Week 6: Meant to be broken?

The final pillar of Wikipedia is perhaps the most confusing of all: "Wikipedia has no firm rules". But wait: didn't we create this newsletter because the rules are so important?

You may also have heard there's a rule called "Ignore all rules" that suggests contributors do so if it keeps them from making the encyclopedia better. It's a nice idea, but it's also a controversial one.

What it really means is that Wikipedia's ruleset is a kind of "living constitution". It also means that Wikipedia's rules are complex, and may have non-obvious exceptions. If you're frustrated by that, we know the feeling.

And yet the sentiment "You have to know the rules in order to break them" doesn't really apply to Wikipedia. Understanding the rules and following them is still the best path to success.


Beutler Ink