 'helpfully' spam the large {{essay}} banner (which I oppose) into the page gives me pause. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:38, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
No one would ever be banned for editing in "opposition to the 5P" because there is nothing in the 5P that isnt already in a policy somewhere else, and in that policy FIRST, hence the reason everyone agrees this is a summary, you would be blocked for violating the POLICY you are violating, the 5P would not brought in just as no one is blocked or banned for "violating the simple ruleset". And I am the one that asked Jimbo that question and yes it was to get ONE individual's personal opinion, and not for the reason of using any declaration by him as a "weapon" to push an agenda, but of course that seems to be how it is being used here (and no if Jimbo had taken the same stance as me I would not have used a quote by him here).Camelbinky (talk) 04:32, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
I believe you, thousands wouldn't. :) I must admit I was a bit surprised, I'm a strong supported of them and he took an even stronger point of view . Dmcq (talk) 20:41, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia policy isn't supposed to be legislative, it's documentation of our core practices and ideals. In that sense, this page is policy, though I agree that we don't necessarily need to mark it as policy, so that people don't excessively wiki-lawyer over the words written here. I suspect Jimbo gave a straightforward answer so there wouldn't be any doubt that he still believes that they represent the fundamental principles. Gigs (talk) 22:17, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Nav box

If we turned this page into a navbox, would that resolve the concerns? - jc37 17:03, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

It would have to be even further summarized to fit into a navbox (unless I'm incorrectly envisioning what you mean). Eg WP:TRIFECTA vs User:Seth Ilys/Trifecta. Plus the navbox itself would still have to be categorized...
I'd rather we wait for further input from Camelbinky and WhatamIdoing, as to what they would like to discuss or do next (and possibly they might respond further, to the other points I made above).
To hopefully clarify: This whole discussion began above at #Correct category?, and could be said [I say it!] to center around whether this edit is a good idea, or if there is a better option. More later. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:49, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
I'll let What speak regarding the category as that is what What is most interested in. As for me, much of what I wanted to see changed regarding wording on the page seems to have been accomplished and is not in question; the change of the 5th Pillar from referring to the pillars themselves as unchangeable. I always take the most extreme position of what I possibly want as the starting point since compromising is simply another word for negotiating, if I started out with just what really wanted changed then in the compromise I would get less, in this case I got what I came for. As for any change to a navbox or anything I would not have a strong opinion at this time one way or another, my main concern is always making sure that the 5P are not put on a pedastal above policy and that the 5P does not have language that inhibits our ability to come to new consensuses regarding the wording, meaning, interpretation, or enforcement of existing or future policy. Whether explicitly or implicitly labeled as an essay does not matter as long as the point is gotten across.Camelbinky (talk) 22:43, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Don't vandalise

I removed the bit in the 5th pillar saying don't vandalise because ... well to be charitable I'll quote WP:Beans. I replaced it with something saying don't save test edits but I feel it could be improved and what I'd really like is something that directed them towards the editing tutorial or description of sandboxes. Dmcq (talk) 23:19, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree something constructive and educational would be better than a simple admonition, however I dont think beans is a good essay as we mostly have adults here and the idea that someone is going to vandalize simply because we said "dont" is kind of a stretch, those that vandalize are probably not taking the time to read the 5P or any informational page or policy page. We could link to the simplified ruleset but that is just barely more in-depth on editing than the 5P.Camelbinky (talk) 04:52, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I've seen educational material pointing students at the 5P as part of a project about Wikipedia so I'm not all that sure about all adults here! Anyway just to satisfy my curiosity, is there an article about that effect where you can get someone to think about eating some cakes by telling them to leave them alone or they get a mark on their shirt immediately after you say be careful about something they're carrying? And to some people saying don't mention something is practically bound to make them blurt it out later in the evening? Dmcq (talk) 09:09, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Reactance is what you are thinking of. Gigs (talk) 20:48, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I suppose that could be right for vandalism. I must admit I was thinking of something more of for instance where a person really doesn't want to cause embarrassment and then goes and says something related because it is preying on their mind as they trying to avoid the subject. I guess though that has less relevance here. Dmcq (talk) 21:23, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Vandalism is disruptive

Added and removed [5]. Unless, I am wrong, the "test edit" text is a provocative example of "not vandalism" in the policy. Was their anything deliberate about this removal? Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 02:13, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

My preference would be for everyone to just leave 5P alone, but two points occur to me regarding the reversion of your edit: (a) the other editor was wrong to have used "revert" (possibly a mistake?), however (b), possibly it looks silly to tell readers that "vandalism is disruptive" (well of course it is; that's why vandals vandalize). The alternate text of "do not save test edits on articles" makes a little more sense to anyone who would bother to read this page; it tells editors that whereas they should not worry about making mistakes, they should not perform test edits to see what happens. Since 5P tries to avoid being prescriptive, it might be out of place to say something like "however repeated vandalism will lead to a block". Note that this issue is discussed above (see #I edited in particular). I am inclined to agree with Dmcq in the preceding section (#Don't vandalise). Johnuniq (talk) 04:11, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Could we remove the additions of "However, do not save test edits on articles." this is not needed as it falls under common sense. Not sure when this was stuck in, but out of all the things we could say this would be the most redundant statement i have seen added here in some time. If this needs to be said (i dont believe it does) it should be put back to the way it was with a relevant link. Better thinking is needed in this type of changes y would you unlink a policy and add a redundant statement? Moxy (talk) 06:09, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
I am fine with the "test edits" removal and leaving vandalism out; however, "vandalism is disruptive" seemed to be an axiom for everything else. That is for anyone interested in First principles also known as primal. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 03:27, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

in reference to pillar #5

if someone comes to this page how many clicks does it take to get to a page where it says:

"well, actually Wikimedia Foundation is benevolent and savvy and some basic principles here if not rules that govern "life" here are kinda not up for modification. and that's OK. the foundation is in charge of certain things and they generally do really well by everybody"?

if it's a lot of clicks then can someone please tell me where are the PR/ kind of recruitment-type pages are and where the nitty gritty pages are? I'm mixed up if the relevant info isn't connected nearby each other. S*K*A*K*K 15:45, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Could you put that all into simple English please as I find it hard to understand. Thanks. Dmcq (talk) 20:27, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
My best guess at what you want is the 'Derivation' section of Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines which is referenced at the bottom of the 5P page and talks about Wikipedia policy. This points to the Wikimedia policies. So basically one or two clicks depending on what you want. Dmcq (talk) 20:38, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Talk pages excluded

This may seem strange; but I don't can't figure out how to respond constructively.

At Talk:Senkaku Islands dispute, I posted a sentence I construed as axiomatic here: I wrote, "WP:Five Pillars is indispensible, not optional in this talk page venue no less than anywhere else." This engendered an unexpected response:

"I'm not sure if you're mis-speaking, or if you don't understand, but the Five Pillars actually don't apply to talk page discussions, except for WP:CIVIL....

If our core policies do not encompass talk pages, then that needs to be explicit.

In the alternative, if Wikipedia's core values are universally relevant and important in our project, that needs to be explicit so that others do not confront a dilemma similar to mine. --Tenmei (talk) 06:39, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

The reply you received from Qwyrxian looks good, but pillar #1 (online encyclopedia, not a soapbox), and #3 (free content), and #4 (be civil), and #5 (no firm rules), do apply to all pages. Furthermore, #2 (neutral point of view) starts with "We strive for articles...". I think that explaining it further would make the pillars too clumsy, but in on-topic talk page discussion, editors can express personal opinions, and do not have to provide reliable sources for their assertions. Of course if one editor says "widgets are white" (with no source), another editor can say "no, some are blue", and the only way that will be resolved is for a source to be produced. Johnuniq (talk) 07:06, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
" on-topic talk page discussion, editors... do not have to provide reliable sources for their assertions" is absolutely not true if the subject is a living person. Lots of times editors don't do this, but they are supposed to, and any violations are supposed to be removed without discussion per WP:BLP. Herostratus (talk) 17:07, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's clearly true and an important qualification. Johnuniq (talk) 23:50, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
It's important to read the whole talk page. Tenmei was trying to invoke 5P as a means of shutting down discussion about the available sources; he claimed that Qwyrxian was not permitted to summarize the state of the dispute between the editors (in a couple of paragraphs that said things like "User:Bob thinks this source is not appropriate for this article, and User:Jane thinks that it is valuable because..."). Of course, Tenmei's efforts pale in comparison to Phoenix7777's, who complains about the "irrelevant essay WP:NOT" in his/her tenacious efforts to have a (completely redundant?) source included (efforts that make me think about bookspam, but perhaps you won't have the same reaction).
The bottom line is this: editors must be able to discuss sources and their use on the talk page. This is not only "permitted", but also required by many of our policies.
And, by the way, this page is not one of our policies. It's just an essay written to summarize the main points of the real policies. So you can't "violate" 5P any more than you can "violate" WP:BRD (another extremely good essay whose advice you ought to adopt), and editors are not required to comply with 5P (although all good editors automatically will). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:39, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────WhatamIdoing -- Please reconsider. You construe something I didn't mean. Why do you think I tried to shut down discussion by citing WP:Five Pillars? Allow me to agree with you and to adopt your words as if they were my own: Yes, "editors must be able to discuss sources and their use on the talk page." Yes, "this is not only permitted, but also required by many of our policies." However, in our unusual talk page venue, the opposite had become the norm. The cumulative effect of our threads has seemed to foster a status quo based on "original research" rather than WP:V + WP:RS. For example,

