Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia

  (Redirected from Wikipedia talk:ENC)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Essays  
WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of WikiProject Wikipedia 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. For a listing of essays see the essay directory.
 High  This page has been rated as High-impact on the project's impact scale.
Note icon
The above rating was automatically assessed using data on pageviews, watchers, and incoming links.

Wikipedia is not myspace or not social networking service?[edit]

I think social networking service sounds too formal for a page of this tone. I'm changing it to wikipedia is not Myspace. (oops, forgot to sign...) Rustyfence (talk) 05:54, 20 February 2008 (UTC)[]

What is this page for?[edit]

I'm opening a new debate here, as the one on capitalization seems to have digressed WAY off subject...

What exactly is the purpose of this page? in present form it seems to be nothing more than an extremely hostile rant, and one possibly violating a number of WP.

It is certainly unwelcoming for new editors.

I would also like to note that the page is simply a list of things that wikipedia is NOT; if it's to be kept in its present form, perhaps it should be re-named?

Lx 121 (talk) 17:40, 10 March 2008 (UTC)[]

Its the short version of not. If a new user is directed to read this, perhaps they are not here for what wikipedia is. :)--Hu12 (talk) 18:02, 10 March 2008 (UTC)[]
Then why don't we just call it the short version of not? or balance the "NOT"'s with a list of what wikipedia "IS" to make it a bit friendlier? if we can't come up with a list of positives to match the negatives, i think we're all in trouble here...  ;) Lx 121 (talk) 20:18, 10 March 2008 (UTC)[]
This is rooted in tradition, much lke the debates at WP:IAR, consensus won't be for a change.--Hu12 (talk) 20:22, 10 March 2008 (UTC)[]
Let's give it another try. I want to see if just maybe the long consensus has a flaw somewhere, just to see. First off, what is the reasoning for only having what it Wikipedia is NOT, and not what Wikipedia IS? mike4ty4 (talk) 00:53, 21 June 2008 (UTC)[]
Indeed. The current content is quite wrong as it just recapitulates WP:NOT. As it is presented as the converse of WP:NOT, this page should obviously contain positive statements upon what Wikipedia is. Since we have an adequate quorum agreeing that almost all the current content is inappropriate, we should be bold and start afresh. I shall make a start soon. Colonel Warden (talk) 10:37, 2 July 2008 (UTC)[]
Three people agreeing with each other on a talk page is nothing like a quorum. Even if it was, Wikipedia is not democracy. Consensus has historically been that this page (as it is) serves a purpose. There is absolutely nothing keeping anyone from creating a different version that serves some other purpose. Rather than trying to force this page to be something else, work on creating something that serves its own purpose. For example, WP:BRIEF might be more your style. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 17:04, 5 August 2008 (UTC)[]
Exactly what DragonHawk said. Well explained summation. -- Quiddity 18:47, 5 August 2008 (UTC)[]
No, this is a question of policy. What is an article, what is a definition, and what kinds of article names are encyclopedic. Just simple stuff like that. There's some odd stuff kicking around in WP:ISNOT and WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The former says that articles on numbers are considered encyclopedic (under #1 is not a dictionary section- but why there???) and there's a definition of what an encyclopedic definition is in the latter policy. These are positive statements. But it's all scattered in random places among a whole bunch of is not's. It's completely weird. It seems to be an unwritten policy that only is nots are policy. Or perhaps I should say that it's not the case that is not's are not policy is not written anywhere, surprisingly. ;-)- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 15:42, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]

What's an Encyclopedia?[edit]

