Wikipedia:Everything you need to know

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Articles require significant coverage

in reliable sources

that are independent of the subject.

Significant coverage[edit]

We need references that discuss the subject – directly, in detail. Not just passing mentions, directory listings, or any old thing that happens to have the name in it. And we need several references - not just one. These sources show that the subject is notable.

Reliable sources[edit]

We need sources generally trusted to tell the truth. Major newspapers. Factual, widely-published books. Or other high-quality mainstream publications which are careful about fact-checking and accuracy. Not: forums, fansites, MySpace, Facebook, or most blogs. Good sources make the text verifiable.


Nothing written by the subject or paid for by the subject. Not their website. Not a press release. Primary sources aren't enough: we require something independent.


Statements that may be challenged

require inline citations

to reliable sources.

Statements that can be challenged[edit]

Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed. Whether and how quickly this should happen depends on the material and the overall state of the article. Editors might object if you remove material without giving them time to provide references; consider adding a citation needed tag as an interim step. When tagging or removing material for lacking an inline citation, please state your concern that there may not be a published reliable source for the content, and therefore it may not be verifiable. If you think the material is verifiable, try to provide an inline citation yourself before considering whether to remove or tag it.

Inline citations[edit]

Inline citations allow the reader to associate a given bit of material in an article with the specific reliable source(s) that support the material. Inline citations are most commonly added using either footnotes (long or short) or parenthetical references. This section describes how to add either type, and also describes how to create a list of full bibliography citations to support shortened footnotes or parenthetical references. If long or short inline citations placed in footnotes are used, the first editor to add footnotes to an article must create a section where the list of those citations is to appear. This is not necessary for inline parenthetical references, as these appear directly inline in the article prose.

Reliable sources[edit]

We need sources generally trusted to tell the truth. Major newspapers. Factual, widely-published books. Or other high-quality mainstream publications which are careful about fact-checking and accuracy. Not: forums, fansites, MySpace, Facebook, or most blogs. Good sources make the text verifiable.

Neutral point of view[edit]

Provide due weight

to all significant viewpoints

avoiding any possible bias.

Due and undue weight[edit]

Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight means that articles should not give minority views as much of, or as detailed, a description as more widely held views. Generally, the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all, except perhaps in a "see also" to an article about those specific views. Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources.

Significant viewpoints[edit]

Is a viewpoint that has been published frequently by reliable sources.


Is when any statement states an opinion as a fact. i.e. "John Doe is the best baseball player", or when viewpoints are not represented proportionally to their sources.

No original research[edit]

Statements can not be unreferenced,

verified by original research,

or verified by synthesis of published material.

Unreferenced claims[edit]

Are statements that are not adequately supported by references.

Original research[edit]

Any new analysis of primary sources by an editor. This is not allowed because it is impossible for the reader to verify if the information is true or not.

Synthesis of published material[edit]

Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources. If one reliable source says A, and another reliable source says B, do not join A and B together to imply a conclusion C that is not mentioned by either of the sources.

Conflict of interest[edit]

Do not edit an article in your own interest,

and consider declaring your conflict of interest.

Editing in a conflict of interest[edit]

A Wikipedia conflict of interest (COI) is an incompatibility between the aim of Wikipedia, which is to produce a neutral, reliably sourced encyclopedia, and the aims of an individual editor. COI editing involves contributing to Wikipedia to promote your own interests, including your business or financial interests, or those of your external relationships, such as with family, friends or employers. When an external relationship undermines, or could reasonably be said to undermine, your role as a Wikipedian, you have a conflict of interest. This is often expressed as: when advancing outside interests is more important to an editor than advancing the aims of Wikipedia, that editor stands in a conflict of interest.

Declaring your conflict of interest[edit]

Some editors declare an conflict of interest in a particular topic area. The benefits of this are that most editors will appreciate your honesty and may try to help you; you lay the basis for requesting help from others to post material for you, or to review material you wish to post yourself. Do not publicly declare an interest if this could put you at harm in the real world, e.g., from stalkers.

Behaviour towards other editors[edit]

Assume good faith[edit]

Assume that others intend to improve the encyclopedia

unless you have clear evidence to the contrary.

Good-faith editing[edit]

Is a pattern of editing that was intended to improve the encyclopedia. This can include edits blatantly against Wikipedia policy. It also includes test edits, edits by the user to see if they can edit a page. i.e. page blanking.

