Wikipedia:Assume ignorance

Assume Ignorance of the Rules

Wikipedia is full of policies and procedures that are to be followed by all editors. This includes everything from Style of Writing to acting civilly towards all.

Even the best Administrator does not 100% know all of the rules and policies, or at least their proper/current interpretation.

When faced with a situation with another editor, you therefore not only need to assume good faith, but you need to take it one step further: Assume Ignorance of the Rules.

Time and time again, editors have been mentioned at Wikiquette (while it was still active) or these days at the Administrator's Noticeboard for Incidents for having violated some policy or guideline who then loudly state, "I didn't know that!"

There are many reasons that new editors make inappropriate edits to an article. They may not understand Wikipedia, or they may think it's harmless and/or funny. They may also have read that there is always someone around to revert vandals, and wanted to know if it's true.

They might have even been given a standard template warning once or twice, which they may not understand due to jargon.

In other words, they may just be ignorant of all the rules.

When dealing with this kind of editor, we must start with the understanding that the editor knows nothing, and until provided the chance to see and understand those rules, they may not change.

For this reason, welcome templates are good beginnings. Many of them show the editor the cornerstones of Wikipedia and how to edit. They are a distinct and direct "showing of the rules".

After being made aware of the rules, they have no excuses.

See alsoEdit