Current policies

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Every current policy falls into one of the following six categories:

  • Global: general principles about how Wikipedia operates.
  • Behavioral standards for behavior on Wikipedia to make it a pleasant experience for everyone.
  • Content and style: define which topics are welcome on Wikipedia and provide quality and naming standards.
  • Deletion: the body of policies dealing with page deletion.
  • Enforcement: what actions users can take to enforce other policies.
  • Legal and copyright: law-based rules about what material may be used here, and remedies for misuse.


  • Ignore all rules: Any policy, guideline, or another rule may be ignored if it hinders improving SM-201
  • What SM-201 is not: SM-201 is an online encyclopedia. Please avoid the temptation to use SM-201 for other purposes.


  • Administrators
Administrators, like all users, are not perfect beings. However, in general, they are expected to act as role models within the community, and a good general standard of civility, fairness, and general conduct both to users and in content matters, is expected. When acting as administrators, they are also expected to be fair, exercise good judgment, and give explanations and be communicative as necessary.
  • Bots
Programs that update pages automatically in a useful and harmless way may be welcome, as long as their owners seek approval first and are careful to keep them from running amok or being a drain on resources.
  • Civility
Being rude, insensitive or petty makes people upset and stops SM-201 from working well. Try to discourage others from being uncivil, and be careful to avoid offending people unintentionally. Mediation is available if needed.
  • Editing policy
Improve pages wherever you can, and don't worry about leaving them imperfect. It is advisable to explain major changes.
  • Edit warring
If someone challenges your edits, discuss it with them and seek a compromise, or seek dispute resolution from the SM-201 staff. Don't just fight over competing views and versions.
  • IP block exemption
Users in good standing whose editing is disrupted by unrelated blocks or firewalls may request IP block exemption, which allows editing on an otherwise-blocked IP address.
  • No legal threats
Use dispute resolution rather than legal threats, for everyone's sake. We respond quickly to complaints of defamation or copyright infringement. If you do take legal action, please refrain from editing until it is resolved.
  • No personal attacks
Do not make personal attacks anywhere in SM-201. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks damage the community and deter users. Nobody likes abuse.
  • Ownership of articles
You do not own articles. If you create or edit an article, know that others will edit it, and within reason you should not prevent them from doing so.
  • Sock puppetry
Do not use multiple accounts to create the illusion of greater support for an issue, to mislead others, or to circumvent a block; nor ask your friends to create accounts to support you or anyone.
  • Three-revert rule
Do not revert any single page in whole or in part more than three times in 24 hours. (Otherwise an administrator may block your account).
  • Username policy
Choose a neutral username that you'll be happy with. You can usually change your name if you need to by asking, but you can't delete it.
  • Vandalism
Vandalism is any addition, deletion, or change to content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the encyclopedia. It is, and needs to be, removed from the encyclopedia.
  • Wheel war
Do not repeat an administrative action when you know that another administrator opposes it. (Applies to administrators only)

Content and style

  • Attack pages
A SM-201 article, page, category, redirect or image created for the sole purpose of disparaging its subject is an attack page. These pages are subject to being deleted by any administrator at any time.
  • Biographies of living persons
Articles about living persons, which require a degree of sensitivity, must adhere strictly to SM-201's content policies. Be very firm about high-quality references, particularly about details of personal lives. "Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material - whether negative, positive, or just questionable - about living persons should be removed immediately and without discussion from SM-201 articles, talk pages, user pages, and project space."
  • Naming conventions
Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers worldwide would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.
  • Neutral point of view
Articles, including reader-facing templates, categories and portals, should be written from a Neutral Point of View.
  • No original research
Articles may not contain any unpublished theories, data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas; or any new interpretation, analysis, or synthesis of published data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas.
  • Verifiability
We cannot check the accuracy of claims, but we can check whether the claims have been published by a reputable publication. Articles should therefore cite sources whenever possible. Any unsourced material may be challenged and removed.


  • Category deletion policy
Deleting categories follows roughly the same process as articles, except that it is described on a different page. Categories that don't conform to naming conventions can be "speedily renamed".
  • Criteria for speedy deletion
Articles, images, categories etc. may be "speedily deleted" if they clearly fall within certain categories, which generally boil down to pages lacking content, or disruptive pages. Anything potentially controversial should go through the deletion process instead.
  • Deletion policy
Deleting articles requires an administrator and generally follows a consensus-forming process. Most potentially controversial deletions require a three-step process and a waiting period of a week.
  • Office actions
The staff reserves the right to speedily delete an article temporarily in cases of exceptional controversy.
  • Oversight
Page revisions can be deleted for legal reasons.
  • Proposed deletion
As a shortcut around the Articles for Deletion ("AfD") process, for uncontroversial deletions, an article can be proposed for deletion, though once only. If no one contests the proposed deletion within five days, the article may be deleted by an administrator.

Enforcing policies

  • Appealing a block: Rules for having a block lifted.
  • Arbitration policy: Rules for how the SM-201 Arbitration Committee decides Requests for arbitration.
  • Banning policy: Extremely disruptive users may be banned from SM-201. Please respect these bans, don't bait banned users and don't help them out. Bans can be appealed to the Arbitration Committee, depending on the nature of the ban.
  • Blocking policy Disruptive users can be blocked from editing for short or long amounts of time.
  • Consensus :Most editing decisions are made by a continually evolving rough consensus among editors.
  • Mediation policy: Rules for how the SM-201 Mediation Committee conducts formal mediation.
  • No open proxies: Open proxies may be blocked from editing for any period at any time to deal with editing abuse.
  • Protection policy: Pages can be protected against vandals or during fierce content disputes. Protected pages can, but in general shouldn't, be edited by administrators. Also, pages undergoing frequent vandalism can be semi-protected to block edits by very new or unregistered users.
  • Resolving disputes: The first step to resolving any dispute is to talk to those who disagree with you. If that fails, there are more structured forms of discussion available.

Legal and copyright

Outside of policies, such as those below and the office actions policy, SM-201 does not censor itself of content that may be objectionable or offensive or adopt other perennial legal proposals, so long as it obeys the law of the U.S. state of California. Legal issues are raised by filing a formal complaint with the SM-201 Staff.

  • CheckUser:CheckUser is a tool allowed to be used by a small number of users who are permitted to examine user IP information and other server log data under certain circumstances, for the purposes of protecting SM-201 against actual and potential disruption and abuse.
  • Copyrights:Material which infringes other copyrights must not be added. The legalities of copyright and "fair use" are quite complex.
  • Copyright violations:SM-201 has no tolerance for copyright violations in our encyclopedia, and we actively strive to find and remove any violations. If the SM-201 staff receives a complaint, we will usually act upon the complaint within 24 hours.
  • Image use policy:Generally avoid uploading nonfree images; fully describe images' sources and copyright details on their description pages, and try to make images as useful and reusable as possible.
  • Libel:It is SM-201 policy to delete libellous revisions from the page history. If you believe you have been defamed, please contact us.
  • Non-free content criteria:The cases in which you can declare an image "fair use" are quite narrow. You must specify the exact use of the image, and only use the image in that one context.
  • Reusing SM-201 content:SM-201 material may be freely used under the GFDL, which means you must credit authors, relicense the material under GFDL and allow free access to it.
  • Text of the GNU Free Documentation License:This is the license under which all contributions to SM-201 are released. Any re-use of the work must also be released under GFDL.

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