Clear evidence[edit]

If you wish to express doubts about the conduct of fellow Wikipedians, please substantiate those doubts with specific diffs and other relevant evidence, so that people can understand the basis for your concerns. Although bad conduct may seem to be due to bad faith, it is usually best to address the conduct without mentioning motives, which might worsen resentments all around.

No personal attacks[edit]

Comment on the contributions of editors,

not the editors themselves.

Comment on contributions[edit]

If you have a comment to make on a user's contribution, please do it civilly. Be kind and explain what your reason for the comment is, whether that be a question, an argument against their edit, or a thought. Do not comment on the editor; comment on their contribution.

Don't comment on the editors[edit]

Do not make a public comment about a user that could hurt their feelings. Instead, give constructive criticism: in a nice way, tell them what they could do to improve. Even if the user is doing something incorrectly, be civil. Rudeness and/or insults towards other users is unacceptable.

No harassment[edit]

Do not behave in a way that targets or "hounds" others,

edit to stop others from enjoying editing Wikipedia,

or post undisclosed personal information of another editor.


Hounding is the singling out of one or more editors, and joining discussions on multiple pages or topics they may edit or multiple debates where they contribute, in order to repeatedly confront or inhibit their work. This is with an apparent aim of creating irritation, annoyance or distress to the other editor. Hounding usually involves following the target from place to place on Wikipedia.

Stopping editors from enjoying themselves[edit]

Any action that intentionally makes editing unenjoyable for others is not acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to; making threats, repeated annoying and unwanted contact, repeated personal attacks, intimidation, or posting personal information.

Posting of undisclosed personal information (Outing)[edit]

Posting another editor's personal information is harassment, unless that person had voluntarily posted his or her own information, or links to such information, on Wikipedia. Personal information includes legal name, date of birth, identification numbers, home or workplace address, job title and work organisation, telephone number, email address, or other contact information, whether any such information is accurate or not. Posting such information about another editor is an unjustifiable and uninvited invasion of privacy and may place that editor at risk of harm outside of their activities on Wikipedia. This applies to the personal information of both editors and non-editors. Any edit that "outs" someone must be reverted promptly, followed by a request for oversight to delete that edit from Wikipedia permanently. If an editor has previously posted their own personal information but later redacted it, it should not be repeated on Wikipedia; although references to still-existing, self-disclosed information is not considered outing. If the previously posted information has been removed by oversight, then repeating it on Wikipedia is considered outing.

No legal threats[edit]

Do not use Wikipedia talk pages, or noticeboards

to notify or threaten other users of legal action.

Use proper legal channels[edit]

If you want to notify Wikipedians of legal action, please contact the person or people involved directly, by email or through any other contact methods the user provides. To notify Wikipedia of litigation, use this page.

Legal threats[edit]

Any threat of litigation to Wikipedia, or its holding organization Wikimedia; Wikimedia users, or readers is considered a legal threat, and will result in a block.

No sockpuppetry[edit]

Do not abuse multiple accounts, or recruit anyone;

to circumvent administrative actions,

breach Wikipedia policy,

or to create the illusion of greater support for a position.

Multiple accounts[edit]

It is recommended that contributors do not use multiple accounts without good reason. For example, a user may wish to create an alternate account for use on public computers as a precaution to keep their primary account more secure. Contributors operating any sort of automated editing process should do so under an alternative bot account. It is recommended that multiple accounts be identified as such on their user pages; templates such as {{User alternative account}} or one of a selection of user boxes may be used for this purpose.

Recruiting others (meat puppetry)[edit]

Do not recruit your friends, family members, or communities of people who agree with you for the purpose of coming to Wikipedia and supporting your side of a debate. In Wikipedia terminology, this is called canvassing. If you feel that a debate is ignoring your voice, remain civil, and seek comments from other Wikipedians or pursue dispute resolution.

Administrative actions[edit]

Administrative actions are any sanctions such as blocks, or bans that were introduced by Administrators, the community, or the Arbitration Committee. If blocked you can usually appeal on your talk page, which is only blocked if abused. If you cannot edit your talk page then you must appeal via the Unblock Ticket Request System or by emailing the Arbitration Committee, here.

Wikipedia policy[edit]

Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are pages that serve to document the good practices that are accepted in the Wikipedia community. Wikimedia policies, such as Wikimedia:Terms of Use & Wikimedia:Privacy policy can never be overridden by local policies.

Creating the illusion of greater support for an argument[edit]

Making multiple accounts to support your side of an argument is not allowed. If you use your alternative account to comment in a discussion, announce that you're commenting for your main account.

See also[edit]