This page is an essay on Wikipedia:Five pillars.
The Five Pillars of Wikipedia are considered fundamental to the Wikipedia project. No one pillar is taller or shorter than the other--it is critical that each pillar have the same importance for the good of the entire project.
If one pillar was less important than another, then we would just have the "four pillars of Wikipedia" -- but there are five.
The Five Pillars
Here's a list of these "Five Pillars" :
- Wikipedia is an encyclopedia
- Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view
- Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute
- Wikipedia's editors should treat each other with respect and civility
- Wikipedia has no firm rules
Imagine if editors only focused on four of those five. What would the community become? What would happen to the project?
- If we stopped having Wikipedia be an encyclopedia, it might become more of a social media outlet or news source or even a free web hosting server. That is not the purpose of Wikipedia.
- If we stopped writing from a neutral point of view, the articles would begin to contain opinions. That would not make Wikipedia better.
- If we no longer created free content, that would reduce global enthusiasm and weaken Wikipedia.
- If we stop treating each other with respect and civility, we run the risk of driving away volunteers.
- If we create and stick to firm rules, we become a machine rather than a collaborative process. That would not make Wikipedia better.
While it certainly is valid for an editor to focus on one pillar instead of another based on their enthusiasm and knowledge, editors should be careful to not sacrifice one column for any of the others. None of the pillars are mutually exclusive. We need them all. They are our five pillars.