Avoid citing a Wikipedia essay as policyEdit

Avoid citing a Wikipedia essay, style guide, or shortcut abbreviation as if it were comprehensive and compelling. Do not make the mistake of thinking a suggestion is a rule. Don't use shortcuts instead of an argument.

Wikipedia is rife with essays, such as this very one, and it has numerous style guides, miscellaneous guides, and suggestions. However, it has relatively few policies. Policies deal either with the way Wikipedians are supposed to interact with each other or the de minimus (small) requirements of article creation. There are very, very few universals and mandates at Wikipedia (or any other successful user-generated project).

Essays do not require consent or consensus. They need only to avoid deletion. Therefore, there is no telling, when you see an essay in name space, whether it represents universal, widespread, or idiosyncratic (only individual) support.[1]

Consensus is the only power at Wikipedia, and those guides, essays, and even policies are most forceful when they share the widest support.

Alphabet soup is for lunchEdit

Do not drop acronyms on people in lieu of an argument. Do not cite new or obscure essays or style guides as if they were policy. An acronym is a metonymy of a metonymy (a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is substituted for that of another closely associated thing). It can never, ever stand in for an argument.[2]

There are no projects here: there are people. Acronyms cannot reason, only people can.

Never drop the b.o.m.b.Edit

Even if you have to refer to an acronym that represents a real policy, or if you wish to enlighten someone about a discussion somewhere, be prepared, every single time, to present your reasoning. That's your reasoning. Why are you, individually, agreeing with this acronym-ed page, and why are you applying it here, in this case? Why do you feel that the opinions expressed there should have precedence over this person's opinions, here?

Reason with people.


  1. ^ Style guides (including the Manual of style), on the other hand, have the consensus of those who edit them. There are style guides for most of the Wikipedia projects, portals, and various optional markers of Wikipedia ("Good article" and "Featured article/image"). Some of these will have many hands working on them for many days, and others will be put together from other style guides very quickly.
  2. ^ For example, if you wish to tell someone that you have set up your -bot to change all pages to de-link all date references and then say "per MOS," you have not offered a justification. Saying that you will boldly change articles "per MOS" is saying that you agree with a part of the Manual of Style and that you believe that everyone should conform to it, but you still need to explain this to anyone who disagrees with you. The acronym doesn't make your case for you. You should never say, "Well, then, you should go away and argue at the project page, if you don't want me to insert this taxonomy box here."