That's the very obvious question that unfortunately isn't addressed by Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, which I currently don't find useful or informative. Calamitybrook (talk) 20:15, 5 September 2008 (UTC)[]
  • Indeed. We have an editor add some content to flesh out the nature of an encyclopedia and I support his effort. Colonel Warden (talk) 14:26, 29 September 2008 (UTC)[]
    That nature is already explained at the prominently linked encyclopedia article. As explained above, this page is meant to be ultra-concise, per years of history. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:04, 29 September 2008 (UTC)[]
Careful here. Encyclopedia describes all the different sorts of encyclopedias there are out there. It doesn't actually define what it is that the wikipedia considers essential to being an encyclopedia. The policies list a lot of things that are essential to not being an encyclopedia, and that nearly is enough. There's certain bits lying around, scattered among them, which make me ask 'why is this here?', and then I realise-it's because there's absolutely nowhere to put positive statements about what the wikipedia is. It's all defined by exclusion, negative statements. That's really hard for you, me or anyone to ultimately get their head around.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 04:14, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
Colonel Warden, Sir: You obviously have certain goals in mind here. You've previously stated that "almost all the current content [of this page] is inappropriate". May I ask what's driving your desire to fundamentally modify this particular page? Is it solely the page title? That is to say, do you want a particular page to be filed under WP:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and this page isn't it, so you're trying change it to be what you think is appropriate for that title? If so, would you be satisfied if we moved this page to another title, and put something else here? If so, do you have anything in mind as to what the "something else" would look like? • If your issue is instead with the content of this page regardless of title: It seems like you're after something very different from this page. Since that could just as easily be done on a different page, that suggests the issue is that you have some objection to the current content of this page. If so, could you identify what your objections to the content of this page are? • If I'm totally off-base here, and it's something else entirely, please feel free to correct me. • Thanks. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 02:16, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
That page doesn't seem to be policy. And it begs the question, what does the wikipedia consider an encyclopedia to be?- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 04:16, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
The page "WP:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" isn't policy, guideline, or any other formal thing, although it obviously links to lots of 'em. Exactly which pigeon-hole the page belongs in is unclear to me; see past discussions. • As for what Wikipedia considers this encyclopedia to be: See Wikipedia:Five pillars, and maybe WP:NOT. Those may not match somebody else's definition of what an encyclopedia should be, but we're generally okay with that.  :) —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 05:02, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
I wouldn't mind if it matched or didn't match somebody else's definition. But there isn't a definition at all! There's only a definition of what it isn't.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 05:54, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
Well, I think Wikipedia:Five pillars does try to explain the fundamental goals behind Wikipedia. And there's the Encyclopedia article itself, of course. No? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 11:24, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
P.S.: There's also WP:BRIEF. I had hesitated bringing it up again, since it's a page I've edited heavily and I wanted to avoid the appearance of "tooting my own horn", but re-reading some of your other comments, I'm starting to think that's closer to what you're after. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 12:23, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
They're not policies they're just introductions of course. Even the five pillars article itself isn't policy.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 19:54, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
All I know is, I've got this sense that there's something wrong. Usually when I get this sense that there's something wrong after a while I find a really bad problem that's associated with it. At the moment I think there's bits of the wikipedia missing, and other bits that shouldn't be here, and a tonne of unnecessary bickering in various article reviews.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 19:54, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
One thing to understand is that policies and guidelines are generally descriptive as much as they are prescriptive. The rules evolve out of consensus and community decision. Once we figure out what the rules should be, we write them down to make it easier for newcomers to learn them, and for everyone to discuss them. But they are not firm rules. "Ignore all rules is policy". That tends to confuse a lot of people, especially since it actually works. So, WP:5 is as much policy as anything else is. That page briefly describes most of the core principles behind Wikipedia. Those principle have existed since day one. (It took longer to codify them.) You may also want to see meta:Foundation issues, which is a sort of super-policy that applies to all WikiMedia Foundation projects. • As far as bits missing and such goes: Of course. Wikipedia is not finished.
On a philosophical note: Policies/rules/laws are usually made up of definitions of restricted activities, or finely delineated activities ("don't do that, do this instead"). It takes a shorter list to explain what cannot be done. (unless you live in N.Korea..)
On a practical note: I think Dragonhawk has pinpointed the issue, which is the page's title. I'm not sure how much of a mess moving it would create (it is very old and much-linked). Perhaps we just need to fix/clarify the incoming links (e.g. Template:Fictionrefs links here), or add a hatnote pointing to WP:BRIEF or similar? -- Quiddity (talk) 19:43, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
If consensus is that the content of this page best belongs under a different title, and we put something else under Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, one thing going for us is that most of the existing links will probably still work with the new content. Presumably, the new content would still talk about Wikipedia being an encyclopedia and what that means, which is, after all, the point. Anyone needing a bludgeon generally only needs it to be a bludgeon in the short term. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 02:49, 1 October 2008 (UTC)[]
I'm not seeing any such consensus. And if your idea is to move the content of this page elsewhere and put something new in this location so that all of the links to this page go there instead, you will have been deceptively changing the intent of all of those links. People link here for a reason. If you don't like that reason, write a personal essay of your own and link to that instead. Don't go putting words into other people's mouths. DreamGuy (talk) 19:02, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[]

Alternate page titles[edit]

Over the years, I've seen various contention about this page. A lot of it seems to center around the fact that this page does not explain what Wikipedia is about, or what an encyclopedia is about. (This page is about something entirely different.) This leads me to wonder if, perhaps, this page might be better under a different title. The title "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" makes sense when one envisions bludgeoning a POV-pusher or fancrufter with this page, but that is not terribly apparent to uninformed readers. Putting aside the questions of "Should we rename the page?" and "What should go in its place?" for the sake of this discussion, I'm brainstorming other possible titles for this page. Again, in this section, I'm not addressing the "should" questions. My hope is that, perhaps, some light will be shed in the process of thinking up alternate titles. So, anyhow: WP:The short version, WP:Wikipedia bluntly, and WP:Cluebat come to mind. Any other ideas? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 05:10, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]

WP:Terse, WP:Bludgeon, WP:Short-NOT. Hmmm. And good brainstorm plan :) -- Quiddity (talk) 19:48, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[]
"Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" is a good name. Anything less misses the point completely. DreamGuy (talk) 18:59, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[]

What is the status of this page?[edit]

What is the status of this page? Is it official Wikipedia policy, or just somebody's opinion? It is clear that some of it repeats policy as found in the WP:Five pillars and in Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, but other bits do not occur there and are possibly more contentious. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 11:35, 30 October 2008 (UTC)[]

Mu.  :) Not everything in the project namespace breaks down cleanly into "random essay by an individual editor" vs "official policy, enshrined forever by the creator". This page basically just contains a list of links to selected policies, and so in theory everything derives directly from policy. That doesn't make this page policy, though. But it doesn't mean linking to this page makes a policy argument invalid, either. · I generally think of Wikipedia policies as descriptive, rather than prescriptive: Consensus establishes policy. Policy pages document that consensus. · See also: WP:IAR. · I'm curious what parts of this page don't occur elsewhere? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 21:33, 30 October 2008 (UTC)[]

Better version[edit]

I have added an important point that gets lost on many editors who do not work on fringe articles. You can see the version here. I leave this up for comment for 24 hours. If people cannot explain why this version is problematic, I will restore it. ScienceApologist (talk) 15:17, 30 October 2008 (UTC)[]

