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* Policy policy If Wikipedia achieves its potential there will be thousands of people writing and editing articles. There is no system in place that would allow all of this activity to be monitored by some central authority to insure compliance with various editorial policies. With this in mind, we should not try now to lay down policies as if the project is easily controlled. We should assume that policies will emerge from use and experience. We should not try to anticipate what the lessons of experience will be. - TimShell

I don't think this is necessarily so. Even if policies can't be enforced, making some guidelines and some reason for the guidelines clear to any visitor will undoubtedly influence their writing style. And, more importantly, people will probably model their contributions to a fair extent after what is already here. So in this formative period we have a good opportunity to set the course, even though the ship may turn later. -- JoshuaGrosse

Good question. But I'd agree with Joshua. Though I think you're right in many cases, Tim--experience is the best guide. Surely the case of NuPedia shows that the best policy is discovered through a combination of "a priori" policy-setting in the beginning, to be modified later in light of experience. -- Larry Sanger

I disagree with Tim's statement that "We should not try to anticipate what the lessons of experience will be." We should not, of course, expect at the outset that we will get it all right, and so we should be prepared to change course in the future. The interesting thing about the wiki software is that social norms are ultimately the only policy. Saying, today, that we will have "loose" social norms, versus "tight" social norms, is itself a policy, set today, with a particular vision of the future in mind. We should attempt to anticipate what the lessons of experience will be, and of course we should be prepared to change course as we learn new things. --Jimbo Wales

I've written a proposal that seeks to provide a dynamic framework for an orderly evolution of these policies, without attempting to rigidly define what those policies should be. --ManningBartlett