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The fundamental principles of Wikipedia may be summarized in five "pillars":
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Wikipedia is an encyclopedia
"Our encyclopedia combines many features of general and specialized "encyclopedias, "almanacs, and "gazetteers. "Wikipedia is not a "soapbox, an "advertising platform, a "vanity press, an experiment in "anarchy or "democracy, an "indiscriminate collection of information, or a web "directory. It is not a "dictionary, a "newspaper, or a collection of "source documents, although some of its fellow Wikimedia projects are.
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Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view
We strive for articles that "document and explain major points of view, giving "due weight with respect to their prominence in an impartial tone. We avoid advocacy and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them. In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view; in others, we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context rather than as "the truth" or "the best view". All "articles must strive for "verifiable accuracy, "citing "reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is on "living persons. Editors' "personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong.
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Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute
Since all editors "freely license their work to the public, no editor "owns an article and any contributions can and will be "mercilessly edited and "redistributed. Respect "copyright laws, and never "plagiarize from sources. Borrowing "non-free media is sometimes allowed as "fair use, but strive to find free alternatives first.
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Wikipedia's editors should treat each other with respect and civility
"Respect your fellow Wikipedians, even when you disagree. Apply Wikipedia "etiquette, and don't engage in "personal attacks. Seek "consensus, avoid "edit wars, and "never disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. Act in good faith, and "assume good faith on the part of others. Be open and "welcoming to newcomers. Should conflicts arise, discuss them calmly on the appropriate "talk pages, follow "dispute resolution procedures, and consider that there are 5,655,369 other articles on the English Wikipedia to improve and discuss.
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Wikipedia has no firm rules
Wikipedia has "policies and guidelines, but they are not carved in stone; their content and interpretation can evolve over time. "The principles and spirit matter more than literal wording, and sometimes improving Wikipedia requires making exceptions. "Be bold but not "reckless in updating articles. And "do not agonize over making mistakes: "every past version of a page is saved, so mistakes can be easily corrected.
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