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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Essays, as used by Wikipedia editors, typically contain advice or opinions of one or more editors. The purpose of an essay is to aid or comment on the encyclopedia but not on any unrelated causes. Essays have no official status and do not speak for the Wikipedia community because they may be created and edited without overall community oversight. Following the instructions or advice given in an essay is optional. Generally soft advice belongs in an essay, thus avoiding instruction creep in Wikipedia's official protocols. There are over 2,000 essays on a wide range of Wikipedia-related topics. Wikipedia policy says, “Essays…that contradict widespread consensus, belong in the user namespace”.

About essays

Although essays are not

common sense and discretion. Essays can be written by anyone and can be long monologues or short theses, serious or humorous. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. An essay, as well as being useful, can potentially be a divisive means of espousing a point of view. Although an essay should not be used to create an alternative rule set, the Wikipedia community has historically tolerated a wide range of Wikipedia related subjects and viewpoints on user pages



for more information.

Essays are located in the

Wikipedia:Template messages/Wikipedia namespace
for a listing of namespace banners.

Types of essays

Wikipedia namespace essays

Essays in the Wikipedia namespace – which are never to be put in the main (encyclopedia article) namespace – typically address some aspect of working in Wikipedia. They have not been formally adopted as guidelines or policies by the community at large, but typically edited by the community. Some are widely accepted as part of the Wikipedia gestalt, and have a significant degree of influence during discussions (like "guideline supplements"

WP:Bold, revert, discuss cycle, and WP:Competence is required

Many essays, however, are obscure, single-author pieces. Essays may be

deleted, if they are found to be problematic.[1] Occasionally, even longstanding, community-edited essays may be removed or radically revised if community norms shift.[2]

How to and information pages


how-to and information pages are typically edited by the community and can also be found in the help namespace. They generally provide technical and factual information about Wikipedia or supplement guidelines and policies in greater detail. Where "essay pages" often offer advice or opinions through viewpoints, information pages are intended to clarity and explain current community practices in an impartial way (e.g., Wikipedia:Administration

WikiProject advice pages

Advice pages written by these groups are formally considered the same as pages written by anyone else, that is, they are essays unless and until they have been formally adopted as community-wide guidelines or policies. WikiProjects are encouraged to write essays explaining how the community's policies and guidelines should be applied to their areas of interest and expertise (e.g., Wikipedia:WikiProject Bibliographies#Recommended structure

User essays

According to

WP:General notability guideline
originated in a user essay).

Writings that contradict policy are somewhat tolerated within the User namespace. The author of a personal essay located in their user space has


Historical essays

The Wikimedia Foundation's Meta-wiki was envisioned as the original place for editors to comment on and discuss Wikipedia, although the "Wikipedia" project space has since taken over most of that role. Many historical essays can still be found at

It is generally preferable that

for more details.

Creation and modification of essays

Before creating an essay, it is a good idea to check if similar essays already exist. Although there is no guideline or policy that explicitly prohibits it,

transferred to user space

You do not have to have created an essay to improve it. If an essay already exists,

before making them. If the original author is no longer active or available, seek consensus on the essay's talk page (other editors who have worked on the essay are likely to care about it), or just write a new one.

Finding essays

Wikipedia:Essay directory lists about 2100 essays to allow searching for key words or terms with your browser. The gist of user-written essays can be found at Wikipedia:Essays in a nutshell. Essays can also be navigated via categories, the navigation template (as seen below), or Special:Search (as seen below; include the words "Wikipedia essays" with your other search-words).



  1. WP:RM
    ) process.
  2. ^ Two examples are "WP:Don't be a dick" and "WP:Don't feed the divas", replaced by the heavily revised WP:Don't be a jerk and WP:Don't be high-maintenance, respectively, after too many incivility complaints. Conversely, an attempt to replace the rather stern WP:Give 'em enough rope with a much more mild-toned "WP:Let the tiger show its stripes" was rejected by consensus, and the latter eventually deleted as redundant. Some essays, like WP:Advice for hotheads, are intentionally written with such history in mind, and are worded to not offend and to advise against using them in attempts to offend.