Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not

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Green check.png This page is an official policy on Wikipedia. Many people agree with it. They see it as a standard way that all users should follow. When changing the page, please check that the other people agree with your changes. Use the talk page when you are not sure or when you want to propose a change.


Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. You should only write things that should be in an encyclopedia.

What Wikipedia is not[edit]

  1. Wikipedia is not paper. Wikipedia has no size limits. It can be joined to other pages and be changed more quickly. It also means that you can write longer pages.
  2. Wikipedia is not a dictionary. It does not tell how to use words or what words mean. See #2-5, #17 and at the link.
  3. Wikipedia is not a soapbox or a place for talking. This means that you should only put facts in an article. You should not put your thoughts about something in an article. An article is for the truth, not what you think. See #1, #6, #8, #9, #18.
  4. Similarly, Wikipedia is not a link repository. This means you should not make a page that is only joined to other websites. See #11, 12, 13.
  5. Wikipedia is not a "mirror". If you add content to Wikipedia, it must be under the GNU FDL. Wikipedia is not a blog and not a place just to be in a group. Although there are group aspects to Wikipedia, the idea is on creating an encyclopedia, which is a book of facts, rather than groups of people.
  6. Wikipedia does not provide censorship to minors.

What the Wikipedia community is not[edit]

  1. Wikipedia is not a democracy. Wikipedia sometimes uses voting as a way to talk about things and as a way of measuring consensus. Consensus means the way a group of people think about something. When a decision needs to be made, though, it is the way people talk - and not the number of votes - that chooses what happens.

What Wikipedia entries are not[edit]

  1. Discussion forums. In Wikipedia, we want to create articles, not talk. Please do not talk on an article or its talk page. You can talk with people on their own pages, and you can talk about pages on their talk pages.
  2. Dictionary definitions. Wikipedia is not a dictionary, and an entry that consists of just the meaning of a word does not belong. (But a page can and should always start with a good definition or tell exactly what a topic is about.) If you want to work on a wiki dictionary, go to the Wiktionary.
  3. Lists of such definitions. (But an article can certainly consist of a joining to other pages, where a word is too general to have any one topic joined with it; see freedom and Columbus for examples.)
  4. A usage guide. Wikipedia does not describe common phrases. If a common phrase is used in an article and not many people may know what it means, you should say what it means. Wikipedia can say why a common phrase is used, why it means the thing that it means, and why the phrase may be confusing or rude.
  5. A slang and idiom guide. Wikipedia is for writing an encyclopedia, not teaching people how to talk. You can write an article on how phrase came to be, or the people that use that slang.
  6. Propaganda or advocacy. That means that if you believe in something, you should not try to say that concept on the article. You should say every side of that issue. If you want to discuss your opinions, go to Usenet.
  7. Mere vehicles for testing anarchism. Anarchy means a system where there is no government or control. You should not do silly things on an article to see if this can work. We want to make an encyclopedia, not see if anarchy can work.
  8. Neither fan pages, nor critical pans. Life stories and articles about art works are supposed to be encyclopedia articles. (But you can say good and bad things about a work of art, if you only say the truth.) See also wikipedia:check your fiction.
  9. Personal essays, that say your thoughts on something. We want to make articles about things that many people know is true. Your opinion is not always true. (But you can put your essays on meta-Wikipedia.)
  10. Primary research. If you have discovered something, put your answer in a book for a learning school, not on Wikipedia. Wikipedia will talk about your answers once it is known to a lot of people.
  11. List repository of what people have said, sayings, or people. You can have a list if the things on the list are well known because they are known for what the list is about. If you want to put in lists of what people said, put them into Wikiquote.
  12. Mere collections of external links. You can put links to other pages at the bottom of an article, but an page should not only be links. That is considered spam.
  13. Mere collections of internal links. If a word has many meanings, you can make a page with links to all the meanings of that words. Some pages should have parts with joins to other articles. But an article that only has one meaning should never be only links to other articles.
  14. Mere collections of public domain or other source material like complete books, writings, letters, past writing, rules, and other things that are only useful if they are not changed. Instead of putting the entire writing into the article, make an page about the writing. If there is an book of knowledge in the public domain (like the 1911 Britannica) , an page from this can be used to make an article.
  15. A personal homepage and/or file storage area. You should not use your user page as a home page. You should also not create pages about yourself. Some people are famous enough that they can do this. But if you are one of these people, your article has to be good enough for Wikipedia. It cannot be opinion, and you cannot join to it from every page. If you want to make a homepage, you can get a free homepage provider on the Internet. If you send up a file, it should only be used for a Wikipedia page. If it is not or if it cannot be used, it will be got rid of.
  16. A news report. Wikipedia should not offer news on new stories. However, creating encyclopedia pages on things in the news is good. See 2020 for some examples. An page on a current event that will be important in the future is good as long as it is written as an encyclopedia article. Even if you are making an article about a current event, you should use the past tense. This is so that people can understand the article in the future.
  17. A genealogical or biographical dictionary. You should only make articles about people who have made important achievements. A good way to find out if someone is important enough for an article is to see if they are mentioned somewhere else. If there is an article about something and someone has been involved with it, this person can be mentioned in the article. See the issue of Wikipedia:auto-biography.
  18. A vehicle for advertising. Do not make an article on an item just because you work for a company that makes it, or you make it yourself. You can link to a page about a company if it is to show what companies are important in certain topics. See Wikipedia:articles on commercial enterprises.
  19. A collection of photographs with no writing to go with the picture. If you want to put a picture into an article but you do not know why the photo should have an article or you do not want to write about it, maybe it should not be there at all. If you are allowed to use the photo anywhere (such as if you took it yourself or if it is in the public domain), then try putting it in Wikipedia:Images with missing articles or Wikipedia:Public domain image resources instead.

We should continue to add to this list as we discover interesting new ways of not writing encyclopedia articles!

See also en:Wikipedia:Google Test.