|This page in a nutshell: A quick overview of some of Wikipedia's most important policies|
To some, Wikipedia can seem very bureaucratic. There are hundreds of policy and guideline pages, a virtual "alphabet soup" such as WP:V, WP:OR, WP:NPOV, WP:RS, WP:THIS, and WP:THAT (not to mention over 1600 like this one). However, if you start out by following these eight simple rules, the rest should come naturally.
Be certain that you are here to build an encyclopedia
Wikipedia is not the place to host your blog or personal web page, or to promote yourself, your company, your band, etc. If you are here to do only one thing and that one thing is prohibited by policy, guideline, and/or consensus, then this is not the project for you.
There's not much more to say about this than has already been written in the link above and in various other policy, guideline, and essay pages except that it's our basic editorial policy. In other words, Wikipedia would not be "Wikipedia" without it.
See also: Don't be a jerk
For this project to work, editors have to behave civilly toward each other and treat each other with respect. No matter how smart you are or what you have to offer, if you're constantly rude to everybody and treating others in a condescending manner, then nobody is going to listen to you or want to work with you.
This one is very simple. If a rule would prevent you from improving, or preventing harm to, the encyclopedia, then just ignore it. However, be certain that what you are doing would really improve the encyclopedia and is not just something that you want to do. Be prepared to justify your actions to anybody with a reasonable objection.
Wikipedia is not a MMORPG or other role playing game. Your edits can affect real people in the real world. You should have reliable sources for anything potentially controversial or likely to be challenged. This is especially true when writing about living people.
Wikipedia is not about winning or losing. Holding grudges against other editors who disagree with you only creates unnecessary drama and negative effects that distract others from improving the encyclopedia.
No matter how mundane your edits or how right you think you are, there will be times when other editors will object to, revert, or otherwise question your edits. In these cases, you must be prepared to discuss and justify your contributions. The role of "Talk page" discussion is so important that the Bold, Revert, Discuss cycle has been encouraged as a model for editing. If your only edits to talk pages are periodically blanking your own, then this is not the project for you.
- Contributing to Wikipedia – a page that provides information and resources on the basics needed to use, comment on, and contribute to Wikipedia.
- List of policies – a comprehensive descriptive list of policies.
- List of guidelines – a comprehensive descriptive list of guidelines.
- Advice pages – about advice pages written by WikiProjects.