Wiktionary:Policies and guidelines

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Accessories-text-editor.svg This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. This is a draft proposal. It is unofficial, and it is unknown whether it is widely accepted by Wiktionary editors.
Policies: CFI - ELE - BLOCK - REDIR - BOTS - QUOTE - DELETE - NPOV - AXX

Wiktionary is a collaborative project and its founders and contributors have common goals.

Wiktionary policies and guidelines help us to work toward those common goals. These policies are continually evolving, and need some effort to maintain their evolution. You can contribute to the effort.

Key policies

You don't need to read every Wiktionary policy before you contribute! However, the following principles are key to a productive, collaborative Wiktionary experience, and should always be borne in mind.

  1. Wiktionary is a dictionary, thesaurus, and phrasebook.
  2. Wiktionary is multi-lingual in that it has entries for words from any language. It aims to cover Every Word from Every Language. This Wiktionary is the English-language Wiktionary. That means the texts of entries, including those for words from other languages, are written in English. Wiktionaries in other languages give definitions of these words in their own languages. See also the developing policy on foreign words and translations.
  3. Respect copyrights. Wiktionary is a free dictionary licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and the Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Submitting work which infringes copyrights threatens our objective to build a truly free dictionary that anyone can redistribute, and could lead to legal problems. See Wiktionary copyrights for more information.
  4. Avoid bias. Entries should be written from a neutral point of view, representing all usages fairly and sympathetically.
  5. Respect other contributors. Wiktionary contributors come from many different countries and cultures, and have widely different views. Treating others with respect is key to collaborating effectively in building this Wiktionary. For some guidelines, see Wiktionary:Civility and Wiktionary:Dispute resolution.

Policies are listed alphabetically by topic at Wiktionary:Index to Policies.

How are policies decided?

Wiktionary policy will be formulated for the most part by consensus. Consensus can be reached through open debate over difficult questions, or it may simply develop as a result of established practice. The statements on this and other pages about Wiktionary policy are intended to describe community norms that are developing over time.

  • Initial ideas might be discussed in the Beer parlour.
  • As controversial or important policy issues are identified, someone will decide that we should think about having a policy related to this matter and create a vote that the entire community assesses. If a supermajority is reached for a certain opinion, that opinion becomes policy.

Policies that result from established practice are sometimes harder to identify. If there is no objection to the practice, it may be difficult to sustain community attention long enough for a formal process of adopting it as policy. In this situation, the best solution may be to document existing practice on a language's "About" page (see here the "About" page for Latin, as an example) if necessary.

How are policies enforced?

You are a Wiktionary editor! Wiktionary has no editor-in-chief or any central, top-down mechanism whereby the day-to-day progress on the dictionary is monitored and approved. Instead, active participants add new articles, improve others, and make corrections to the content and format problems they see. So the participants are both writers and editors.

Most policies and guidelines are thus implemented by individual users editing pages, and discussing matters with each other.

There are some administrators appointed that will tackle the problems of vandalism and housekeeping, for which they need extra privileges. Anyone with a fair track record of contributions can apply for administrator status.