I sought comments in this venue because the principal purpose of the talk page was substantially frustrated. I was hoping for comments which would help me make better guesses about what to do, which is precisely the opposite of shutting down discussion. --Tenmei (talk) 08:45, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

The original research noticeboard at WP:ORN is the place to discuss original research in particular articles when the talk page has broken down. Dmcq (talk) 09:14, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Dmcq -- Yes, but that venue focuses on complaints. I don't like complaints. Consider this: It is not always true, but for the purposes of this small thread, maybe it takes two to tango? Do you see what I mean? Let me strike-out Bobthefish2's name to make it seem a lot less about him and more about a situation which vexed me so much that I thought it might help to re-read WP:Five Pillars. --Tenmei (talk) 09:39, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a forum for general waffling. If you have a more general dispute on that page than original research see WP:DISPUTE. Dmcq (talk) 10:14, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Dmcq --- You convince me that too much specificity at the beginning of this thread was a mistake. It appears that a dispute-centered framing is something like a "default mode" for the English Wikipedia, despite the hortatory rhetoric at WP:Five Pillars ... which gets back to the reasons why I visited this talk page.

In other words, I construe you to be explaining that because I began on the wrong foot, the usefulness of this thread is limited; therefore, the only thing remaining for me is to say thank you. --Tenmei (talk) 15:47, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Essay wikiproject

Sick of having this discussion every month or two! Per policy if a wikiproject feels something should be labelled as part of their wikiproject then the banner is NOT to be removed regardless of whether other people by consensus feel it shouldnt be part of that wikiproject. It is up to the wikiproject. So until THEY come to the conclusion they dont want to watch this page the banner must stay per policy regardless of whether the page itself IS an essay or not.Camelbinky (talk) 16:35, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Don't like having the discussion? Best not to bring it up, then. :-) causa sui (talk) 18:32, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
No choice but to bring it up because someone removed the essay wikiproject banner with the edit summary "not an essay". So yea, it had to be brought up. Perhaps you didnt notice that and you spoke without doing your due diligence thereby speaking without knowing what you were commenting on.Camelbinky (talk) 19:24, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
In response to your concern for the Wikiproject, I've restored the banner.  Unscintillating (talk) 04:00, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, no, you didn't: you restored a made-up generic banner rather than their actual banner, with the custom rating that they assigned to it. But I'll fix it for you. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:10, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, Unscintillating probably has never read the relevant guideline and so didn't know that he can't tell that group of editors that they're not allowed to be interested in whatever pages they want. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:27, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Are you aware now that this is not an essay?  Unscintillating (talk) 04:00, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
No. I am aware that a minority of editors believe that it is not an essay. I'm also aware that it has never been the subject of a WP:PROPOSAL to the community, and that your claims of it being a policy are steadfastly opposed by many editors, including the person most responsible for its creation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:10, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Since I had already restored the banner by reverting Unscintillating's removal of it I would like to point out that Unscintillating's subsequent comment that he/she "restored" it out of "concern" was not only insincere and an outright lie, but in bad-faith as well since the true banner was there and he/she changed it to a made-up banner as WhatamIdoing pointed out and corrected. I find such bad-faith editing to be disruptive and cuts into Unscintillating's credibility for further discussing this issue.Camelbinky (talk) 05:50, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
It boggles the mind that anyone cares this much about it either way. --causa sui (talk) 07:19, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Boggles MY mind that someone who is so opposed to such discussions even has this page watchlisted or cares enough to waste their time with caustic unhelpful comments that can find one at the WP:WQA and eventually topic banned from contributing to such talk pages if they continue to be a disruption with nothing to say that actually helps and is simply a jerky jackass comment. If this is personal against ME speak up now.Camelbinky (talk) 02:03, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you need to take a small step backwards. The essay marker is not a terribly important thing even in hothouse Wikipedia terms and you started talking about 'insincere' 'outright lie' 'bad faith' and now you're talking about WQA and topic baning for someone who finds such a reaction over the top. Dmcq (talk) 10:48, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, Unscintillating said an outright lie and intentionally hid what he did. I had replaced the banner, then he/she replaced it with an incorrect banner and stated here that he/she had put the original banner back on their own out of good faith. Therefore there was a subterfuge and subsequent lie.Camelbinky (talk) 15:25, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
That is just your interpretation when not assuming good faith. I really do not appreciate this sort of talk over a missing line saying it is a top priority essay rather than just a normal one. Dmcq (talk) 19:33, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
What interpretation? Those are the facts of what happened. The banner had been replaced a day before Unscintilating claimed to have restored it. When he "restored it" it already existed, and he came to the talk page and claimed to have restored it out of respect, but in fact he never restored it and as WhatAmIdoing pointed out, it was not a correct template at all. You can appreciate whatever you want, I dont have to answer to you and do not see what the point of dragging this on is about. What and I handled it. Anyone who didnt think this was important enough to even discuss does not have to discuss this or come here defending someone who outright lied about what they did. It is a fact. You can not appreciate me calling out someone who lied, but the facts are there.Camelbinky (talk) 20:15, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Firstly I know of no policy as in 'Per policy if a wikiproject feels something should be labelled as part of their wikiproject then the banner is NOT to be removed regardless of whether other people by consensus feel it shouldnt be part of that wikiproject'. Secondly do you know they are not a member of such a project. Thirdly he did not remove the banner and may actually have restored it after removing it in his edit, in fact it is quite possible he may not have noticed the removal as he did a few edits at the same time. Fourthly I haven't seen evidence of his doing disruptive or annoying edits so jumping to a conclusion that anything deliberate to annoy you was being done was very premature. Fifthly there are other people here besides you or them so even if you were correct you cause Wikipedia to be a nasty place to edit in with that sort of name calling and so are acting against the interest of Wikipedia. There is WP:WQA or their talk page available if you feel they were acting in an uncivil manner toward you. Dmcq (talk) 22:57, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
All I'm going to say is this an then I'm not talking about this anymore- you obviously havent looked at the history to see what edits were made by whom and when because you completely got things wrong and secondly you obviously havent been following this discussion very well or at all since What already stated the relevant policy about untagging and tagging wikiproject banners and I'm surprised you didnt know that policy as it is widely known and I didnt realize one would need to mention the specific but What did just in case Unsci didnt know it. Apparently you didnt either. And so with that explanation I leave this topic.Camelbinky (talk) 00:42, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Naturally Dmcq is unable to name an official policy that says no editor may demand that another group of editors quit watching an article—because it's an official guideline that says exactly that in this context, not a policy. It's plainly stated at Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Guide#Article_tagging. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:55, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I read that guideline before and it seemed to have little application. I think the bit you're referring to is "If you place a banner for an outside WikiProject, and a member of that project removes it, do not replace the banner. A WikiProject's members have the exclusive right to define the scope of their project, which includes defining an article as being outside the scope of the project. Similarly, if a WikiProject says that an article is within their scope, then you may not force them to remove the banner. No editor may prohibit a group of editors from showing their interest in an article." As a bit of advice this is okay but as something to get het up over it is fairly vacuous. You don't have to declare membership of a project to participate. The only way I can see this working is if there is a discussion on the project talk page and there is an agreement about a certain page there. I spotted no such discussion on the project page or archives about essays. For all anyone can say Unscintillating may be a non declare member of the project and then we're acting against the project by replacing the tag. So a guideline to be used sensibly and not something to start name calling over, and there is actually a policy about name calling. Dmcq (talk) 10:12, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Except that the actual facts don't work out that way: Unscintillating isn't a member of that project (and not the sort to game the system by "joining"), and I am one of its more active participants.
The right of a WikiProject to track whatever pages they want has been discussed repeatedly, and someone always trots out the idea of a "fake" member as a flaw in the system. But the fact is that we haven't seen this happen in any dispute, and even if it did happen, the rest of the group could trivially overrule the "new member". WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:34, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
So a sensible guideline as well as one to be used sensibly. But not something to incense people so they might end up at WP:WQA. Also changing assessments is something anyone is entitled to do though I think it could easily have been by mistake. I doubt the essay project as a group would stick its neck out to make a definite stand on whether WP:5P should be considered an essay! they are of course though entitled to monitor it via the talk page. Dmcq (talk) 18:42, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh, Unscintillating is probably just unhappy that I removed 5P from Template:Policy list the other day (you know, since it isn't actually one of our official written policies, according to a clear majority of editors). Also, he probably worried that someone might incorrectly interpret the list of WikiProject categories on this talk page as meaning more than "this page is watched by this group of editors". (The presence of the cats is necessary for several of their automated processes.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:28, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

