Wikipedia:The rules are principles
|This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia's rules are principles, not civil code or exacting law.|
The rules are principles, not laws, on Wikipedia. Policies and guidelines exist only as rough approximations of their underlying principles. They are not intended to provide an exact or complete definition of the principles in all circumstances. They must be understood in context, using
The rules are guidance on those principles. They help editors understand those ideals in a concrete fashion. We should neither restrict our discretion, nor disregard policies and guidelines. Finding an appropriate balance is not always an easy task, and should be done in the context of the principles supporting them and the improvement of the encyclopedia.
The principles, and accompanying rules, on Wikipedia are solely intended towards creating and distributing a free, quality encyclopedia to everyone. The requirements of verifiability, reliable sourcing and other content rules seem the "most obvious" to many contributors. However, all of the principles are equally central to this goal. The principle underlying the
|“||Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language. Asking whether the community comes before or after this goal is really asking the wrong question: the entire purpose of the community is precisely this goal. (Jimbo Wales) Wikipedia-l mailing list (8 March 2005).||”|