Wikipedia talk:Here to build an encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This page is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Essays
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Essays, a collaborative effort to organise and monitor the impact of Wikipedia essays. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion.
 High  This page has been rated as High-impact on the project's impact scale.

Title and other sections[edit]

  • Is the page name able to be improved?
  • Is a "See also" section needed?
  • Categories?

FT2 (Talk | email) 15:53, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

  • There is a difference between build, create and maintain. Regretfully many editors [who?] seem to be unable to realise that writing an article does not actually equal building an enyclopedia .... So I'd suggest you define "build" a bit better. Pedro :  Chat  19:56, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
A good point, but I think it may be covered. The "Purpose" section defines it as "a user is here primarily to help improve encyclopedia articles and content, and to provide constructive input into communal discussions and processes that may improve these", not just "writing an article".
The section "Building an encyclopedia" suggests that if there is a question whether a user is here to build an encyclopedia, possible indications include "a genuine interest in improving the encyclopedic content... a wide range of interests... substantive edits/article writing or other significant activities... constructive improvements to the processes", along with respect for core editing standards, limited focus on non-encyclopedic activities, and learning/improvement.
As such I don't think there is much chance of the misunderstanding you describe happening. FT2 (Talk | email) 23:23, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

WP:Ant Colony (a potential proposed policy page - perhaps...)[edit]

A simplistic title, but building an encyclopedia can be analogous to making an ant nest - worker ants (and especially soldier ants) perform some tasks that superficially do not appear to be directly targeted toward building the colony; but it would be a mistake to consider them "not there to build a colony".

Since online encyclopedia's (um... the one I am familiar with, anyhoo) are very much more complex than ant colonies, and there are many roles and activities that do not appear to be directly concerned with article content creation, there needs to be an understanding that there needs to be very fine judgement over what may help toward the building of an encyclopedia. Encyclopedia's are not and have never been fact factories, where the majority is employed in churning out paragraphs of information with a little direction provided by functionaries and publishers, until... well, here and now in fact. However, Wikipedia is two potentially opposed concepts; a project in which content is provided by a potentially huge editorship, dwarfing the resources available to manage it in a traditional manner, and an expanding entity where the contribution demographic may perhaps be evolving into different constituent parts. Lastly, and this is where it gets tricky, the maintenance (and even concept) of an online open editing encyclopedia is itself simply an experimental model being run in real time; the rules are being created, criticised, discarded/confirmed, and endlessly debated even as the encyclopedia is being written, reviewed and read. "Building the encyclopedia" is not just a value judgement, but one which changes, incrementally, each day. Any discussion regarding what, or who, is not here to build an encyclopedia should recognise that the questioning or even opposition in respect of those who are recognised as being here to build an encyclopedia, or activities that are not considered as directly encyclopedia building, are not automatically detrimental to the purpose of building an encyclopedia. LessHeard vanU (talk) 01:07, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Comment by Llywrch[edit]

I'm troubled by the "Not being here to build an encyclopedia" section. While this was intended as a selection of examples of the detrimental behavior this concept is aimed at, I worry that should this become policy, these will be used a specific points to ban given people -- or remove content contributed in good faith. Yes, there are people who edit Wikipedia in specific areas to push their agenda; but there are also people who join Wikipedia to make a few edits, contribute a specific chunk of material, participate in a single discussion -- then either leave or fall silent once their work is done. We can intuit that their intent to participate was to improve Wikipedia, but the inevitable wikilawyering allows one party to remove the material because the person who contributed "Was not here to build an encyclopedia". Maybe the solution is to make this an essay, rather than policy (just because someone presents a persuasive argument does not mean it needs to be formally added to policy for people to follow it); or to state that this is not a reason by itself to remove content. (If that isn't clear, that's because it's late in my time zone & I should have been in bed a couple of hours ago.) -- llywrch (talk) 07:35, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree. When persistent counterproductive behavior becomes disruptive then by all means throw the book at them, but a sweeping policy expressed in terms of motivations and intentions is not a good idea. I think administrative and arbitrative mentions of the principle ought to be interpreted as summary remarks about disruption. As a policy it would give license to assume bad faith whenever something seems unconstructive. An essay discussing the first pillar in relation to behaviors that are deprecated in various policies is fine. It may be helpful for prompting someone to stop and think about what they are doing in relation to what Wikipedia is doing. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:47, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't wish to see this page be policy, and would oppose it as such. It's "things to bear in mind", rather than a hard line on who may or may not do what. But as an expression that is very widely used regardless, and a number of behaviors that probably are beneficial to cover, it's helpful to give a guideline on it. FT2 (Talk | email) 17:27, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Archive as rejected[edit]

