|This is an assignment for Simone's adoption program. You are welcome to edit this page if you notice any errors or have any additional information to add, but as a courtesy, please notify OrenBochman if you make any major changes to avoid any possible confusion between him and his adoptee(s). Thanks!|
First Assignment: The Five Pillars
What are the five pillars?
The "five pillars" are the fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates.
- The first pillar tells us that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and also what it is not.
- The second pillar states that Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view.
- The third pillar states that Wikipedia is free content, and also talks about copyright.
- The fourth pillar is about civility and "wikiquette".
- The fifth pillar states that Wikipedia does not have firm rules. This means that if a rule prevents you from improving Wikipedia, ignore it and do not worry about making mistakes.
The Core Content Policies
Editing from a neutral point of view (often abbreviated as "NPOV") is required on Wikipedia. Editing from a neutral point of view means representing unbiased and significant views that have been published by reliable sources, and giving due weight to all points of view. All information on Wikipedia must be verifiable - so any information unsupported by a reliable source does not belong here. The personal experience or opinion of an editor also does not belong to Wikipedia.
Wikipedia uses the word "source" for three interchangeable ideas – a piece of work, the work's creator or the work's publisher. In general, you would expect a reliable source to be published materials with a reliable publication process, authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both. This doesn't mean that a source that is reliable on one topic is reliable on every topic, it must be regarded as authoritative in that topic – so whilst "W:Airfix monthly" may be a good source on the first model aeroplane, I would not expect it to be authoritative on their full size equivalent.
A source that is self-published is not considered reliable, unless it is published by a recognized expert in the field. Anything in a forum or a blog and even most websites are considered unreliable. One interesting sidepoint is on self-published sources talking about themselves. Obviously, a source talking about itself is going to be authoritative, but be careful that the source is not too self-serving – the article must not be totally based on a direct source like that.
Mainstream news sources are generally considered reliable, but any single article should be assessed on a case by case basis. Some news organizations have been known to check their information on Wikipedia – so be careful not to get into a cyclic sourcing issue!
There's a lot more about what makes a source reliable here.
If there are any questions you have about this lesson, ask them! My job, as your adopter, is to help you with any problem you may have. If you don't have any questions that you need to ask, your next step is to take a short test regarding this lesson. If you are ready to take the test, simply tell me (either on this page or on my talk page) and I will hand it out to you.