What do you mean by "unduly"? I would take that out. People shouldn't be using Wikipedia to promote anything. Period. However, I think the last three ideas, before yours, already explain what you are trying to say. ABlake (talk) 16:52, 30 October 2008 (UTC)[]
I'm in agreement with ABlake here. Wikipedia is not about "promoting" anything, except, perhaps, its own principles as defined in the WP:Five pillars. Any useful content in what ScienceApologist proposed is already covered by "WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A SOAPBOX". SamuelTheGhost (talk) 17:09, 30 October 2008 (UTC)[]
The point is that some people think that Wikipedia is a place where Fringe Theories can receive more attention or "better treatment" than they would in another kind of encyclopedia. Since Wikipedia is a mainstream reference, this sentiment is not true and is an important part of the encyclopedic aspect of Wikipedia. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:15, 30 October 2008 (UTC)[]
I agree with your intentions, but is there something in the last three ideas that is lacking? I also agree that Wikipedia is a mainstream reference, but that doesn't mean that it only covers mainstream subjects. "Better treatment" is subjective. If an article doesn't meet the standard requirements, it shouldn't be included. Period. If it does, it should be included and referenced appropriately. I think you are concerned that articles on fringe topics are getting more attention than they merit, or they are being displayed in only a positive light. That constitutes promotion, and an encyclopedia is not about promotion. It is about description. So, back to the question of whether to include your line, does it say something that the other ideas don't include? If we do include your line, I still recommend taking out "unduly". ABlake (talk) 19:33, 30 October 2008 (UTC)[]
I'm not sure what "better treatment" means. As for "more attention", it is very likely that a fringe theory will receive more coverage (words written) on Wikipedia than in a traditional encyclopedia (see WP:NOTPAPER). I suspect that's straying from the matter at hand, though. · The goal of this page is (as I see it) to hammer home fundamental aspects of Wikipedia. Things that apply to all aspects of all articles. Special cases belong elsewhere. I suspect WP:FRINGE is such a special case. This doesn't make WP:FRINGE any less valid; it just means that if you're dealing with some loony who thinks the Earth is flat, you should link them directly to WP:FRINGE, and not here. That's what WP:FRINGE is there for. · Should consensus indicate that WP:FRINGE should be mentioned here, then I would argue that we should stick to one link per line. This page is intended to be crude and unsophisticated, for those times where elegance and subtly are inappropriate. · All my opinion, of course. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 21:18, 30 October 2008 (UTC)[]
What we need, however, is a place to indicate that Wikipedia isn't a FRINGE encyclopedia but rather a MAINSTREAM encyclopedia. I think that this is the appropriate place to mention this succinctly, clearly, and bluntly. ScienceApologist (talk) 05:37, 31 October 2008 (UTC)[]
What do you mean? Are you suggesting that an encyclopedia that covers fringe topics is not able to be considered mainstream? I think the extensive public use of Wikipedia as a main source of information already demonstrates that it is mainstream. Perhaps you mean that (as your proposed line indicates) that Wikipedia is not a soapbox for fringe ideas. I agree, but Wikipedia isn't a soapbox for any idea, even mainstream ones. Soapboxing and POV pushing are not allowed. Does your proposed line cover any idea that is not already covered, or just hammer the previously described ideas home to a particular group? ABlake (talk) 15:16, 31 October 2008 (UTC)[]
ScienceApologist: Wikipedia is neither a "fringe" encyclopedia nor a "mainstream" encyclopedia. "The sum of all human knowledge" is the explict goal. So for myself, I am not swayed by that argument. I'm generally far more convinced by arguments built around established Wikipedia consensus, as documented in project pages. But again, I think that's leading away from the real question here: I'm not really understanding why sending a fringe-POV-pusher to WP:FRINGE wouldn't do a better job than sending them to WP:ENC would. WP:FRINGE addresses your goal head-on, and doesn't concern itself with unrelated stuff (such as WP:BURO). —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 16:57, 31 October 2008 (UTC)[]
It seems that because of the discussion here, an immediate edit-war erupted at WP:FRINGE. Any editors interested in changing that guideline are encouraged to discuss things first at the talkpage, thanks. --Elonka 17:08, 31 October 2008 (UTC)[]

Be positive?[edit]

It would be better to be positive, rather than a series of nots. I would have thought a redirect to Wikipedia:Five pillars would be a vast improvement over the current page. --Rumping (talk) 00:13, 10 December 2008 (UTC)[]