follow-up to the outbreak of personal attacks

I apologize for the behavior of the editor that attacked me for saying "not an essay" above, I've never before had any interaction with him/her, so truly, the words "not an essay" were the source.  This issue went to ANI, BTW, if you want to see the editor's defense.  Unscintillating (talk) 04:36, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Who is attacking who now and policy is quite clear this is a talk page for discussion of the topic, not for personal attacks! What a blatant attack!Camelbinky (talk) 20:06, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

follow-up on "not an essay"

What I'd like to know is if there are other editors here that agree that the categories on this page incorrectly mark the five pillars as an essay.  Unscintillating (talk) 04:36, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

WikiProject categories mark a page as being of interest to a particular group of people. They do not say anything at all about the subject of the page. And to alleviate your concerns on a more practical level, you might take a look at the page view stats. Only a handful of people look at this talk page on any given day, especially if nobody's posting any new comments here. Forty times as many read WP:5P each day. This means that 97% of 5P's readers never even have an opportunity to see what categories are on its talk page. The talk page cats are only important to a handful of bots. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:03, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm surprised that it is as high as one in forty! Dmcq (talk) 10:02, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Policy editnotice

The FAQ at the top of this talk page says this is not a policy, but the WP:5 editnotice is {{policy-guideline-editnotice|type=policy}} which specifically refers to it as a policy. Should the editnotice be changed, removed, or left as it is? →Dynamic|cimanyD← (contact me) 02:35, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

The older version last year looked fine to me so I don't see why it was changed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dmcq (talkcontribs) 08:27, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

1st, 2nd or 3rd person?

The article reads badly as the pillars are written in different persons and moods.

Pillar 1 is 3rd person indicative: "It incorporates"

Pillar 2 is 1st person indicative with some 3rd person subjunctive: "We strive", "All articles must"

Pillar 3 is 2nd person imperative: "Respect copyright laws, and do not plagiarize your sources"

Pillar 4 is 2nd person imperative: "Respect and be polite"

Pillar 5 is 3rd person indicative and 2nd person imperative: "Rules are not", "Be bold"

There are some others in there as well. To my ear, that makes is sound messy and unclear. A common person and mood should be adopted throughout. The choice probably depends on the function of the article: is it a description of Wikipedia, a description of us as Wikipedia users, a set of rules or a set of instructions?

Interested to hear your thoughts. (talk) 15:13, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't think there is a problem worth solving. The current wording is succinct and understandable, and there is a reason why "It" is used in one place, while "We" is used elsewhere. Johnuniq (talk) 02:33, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
To be clearer, when the page talks about "it", the text refers to an inanimate object called the English Wikipedia. When it talks about "us", the text refer to the people who work on that inanimate object as a collective group. When it talks to "you", it is addressing the reader directly, as an individual.
This is no more messy or unclear than the similar combinations that people use in everyday speech: "The car is broken. We are walking to school. You need to call the repair shop." WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:48, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the two posts above. Where a pillar describes what Wikipedia is it should use third person; where a pillar describes what the reader as a user should do it should use the second person; and so on. It's critical that the pillars be in clear, accessible, inviting language so that new users can begin to learn what Wikipedia is about. Lagrange613 01:48, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your thoughts all. If others don't think it's a problem then clearly it isn't! Just to make my original point clear, I wasn't worried that any individual sentence didn't make sense. It was rather the inconsistency. Similar lists of rules/guidelines/principles such as The US Bill of Rights, the 10 Principles of Fair Trade, or the 10 Commandments each adopt a consistent style. The inconsistency acceptable in everyday speech somehow strikes me as inappropriate and ill-considered for a central statement of principles. But you're right: as long as it's understandable and doesn't jar with others as it does with me, then it should be left as is. (talk) 13:43, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, I think it's easy to see where you're coming from - thank you for the thoughtful contribution. In this case, I agree that the language is appropriate as-is. Maybe this is part of the problem. Whereas in the 10 Commandments, for example, the subject-object relationship is obvious (God and subjects) and the purpose is the same (authority issuing commands to subordinates), the 5 Pillars don't have that kind of uniformity. One pillar describes the nature of Wikipedia and what kind of content we want to include in it; another discusses standards of interpersonal conduct between editors; another limits strict applications of rules. With that in mind, I don't think it would make sense to try to enforce this sort of standard. Still, it's good that you are thinking about this, and that you got other people thinking about it too. Thanks! P.S. Have you thought about registering an account? :-) causa sui (talk) 23:14, 12 December 2011 (UTC)


Thank you for fixing my "White House" gaffe. Petersontinam (talk) 14:01, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Need wording tweak for pillar 2

Pillar 2 includes:

Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong here. That means citing verifiable, authoritative sources, especially on controversial topics and when the subject is a living person.

The wording "That means citing..." needs improvement, but the fixes that occur to me introduce subtle changes in emphasis:

  1. That means it is necessary to cite verifiable, authoritative sources, especially on controversial topics and when the subject is a living person.
  2. That means verifiable, authoritative sources should be cited, especially on controversial topics and when the subject is a living person.

This is not a big deal, but since we are fiddling with the text someone might have an idea. Johnuniq (talk) 00:54, 15 February 2012 (UTC)


A recent edit (diff) inserted (using bold) "If a rule stops you improving or updating the encyclopaedia, ignore it." into the fifth pillar. Like apple pie, of course I love this text, but it is unhelpful for new users here, and it will only cause them grief.

This page is a very useful summary for new users and it is unfair to provide them with a loaded weapon that will get them blocked if they rely on it. If a new user wants to add text that conflicts with WP:DUE or WP:BLP, or wants to add contentious material using sources that fail WP:RS, it is dangerous to tell them to ignore the rules because everyone thinks they are improving the encyclopedia.

A new user will not know the rules, so they don't need to be told to ignore them—the question only arises if an established editor comes along and tells the new user that their edits conflict with some rule. How the new user responds is vital to their continuing participation: if they dig in and ignore good advice, they are very likely to depart either from frustration or from being blocked (I have seen several new editors get indef blocks within a week of proclaiming that IAR supports their edits). The fifth pillar tells a new user all they need to know without the misleading emphasis that paints the completely unrealistic picture that anyone can do whatever they like providing they think it is improving or updating the encyclopedia. Johnuniq (talk) 10:27, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