Consensus appears to be leaning toward nixing this proposal as rejected. I agree with the sentiments above that it takes a lot of worker ants to keep the colony going, and each individual one may have no appearance of being constructive. Listing what Wikipedia is not is just a tad open ended. Apteva (talk) 01:59, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, we already have WP:NOT, but the purposes of that and this are very different. This, rather, appears to be an essay, and I'm unsure why the {{Draft proposal}} tag was ever added instead of just labeling it as such. The best solution, IMO, would be to just put the essay tag on, and leave it be. Cheers. lifebaka++ 03:27, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Possibly useful essay, but probably not a guideline. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 05:17, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I concur with Lifebaka, and by extension, I believe with llywrch, Peregrine and LHvU. I believe we have enough policies and guidelines to "bite" users with, and this appears to be simply an extension of "why you can't be part of our group". We have processes in place which adequately, (in my opinion anyway), deal with editors who are disruptive to the process. Be it AN boards, RFC, RFAR, blocks, or bans, the editors who show obvious signs of being counter-productive are dealt with on an individual basis; and I think adding another "solution" only adds another reason to search for problems. — Ched :  ?  07:37, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Eh, it may be just semantics, but I think it has a potential to explain what 5P does and does not look like today--not to chase people away or beat them over the head with, so much as a call to collaborate: "Are you here to help build an encyclopedia? Then let's get to it!" Of course, anything can be misused, which is why I started the "What 'not here to build an encyclopedia' is not" section. Jclemens (talk) 08:04, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I also have problems with this being a policy, but I could see it as a behavioural guideline if it's well written. Essay is fine for now. --Enric Naval (talk) 16:38, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I've renamed this essay in an attempt to make it less bitey, and given it the shortcut WP:HERE which is positive rather than negative. I'm not keen on the WP:NOTHERE bit, but it is worth discussing. John Vandenberg (chat) 13:19, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

If a less established editor would have written this essay, would it have been put up immediately for deletion? I commend John for removing the "bitey" attack examples.
Reading this essay, I am struck at how it feels so uninviting, intolerant, and combative. The Not being here to build an encyclopedia section is particularly troubling. This section is so broad, that any editor can be targeted as "not here to build an encyclopedia".
I know many editors who started out having many of these traits, and have since then become more valuable and diverse editors. There is an essay about how we all start out as SPA's, which I am having trouble finding.
I am always loathe to put an article up for deletion, but maybe this essay is not ready for main space and should be moved to user space? Ikip (talk) 16:45, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
The credit goes to SlimVirgin for removing the examples. I only softened the pagename. I think a lot of copy-editing is required before it is a "Wikipedia" essay. John Vandenberg (chat) 17:00, 3 August 2009 (UTC)


SlimVirgin has removed some examples that were in here, and it is probably better that they are kept out of the essay. However this essay seeks to enshrine "[Not] here to build an encyclopedia" as an acceptable phrase, and I think it is vital that we understand the prior use of this phrase if this essay is to remain in the main project namespace.

I've found another one.[1] John Vandenberg (chat) 13:15, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Three cheers for Slimvirign for removing those examples. This essay sounds less like an attack page now. Ikip (talk) 15:55, 3 August 2009 (UTC)


Actually, I liked "Not here to build an encyclopedia" as the title, but failing that, I would prefer "Building an encyclopedia" as the alternative title. What it's just been moved to splits the difference in a way that I don't find too compelling. Jclemens (talk) 15:00, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I personally liked the line: "Are you here to help build an encyclopedia? Then let's get to it!" . Positive, upbeat, and I thought had a touch of "we'll work together" implied. Rather "good form" I thought. — Ched :  ?  20:04, 3 August 2009 (UTC)


I think it would be pertinent, in the spirit of not biting, in the "What Not here to build an encyclopaedia is not" section to mention newcomers, who may initially not understand what building wikipedia requires. They need time to understand that it's not a battleground of ideas, that adding links to their organisations is spam rather than being helpful and so on. Perhaps a point saying "being NHTBAE takes time and effort; flailing newbies may not have made their minds up yet."VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 16:32, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Does this work for you? FT2 (Talk | email) 03:43, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
To be honest, I would like something a little stronger - a reference to WP:BITE or something like that. I just have a thing about newcomers being picked on when vandal hunters (typically more experienced editors) think they've found a prizeVsevolodKrolikov (talk) 04:36, 5 August 2009 (UTC).
Done. FT2 (Talk | email) 18:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Infopage vs Essay[edit]

Seems to me like the infopage description is appropriate. Should there have been discussion before it was changed back in March? --Ronz (talk) 22:17, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree that infopage is best. Violating "Here to build an encyclopedia" has led to people being indeffed, so it's more than someone's opinion. At any rate, this discussion is probably moot as demonstrated at the TfD for the infopage. Johnuniq (talk) 00:23, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Not here to build an encyclopedia- trolling?[edit]

Should we consider trolling a reason for "not here to build an encyclopedia"? I am placing my idea here as bold edits to policy seem to be frowned upon. pcfan500 (talk) 08:04, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

While the word "trolling" is not currently used, the act of trolling is covered in the existing text. --Versageek 08:19, 19 January 2015 (UTC)