Essays, as used by BattleTechWiki editors, typically contain advice or opinions of one or more editors. The purpose of an essay is to aid or comment on the encyclopedia but not on any unrelated causes. Essays have no official status and do not speak for the BattleTechWiki community because they may be created and edited without overall community oversight. Following the instructions or advice given in an essay is optional. Generally soft advice belongs in an essay, thus avoiding instruction creep in BattleTechWiki's official protocols.

About essays[edit]

Although essays are not policies or guidelines, many are worthy of consideration. Policies and guidelines cannot cover all circumstances. Consequently, many essays serve as interpretations of or commentary on perceived community norms for specific topics and situations. The value of an essay should be understood in context, using common sense and discretion. Essays can be written by anyone and can be long monologues or short theses, serious or humorous. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. An essay, as well as being useful, can potentially be a divisive means of espousing a point of view. Although an essay should not be used to create an alternative rule set, the BattleTechWiki community has historically tolerated a wide range of BattleTech related subjects and viewpoints on user pages.

The difference between policies, guidelines, and some essays on BattleTechWiki may be obscure. Essays vary in popularity and how much they are followed and referred to. Editors should defer to official policies or guidelines when essays, information pages or template documentation pages are inconsistent with established community standards and principles.

Avoid "quoting" essays as though they are policy—including this explanatory supplement page. Essays, information pages and template documentation pages can be written without much—if any—debate, as opposed to BattleTechWiki policies that have been thoroughly vetted by the community. In BattleTechWiki discussions, editors may refer to essays, provided that they do not hold them out as consensus or policy. Proposals for new guidelines and policies require discussion and a high level of consensus from the entire community for promotion.

Types of essays[edit]

BattleTechWiki namespace essays[edit]

Essays in the BattleTechWiki namespace – which are never to be put in the main (encyclopedia article) namespace – typically address some aspect of working in BattleTechWiki. They have not been formally adopted as guidelines or policies by the community at large, but typically edited by the community.

User essays[edit]

According to BattleTechWiki policy, "Essays that the author does not want others to edit, or that are found to contradict widespread consensus, belong in the user namespace." These are similar to essays placed in the BattleTechWiki namespace; however, they are often authored/edited by only one person, and may represent a strictly personal viewpoint about BattleTechWiki or its processes. Some of them are widely respected by other editors, and even occasionally have an effect on policy. Writings that contradict policy are somewhat tolerated within the User namespace. The author of a personal essay located in their user space has the prerogative to revert any changes made to it by any other user, within reason.

BattleTech essays[edit]

BattleTech Essays are articles on the BattleTechWiki that approach a given aspect of the BattleTech franchise or universe in a broad manner, exploring or explaining issues that the authors feels cannot adequately be covered in another article. They are usually added to this category via {{BattleTech Essay}} and essays in the User namespace are normally edited only by the user that hosts the page and are categorized with Category:User essays, usually via {{user essay}}. User essays may be moved categorically into the BattleTechWiki namespace and this category if they are frequently referenced, as evidenced by becoming an evolving expression of multiple editors. Essays can also be moved into userspace (or deleted) if they are found to be unhelpful or to contradict a settled point of policy.

Although Policy:Fanon does apply to Essay articles and Sarna BTW does not seek to publish fan fiction, it is permissible in Essays (and Essays only) to make assumptions, estimations and educated guesses about an in-universe subject matter to the point of fan theories and personal opinion, provided that such speculation is clearly marked as such, does not contradict established canon, and is plausible within the universe context.
By contrast, essays regarding real-world issues should refrain from promulgating rumors and possibly inaccurate real-world information.

Essay articles will usually be the work of a single author or cooperative group of authors; yet like all articles, they are basically open to being edited by anyone, at any time. It is recommended though to discuss changes on the article's talk page first, before implementing them (or not implementing them after all).