This page includes a summary of official policies on the English Wikipedia which are set out in detail elsewhere. Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered standards that all editors should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision is consistent with the underlying policies. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
This summary page is descriptive of the content of the various policy pages referenced and does not override the text of those pages. Where discrepancy exists, the policy page itself overrides. Changing this page does not change policy. Likewise, adding a page to this summary does not elevate it to policy status. Policies are promoted through consensus. See Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines for more.
See the fourth pillar. Intentional or unintentional rudeness or insensitivity can distract from and interfere with our work. Dispute resolution forums are available when civil, reasoned discussion breaks down.
If someone challenges your edits, discuss it with them and seek a compromise, or seek dispute resolution. Do not start fights over competing views and versions. Reverting any part of any single page more than three times in twenty-four hours, or even once if long-term edit-warring is apparent, can result in a block on your account.
See the third pillar. Although you retain some rights under Wikipedia's copyright provisions, pages that you create and edit belong to the community. Others can and often do mercilessly edit "your" material.
Articles about living persons, which require a degree of sensitivity, must adhere strictly to Wikipedia's content policies. Be very firm about high-quality references, particularly about details of personal lives. "Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material—whether negative, positive, or just questionable—about living persons should be removed immediately and without discussion from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, user pages, and project space."
Articles may not contain any unpublished theories, data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas; or any new interpretation, analysis, or synthesis of published data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas that, in the words of Wikipedia's co-founder Jimbo Wales, would amount to a "novel narrative or historical interpretation."
Articles should cite sources whenever possible. While we cannot check the accuracy of cited sources, we can check whether they have been published by a reputable publication and whether independent sources have supported them on review. Any unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
Articles, images, categories etc. may be "speedily deleted" if they clearly fall within certain categories, which generally boil down to pages lacking content, or disruptive pages. Anything potentially controversial should go through the deletion process instead.
As a shortcut around the Articles for Deletion ("AfD") process, for uncontroversial deletions an article can be proposed for deletion, but only once. If no one contests the proposed deletion within seven days, an administrator may delete the article.
As a shortcut around the Miscellany for Deletion ("MfD") process, for uncontroversial deletions a Wikipedia-Book can be proposed for deletion, but only once. If no one contests the proposed deletion within seven days, an administrator may delete the book.
Articles which are unsourced biographies of living persons can be proposed for deletion through a special process if they were created after March 18, 2010. If no one contests the proposed deletion within ten days, an administrator may delete the article. In order to contest the proposed deletion, at least one reliable source supporting at least one statement in the article must be added. Administrators may choose to "incubate" articles rather than deleting them outright.
Administrators, like all editors, are not perfect beings. However, in general, they are expected to act as role models within the community, and a good general standard of civility, fairness, and general conduct both to editors and in content matters, is expected. When acting as administrators, they are also expected to be fair, exercise good judgment, and give explanations and be communicative as necessary.
Extremely disruptive editors may be banned from Wikipedia. Please respect these bans, do not bait banned users, and do not help them out. Bans can be appealed to Jimbo Wales or the Arbitration Committee, depending on the nature of the ban.
Programs that update pages automatically in a useful and harmless way may be welcome, as long as their owners seek approval first and are careful to keep them from running amok or being a drain on resources.
Do not stop other editors from enjoying Wikipedia by making threats, nitpicking good-faith edits to different articles, repeated annoying and unwanted contacts, repeated personal attacks or posting personal information.
Pages can be protected against vandals or during fierce content disputes. Protected pages can, but in general should not, be edited by administrators. In addition, pages undergoing frequent vandalism can be semi-protected to block edits by very new or unregistered editors.
Use dispute resolution rather than legal threats, for everyone's sake. We respond quickly to complaints of defamation or copyright infringement. If you do take legal action, please refrain from editing until it is resolved.
The Exemption Doctrine Policy for the English Wikipedia. The cases in which you can declare an image, audio clip, or video clip "fair use" are quite narrow. You must specify the exact use, and only use the image or clip in that one context.
CheckUser is a tool allowed to be used by a small number of editors who are permitted to examine user IP information and other server log data under certain circumstances, for the purposes of protecting Wikipedia against actual and potential disruption and abuse.
A steward may block an IP address or IP address range from editing all WMF projects to prevent cross-wiki disruption or to enforce the prohibition against editing from open proxies. Globally blocked editors may be unblocked locally, at the discretion of an Administrator.