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.
|This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia is a work in progress. Don't rush to edit: it is not a competition.|
Wikipedia is not working to a deadline. There are various points of view on what this lack of a deadline means.
View one: Don't rush to create articles
We can afford to take our time, to consider matters, to wait before creating a new article until its significance is unambiguously established. If you need help with something, do not be afraid to ask for help in the teahouse. If you post the article before it is ready another editor may submit your article for deletion.
Wikipedia is not Wikinews and has no need to scoop anyone. Turn this into a strength by working on your article in your userspace or scratchpad until you have the best possible article, fully referenced, a masterpiece of neutrality. And if someone beats you to it, makes that first place in the edit history, so what? Merge in what you have and turn a stub or whatever into a good article. Wikipedia is not a competition either.
Above all, creating an article without establishing the basis of the content and its significance is a bad idea. There really are no points for being first; being the author of the best and most neutral content will earn you far greater kudos.
View two: Don't rush to delete articles
We can afford to take our time to improve articles, to wait before deleting a new article unless its potential significance cannot be established.
Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia and has no need to work towards a deadline. There is no finished version expected soon, and it is perfectly acceptable to let the editing process fashion an article up to our standards eventually. And if it takes a long time for that process to work, so what? Wikipedia is a work in progress, and will always remain so. There is no publication date and Wikipedia does not have to be finished today. It merely needs to have improved on yesterday. Perfection is neither desired nor achievable.
Remember also that consensus can change over time. New people may bring fresh ideas, established users may change their minds when new things come up, and we all may find a better way to do things.
Above all, the principle of creating an article which is unfinished was once a consequence of the now historical second rule of Wikipedia, Always leave something undone (though the present procedural policy no longer discusses this). By creating an unfinished article, you encourage other people to contribute; collaboration on articles will earn you far greater respect than solo editing.
View three: Don't postpone dispute resolution
Whether the addition/removal to the article can be justified or not, it is sometimes better to handle the dispute at the time it occurs. Generally referenced additions can be viewed and evaluated by other users more easily, since it is much easier than tracking the additions / removals from article history, and generally "let it go" cases are forgotten after a while, unless an editor bothers to check every single entry in article history. Also discussing cases after a while may consume much more time than early solved conflicts since non-solved conflicts generally turn out as personal conflicts between editors. Moreover, since editors try to edit in their free time where they can do anything else, they may not find such time in the future to edit or discuss these matters to improve Wikipedia. And it is frequent that some users act WP:POV or WP:BIASed (and WP:Systemic bias in the worst cases) because of their political or religious views or they may not have any expertise in the article they edit. From time to time they may have WP:COI, or act like they WP:OWN the article, they may take things personally and may not be WP:POLITE (verbally or worse with their editing style) so, whether or not you assume WP:GOODFAITH, you may not come to an agreement. At those times, you may seek third party review help from uninvolved editors to come to an agreement between both parties.
View four: There are a lot of deadlines
There is a deadline—or many small deadlines—we aren't aware of. People die, move away from editing or reading, Little Johnny's homework is due. Meanwhile, we have articles that have been unreferenced for several years, articles that have been stubs since 2001 and so forth—and the amount of identified work keeps growing. Without continual improvement and automation the potential of Wikipedia will be only partially fulfilled—moreover without a sense of urgency these things will not be done in a timely fashion.
View five: It's not a competition
Just as there is no deadline, there's also no enforced plan for writing Wikipedia. No specific tasks are assigned to specific individuals. While one editor may have a to-do list or a page in their user sandbox ready to start a new article, another editor may beat them to the punch either unknowingly or deliberately.
Editors shouldn't get upset when they lose the opportunity to create a new article. No one owns an article. When you miss out on a chance to create a new article, instead of feeling robbed or slighted or considering acts of vengeance, you might look and see if there's any way you can still contribute. Maybe there are grammatical errors or typos you can correct, or you have text you could add.
View six: You are not obliged to edit Wikipedia
As you are not obliged to edit Wikipedia, deadlines are unnecessary, so there is no deadline to make an edit, create a page, etc. Deadlines usually come when you are obliged to do something.
Opposing and complementary views
- There is a deadline
- Information is being lost in the real world all the time. Wikipedia is an opportunity to ensure that it isn't, before it's too late.
- The deadline is now
- People are reading Wikipedia now, and if what's there isn't true, they are being misled by it now. Thus, misleading information must be removed or corrected as soon as possible.
Deadlines in Wikipedia
Although Wikipedia itself is not working to a deadline, processes and WikiProjects within it often have deadlines. For example:
- Deletion discussions should usually be finished after a maximum of 21 days. Article deletion discussions have a deadline of seven days which may be extended to 14 or 21 days (in rare cases, discussions can run longer). As such, Article Rescue Squadron always works to a deadline.
- Requests for adminship and requests for bureaucratship both have strict deadlines.
- Featured Article nominations won't last open forever. Nominators must be ready to resolve raised objections at shortest of notices.
- The Did You Know project will only consider submissions of articles that have been either created, expanded at least fivefold, or were unsourced BLPs newly sourced and expanded at least twofold, "within the past seven days".
- WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors has regular time limits and deadlines for its month-long Backlog Elimination Drives and week-long Blitzes. Accepted requests for copy edit listed on its Requests page should be completed in a reasonable time.
- Articles for creation submissions are deletion-eligible if not edited at least once in a span of six months.
- Wikipedia:Beef up that first revision
- Wikipedia:Don't demolish the house while it's still being built
- Wikipedia:Don't panic
- Wikipedia:Editing policy
- Wikipedia:Potential, not just current state
- Wikipedia:Rome wasn't built in a day
- Wikipedia:The world will not end tomorrow
- Wikipedia:Too soon
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a work in progress
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a volunteer service
- Munroe, Randall. "Duty Calls". xkcd.com.