WP:3RR is what gets noobs blocked, not WP:IAR. --Surturz (talk) 11:35, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, tis true - hey, isn't the process suppose to be discuss BEFORE reverting a second time, Johnuniq? :pFace-smile.svg Wikilawyering is a far bigger problem due to how many people are predisposed to, on the WR thread hyper-literality on Wikipedia Emperor made a damn good point, and Jimbo himself has actually said a bunch of stuff on the subject pretty recently after that thread Face-smile.svg I get the feeling he secretly reads Wikipedia Review but doesn't admit to it, hehe. Face-smile.svg --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 13:02, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Oppose quoting IAR here. We should be directing users to policies, not quoting them. This page is descriptive of the policies. I think it is inappropriate to stick things in bold in here and I don't think quoting that here is helpful. Having extra words plus the policy give it undue weight and this statement of principles should be descriptive not prescriptive. Dmcq (talk) 19:26, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Oppose quoting. The pillar already talks about the most important part of WP:IAR, that the spirit of a rule is more important than its exact meaning. I don't think it's necessary to add something here if it is already explained and will potentially confuse newbies. Just my two cents, Magister Scientatalk 21:42, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
@Selina (and Surturz who knows this already): WP:BRD says that someone makes a bold change (that was Selina), someone reverts it (me), then it gets discussed. Since no one else wanted to, I started the discussion, and the matter now awaits consensus.
Selina: Please stop talking about, or linking to, WR—the community does not like promotion, however well intentioned.
@Surturz: I'm not talking about a completely new editor who edit wars in their first ten edits. I am referring to people who care enough about a topic to read some policy pages when they see that their edits are being resisted. They usually find WP:IAR (perhaps at this page, or elsewhere) and then one of two things happen: the sensible reaction, or the digging-in reaction. Often, people are sufficiently sensible to realize that IAR can't be accepted at face value because it clearly cannot resolve a situation where editor X adds some text because they think the text improves the encyclopedia, while editor Y removes the text because they think removal improves the encyclopedia. By contrast, some new editors take IAR to mean that because they are an "expert", and because the people reverting them are obviously misinformed, the new editor should plow on—not with a simple edit war because they have read WP:3RR, but with a battle knowing that policy (IAR) is on their side. The fact that other editors are raising issues concerned with DUE and RS, or perhaps BLP, is ignored. If the new editor digs in, they receive escalating blocks, often finishing with indefinite.
This page should provide useful advice for a new editor. Pillar 5 tells them to be bold and not worry about mistakes, and that exceptions to rules are sometimes required. That is good advice. It is not helpful (without a bunch of qualifications) to provide a new editor with the suggestion that they can ignore someone who quotes a rule like DUE or RS or BLP, providing the new editor thinks they are improving the encyclopedia (of course they think that). If someone wants to argue for the inclusion of the bold quote, please provide a scenario where it is likely to be helpful. Johnuniq (talk) 03:55, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I somewhat agree with your assertions, but totally disagree with your conclusions. WP:IAR is most useful to newbies, since without it, they'll lose any argument on policy, since they won't be able to quote policy as well as entrenched editors. IAR allows newbies to argue content based on the reality, rather than the legality. It also forces entrenched editors to continually justify the existence and use of policies, rather than use them as a means of WP:OWNing articles.
If a newbie editor can't work out that they need WP:CONS after getting blocked... well... maybe they aren't a good fit for the site. Most editors manage to keep a clean block log. --Surturz (talk) 05:55, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I can understand that a precise example might not be possible, but what scenario are you envisaging? Is it something like this: new editor X reads WP:5P and adds some text to an article. Established editor Y removes the text, and eventually X and Y engage on the talk page. Y says "that text fails WP:DUE blah blah". Would it really be helpful for X to reply "due to WP:IAR my edit is good so I'm putting it back"? What percentage of such discussions between established and new editors are likely to involve a case where IAR is genuinely applicable? WP:5 links to WP:IAR (which in turn links to WP:What "Ignore all rules" means). Why isn't that enough? Johnuniq (talk) 06:28, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I think some new editor just saying they're ignoring all rules will get them banned quite quickly. Hardly sounds like a desirable outcome if they could be persuaded to work with others better instead. Dmcq (talk) 09:14, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
one scenario is where an online primary source contradicts a reliable secondary source: "I don't care what the rules on sources are, the newspaper article misquotes him - here is a link to the YouTube video of the interview". A newb editor would be within rights to IAR revert the bad quote, even though it is from an RS. --Surturz (talk) 09:27, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Well that's actually a reasonable use of primary source, since a secondary source refers to what was said the primary source can be used to provide accurate factual data. What we'd really want people to do though is use the talk page if there's a disagreement. Dmcq (talk) 14:32, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
(outdent) the key aspects of IAR are: 1) newbies don't need to learn ANY rules before they start editing, and 2) the purpose of our rules is to facilitate the generation of quality encyclopedic content. I get the sense that you believe that our policies are for minimizing conflict. Not true. --Surturz (talk) 14:57, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Note the 'we' in your reference to 'not true'. There's no point encouraging people to do things that don't work. You might as well give people guns and tell them to kill other people to get their food, I want them to work together and produce something useful and earn a salary. I am opposed to social organizations in Wikipedia as they tend too often to form cabals which engage in POV behaviour and don't listen to outsiders, but it is basically a social endeavour. Dmcq (talk) 15:28, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

FT2 and I had a semi-long discussion (for this talk page, anyway) about the wording of the 5th pillar and honestly I think what we have now is, for the purposes of this page, better than what's on WP:IAR. It expresses more or less the same idea but emphasizes the abstract and philosophical, which is what this page is intended to convey. In general I think that in light of its age, this page is very high on the quality scale as-is. Significant revisions are not necessary here and should generally only be made when community expectations shift such that it no longer represents them accurately. causa sui (talk) 17:20, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

First pillar and WP:ENC

Every 4-6 months someone rolls in here and changes the Wikilink for the first pillar from WP:NOT to Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. These changes never stick because

  1. The first is a policy and the second isn't.
  2. The first is well written and has lots of useful information, whereas the second is basically an all-caps table of contents for WP:NOT.

We welcome many new users every day with templates that direct newbies to the five pillars. We don't this page to direct new people to ironic essays that were obviously written by and for experienced editors, and not to help people get up to speed on how we do things around here.

In general edit warring on this page is a very bad idea and significant revisions need to be considered carefully. This is a very high visibility page that is arguably as significant as any policy. causa sui (talk) 17:32, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

That's pretty convincing, and I support your recent revert to the established version. Johnuniq (talk) 22:54, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Accusations of edit warring are pretty cheap to make, and I respond with WP:OWN - if switching from WP:NOT to WP:ENC is occuring every 4-6 months... perhaps that's because the current version is obviously wrong. To say that a project is founded on a list of what it isn't is ridiculous. I'm sure we can be more positive than that. If there is a problem with WP:ENC, then fix WP:ENC. Don't put its exact opposite in its place. --Surturz (talk) 23:09, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Accessibility problem with this page

With a screen reader like the one I use, JAWS, this page reads as follows:

"Blue piller (1: encyclopedia: definition list of 1 items, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. ... list end. Green pillar (2: definition list of 1 items, NPOV: Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view ... list end. Yellow pillar (3: Free): definition list of 1 items, Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute. list end ..."

The discontiguous HTML lists make the page read rather strangely (there are five pillars, so there should be an unbroken list of 5 items on the page). One way to fix this would be to move the images after the semicolons (or better still, use bullet points), but I'm not sure how this would look to sighted users. We could also use real definition lists, by placing a semicolon before the image and a colon before the explanatory text. Also, tables shouldn't be used for layout purposes, like they are on this page. I'll note this problem on the talk page about the accessibility guideline. Graham87 13:34, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I've removed the table markup and put the images inside the definition list 'headers' (for want of a better word). Please try it now. I'm not sure that "blue pillar" and so on, are optimal alt text values; the images are decorative only despite their colour differences. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:11, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree that the alt text here does not convey any relevant information. I'd be tempted to treat the images as purely decorative (mimicking the bullet points in a contiguous list) and set their alt text to "" as well as setting link="". I'm not sure if it would be "over-egging the cake", but semantically the five definition lists ought to be the five elements of a plain list, although I wouldn't insist on that in this case as a nested list may sound awkward on a screen reader. --RexxS (talk) 16:39, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Andy, it sounds much better now. I agree that the alt text is fairly useless and can be removed. However if I try removing it in preview mode, there is no real delimitation for screen readers between each pillar. This could be solved by turning it into a bulleted list, then JAWS would announce "bullet" before each list item. Line or paragraph breaks would also work but be less effective. Nested lists would sound a bit unusual in this case with JAWS. Graham87 05:47, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I've set the alt text to null values (I think - please check). I don't want to remove the images, as they are a good visual clue to where each point starts, but they could perhaps be rendered as CSS background images. I'll ping someone with the know-how and permissions. I've moved parts of RexxS' and Graham's comments about an accessibility pillar, to a separate section below, and responded there. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:30, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I've fixed the alt text so it's actually null; previously the two quotation marks were part of the alt text. However see my above message: removing the alt text and doing nothing else effectively removes the delimitors between each item for screen readers. Graham87 15:09, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
This might be a little silly, but what about changing the alt text to say "bullet" or some such short delimiting phrase? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:52, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, that could work. The only problem is that it's a bit weird having the same alt text for five different images ... so if a JAWS user clicks on one, that one is marked as a visited link while the other four aren't. It's a minor problem, but it'd still sound rather strange. The best solution I think would be to add the colours of the bullets in the alt text for each image. Graham87 01:25, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I've added different alt texts as "First pillar", "Second pillar", etc. to act as delimiters for screen readers. The colours are meaningless, but the order carries some information. See how that sounds, Graham? --RexxS (talk) 01:39, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Rexx, sounds good to me. However I've removed the quotes because they are not part of the syntax; they are rendered as part of the alt text. Graham87 03:28, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the correction, Graham. I'm so much in the habit of quoting the values of html attributes (as in img src="foo.jpg" alt="bar") that I forget that the alt here is a template parameter and shouldn't be quoted. Mea culpa! --RexxS (talk) 16:14, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Accessibility pillar

