|“||By all means break the rules, and break them beautifully, deliberately and well. That is one of the ends for which they exist.||”|
You do not need to read any rules before contributing to Wikipedia. If you do what seems sensible, it will usually be right, and if it's not right, don't worry — we all make mistakes. Even the worst mistakes are easy to correct: older versions of a page remain in the revision history and can be restored. If we disagree with your changes, we'll talk about it thoughtfully and politely, and we'll figure out what to do. So don't worry. Be bold, and enjoy helping to build this free encyclopedia.
Despite its name, "Ignore all rules" does not sabotage the other rules. Its purpose is to keep them from sabotaging what we're doing here: building an encyclopedia. Rules have zero importance compared to that goal. Zero. If they aid that goal, good. If they interfere with it, they are instantly negated.
Here are several other things that "Ignore all rules" does and does not mean:
What "Ignore all rules" means[සංස්කරණය]
- You are not required to learn the rules before contributing. Yes, we already said that, but it is worth repeating.
- Don't follow written instructions mindlessly, but rather, consider how the encyclopedia is improved or damaged by each edit. (See also Wikipedia:Use common sense.)
- Rules derive their power to compel not from being written down on a page labelled "guideline" or "policy", but from being a reflection of the shared opinions and practices of a great many editors. (See also Wikipedia:Consensus.)
- Most rules are ultimately descriptive, not prescriptive; they describe existing current practice. They sometimes lag behind the practices they describe. (See also Wikipedia:Product, process, policy.)
- WikiLawyering doesn't work. Loopholes and technicalities do not exist on the Wiki. Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy; not moot court, nor nomic, nor Mao.
- The spirit of the rule trumps the letter of the rule. The common purpose of building an encyclopedia trumps both.
- Following the rules is less important than using good judgement and being thoughtful and considerate, always bearing in mind that good judgement is not displayed only by those who agree with you. (See also Wikipedia:Civility.)
What "Ignore all rules" does not mean[සංස්කරණය]
- "Ignore all rules" does not mean that every action is justifiable. It is neither a trump card nor a carte blanche. A rule-ignorer must justify how their actions improve the encyclopedia if challenged. Actually, everyone should be able to do that at all times. Make sure to always have an answer ready!
- "Ignore all rules" does not stop you from pointing out a rule to someone who has broken it, but do consider that their judgment may have been correct. (See also Wikipedia:Assume good faith.)
- "Ignore all rules" is not an answer if someone asks you why you broke a rule. Most of the rules are derived from a lot of thoughtful experience and exist for pretty good reasons; they should therefore only be broken for good reasons.
- "Ignore all rules" is not an exemption from accountability. You're still responsible for reasonably foreseeable effects of your actions on the encyclopedia and on other editors.
- "Ignore all rules" is not an invitation to use Wikipedia for purposes contrary to that of building a free encyclopedia. (See also Wikipedia:About and Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not.)
Use common sense[සංස්කරණය]
Wikipedia has many rules. Instead of following every rule, it is acceptable to use common sense as you go about editing. Being too wrapped up in rules can cause you to lose perspective, so there are times when it is better to ignore a rule. If you use common sense when editing, you are unlikely to do anything wrong.
Even if a contribution violates the precise wording of a rule, it might still be a good contribution. Similarly, just because something disruptive is not forbidden in a written rule doesn't mean it's a good idea (i.e., don't disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point). The spirit of the rules is more important than the letter.
Invoking the principle of "ignore all rules" on its own will not convince anyone that you were right, so you will need to persuade the rest of the community that your actions improved the encyclopedia. A skilled application of this concept should ideally fly under the radar, and not be noticed at all.