Founding principles

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Wikimedia projects have certain founding principles in common. These principles may evolve or be refined over time, but they are considered ideals essential to the founding of the Wikimedia projects – not to be confused with the Wikimedia Foundation (which also arose from the Wikimedia projects). People who strongly disagree with them are nonetheless expected to either respect them while collaborating on the site or turn to another site. Those unable or unwilling sometimes end up leaving the project.

These principles include:

  1. Neutral point of view (NPOV) as a guiding editorial principle.
  2. The ability of almost anyone to edit (most) articles without registration.
  3. The "wiki process" as the final decision-making mechanism for all content.
  4. The creation of a welcoming and collegial editorial environment.
  5. Free licensing of content; in practice defined by each project as public domain, GFDL, CC BY-SA or CC BY.
  6. Maintaining room for fiat to help resolve particularly difficult problems. On a dozen projects, an Arbitration Committee has the authority to make certain binding, final decisions such as banning an editor.


Not all Projects abide by all of these principles.

  • Some do not rely on NPOV (Wikinews), or have a simpler principle of 'no promotion' (Wikivoyage). In some projects, NPOV is not about textual statements contained in pages (see Neutral point of view on Wikiquote).
  • Some have primarily non-wiki modes of collaboration and decision-making (MediaWiki)
  • Some have a local policy for allowing fair-use media or other media that are not freely licensed: individual Wikipedia languages

See also[edit]