Hmmm. I would at least remove: "Wikipedia is not censored." I know few places that are as heavily censored as Wikipedia. Guido den Broeder (talk, visit) 19:24, 12 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Wikipedia is not censored. When you say on Wikipedia earth is flat or sharks live on land it gets reverted by people that use relaible sources not own fantasy, that is not censorship. See you can say what ever you want but you can not expect it will stay there unchange for always and say censorship when it does not. RetroS1mone talk 06:00, 13 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Wikipedia is not censored in the sense that content is not removed when people find it obscene/taboo. Content is sometimes removed for other reasons -- generally lack of sources. You may call that "censorship" is you like; that's not how the term is used here. Can you suggest a better wording?
  • I agree that we should focus upon positive statements since we have a separate page which details what Wikipedia is not. The NOTs here are therefore redundant and, in their presentation, seem uncivil in tone. What I would find useful is a statistical presentation which breaks down Wikipedia's current content. I have seen this done in jocular form but the correct figures would be enlightening. For example, I gather that about 1% of the articles are about professional footballers and the lists of asteroids are almost as numerous. And the stats for the most hit pages are enlightening. Such a factual presentation of Wikipedia's content would be better than unsupported and prescriptive bellowing which fails WP:NOTLAW and WP:CIVIL. Colonel Warden (talk) 13:54, 13 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Colonel Warden, Sir: At least twice previously, you have posted objections to the corresponding project page. (2 July 2008) (29 Sep 2008) I and others have tried to respond to your comments, but you never respond to us. I even went so far as to personally ask you to comment. (2 Oct 2008) Still no response from you. Wikipedia works by consensus. Consensus requires you to participate in a dialog, not simply post monologues. I'd like to try and understand where you're coming from, to see if we can reach some agreement. Are you willing to do the same, please? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 23:27, 15 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Consensus does not require a dialogue - it requires numerous contributions to establish the general opinion. I therefore prefer to engage with the issues rather than personalising the matter by focussing upon a single editor's comments. But, reviewing your contribution to the edit history, I note your statement that, "This page is supposed to be in ALL CAPS. It's supposed to shout. It's supposed to BITE.". I disagree with this goal since it is obviously contrary to the relevant guideline and our general civility policy. Colonel Warden (talk) 18:35, 16 December 2008 (UTC)[]
First, thank you for responding. · On consensus and discussion: I'm not trying to personalize the matter, nor attack you -- but I am trying to engage you in discussion. If you simply post your opinion, and I post mine, and neither of us responds to the other, we're deadlocked. Progress can't be made in that situation; we've got a suite of opinions but nothing more. "Consensus is a partnership between interested parties working positively for a common goal." (Jimbo) · I'm actually going to address your point on WP:ENC in the above in a separate section, because I think it is an important issue. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 22:59, 16 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Rumping: There are pages which are phrased as positives, such as WP:5 (as you note) or WP:BRIEF. Let's assume we rename this page, and put a redirect to one of those in its place. Would you then be okay with the content, under a new title? I'm trying to understand if the issue is solely the name/title of this page, or if the content itself is objectionable (regardless of title). —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 23:38, 15 December 2008 (UTC)[]
I don't particularly think it is a helpful page, but I would not object if it was called something like Wikipedia:Summary of what Wikipedia is not--Rumping (talk) 01:32, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[]

The content and civility[edit]

This is a long one, for which I'm sorry, but I think this deserves a through treatment. If this fails to get significant input from others, I'll prolly try inviting discussion from WP:PUMP or WP:RFC.

Colonel Warden has raised a concern which I think really should be settled. If I understand properly, the issue is that the content of the project page (currently at Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia) may violate WP:CIVIL. In particular, the issue is not with the page name -- the content would be objectionable regardless of page name. Further, changing the content to avoid that would change the fundamental character of the content; it would have to be something very different. Am I understanding this correctly? If I'm wrong, please correct me!

If my understanding is correct, then the only thing to do with this content is delete it. We might start over from scratch with a page also named Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Or perhaps we simply redirect it to WP:BRIEF or WP:5 or some other convenient page. But the existing content would need to be deleted; it couldn't simply be moved to a new name (e.g., Wikipedia:Bludgeon), because of the WP:CIVIL violations. Right?

Reason why I'm beating this particular horse so hard is that some people (myself included, obviously) think this content serves a purpose. That purpose is ill-defined. It might be humor. It might be something we direct flagrant, persistent spammers to, just prior to restoring to a ban. It might be something never to be used seriously, despite being serious in content. Most likely, some combination of all that. But if the content is a total loss, the only appropriate thing to do is WP:MFD.

The page has been to MFD once before, back in 2006. I'm not entirely sure it would survive it again. Consensus can change, after all, and the community has become less accepting of certain things over the years. Perhaps that's the best course of action.

But before we go that route, let me try and explain my take on this. I don't see this page as uncivil. The way I read WP:CIVIL, the policy is concerned with attacks on Wikipedians -- people. I should not call someone a jerk just because I disagree with them, or even if I think they are a jerk. Incivility is counter to consensus. Makes sense. · The content here isn't about that. It's about people who are not interested in consensus. It's about spammers who keep adding links to their sites. It's about people who continual edit war to push their opinion. It's about people who keep putting up vanity pages. The common theme is that good-faith does not need to be assumed, because persistent evidence demonstrates its absence.

I think it could actually be argued that sending someone to this page would always be uncivil. If so, one might be able to say this page should never be used (i.e., linked to in a serious discussion). But it still has its value to those who "get it".

I strongy believe that WP:BITE does not apply here. A newcomer should never be directed here. The act of sending a newcomer here would be biting, just as the act of sending a newcomer to WP:BAN would be biting. But that doesn't make this page biting, anymore than the WP:BAN page is biting. "WP:ENC doesn't bite newcomers, people do."

Based on past discussions (e.g., /Archive 1#All caps, part two), I believe others also think this way, but of course, I can only speak for myself. See also Humour v. Policy for some relevant discussion.

What do people think of all that? Do any of my ideas make sense? Is this just too "zen" a concept, too much an WP:IAR, to be of feasible value? Does anyone agree with me? If this is a minority viewpoint, I'm happy to bow to consensus.

