Wikipedia:Levels of competence

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Shu ha ri

In martial arts, there is a concept along the road to mastery called shu ha ri[1] that could be explained as:

  • He/She who is a beginner plays within the boundaries.
  • He/She who is proficient explores the boundaries.
  • He/She who is an expert creates the boundaries—or ignores them altogether.

While editing Wikipedia:

  • Beginners don't know (or are only starting to learn) the rules.
  • Intermediate users learn the rules.
  • Advanced users learn the spirit of the rules.
  • Finally, once users understand the spirit of the rules and principles, they can ignore them.



tip: Don't be afraid, just be BOLD! There's no way you can damage the wiki that can't be corrected in under a minute

  • Edit Wikipedia, just make a change, go ahead! If you make a mistake, someone will correct you.


tip: you can pick up a lot of ideas about how consensus was previously formed by reading policy, guideline, and essay pages

  • Can you name the five pillars of Wikipedia, and apply them?
  • What are some issues with the five pillars as chosen? Would you choose other pillars? Why?


tip:Try to get people to react to you in ways that just happen to lie along the lines of policy. When in a discussion, instead of pointing to the policy itself, try to integrate your understanding of the policy in your own words, and try to convince people that way. You'll probably learn a lot from how they reply!

  • Do you understand WP:IAR?
  • If you are an admin, can you enforce policy without use of your admin tools?
  • Can you get people to follow policy, without making a single link to a policy page yourself?
  • Can you convince people to follow the principles behind the policy, simply by setting a good example?

See also[edit]


  1. ^ shu-ha-ri can be loosely translated as Learning, Applying, and Transcending