Wikipedia:Make omissions explicit

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One of Wikipedia's rules to consider:

Please make omissions explicit when creating or editing an article. When writing an article, always aim for completeness. But if for some reason you can't cover a point that should be covered, make that omission explicit. You can do this either by leaving a note on the discussion page or by leaving HTML comments within the text and adding a notice to the bottom about the omissions. This has two purposes: it entices others to contribute, and it alerts non-experts that the article they're reading doesn't yet give the full story.

Don't feel bad if you can't rigorously cover every aspect of some subject. That's why Wikipedia is a collaborative encyclopedia—we work together to achieve what we could not achieve individually. Every aspect that you cover means less work for someone else, plus you may cover something that someone else may not think of, but is nevertheless important to the subject.

To-do lists

Add {{todo}} to the top of the talk page of articles for which you can establish some goals, priorities or things to do.

Always leave something undone

The following rule was historically used to help challenge people's preconceptions of what an encyclopedia should be. While in practice it's not something we recommend, it makes for an interesting debating point:

The counter-argument is that people need no encouragement to edit articles. They should even think more before editing. Leaving things so that they deliberately seem unfinished just makes the project look amateurish. Articles should, as much as possible, be usable and coherent as a whole despite the fact that they will later be expanded. New To-do lists should be used to point people in the right direction regarding future edits.

In the early days of Wikipedia's formation, when there were far fewer articles (~<20,000) it was (and to some degree still is) considered beneficial to establish for new editors the mindset of incompleteness; to think of Wikipedia as continuously-changing entity rather than a static volume that needs to be made perfect. While now, this seems unnecessary, at the time, it was an important guideline at a time when the concept of wiki was new, and the concept of making an encyclopedia collaboratively was still somewhat in doubt, even by its founders. At that time Recent changes was quite slow by today's standards; it was more common to use Recent Changes as a window into current activity on the Wikipedia, viewing most of the day's edits on a single page. Today, RC goes by impossibly fast, and hence other ways of monitoring article development (Watchlists, Various meta-pages, Community pages, kind notes to other editors, etc.) have taken its place. At that time, making deliberate and obvious errors invited (teased or taunted) others monitoring the RC to make corrections.

See also: Contribute what you know or are willing to learn more about — the two suggestions complement each other

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