While we're on the subject, I'll just note that it's still a pity that we don't have a pillar/principle indicating a goal that Wikipedia should be accessible to all readers. We spend a lot of energy describing how our product is created and maintained, and none on how our product gets used. --RexxS (talk) 16:39, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I've never really thought about making it a principle that Wikipedia should be accessible to all, or at least as many people as possible ... it just seems like basic common sense to me! Graham87 05:47, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Me too. I think we need a statement from the foundation board, or Jimbo, to that effect. I'll drop them a line. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:30, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

My attention as been drawn to wmf:Resolution:Openness:

We urge the Wikimedia community to promote openness and collaboration, by … Supporting the development and rollout of features and tools that improve usability and accessibility

which should help. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:42, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Making Wikipedia as accessible as possible is not currently an aim of Wikipedia. It conflicts with WP:CENSORED. There has been quite hard opposition to supporting tools to allow self censorship so for instance Muslims don't see pictures of Mohamed or right wingers don't see anything about abortion for instance or a much wider audience has a thing against sex or violence. Not having such facilities means that Wikipedia is made inaccessible to many of the children of people with such beliefs and right wingers will go off to for instance Conservapedia. So yes I'm all in favour of an accessibility project in Wikipedia to help with physical problems, but lets not fool ourselves that we really are trying to reach the widest possible audience. Dmcq (talk) 13:54, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry that I can't agree with your analysis, and I reject the proposition that accessibility conflicts with WP:CENSORED. The very fact that there has been much opposition to tools which limit access is surely a recognition of the principle of maximum accessibility. It is simply a non-sequitur to claim that a lack of censorship makes Wikipedia inaccessible to Muslim children, for example, as they are just as capable of circumventing parental control as any other children are. At least with a Wikipedia that offers as wide an accessibility as possible, the choice is available to read it or not. The alternative is a Wikipedia which we construct to be inaccessible to many readers with disabilities and even larger numbers of readers who live in regions with poor internet connections. There is simply no good reason why Wikipedia should not have a goal of making its content available to as much of the world as wishes to read it. --RexxS (talk) 16:28, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
So the solution for such children is to defy their parents wishes and break their principles? That's rich on the talk page about Wikipedia's basic priciples. Dmcq (talk) 12:03, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
It is surely better that the functionality is available for anyone to view Wikipedia than it is for us to censor our content in a mistaken attempt to enforce a particular culture's sensibilities. The mechanism of restricting children's access is a job for their parents, not for us. And that's a basic principle that is already recognised by the community. --RexxS (talk) 16:26, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't talking about anyone here censoring anything, but of providing or simplifying the means for parents to do something like that if they so desire. That would make the whole business of images of Mohamed for instance much less of an issue. Dmcq (talk) 21:52, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Voluntary categorization of potentially offensive content isn't a bad idea, but it's likely to lead to a lot of arguments over specific pages. Maybe it's worth it. I'm not sure. Either way this isn't really a pillar issue. Gigs (talk) 20:00, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Lede slowly evolved over last 3 months to be more "strict law"

If someone checks the diffs (and no I'm not wasting my time posting them for you) you can see the wording has gone through at least two changes each one making it more that these ARE strict rules that Wikipedia operates on instead of them being a summary of some of the core principles Wikipedia happens to have. The Five Pillars have through many many many discussions been proven to be a result of a summary of existing OLDER policies and guidelines and are not what the policies flow from. Can we civily revert to a previous form that makes it clearer that this is not the constitution of Wikipedia. It is a nice summary page to help beginners. Or at least that was the intention, many of us believe it is no longer serving that function effectively because of edits like those to the lede I am complaining about.Camelbinky (talk) 20:35, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

It might help if you would be more specific about the changes you want. Dmcq (talk) 22:54, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm not seeing it. Back in September 2011 (100 versions ago), it said,
The fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates are summarized in the form of five "pillars"
Now it says,
Wikipedia operates on the following fundamental principles, known as the five pillars
These don't seem terribly different to me. The older version is marginally more correct, because the pillars are merely one way of summarizing the most important principles, rather than the sole principles themselves, but I don't see any change towards "these are the strict rules".
On a related note, perhaps this high-traffic page should be semi-protected to reduce the number of accidental or otherwise problematic edits. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:09, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Both wordings seem fine to me. Semi-protection is fine but I'd oppose full protection very strongly. Gigs (talk) 14:46, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Definitely just semi-protection. I'm concerned about blanking and other newbie mistakes, not regular editing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:26, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
If both wordings are "fine" and as What mentions the older version is "marginally more correct" then I say we use the older better version. I see a fundamental difference in the semantics and I believe the editors who made the changes did so for that reason. The current version clearly calls these the fundamental principles and that Wikipedia operates on them. This is not correct. They are not the fundamental principles and Wikipedia does not operate based on what the 5P say. The original version is correct in that these are a summary of the fundamental principals that Wikipedia operates on. I can summarize British common law and state "This is a summary of the principles that British common law operates on" but I can not say "These are some of the fundamental principles Wikipedia operates on". And I'm not positive but I'm think at one time it did say "some" in the 5P lede though that may have been a proposal that met resistance and was never implemented, I think it should be put in there though, because I'm sure we have fundamental principals that we have not put in the 5P because they are too arcane or too common sense.Camelbinky (talk) 17:31, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I put the older version you preferred back. I'm not sure what you find so controversial about the five pillars anyway that you feel like you must discredit them in this way. Gigs (talk) 17:50, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I think he made an argument in there. It's kind of WP:LAME to make a big deal out of the minor distinction, but he has a point, and there's no advantage to the status quo over the older version really, so this is probably a good thing. causa sui (talk) 19:02, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The older version is the status quo. (talk) 13:44, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Love 'em!

I edited quite a bit in 2006-08. Took a long break. Have been back (procrastinating writing my tenure book) and the Five Pillars still seem as relevant and fundamental summary of what we try to do here as anything else written about WP. Great job upholding them everyone and great job writing them a decade ago. Best, -- Michael Scott Cuthbert (talk) 20:32, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Disseminating information

There has been a discussion t User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 111#More pillars which discussed performance aspects. I think there is a wider problem of the pillars only concentrating on producing an encyclopedia and that there is no mission statement about what the purpose is, in particular that the purpose is to produce educational material and to disseminate the information effectively and stated in meta:mission. This would put a greater emphasis on readability from all sorts of devices and on making the material easier easier to get into for people new to a subject. Dmcq (talk) 17:50, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

That might be out of scope for this particular essay. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:12, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Isn't that the question in the first place? As far as I can see the purpose of this page is to act as a short summary of the principles under which Wikipedia operates so new editors can start on the right track. Do you think that the purpose of Wikipedia should be something new editors have to search for rather than have presented to them up front? What is more of a principle than what it is all in aid of? Dmcq (talk) 10:43, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

How about as an introductory paragraph:

The aim of Wikipedia is to create educational content in the form of a free and reliable encyclopaedia which can be effectively disseminated globally. The fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates are summarized in the form of five "pillars":

