|This page documents an English Wikipedia editing guideline.|
|This page in a nutshell: Strive to make each part of every article as understandable as possible to the widest audience of readers who are likely to be interested in that material.|
Wikipedia articles should be written for the widest possible general audience.
As a free encyclopedia, Wikipedia serves readers with a wide range in background, preparation, interests, and goals. Even for articles about the most technically demanding subjects, these readers include students and curious laypeople in addition to experts. While upholding the goals of accuracy, neutrality, and full coverage of the most important aspects of a topic, every effort should be made to also render articles accessible and pleasant to read for less-prepared readers. It is especially important to make the lead section understandable using plain language, and it is often helpful to begin with more common and accessible subtopics, then proceed to those requiring advanced knowledge or addressing niche specialties.
Articles should be written in encyclopedic style, but this differs from the spare and technically precise style found in scholarly monographs and peer-reviewed papers aimed at specialists. Articles should stay on topic without twisting the truth or telling "lies-to-children", but they should also be self-contained when possible, and should not take prerequisite knowledge for granted or gratuitously use unexplained jargon or advanced technical notation: shortcuts which save time and effort for experts can be barriers to the uninitiated.