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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2018-06-29/Wikipedia essays

< Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost‎ | 2018-06-29
This month's pick by The Signpost editors: Some essays are funny, some are serious; some are just, well what exactly?
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Although essays are not policies or guidelines, many are worthy of consideration. Policies and guidelines cannot cover all circumstances, consequently many essays serve as interpretations or commentary of perceived community norms for specific topics and situations. The value of an essay should be understood in context, using common sense and discretion. Essays can be written by anyone and can be long monologues or short theses, serious or funny. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. An essay, as well as being useful, can potentially be a divisive means of espousing a point of view. Although an essay should not be used to create an alternative rule set, the Wikipedia community has historically tolerated a wide range of Wikipedia related subjects and viewpoints on user page. (from WP:ESSAY, a policy supplement)

In the coming months we'll be highlighting and reprinting some of the more interesting/useful/original/pointless/helpful/tasteless essays written by Wikipedians from among the thousands listed in the Essay directory. We thought that this one about essays themselves, "Ignore all essays", short and sweet, written in 2011‎ by Tom Morris, would be an appropriate lead into the new feature. Thank you Tom.

Ignore all essays

It is already established that one should ignore all rules. Some essayists believe we should ignore all dramas, others think we should ignore all uses of "ignore all rules". Other things we should ignore all of include rules, except for the one about consensus, or maybe ignore credentials or even more radically ignore all users.

There is a much simpler and easier thing to do: just ignore all essays! This is much easier to follow: you just don't read essays and ignore appeals to them. It won't affect editing articles or fighting vandals or any of the other things you do on the site.

But this may present something of a paradox. If you ignore all essays, you are following the advice given in this essay, and are therefore not ignoring all essays. Wikipedians, you have your own liar paradox! Enjoy it until some mathematician or philosopher makes it disappear in a puff of logic.

The argument

In summary:

  1. Wikipedia has established the policy of Wikipedia:Ignore all rules.
  2. Rules are more formal than essays, and represent the opinions of more users (sometimes, however, that doesn't matter; see Wikipedia:Ignore all users, which is, admittedly, an essay)
  3. Thus, we should establish the policy of Wikipedia:Ignore all essays.

Hazards of essays