Dmcq (talk) 11:28, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

The 'effectively disseminated globally' comes straight from the meta mission but I think the language is rather cludgy. The essential idea is that we're not here just to collect up and write stuff up but that it has be be put in a form people can read and digest easily on the internet. Anyone goy a better way of saying that? Dmcq (talk) 17:49, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
The "disseminate it effectively and globally" text is the mission of the WMF and is not the mission of Wikipedia—WMF disseminates material generated by Wikipedia and other projects. I agree that, if it were possible without undue distraction, a very brief mission statement with one link might be helpful, but I can't see how that could be achieved. The three links in the proposed text do not lead to useful places, and that dilutes the value of 5P because if a new editor starts by reading those linked pages they are going to get tired or distracted before reaching the meat of 5P. I also agree that keeping an eye on what helps material be disseminated would be desirable, but there's not much value here in a generic statement that doesn't give guidance. Until there is a policy or guideline saying how an editor could assist disseminate information effectively and globally, I don't see a reason to mention it here. Johnuniq (talk) 21:30, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
So what do you think Wikipedia is in aid of? Do you even agree with WP:PAPER and if so why if the aim is simply to produce an encyclopaedia without bothering about the aims of the foundation supporting the project? Personally I see no point in producing an encyclopaedia without it being designed to be read and to inform. I had a look around for stuff supportive of making the contents readable and only came up with that plus WP:SIZE, WP:TECHNICAL and WP:ACCESSIBILITY, plus WP:MOSINTRO has a nod towards that. It seems to me too often editors are writing for themselves or other editors and what I've seen of WP:FAC seems more aimed at paper articles rather than the web and they seem to find summary style for instance very hard to do properly. Dmcq (talk) 22:42, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
WP:PAPER is of course correct, but is also widely abused to claim that junk articles don't matter and should be kept because someone will find them interesting or amusing. Finding the balance between delete/include is difficult, and is outside the scope of 5P. My concern is that 5P has useful guidance and anything added should also include useful guidance, and I just don't see how to do that. I can see the point of suggesting that a summary style would be helpful in some places, but everything at 5P is very solidly supported by community consensus, whereas I'm not sure there would be such support for text that might encourage editors to put every fact into an infobox, or to cut into featured articles with summaries. I'll probably leave this for now so others can comment without my clutter. Johnuniq (talk) 23:38, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I was talking about whether Wikipedia should aim to be readable and to inform rather than just be crammed with facts. Please note the concentration here on readers, not on setting up more articles. Dmcq (talk) 10:07, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
This page is a summary for brand-new people. I don't think that they're going to care so much in the beginning about the formal mission statement or the challenges of multi-platform global dissemination. I think they're going to care more about the basics, like whether they should be working with other people or defending "their" article against all comers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:23, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Well I think the problem is well illustrated by the problems with article size. Many editors think of the article size guidelines as a limit to the size of their articles and an impediment to cramming more information in. The question I believe should be how to present the information best so it can be read easily and people are informed by it. That is where the Wikimedia mission comes in, we should be producing stuff suitable for the foundations mission. You are right that it isn't our job to provide the servers but we are failing badly if what we actually produce is unfit for the purpose of informing readers.
You may not think talking about why articles are being written is important but it is. A simple one sentence pointer can make all the difference. The main thing they are asked to do at the moment is produce a free reliable encyclopaedia - and they are succeeding at that. What they are not asked to do is make it readable and informative or to cater for readers in any way at all. There is no mention of anything at all to do with reader requirements in the 5P. The attitude seems to be that information is collected and it is free and they don't even think of beyond that.
Just cramming information into Wikipedia is not good enough. I know there are other important things like performance that should not be mentioned because they would impact badly on the main aims, but having the stuff be read and having it inform people is something that editors should be aware of. What they are producing at the moment is warehouses without loading bays rather than department stores with good shop windows. Dmcq (talk) 10:07, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Jumping in to say that the mission statement is critical to these 5P's, I would like to see the mission addressed in the intro paragraph. As far as extending "dissemination" to include other notable technology channels, I agree this is within the scope of "dissemination"; however I don't believe this is the page to push the details on that important issue until it has been reasonably addressed elsewhere. Attempts to help with "purpose" resulted in Purpose_(disambiguation). It would be great if there were unity of purpose on wikipedia. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 21:04, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Point of view

This doesn't make sense [6]. Please explain, who means "major" here? The WP:NPOV policy says "all significant views that have been published by reliable sources". Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 18:58, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

See WP:WEIGHT. Also note the 'significant' in what you quoted. What do you think significant means? Dmcq (talk) 19:40, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for asking. Expressly from WP:RS it means "all majority and significant minority views". Applying "major" in the principle would seem to exclude the significant minority views. That's why the principle should say "reliably sourced"; maybe with a link, because, the WP:RS guidance is fine. WP:Weight could be better addressed in the principle too. It's reasonable to conclude that the balance of an article will cover the major views; however, significant minority views are to be covered too. Wouldn't be good to lead the 5P readers astray on these important issues with "major". Probably best to get them onto reliable sources early in their editing. This means, applying something with authority to the NPOV balance. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 21:40, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
On first thought, I would be most comfortable with the word 'significant' in that location, since using 'majority' seems to discount substantive 'minority' viewpoints that would still be appropriate here, and 'reliable' seems to bring too much credit to fringe theories, which may meet normal standards of reliability but still not be appropriate. Note that 'significant' is how the issue is characterized in the lead of Wikipedia:Fringe theories. NTox · talk 21:57, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I can agree with significant. A notable fringe theory can have some minor significance. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 22:14, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. NTox · talk 22:18, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
A recent change (correctly reverted) was "We strive for articles that document and explain the major reliably sourced points of view". Lots of nonsense can be "reliably" sourced yet is correctly excluded by considerations like WP:ONEWAY. The word "major" does not mean "what most people think" (as in "majority"), but 5P cannot explain all the subtleties. In any case, 5P does not define procedures—people are going to have to study the linked policies if they want the details. The word "significant" is not helpful here because the fact that an astonishingly large percentage of Americans claim to believe in creationism is significant—creationism is a significant point of view. Johnuniq (talk) 00:32, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes I think significant would be the wrong word to use here as it is too open to misinterpretation. The policy with it in has lots more words in it to explain but 5P needs to be something people can read without reading the referenced policies and guidelines. Major does not cover the whole truth but saying the major points of view are covered does not imply that only the major points of view are covered - it simply says that we don't just cover the one main point of view. There's no need to read things into sentences, that sort of approach would drag th whole contents of the policies and guidelines here. Dmcq (talk) 00:48, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Can the two of you elaborate on your arguments? I'll be honest and simply say that I don't understand what either of you are saying. I have understood the part about how the 5P should not be concerned with minutia (which I agree with), but what exactly do you believe is problematic with using 'significant' as a broad term, and why is it worse than 'major' or 'majority'? NTox · talk 01:37, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