DragonHawk (talk|hist) 00:11, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[]

Hmm, I don't think the page is in any way uncivil. What I do think, though, is that it fails verification on at least 8 counts. :-) Guido den Broeder (talk, visit) 00:28, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Hope that covers everything. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:20, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[]

I can't understand how directing people to a page explaining that this is an encyclopedia in clear, unambiguous language is a bad thing. Too many people here want to try to pussyfoot around talking about anything that might potentially upset anyone, but that means people are unclear on what the concept of the site is because people are afraid of giving a straight answer. We absolutely need to get it through people's skulls that when this site says it's an encyclopedia that that's exactly what it is for, not a collection of pointless trivia, not a social gathering point, and so forth and so on. If you change the name of this page and try to talk around the whole reason why it ws made, then this page will just have to be recreated as it was under a name that is equally direct. If you have a problem with this, write your own essay and use it to wax philosophical in all the ways you want. I will quite strenuously object to a major change of the nature being proposed, and the people pointing to this page certainly think it hs value as is or else they wouldn't be linking to it. DreamGuy (talk) 18:56, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[]

With the obvious next step that your own essay gets censored. Guido den Broeder (talk, visit) 21:24, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[]
How is that obvious? All sorts of essays exist here without being censored. DreamGuy (talk) 17:11, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]


A recent edit contends that, as a matter of fact, Wikipedia is a bureaucracy and makes the point in an amusing way. Another editor adds to the general incivility by describing this edit as vandalism. I shall revert since it seems that a valid point is being made. Wikipedia is now rampant bureaucracy and its Kafkaesque nature gets worse every day. This page is a good example. Instead of some positive thoughts on the nature of an an encyclopedia, we have hectoring statements of stupefying redundancy. It reminds of an otiose poster I saw the other day, admonishing inebriated passengers that they should not fall upon the tracks and be electrocuted or worse... Colonel Warden (talk) 10:21, 19 December 2008 (UTC)[]

See Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point ... And please lose the thesaurus. It doesn't help your argument any. In fact it makes you seem like you know that what you have to say doesn't have much merit but that you hope to prevail by using words you think will make you sound impressive. If you have a legitimate gripe somewhere, it's just going to be lost in the verbiage and vandalism. DreamGuy (talk) 14:25, 19 December 2008 (UTC)[]
If the words used here cause you difficulty, please try the Simple English version. Otherwise, please address the substantive issue of whether Wikipedia is or isn't a bureaucracy. I think this article should be discussing the encyclopedic nature of Wikipedia but, if the article is going to say something about bureaucracy instead, then we should be accurate. I shall look for a suitable tag to indicate that this detail is disputed. Colonel Warden (talk) 18:33, 19 December 2008 (UTC)[]
They don't cause me difficulty in comprehension, they cause you difficulty in communicating, which was my point. DreamGuy (talk) 17:07, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]
DreamGuy: Criticizing Col. Warden in that manner ("lose the thesaurus") is certainly not productive to this discussion, and is maybe starting to possibly head in the direction of WP:NPA. It doesn't lend your own argument any more credibility, either. "Comment on the content, not the contributor", please. It will keep things more productive all around. Thanks. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 22:13, 19 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Give me a break. My criticism was on the content: a long string of words that didn't flow out of the editor's mouth naturally and didn't help the discussion. And it seems absurd to lecture me on not personallya ttacking anyone while Colonel Warden suggests that my problem is that I'm not smart enough to follow his words. That seems to be his entire point in using them: suggesting intellectual superiority he does not have. On top of that, it's sheer absurdity for you to criticize me for doing the exact same thing you end up doing to me: commenting on the contributor and not the content. When you can follow the policies you petend to be trying to enforce maybe then you'll have a point. DreamGuy (talk) 17:07, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Colonel Warden: I agree that the edit was rather amusing. Whether or not it should stay is open to debate, of course. I think it probably was vandalism ("deliberately making non-constructive edits"), given that this was a new account, had never made any other edits, but knew to come straight here. But even if it was vandalism, the point still has some validity. ■ But I have to ask: You're arguing that the edit has value because it makes a valid and important point in a humorous way. That's basically my argument for why the page content as a whole has value. Am I missing a difference between the two? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 22:06, 19 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Shouting for emphasis is a low form of wit and should not be encouraged since it is apt to be interpreted as bad-tempered and bullying. Since the words just repeat what is said elsewhere, they are redundant. Since neither the presentation nor the content are good, the current contents should be replaced. Perhaps we should try another MfD and then, at least, we shall see the bureaucracy in action. Colonel Warden (talk) 08:38, 20 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Colonel Warden: "low form of wit" is entirely subjective. I, for one, appreciate both the seriousness and the humor in this page. I'm near-certain I'm not the only one. ■ "bad-tempered and bullying": I believe I and others have addressed that, repeatedly, at length. You may not agree with the points we raise, but if that is the case, please say so, and ideally provide a counter-argument. Please don't just ignore what I and others are saying. ■ Just because something is said elsewhere, it does not become redundant. Consider WP:5, WP:RULES, WP:SIMPLE, WP:BRIEF. They all overlap somewhat. That's intentional. Each page serves a different but related purpose. ■ Thanks. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 04:11, 23 December 2008 (UTC)[]

It seems to me that the main items in this list are valid slogans about what WP aims to be. The "bureaucracy" and "democracy" lines seem out of place, in that they are about the way WP is run. It is less than clear to me exactly what those two lines really mean, and they are certainly not useful advice to editors, which the other slogans might claim to be. I suggest both those lines should be deleted. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 21:00, 19 December 2008 (UTC)[]

