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Accountability is an underlying basis for all Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Accountability means that editors should generally explain the reasoning behind their edits, especially when making questionable changes to articles. This guideline, therefore, reflects ideas underlying other guidelines and policies, and should not be seen as contradicting WP:BOLD or WP:IAR.


In order for it to be generally accepted that the Wikipedia encyclopedia project is useful, and that the practice of free editing by anyone, any time, is beneficial, accountability is essential. It's also simple and easy.

From the viewpoint of rights and duties[edit]

All Wikipedia editors have the rights and duties to fulfil accountability for the good of Wikipedia. As such, all editors are also encouraged to help with the development of wikipedia's policies, guidelines, and practices. The rights and duties of accountability of all Wikipedia editors, however, are limited to matters concerning their edits or Wikipedia. Such an ordinary accountability is common sense and fundamental to the ethics prevalent advanced countries all over the world.

Edit summaries[edit]

A key method to ensuring accountability it to always fill in "Edit summaries" meaningfully and with a full, clear explanation of the edit. Where relevant, the reason for the edit should also be mentioned.

Non-article namespace pages[edit]

This Wikipedia encyclopedia project has a variety of policy and guideline pages. Please look up and read the pages in which the matters you are concerned about are described. If you don't understand the information regarding your concern, feel free to ask questions, propose a new system, discuss with others, and seek consensus on the appropriate page. If everyone involved does this, then you will generally feel satisfied with the outcome, even if your proposal was rejected.

There seem to be at least two different levels of accountability on Wikipedia.

  1. All editors have rights and duties to explain, question, propose, agree and object about whatever seems to be involved in this Wikipedia encyclopedia project.
  2. However, there may be sensitive cases or controversial ones in which you should make more effort in order to perform your accountability as well as these ones in real society. In such cases, you should edit more comprehensibly, reasonably, kindly, politely, perseveringly, neutrally or attributably, if you don't want to be reverted, ignored, blamed, accused, blocked or banned by other Wikipedians or Wikipedia:admins. But, it's very obvious that, occasionally, it's hard to explain to everyone's satisfaction.
    • Such a heavy burden of accountability seems to be necessary for the higher Wikipedia:Consensus, nonetheless ( and unfortunately ). Probably it may be not so easy, but, please be as cool as possible, as kind as possible, and remain as objective as possible, because this is just Wikipedia encyclopedia project in which anyone is expected to be cool, kind and objective.

From the viewpoint of merits and demerits[edit]

Creating an account and logging in helps to improve your accountability, identity and reliability among the community. This means that, when you become a registered editor, you can communicate more easily with other registered editors.

  1. Registering, although generally seen as desirable, is not compulsory. IP editors often make good contributions.
  2. As a registered user, you may, in future, be in a position to be considered as a potential administrator, and feel able to accept that responsibility.
  3. When you register your account, you can create get your own user page and talk page to aid in accountability, etc., and you will become able to edit semi-protected pages, move pages, and so on.
  4. Even if you choose to remain an IP editors, you can and should work towards accountability in much the same way as log-in editors.

See also[edit]

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