My problem is significant take be taken in a personal way whereas major is normally not personal. A person can think something is significant even if only a tiny minority have discussed it. That pillar is all about a non personal neutral point of view so I think it is best to avoid something so liable to misinterpretation that way. Dmcq (talk) 09:12, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Okay. That makes more sense — and there is a part of me that can sympathize with that reasoning. I suppose it does depend on how one understands the meaning of these terms, and it would be rational to identify the meaning that a general readership is likely to bring to the statement. i.e., to me, 'significant' usually makes me think 'large' or 'many', but I understand that to others it would mean 'important' or 'valuable'. NTox · talk 17:53, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
"Significant" makes sense; because, that what the sourced Wikipedia policies and guidelines say. This way, we don't have to take into consideration personal views on what it means, there is of plenty of context to link for its proper interpretation. Ironically, saying major does not mean majority or significant is a personal view, are really kind of fringe concepts. Major does not cover the whole truth. Signifcant has important and express meaning here, if also statistically not by chance, and is most relevant to the Wikipedia governance context. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 00:15, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, consistency is important. If 'significant' is in fact used to describe this concept across the English Wikipedia, we can in all likelihood assume that it has some kind of semantic consensus. And it still remains my personal favorite. Where else besides Wikipedia:Fringe theories is 'significant' used? (I haven't looked). NTox · talk 00:29, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
The pillars are not a policy or guideline, they are a summary of principles but more importantly they are a basic background beginners should know when starting to edit Wikipedia, they should not need to read policies and guidelines and learn about Wiki versions of things like verifiabilty not truth or what is meant here by original research unless people start complaining about what they have written. Dmcq (talk) 00:44, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, as far as I'm concerned, when you're dealing with a page that is explicitly designed to summarize an almost universal consensus, efforts should be made to make it consistent with the meanings that are expressed in policies and guidelines. This may indeed be an 'essay', but it is much more functional than that — in one sense, its purpose is to describe the spirit that underpins all of our policies and guidelines. The interconnection in both intent and actual community usage is so strong that we should try to use consistent language. NTox · talk 01:30, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Along with beginners, experienced editors will benefit from the word "significant" too; because, they both may learn to be inclusive and agreeable where reliable sources beg for notable content. There is always a need to generously improve the content with significant views from the sources. Whereas almost be definition, "major" excludes the minor ... a bad lesson for all involved with setting up dichotomies which may inflame fighting. "Significant" gives praise to importance, weight and magnitude, without making an exclusive division. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 03:28, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
You have to consider what it is aimed at and most useful for. It is not for you or me to learn much from. It is a general statement of principles so new people can get up to steam quickly without getting mired in wikispeak bureaucracy. We need to generally agree with the sentiments but we don't have to make it consistent with wikipedia policy jargon. Dmcq (talk) 19:05, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Those are some areas in which I would disagree with you, even though I understand your reasons. I don't personally see the five pillars as something aimed or useful only for newcomers. Most of our newcomers who write content after all are IP editors who come, go, and never take a look at project space. In fact, the entire manner in which I found this discussion was because I was reading this page as I often do to keep what's important in focus. Obviously, I know the stuff, but it is important to be reminded. In any case, I don't really believe that the terms we're discussing here really have such specific definitions to run the risk of jargon. We're merely talking about a general meaning of a common word, 'significant'. NTox · talk 19:46, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Exactly what does the fact that many IPs don't read any introduction at all before editing have to do with anything? I didn't say solely for newcomers, but that many newcomers don't read anything is irrelevant, and one needs to weigh how important to good editing is having somebody like you who is well versed in the policies looking at it compared to having a new editor reading it and having a reasonable understanding. Dmcq (talk) 21:36, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I should clarify: in no way am I suggesting that we should focus less on making this page understandable to newcomers. Catering to them is certainly an admirable (and necessary) goal, and on that count I think you have a great point. What I mean is that I think newcomers - who usually edit under IPs - read this page less often than many of us think. (I wish I had hard numbers!) Thus, the fact that they do not often read this stuff is relevant because it means that a huge percentage of the 5P's readership is experienced editors. Therefore, we should also work hard to cater this page to them, as we do for newcomers. As said, I think every one of us, no matter experience, have a need to learn from this page (including myself, of course!). In effect, the idea is to cater this page to both, and thus why terminology/meaning as we know it elsewhere in project space is important here. NTox · talk 22:21, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I've considered what this page is aimed for, as well as this talk section. Now the beginner and experienced editor issues are off track; because, like Wikipedia, this page is to benefit all significant readers, not only the minor beginner and the major experienced editor. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 01:30, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I see this as the most difficult guideline to interpret and enforce.
This is because it seeks to operate on assumptions that might not actually be workable.
1. Neutral viewpoint. Does such a thing actually exist? If you have just one viewpoint, how can it be neutral? You can't see enough from just one viewpoint to understand a subject well. The alternative to the fabled "neutral viewpoint" is the concept of multiple viewpoints. In other words, we can suppose that if you look at a subject from enough different, defined viewpoints, an overall improved understanding of that subject could result. I have never read an encyclopedia with a "neutral viewpoint" and this is also true of this encyclopedia. I think it would be more workable to go in the direction of defining viewpoints and connecting data with various defined viewpoints.
2. Reliable sources. Recent work in different ways of gaining access to information (observation and analysis of objects, observation and analysis of processes, documentation and other artifacts, human memory, remote viewing) has turned this whole subject into a can of worms.
We have seen presumably "reliable sources" (peer-reviewed published research) being fudged for financial gain (pharmaceutical studies), which opens up the whole question of how long this has been going on and how widespread it really is. We have to find a definition for "reliable" that is not based simply on "authoritative." The answer seems to rely on assessing the workability of the information. However, this may take time to assess. That leaves almost any very current information somewhat suspect, regardless of the "reliability" of its source.
As mirrored by what subatomic physics is currently going through, our assumptions are being challenged by the realization that all is not as it appears to be. And in particular, that human intention seems to play a larger role in the creation of information (even "scientific" observation) than previously imagined. The only way out of this, it seems to me, is to bring human intention into the process, rather than trying to enforce "neutrality" or "objectivity" in a world where these, increasingly, seem to be unachievable. L e cox (talk) 19:57, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