This page is a shorter version of Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not. Much shorter. That page documents a POLICY. Hence we do not need to remove any lines from this page. If it is not clear what the lines refer to, click them. If it still isn't clear, discuss it at that policy's talkpage.
Every few months, someone tries to "clean up" this page. Usually in a very well-meaning way, often new editors. It has been attempted here enough times, that we're considering a page move/rename (in various threads above).
The current title is at odds with the page's content. It is titled as an affirmative, but contains 95% negatives. It wouldn't make sense to title the WP:NOT policy page as "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia", and it doesn't make sense here.
I second the proposal for renaming this page to Wikipedia:Summary of what Wikipedia is not, and suggest then locking the incoming WP:ENC and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia redirects to prevent future confusion. I think that would be the most effective way to cease having to discuss this quite as perennially... -- Quiddity (talk) 06:51, 20 December 2008 (UTC)[]

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was No move Parsecboy (talk) 05:10, 28 December 2008 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopediaWikipedia:Summary of what Wikipedia is not — a chance to discuss this formally: rather than trying to make the content reflect the title, solve the debate by making the title reflect the content. Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia could then redirect to something more positive such as Wikipedia:Five pillarsRumping (talk) 02:01, 23 December 2008 (UTC)[]


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Mixed. Let me start this off right by refusing to polarize my response into "Support" or "Oppose". I do think renaming this page would solve the persistent problem of this page being misunderstood due to its current title. However, I oppose the title Wikipedia:Summary of what Wikipedia is not. This page is not a summary of WP:NOT, and never has been. This page is a subset of WP:NOT, aimed specifically at vanispamcruftisers who deliberately resist understanding why their vanispamcruftisements keep getting deleted. Parts of WP:NOT which have no bearing on that mission (e.g., WP:PAPER, WP:BATTLE) are deliberately omitted from this page. If this page is moved to Summary of what Wikipedia is not, we will end up with the same problem all over again, as people try to make this page into what the title says it is, rather than what the page is. Wikipedia:The short version, while also appealing, suffers from the same problem. If I had to pick one of the suggested titles I've seen, it would be Wikipedia:Bludgeon. That completely conveys the idea behind this page: Making a vital and fundamental point, but in a purposely uncivil way. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 03:20, 23 December 2008 (UTC)[]
  • Opposed at least for now, but a redirect from the requested target would not be out of order. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 06:03, 23 December 2008 (UTC)[]
May I ask why you are opposed? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 16:03, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]
The current title seems to fit the page best. If the page said "George Bush is President of the United States. George Bush is NOT Speaker of the House. George Bush is NOT Vice President. and so on" I would favor "George Bush is the President of the United States" as the title. I can see the opposing view, this is mine. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 16:09, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Hmmm. My thought is that whatever title we use should make it clear that the "shouting" nature of this page is intentional. Those titles seem like titles for a polite page. Maybe we should have a page like that, but that's not this page. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 16:03, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]
What would you like to see here instead? I was thinking a redirect to WP:BRIEF might get the job done right. (Full disclosure: I've edited heavily at WP:BRIEF.) —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 16:03, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]
  • Opposed There is nothing contradictory about the title. It implies that the page inside will inform you in some way about Wikipedia, which it does in very effective fashion. Titles typically tell you very generally what the subject is. How you go about instructing in the body is not normally described in the title. The natural use of this title is in response to someone who has done something which shows their misunderstanding of what an encyclopedia's role is, and for that targeted subject a negative explanation is best. If you think this page should have more positive assertions, discussing adding those would be welcome, but would not be a retitling issue.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 16:50, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]
  • Strongly opposed -- People are trying to fix a problem that isn't a problem. A move of this nature (and some of the changes suggested on this page) would completely gut the entire purpose of this page. It would also change all of the links to the current one by people who intended it to mean what it says now under that name. Once again, I strongly urge that people who think that this page is not to their liking go off and create their own essay on the matter and link to it in their own conversations instead of trying to totally change the entire point of this one. People use it because it has value. DreamGuy (talk) 16:57, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]
  • Support. Read the "article." It is a summary of WP:What Wikipedia is not. Either change the article or change to the title to accurately reflect its contents. — AjaxSmack 16:39, 25 December 2008 (UTC)[]
  • Oppose - This page needs to have a punchy title, and the proposed title is just too passive. That's it, really. Gavia immer (talk) 20:47, 27 December 2008 (UTC)[]


Any additional comments:
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Removing bureaucracy and democracy from this page[edit]

SamuelTheGhost remarked that "bureaucracy" and "democracy" seem out-of-place in this list. They deal more with Wikipedia as a community, rather than the content of articles. I agree. Indeed, I believe their addition is a case of instruction creep. They were not there originally. Bureaucracy was added fairly early on (3 edits in). Democracy didn't show up until quite a bit later. But if you look at the page history, the focus seems to be on vanispamcruftisments, i.e., article content, not community dynamics. So yah, I say let's remove them from this page. Objections? Comments? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 04:22, 23 December 2008 (UTC)[]

They may be useful. Vanispamcruftisers do argue "but it says so in [obscure guideline page]" and "but look at all my friends who voted for it." Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:20, 23 December 2008 (UTC)[]
Hmmmm, good point. This wants more thinking about. Anyone else have thoughts they'd like to share on this? —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 16:07, 24 December 2008 (UTC)[]


I love this page. --Brainmachine (talk) 23:16, 22 July 2009 (UTC)[]


The article has been marked as an essay. This seems a sensible clarification which I support. Colonel Warden (talk) 20:03, 25 September 2009 (UTC)[]

