Be carefulThough the boldness of contributors like you is one of the Lexicon's greatest assets, it is important that you take care of the common good and not edit disruptively or recklessly. Of course, any changes that you make that turn out badly can be reverted easily, usually painlessly, and it is important not to feel insulted if your changes are reverted or edited further. But some significant changes can be long-lasting and harder to fix. If you're unsure of anything, just ask for advice.
Also, changes to articles on complex, controversial subjects with long histories or active sanctions, or to Featured Articles and Good Articles, should be done with extra care. In many cases, the text as you find it has come into being after long and arduous negotiations between users of diverse backgrounds and points of view. A careless edit to such an article might stir up a latent conflict, and other users who are involved in the page may become defensive. If you would like to make a significant edit -- not just a simple copyedit -- to an article on a controversial subject, it is a useful idea to read the article in its entirety and skim the comments. On controversial articles, the safest course is to be cautious and find consensus before making changes, but there are situations when bold edits can safely be made to contentious articles. Always use your very best editorial judgement in these cases and be sure to read the comments.
Often it is easier to see that something is not right rather than to know exactly what would be right. We do not require that everyone be bold. After all, commenting that something in an article is incorrect can be the first step to getting it fixed. It is true, though, that problems are more certain to be fixed, and will probably be fixed faster, if you are bold enough to do it yourself.
Non-article namespacesAlthough editors are encouraged to be bold in updating articles, more caution is sometimes required when editing pages in non-article namespaces. Such articles are identified by a namespace prefix. For example, this page, Lexicon:Be bold, has the "Lexicon:" prefix; if it were simply called Be bold (with no prefix) it would be an article.
Problems may arise for a variety of reasons in different contexts in non-article namespaces. These problems should be taken into account in deciding whether to be bold and how bold to be.
Lexicon namespaceWe do not "enshrine" old practices: bold changes to our policies and guidelines are sometimes the best way to allow the encyclopedia to adapt and improve. In this case, "bold" refers to the boldness of an idea; such ideas are most commonly raised and discussed first to best formulate their implementation. The best way to do this is to create an article with a concise but descriptive title and the "Discuss:" prefix, and talk it out.
The admonition "but please be careful" is especially important in relation to policies and guidelines, where key parts may be phrased in a particular way to reflect a very hard-won knife-edge consensus -- which may not be obvious to those unfamiliar with the background. In these cases, it is often better to discuss potential changes first. However, spelling and grammatical errors can and should be fixed as soon as they are noticed.
Discussing changes to other Lexicon-space pages in the comments is also a good idea. If nothing else, it will provide an explanation of the changes for later editors. Most such pages are collections of arguments placed in the Lexicon space for later reference, so the same arguments don't need to be made over and over againp
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