You need to read these statements as containing jargon. It's not "neutral" and "reliable"; it's "wikineutral" and "wikireliable". A wikineutral article presents all significant (and no insignificant) points of view, in due proportion to each view's prominence in wikireliable sources. Whether this involves multiple points of view depends on the subject: Addition and Subtraction probably only get one point of view, Norway-Sweden relations probably gets two, and United States presidential election, 2012 might get half a dozen. We also require that each point of view be presented in due proportion, so that a mainstream viewpoint is accurately presented as being the mainstream viewpoint and that a minority viewpoint is presented as a minority viewpoint. That's what we mean by saying something is "neutral". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:10, 7 September 2012 (UTC)


I think it is more accurate to say that FIVE covers "some of" Wikipedia's fundamental principles. It doesn't necessarily include every fundamental principle. For example, the principle of global dissemination isn't highlighted here, as Dmcq pointed out above. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:10, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I concur with you on that one. The five pillars certainly aren't the only principles we can imagine for the English Wikipedia - merely one particular group that has some agreement for describing the heart of things fairly well. An alternative set of pillars could be just as useful, so to say that these are 'the' principles would be a bit misleading. NTox · talk 06:39, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Introducing "some of" is an attempt to downplay the significance of 5P—previous attempts were in March and May. In some sense, there is no reality, and my rules are just as good as your rules. Pragmatically however, the community has found that the procedures summarized at 5P work well, and are "fundamental" for normal operation. The word "some" implies that there are other fundamental principles which have arbitrarily been omitted from 5P due to lack of space. I do not agree with that assessment—if there is another fundamental principle which is as important as the five listed here, let's add it, and call this the six pillars. The principle of global dissemination is important (and is fundamental for the WMF), but there did not seem to be much enthusiasm for adding it in the discussions above; also, aspirational goals without how-to guidance are unhelpful here. Is anything fundamental missing from 5P? If not, the "some of" should be removed as it conveys a false impression that this page is just an arbitrary collection of links. Johnuniq (talk) 08:23, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
"Some of" is vague and non-specific, which begs the question where are the other fundamental principles, per Wikipedia:Weasel_words#Expressions_that_lack_precision, I can't support. If there are other fundamental principles, let's work them in here. "Dissemination" is in the purpose/mission, which should be addressed in this article. The purpose/mission is primal which these fundamental principles should fully support. I suppose derived principles, should be eleswhere, if not linked here. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 15:05, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree with that. I'll remove the some again as if one wants to establish they are not the fundfamental principles one should say what other principle is fundamental here first and then establish a consensus that it is fundamental as opposed to what has been said for ages. Dmcq (talk) 16:48, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Ultimately, I don't have an incredibly strong opinion on the matter, but in the interest of consensus, I would be one to vote against the truth of the claim that these are the principles, because when I read that, I get the impression that all other principles are excluded. Now, one would be able to suggest all day that other principles are indeed not excluded because they exist inside the 5P or somesuch, but IMHO the effort to objectify these five particular concepts as the truth just seems to shut out alternative viewpoints, like [7] [8] [9] [10]. Compare this to how we write in article space, in which we do not write an assertion in Wikipedia's voice if it has been sufficiently disputed by other sources. While such less formally applies to project space, I offer my disputation in this post. In sum: I agree with the sentiments of the 5P generally but I do not agree that they are the pillars, for the above reasons. I am however prepared to be in the minority on this if necessary. NTox · talk 18:49, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't say they are the principles. It says they are the fundamental principles. I suppose one could say instead the most inportant principles or something like that but just saying some is quite obviously wrong and not a consensus view as far as I can see. Wikipedia is self governing so Jimbo and the foundation don't matter as far as this is concerned, just the consensus here and the principles one is just a big list with no special status. The only other one like this there is the simplified ruleset which reference 5P. One you've missed which has some support is WP:Trifecta but I don't think "don't be a dick" has quite the same support nowadays as it used to have.
The one essay I really would like an idea from here is WP:Purpose. I think there should be a sentence about the background and aim in the first line, Wikipedia isn't there just to accumulate a free factbook but is also a project of the Wikimedia foundation which has a mission to develop educational content and disseminate it effectively. We support the first bit of content but it is not anywhere near as educational or suitable for effective dissemination as it should be because readability has a low profile in the principles. As far as I know WP:NOTPAPER is the only mention of anything like readability in any of the policies. but people only look at the first paragraph there. So I can't say we have a principle that the content should be readable but I certainly can't think of any pinciple that has been missed out that is as important as that. Dmcq (talk) 19:27, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
It could say significant principles. (smile) I take fundamental as the ones that should be adhered too first, as by consensus in this article. Just because it may be fundamental principle, should not mean it was created first in time, it's the significant ones. Really, all these are policies and guidance by now. This article makes a cute summary, strings them together in a common group, and calls them < something > principles for summary effect. Look, this summary Wikipedia:List_of_policies_and_guidelines has 19 categories but it's not so cuddly and colorfull. That list, includes what I would call "standards"; however, not yet adopted as a governance term in Wikipedia. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 20:43, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I believe that there are some fundamental, important principles that are not included on this page. The fundamental principle that what you write is being distributed at no charge to the reader isn't mentioned. Half of Jimbo Wales' Statement of Principles (he names eight, not five) is not mentioned. The importance of accessibility to people with disabilities or limited internet access is not mentioned. The fundamental principle, so fundamental that it is sometimes called "rule zero", of WP:Use common sense isn't mentioned. There are a lot of fundamental principles that aren't mentioned, because they're not of immediate importance to the audience for this page, which is newbies. Newbies don't need to worry about how software changes are handled (a fundamental principle on Wales' list). They don't need to worry about how their writing interacts with screen readers. Merely being fundamental isn't sufficient to earn space on this page. It has to be fundamental and relevant to the principal audience. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:09, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Free is in the title of the third pillar, that means without charge. Jimbo's principles are his, not the communities. Accessibility can hardly be anywhere near being a fundamental principle when there is no relevant policy only a guideline. Use common sense is handled under the last pillar. As to accessibility it is one thing which would be more relevant if we could have a principle that producing something generally easy to read was an aim rather than just stuffing the encyclopaedia fill of facts. I was however just hoping for the moment to put that as an aim of the foundation rather than one that Wikipedia has embraced as like the accessibility I have no evidence there is such a consensus principle in Wikipedia. Dmcq (talk) 22:49, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Before adding a new point, I think we need to be able to say something meaningful about it (meaningful to the intended audience of this page, as WhatamIdoing explained)—when editing an article, what should the editor do? If we can't provide a good answer to that, there is no benefit from noting the point here. BTW, I suspect the third pillar is concerned with freedom as in liberty (Wikipedia does not attempt to control what re-users do with material), and the zero cost factor is a by-product of that. Johnuniq (talk) 00:13, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
John is correct: "Free" is in the third pillar, but that's libre, not gratis. The third pillar is about licensing, not about money. We have a firm principle that the WMF-hosted content will be supplied free-as-in-beer, without subscription, advertising or any other effort to monetize it, and that is not mentioned here.
IMO it doesn't need to be mentioned here, because this is principles-for-this-audience, not complete-list-of-all-principles. But it is proof that there are fundamental principles not included here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:20, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
The basic reason for not having ads is to try and ensure a neutral point of view, it is not some great principle in itself. I agree with Johnuniq that we should say something meaningful to the intended audience which is newish editors wondering how they should go about things. Dmcq (talk) 08:08, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
What is quite correct in stating that if Jimbo has 8 and this essay has 5, there are things left out, and the reason is that this is intended as nothing more than a welcome page for newbies. Unfortunately as written in the lede this gives the impression that these are THE fundamental principles, and there are no others, and nothing higher. More and more we will see new editors proclaim some of the things we see "you cant change policy to xxxy because it violates the 5P" or "you cant make this edit because the 5P says yxyy". Well, since the 5P have no authority you cant legitimately make that argument to form a consensus on any edit or policy. For clarity's sake we need to encourage our newbies to read the actual policies, understand the exceptions to the rules (and not just IAR, there are actual exceptions, and slight differences on different types of edits depending on circumstances). We don't want the 5P to be the beginning and end of their learning, we want it to be a stepping stone. A better lede formula other than "The fundamental principles" must exist somewhere. Regardless of what "fundamental" truly means as a word, what people will read out of it is different.Camelbinky (talk) 14:54, 4 August 2012 (UTC) as an aside- the "current" wording is not the wording that has been said for "ages" and is only the wording snuck in every once in awhile till someone catches it and we have this discussion that either removes it or goes no-consensus, which for some reason "no consensus" lets the change stay. despite every thread where we all agree something better should be put in (but one or two obstructionists are allowed to block).
WP:Core content policies has a perfect disclaimer at the top, which I'm sure will be blocked by a minority of obstructionists on this page. But it is something that explains perfectly that "When in doubt go to the policy page" and encourages editors to READ more.Camelbinky (talk) 15:05, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Well I don't find that last comment anywhere near being a convincing argument. I did try having a look at seven random times over the last few years and the form seemed pretty definite to me. However if you can think of some wording beside just 'some' I'f certainly look at at it. Personally I'd be quite happy for people to just read 5P and not start becoming wikilawyers. Dmcq (talk) 19:53, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Could use new, updated images

The images being used for the "Five Pillars" are not a pillars. They are capitals. This has always bothered me. Seriously. I would like to propose new images for discussion.--Amadscientist (talk) 02:53, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Do you have specific images in mind? (links?) Or want something created from scratch? (criteria?) Proposals are good, details are better! ;) -- Quiddity (talk) 04:50, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
There was a change recently to use capitals that didn't have the colors. This was reverted because the anchors refer to the colors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:55, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

New RfC about Categorization of persons

Please see Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Categorization of persons: "Should we categorize people according to genetic and cultural heritage, faith, or sexual orientation? If so, what are our criteria for deciding an identity?" Thank you, IZAK (talk) 02:52, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

What does this have to do with the 5P? This kinda sounds like canvassing. This page is only for the 5P page and not for general policy decisions. We write the 5P based off what policy says, this shouldnt be the place for rounding up people to go to other discussions.Camelbinky (talk) 15:58, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Remove text that may promote irresponsibility

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The result is to keep the text as it is per unanimous decision and lack of recent comments. Non-admin closure. RedSoxFan2434 (talk) 19:25, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

At the end of the fifth pillar it says:

"Be bold (but not reckless) in updating articles and do not worry about making mistakes. Prior versions of pages are saved, so any mistakes can be corrected."

Wikipedia is extremely popular and many readers place a high level of credence in what they have read. It is therefore irresponsible to have the text quoted above in our fundamental principles. It should be deleted. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 10:00, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Keep the text. I made mistakes when I was a new editor. I suspect that we all did. Alan's first mainspace edit was imperfect: he created an article, and marked that edit as "minor". Several of his early edits were imperfect, e.g., this. Why should we tell a person like Alan to worry about his mistakes? I don't believe that we were irresponsible to tell him that mistakes can be fixed, so don't worry too much about it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:53, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep the text. It could potentially be phrased more clearly, but we need items like this and WP:IAR and WP:PERFECT and WP:WIP to balance out the strong-immediatist perspective. Slow and steady wins the race (and allows imperfect parts the time needed to be groomed into greater quality).
    Note: There's a connected RfC at Wikipedia talk:Editing policy#Remove the section titled "Wikipedia is a work in progress: perfection is not required"Quiddity (talk) 05:27, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep - per editor Quiddity the same reasons in my vote for the related RfC linked above. FeydHuxtable (talk) 10:04, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep - I am in the middle of my first major edit, and a couple of experienced editors are doing their best to scare me off by using bullying tactics. There needs to be a policy that protects novice editors from those editors who think they own certain articles/topics and who want to use the inexperience of others to control what readers may find on Wikipedia. -- Beleg Strongbow (talk) 19:58, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep Mistakes are how many editors learn; you shouldn't have to be an expert to edit. With the prevalence of watchlists any bad editing can be quickly corrected. Instaurare (talk) 20:05, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep - This is indeed one of the most important principles of Wikipedia. Good faith mistakes by newcomers are perfectly acceptable; it's bad-faith vandalism and editors who have been around for a while but can't take a hint who we a have a problem with. —JmaJeremy 03:50, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep: though I share the sentiments of Alan Liefting, I regard the issue from another angle – the changes to the content should be encouraged. This wording would benefit from tuning: advise is not to make mistakes, but to avoid refraining from editing out of fear to make mistakes, and this should be made crystal clear. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Czarkoff (talkcontribs) 11:16, 8 October 2012‎

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


There is an RFC at Template talk:Policy list#rfc_32DAC56 about whether this page should be linked in that template. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:45, 13 December 2012 (UTC)