  • I've reverted as I feel such a change needs consensus, especially after being challenged. Without any arguments being presented I'd have to say do not change to essay. Please do not edit-war again CW, a simple statement does not justify a second revert reintroducing a large, bold change without discussion. If good arguments are presented I may change my mind, but for the moment I'm (weakly) for the current status of unmarked. I might change to strong support too. Verbal chat 22:00, 25 September 2009 (UTC)[]
  • The edit in question was not a change; it was an addition. We should not have articles of this sort lying around unmarked as they tend to confuse. Anyway, I shall find some tag to reflect its uncertain status. Colonel Warden (talk) 22:08, 25 September 2009 (UTC)[]
    • Why is it suddenly uncertain? Perhaps you should proceed using the talk page as you are supposed to. Verbal chat 22:09, 25 September 2009 (UTC)[]
    • I don't see any uncertainty. An addition is indeed a change. I can't visualize any confusion this article may cause in its current state. Very simple. Calling it an essay seems unhelpful.- Sinneed 22:37, 25 September 2009 (UTC)[]
  • It is not suddenly uncertain - it has always been uncertain, it seems, due to the lack of a clear status box such we find at the head of other pages of this sort. There doesn't seem to be a tag which fits this - more uncertainty. A merge tag might be best - merging the article into WP:NOT of which it is a fork. But I'm not sure it matters - while it is in limbo, it is of little moment and so may best be ignored. Colonel Warden (talk) 22:40, 25 September 2009 (UTC)[]

If its an article, where are the sources and what sources could there even be? Since its not an article it must be something else and that something else should be clearly stated.Landed little marsdon (talk) 05:54, 26 September 2009 (UTC)[]

This is not an article. Articles are in mainspace. This is a wikipedia: namespace page. -- Quiddity (talk) 05:58, 26 September 2009 (UTC)[]
  • I object per the reasons given at WP:NOTAG, which is the reason WP:5P and others aren't tagged. Our help manual needs work; this page is fine as it was. -- Quiddity (talk) 05:58, 26 September 2009 (UTC)[]
  • I also think this page does not need a tag. Looking at past discussions on this page, I cannot help but notice that Colonel Warden appears to have some sort of agenda when it comes to this page. He's proposed replacing it, called it redundant, called it a violation of policy, and proposed renaming it, and generally declined to engage in a dialog over any of it. I don't know what his problem with this page is, but my WP:AGF is wearing thin. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 00:21, 28 September 2009 (UTC)[]

But then again...[edit]

Wikipedia actually IS a bureaucracy. Carrite (talk) 06:00, 30 March 2010 (UTC)[]

MoS naming style[edit]

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 21:02, 25 April 2010 (UTC)[]

I love this page[edit]

Just wanted to state how awesome this page is.. it's just beautiful. Simple, loud and clear, and straight to the point. Definitely my favorite in projectspace. :) And I wonder how many people also noticed that the words are arranged in the shape of a pillar (obviously the first) -- œ 10:15, 7 June 2010 (UTC)[]

  • Support. Agree with myself. -- œ 13:40, 9 June 2010 (UTC)[]
    • Support he did actually agree with himself. If you opposed that it, wouldn't be true.- Wolfkeeper 15:19, 9 June 2010 (UTC)[]
    • Support. If you think about it, any secondary vote should use the support template, unless the primary vote was forged. I agree with Wolfkeeper that OlEnglish did indeed vote in support of this topic (yes, even eight years later)! Gmarmstrong (talk) 21:05, 29 May 2018 (UTC)[]
  • Support. But only because I found some editors who don't take themselves too seriously and are willing to inject much needed humor into talk pages. Face-smile.svg
  • Oppose The page is a joke. Is it an essay, a policy or a guideline or a joke? No, it's a joke. And not a good one.- Wolfkeeper 05:27, 28 July 2010 (UTC)[]

I hate this page[edit]

It doesn't do what it says or implies it should. It should be saying what sort of Encyclopedia it is, but instead it just contains a rant which is a content fork from WP:ISNOT.- Wolfkeeper 16:43, 8 June 2010 (UTC)[]

lol! shall we have a poll?
No.- Wolfkeeper 15:21, 9 June 2010 (UTC)[]
  • Oppose. Disagree. -- œ 13:39, 9 June 2010 (UTC)[]
This is not a vote.- Wolfkeeper 15:21, 9 June 2010 (UTC)[]
Before we can say it's not a vote, we'll have to get a consensus to that effect. Please vote below. Face-smile.svg Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 00:57, 28 July 2010 (UTC)[]
I oppose voting about the vote. This should be a democratic process, and that should be declared by fiat! Also, this sentence is false. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 00:56, 29 July 2010 (UTC)[]

I agree with you it doesn't agree for you to publish your own ideas in a project Bianca Levine (talk) 17:30, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[]


This page has a big problem. It says what wikipedia is not (and there's already a page with more detail on that), but not what wikipedia is. Yes, it says it's an encyclopedia, but not what does that mean. It would be better to replace the "nots" with defining characteristics of encyclopedias, applied to this project. For example, "WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A DUMPING GROUND FOR RANDOM INFORMATION" may be replaced with "Wikipedia keeps information organized in a hierarchical structure" and "Wikipedia has articles that follow style rules". "WIKIPEDIA IS NOT FOR UNVERIFIABLE MATERIAL" may be replaced with "Wikipedia is a reference work of information published by other sources". And so on... MBelgrano (talk) 20:48, 14 November 2010 (UTC)[]

There are several pages about "what wikipedia is" among those listed at Wikipedia:Principles. -- œ 19:14, 15 November 2010 (UTC)[]


Why is it that Wikipedia:Encyclopedic redirects to the "in your face" Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia while Wikipedia:ENCYCLOPEDIC redirects to Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not? Shall they both redirect to the same location, and if so which one? Hyacinth (talk) 11:04, 10 March 2011 (UTC)[]

They both redirect to Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not now. Guy Macon (talk) 21:20, 29 October 2011 (UTC)[]

Some Thoughts[edit]

Here is my idea for "What Wikipedia Is:"

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia composed of articles containing noteworthy information. The encyclopedia is managed by a collaborative community of editors whose primary focus is on content. These editors form groups and take on responsibilities that work toward bettering individual aspects of the encyclopedia.

