|This page in a nutshell: This is a general information page about Wikipedia's help system. For the primary "help page", see Help:Contents or browse the Help menu or the Help directory.|
The help resource system of Wikipedia consists of a wide variety of how-to and information pages, written to differing levels of technical expertise and in widely varying styles. This variety however has its flaws: it is easy to navigate to a page that regurgitates the same information, contains concepts that have not already been covered, is overly complicated for one's needs, or pages with a listing of links to other pages with listings of links. Information is also spread over a variety of namespace prefixes. The Wikipedia namespace (prefix Wikipedia:): contains many types of pages connected with the Wikipedia project itself: basic information (e.g., Wikipedia:Administration), policies (e.g., Wikipedia:Editing policy), guidelines (e.g., Wikipedia:Manual of Style), essays (e.g., Wikipedia:Reasonability rule), how-to pages (e.g., Wikipedia:Purging). The Help namespace (prefix Help:): contains pages which provide help in using Wikipedia and its software, both for users of the encyclopedia and for editors (e.g., Help:Footnotes). However the Wikipedia namespace also contains many help style pages that in some cases contain repeated information or more detailed information. For example, Wikipedia:Media help and Help:Files are help pages located in different prefixes covering some of the same information presented in differing levels of technical expertise. There are also pages that have completely different styles of presenting the same information (e.g., Help:Referencing for beginners and Help:Introduction to referencing). For this reason redirects and hatnotes are often set up between these two namespaces. Aside from the static pages there are a multitude of interactive assistances pages see, Wikipedia:Requests for a listing of those.
If you would like to get a good overview of the whole project and how it works, you could read through the introductory page at Wikipedia:Contributing to Wikipedia or go through the tutorial at Help:Introduction. Help:Getting started contains a listing of introductions and tutorials on the various aspects of Wikipedia.
If you type keywords of your question into the search box, a page relevant to your question will usually turn up in the search results, e.g. 'How do I create an article?' ( type in 'create an article' ), 'What size are thumbnails?' ( type in 'thumbnail size' ). The search needs to be limited to the help pages using the advanced search page (which appears after you have clicked 'search') or you can use the search box in Help:contents (accessed at any time by clicking Help displayed on the left side of all pages.). This is duplicated below.
Like articles, most of the help pages can be edited - so feel free to improve any pages you come across. When a high traffic page has been protected to help prevent vandalism, suggestions can still be made on the talk page. Some coordination happens at Wikipedia:Help Project.