This is an essay.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
- Wikipedia (the encyclopedia) is assumed to be good, that is, beneficial to humankind. This assumption underlies the general acceptance that the policy "Wikipedia is first and foremost an online encyclopedia" is a desirable policy.
- Any article, category, project, image, policy, or any other sub-part of Wikipedia need not and indeed should not, however, by itself, strive to be actively good in this sense.
- But all things being equal, and provided this does not conflict with policy, any article, category, project, image, policy, or any other sub-part of Wikipedia should avoid being actively evil or serving an evil end.
The following advisory material is provided, as part of this article, as an aid in determining its proper application:
- For the purposes of this article, the term "evil" may be assumed to approximate the following definitions:
- evil \'e--v*l\, (from Old English yfel, from Indo-European "exceeding due limits") adj.: bad; having qualities which tend to injury, or to produce mischief; producing sorrow, distress, injury or calamity; morally bad or wrong; wicked; deliberately causing great harm, pain, or upset; infamous; malicious; characterized by a desire to cause hurt or harm; arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct; that which produces pain, distress, loss, or calamity, or which impairs the happiness of natural beings; depravity, corruption of heart, or disposition to commit wickedness. n.: malignity; the quality of being profoundly immoral or wrong; mischief; a situation or thing that is very unpleasant, harmful, or morally wrong; something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction. adv. (arch.): injuriously; unkindly; unjustly.
- For the purposes of this article, all of the above definitions may be assumed to be appended by the statement ...without commensurate gain in encyclopedic value. That is, unless, by consensus of editors examining a particular case, the entity advances Wikipedia's overall mission significantly enough to justify overriding the considerations expressed in this article.
- For the purposes of this article, the basic values of Wikipedia may be assumed to stem from those of all proper encyclopedias, beginning with Denis Diderot's original encyclopedia -- the promotion of humanistic and scientific values, and the opposition to ignorance, superstition, and tyranny, commonly associated with the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason; and assumed to be aided by the free collection and dissemination of knowledge; and, this being the English Wikipedia, also from the basic social philosophy generally common to the English-speaking world, as found in John Locke and his followers, and expressed by Thomas Jefferson's statement "I have sworn eternal enmity... against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man."