Please correct me if this is very wrong, but I think that, judging from my experiences here, that it is rather accurate. Thanks, DCItalk 21:39, 4 November 2011 (UTC)[]

Yes quite accurate. Except not all editors choose to join a wikiproject or any sort of group, nor take on any administrative responsibilities, some just enjoy being casual wikignomes. :) -- œ 07:18, 30 January 2012 (UTC)[]

The short version ?[edit]

"The short version:" on the very top is strange. First of all, after this I would expect a pointer to the "long version"; where is it? Second, it is not so short. Third, what's the point or purpose? Finally without this phrase the text will be even shorter :-) Staszek Lem (talk) 01:22, 17 February 2012 (UTC)[]

Agreed! I've removed it. --Surturz (talk) 01:44, 17 February 2012 (UTC)[]

ALL CAPS[edit]

Why is this page shouting at me? - dcljr (talk) 00:09, 10 October 2012 (UTC)[]

👍 Likenerdfighter 02:17, 19 February 2013 (UTC)[]

Of course this is a policy[edit]

I'm really not sure who downgraded this policy, so old and revered that it didn't even bother to mention that it was a policy, to an essay, without any discussion on this page and, on top of which, put noinclude code to suggest such a change was irrevocable. And whoever it was, they better hope that I never find out. -- Kendrick7talk 04:40, 22 July 2013 (UTC)[]

It was only ever marked as "policy" for a few weeks in late 2005/early 2006. Eg [1] and surrounding disputed edits. See the very first edit to understand why. To put it un-diplomatically , this is the clue stick version of WP:NOT, for people with short attention spans. It is not policy itself. –Quiddity (talk) 04:58, 22 July 2013 (UTC)[]
Well, I think deprecating this from "whatever it was" (perhaps rather old scripture) to a mere WP:Essay within the past year was done with very little feedback from the community at large. As such, I hope that you, and others of like mind, will allow me the possibility to rehabilitate it (or, if you insist, to merely habilitate in the first place) into a proper WP:Policy. Should my efforts fail, I will grudging accept that Wikipedia's existance an encyclopedia as such is relegated to merely being some long lost soul's opinion, perhaps just bolstered by a few words in WP:5P. -- Kendrick7talk 05:18, 24 July 2013 (UTC)[]
I understand what you mean, that this title should be used for a different purpose. However, it has been used for the current purpose (getting the point across to people who aren't listening) since the day it was started. You need to understand that this page's title has no bearing on What Wikipedia Is.
If you seriously want to propose a new policy page, then I'd suggest that picking a different location to start it at, would be drastically more effective.
I do agree that the essay tag is not needed here, per WP:NOTAG, in the same way that WP:5P does not have a tag. I would support removing that recent (February 2013) addition. –Quiddity (talk) 05:56, 24 July 2013 (UTC)[]

(ec) Above, Quiddity says that the page was briefly marked as policy in early 2006—more than seven years ago. No page can be turned into a policy by a discussion among a few people at the page. I believe the procedure is to make a proposal at WP:VPR. It's understood that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and it doesn't really need a policy to make that declaration. At any rate, what would such a declaration mean? For example, an editor might think that listing everyone buried in various cemetries is a good idea—how would a policy that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia help? What's needed is something actionable, like WP:N or WP:NOT. Johnuniq (talk) 05:58, 24 July 2013 (UTC)[]

Well, I guess opinions disagree. I want to gather any other opinions who care locally before I put the proposal on the Village Pump. -- Kendrick7talk 03:33, 26 July 2013 (UTC)[]
On the other hand, I suppose User:Quiddity has a point. If we can remove the WP:Essay tag and have this page go back to its pre-February status as ranking alongside WP:5P as not pro-scriptive policy, per se, but just WP:Common-sense, and certainly not "just an essay", i.e. the opinion of a handful of editors. My initial edits didn't keep WP:NOTAG in mind, and as such I may have overreacted. -- Kendrick7talk 00:39, 27 July 2013 (UTC)[]
Well, as no one has shown up to support the downgrade, going back to the former pre-Feb status quo works for my purposes. Thanks for the sage advice, Quiddity! -- Kendrick7talk 02:30, 29 July 2013 (UTC)[]

Why Wikipedia is not a place to publish your ideas?[edit]

Why do you say Wikipedia is not a placeto publish yyour ideas, so when you work in a community project don't you have to publish your ideas in the community project Bianca Levine (talk) 17:28, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia is an encylopedia, which is a compendium of facts, not people's personal ideas. Does that help? Click on "Talk" after my name to ask me more questions. Glad to help. We need more women editors. BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 23:06, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[]

"Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]


An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is. Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. — Searingjet (talk//contribs) 18:29, 8 November 2019 (UTC)[]

What kind of encyclopedia[edit]

It would be helpful to explain if WP understands itself as a 'Universallexikon' - german for universal encyclopedia - or a collection of specific ones. Personally I tend towards the former, but I'd like to hear other editors' attitude. --Bernd.Brincken (talk) 14:15, 8 March 2020 (UTC)[]