Pensapedia:Policies and guidelines

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Green check.png This page documents an official Pensapedia policy, a widely accepted standard that all users should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. If in doubt, consider discussing changes on the talk page.

Pensapedia has developed a body of policies and guidelines to further our goal of creating a free encyclopedia of the Pensacola area. These may be codified in a page that bears the "Pensapedia:" namespace (like this one, "Pensapedia:Policies and guidelines"), although there are other pages that use the Pensapedia namespace. These policies and guidelines have been determined either through a consensus that was developed in practice or by declaration from Pensapedia administrators or members of the Pensapedia Foundation.


Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard that all users should follow. The remarks below concerning amendment of guidelines are also applicable to policies, except that more care must be taken to ensure that the policy reflects consensus.

Article standards[edit]

  • Neutral point of view – All Pensapedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing significant views fairly, proportionately and without bias.
  • Verifiability – Material challenged or likely to be challenged, and all quotations, must be attributed to a reliable, preferably published source.
  • Biographies of living persons – Pensapedia articles can affect real people's lives. This gives us an ethical and legal responsibility. Biographical material must be written with the greatest care and attention to verifiability and neutrality.

Working with others[edit]

  • Civility – Participate in a respectful and civil way. Do not ignore the positions and conclusions of others. Try to discourage others from being uncivil, and avoid upsetting other editors whenever possible.
  • Consensus – Consensus is Pensapedia's fundamental model for editorial decision-making. Policies and guidelines document communal consensus rather than creating it.
  • No personal attacks – Comment on content, not on the contributor.
  • Dispute resolution – Use reason to resolve content disputes. If that fails, recruit other contributors or administrators to step in.
  • No legal threats – If you have a dispute with the community or its members, use dispute resolution. Reports of defamation or copyright infringement will be acted on quickly. Users who take or threaten legal action without first exploring other options will blocked from editing until the issues are resolved.

Global principles[edit]


Guidelines are more advisory than policies. Updates to a guideline are typically discussed on its talk page, but it is acceptable to directly edit a guideline. Disputes over wording are often resolved by discussion and compromise toward developing a consensus.


  • Conflict of interest – Do not edit Pensapedia for solely self-promotional purposes.
  • Disambiguation – When an article title could refer to several things, a disambiguation page is needed. When the title usually means one thing but also has other meanings, add disambiguation links to the primary topic's article.
  • False information – Inserting false information, gibberish or patently inflammatory content into an article is considered vandalism. It will be removed, and the offending contributor may be blocked.


  • Manual of Style – Use common standards to improve the readability and usefulness of Pensapedia articles.
  • Naming conventions – Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number Pensacolians would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.
  • Categorization – Categories help users navigate through Pensapedia via multiple taxonomies. Categories are for defining characteristics, and should be specific, neutral, inclusive and follow certain conventions.
  • Be bold – If you see something that can be improved, do not hesitate to do it yourself.

Article Inclusion[edit]

  • Notability – The topic of an article should be sufficiently notable for inclusion.
  • Autobiography – Avoid writing or editing an article about yourself, other than to correct unambiguous errors of fact.


  • Etiquette – Use appropriate behavior when interacting or communicating with other Pensapedians.
  • Assume good faith – Unless there is strong evidence to the contrary, assume that people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it.
  • Don't bite the newcomers – Do not be hostile toward newcomers. Mistakes are common among recent contributors, so remember to assume good faith first and approach them in a polite manner.

User pages & discussions[edit]

  • User page – Each Pensapedia account receives a page that may be personalized by the user, but should remain generally related to the project.
  • Talk page – The purpose of a Pensapedia talk page is to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page. They should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views.
  • Signatures – Signing your posts on talk pages and other Pensapedia discourse (by inserting ~~~~) helps other users to identify the author of a particular comment. Signatures may be customized with code, but should maintain certain standards.

Other pages in Pensapedia namespace[edit]

Community pages[edit]

Certain pages exist to give members of the Pensapedia community an opportunity to raise and discuss issues, make suggestions and proposals, and draw other users' attention to discussions taking place elsewhere. A good example of this is the Pensapedia:Community Portal.

"How to" or help pages[edit]

A how-to or help page is any instructive page that tells people how to do things. These will of course be edited by people who have suggestions on how to do things differently. A how-to differs from a guideline in that the former explains how to perform a certain action, and the latter explains when or why certain actions are recommended.

How are policies enforced?[edit]

You are a Pensapedia editor. Since Pensapedia has no editor-in-chief or top-down article approval mechanism, active participants make copyedits and corrections to the format and content problems they see. So the participants are both writers and editors.

Individual users thus enforce most of the policies and guidelines by editing pages, and discussing matters with each other. Some policies, such as vandalism, are enforced by administrators by blocking users. In extreme cases arbitration may be required to deal with highly disruptive situations, as part of the general dispute resolution procedure.

Some features of the software which could potentially be misused, such as deleting pages and locking pages from editing, are restricted to administrators, who are experienced and trusted members of the community.