Wikipedia:The difference between policies, guidelines and essays

The difference between policies, guidelines, and essays on Wikipedia is obscure. There is no bright line between what the community chooses to call a "policy" or a "guideline" or an "essay" or an "information page".

This explanatory essay itself is a supplemental page, which is an even more ambiguous group.[1] Essays, supplemental, help (how-to), information and template documentation pages generally have a limited status during deliberations as they have not been thoroughly vetted by the community through the policy and guideline proposal process. However, some essays and supplemental pages are widely accepted as part of the Wikipedia gestalt, and have a significant degree of influence during discussions.

How-to and information pages typically provide technical and factual information and are not often referenced during deliberations, but rather used for directing editors to pages about Wikipedia's processes and practices.

  1. ^ This explanatory essay was created as a separate "supplement" because, in discussions about how to improve and explain the policy on policies and guidelines, most editors thought that it would be easier to handle this material on a separate page, using a FAQ format, instead of trying to shoehorn it directly into the official policy page. (See {{supplement}} for further information on usage.)

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