Wikipedia:Rules for Fools

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Jimbo Wales (pictured at Wikimania 2017) says "While April Fools' Day can be fun, there are several rules you need to follow to avoid disrupting the encyclopedia."

April Fools' Day has historically been a contentious day on Wikipedia, and the limits on how editors may play jokes and pranks on other users and the encyclopedia have been disputed for some time. While there is no consensus on a complete April Fools' Day joke ban, editors are advised to use common sense.[1][2] To help settle the debate on what is and is not allowed on April Fools' Day, several rules have since been established based on this request for comment in 2013, this request for comment in 2016, and this request for comment in 2020 for users who choose to play jokes on April Fools'.

The rules[edit]


Wikipedia policies and guidelines still apply on April Fools' Day, especially the policies on edit warring, no personal attacks and biographies of living persons.[3][4]

The Main Page is exempt from rules No. 1, and No. 2:[5]

  1. All jokes and pranks must be kept out of the "article", "help", "talk", and "help talk" namespaces.[6][7][8][a] Jokes that affect articles, including files, categories and templates that are used in the article namespace,[10] will be treated as vandalism. Depending on the nature, you risk having your account possibly blocked from editing.[b]
  2. All jokes must be tagged using {{Humor}} or similar templates, or the inline template {{April fools}}.[12]
  3. All jokes must be acceptable. Jokes that are hateful, discriminatory, and/or intended to make others feel unwelcome will not be tolerated.[13][c] (This should go without saying; if you think your joke MIGHT be taking it too far DON'T.)

Other rules[edit]

  • Do not edit war or vandalize individual years' April Fools pages. These pages are meant to document pranks, not have pranks performed on them.[14]
  • There is a precedence for deleting COVID-19 joke pages. These pages have been described as bad taste due to the sensitive nature of the topic which falls under rule #3 above.[15][16][17]

Joke deletion nominations[edit]

To minimize disruption of Wikipedia, please keep the following rules in mind if you consider creating an April Fools' Day joke deletion nomination:

  1. You must immediately remove the line {{REMOVE THIS TEMPLATE WHEN CLOSING THIS AfD}}. Otherwise, a bot will add a deletion notice to the mainspace article.[18]
  2. Do not use Twinkle to create the deletion nomination page because that adds a tag to the mainspace article.[19]
  3. The deletion log for 1 April will have a separate section for joke nominations.[20][d] This is to avoid disrupting the regular business on AfD. Please do not create a joke nomination outside of this section.
  4. Make sure the general formatting in deletion log pages is not changed, to prevent automated or semi-automated processes from breaking. In particular, the "<!-- Add new entries to the TOP of the following list -->" comment at the top of the deletion log must not be changed or removed.[22]

Since no April Fools' Day jokes may appear in the Talk: namespace, please do not create joke merge proposals, requested moves, or other proposals that would ordinarily appear in the article talk namespace.

Tips and advice[edit]


Editors having disruptive fun (not allowed)
  • New editors who are unfamiliar with April Fools' Day on Wikipedia may see these jokes as vandalism, while other editors may find the jokes (no matter how innocent) unwanted if placed in areas such as their userpage. It is a good idea to find out whether the recipient of a joke is open to this type of humor before playing the prank. In general, editors should avoid reverting jokes that comply with the above rules and are made in the spirit of April Fools' Day.
  • Editors who revert non-harmful jokes should be assumed to be acting in good faith, and should not be sanctioned.[23]
  • Please do your best to make your joke visible towards others. Hey.... if you have a joke then share and tag it, don't change some obscure redirect page that isn't visible towards others and expect a happy response.
  • Posting jokes on the Noticeboards is not advisable.


  • For the main page, there is a consensus for "Did you know" entries to include "clever puns rather than poop jokes and sexual innuendos".[24]
  • Please double-check the current time. April Fools' Day starts at 00:00 UTC April 1 and ends at 00:00 UTC April 2. Please do not play April Fools' jokes outside of this time, even if it is April Fools' Day in your own time zone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ There is consensus against extending this ban to other types of talk pages.[9] There is also consensus against placing a blanket ban on Wikiproject pages.[8]
  2. ^ Vandalism, including inappropriate joke edits in article space, should be treated in the usual manner as vandalism on other days of the year. A vandal should not be blocked immediately simply because the vandalism occurred on April Fools' Day.[11] If an editor is blocked, the excuse "but it's April Fools' day ..." is not considered a valid reason for unblocking. Administrators should use their best judgement on the severity of the situation and give warnings as needed.
  3. ^ Administrators should use their best judgement on the severity of the situation and give warnings and/or blocks as needed.
  4. ^ In the past, joke deletions with low participation have been deleted per CSD G6 after April Fools' Day is over.[21]


  1. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools'#Ban all April Fools jokes
  2. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools' 2#Just get rid of them - proposal (by AlasdairEdits)
  3. ^ In 2016, a dispute involving, among other things, an April Fools' Day joke in The Signpost reached the Arbitration Committee, which passed a principle affirming that April Fool's Day jokes are not exempt from the biographies of living persons policy.
  4. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools' 2#New section at Wikipedia:Disruptive editing (alternative text)
  5. ^ Affirmed at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools' 2#Revoke the Main Page's exemption from the restriction on articlespace jokes (by Rhododendrites)
  6. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools'#April Fools' jokes should stay out of article space
  7. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools' 2#Exclude the Help namespace from April Fools (by Rhododendrites)
  8. ^ a b Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools' 3#No pranks on mainspace talk and help talk pages or Wikiproject pages
  9. ^ Wikipedia talk:Rules for Fools#RfC: Ban April Fools pranks on all talk pages.
  10. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools' 2#Limit jokes to userspace and non-essential project space (by Ansh666)
  11. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools'#Automatic sanction for article-space vandalism
  12. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools'#Require all jokes other than the main page to be tagged
  13. ^ Wikipedia:Civility
  14. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools' 3#Edit warring and vandalism on individual years' April Fools page
  15. ^ "Coronavirus disease 2019".
  16. ^ "Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2".
  17. ^ "COVID-19".
  18. ^ Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive247#How to keep AfDs off the actual articles
  19. ^ Wikipedia talk:Rules for Fools#Use of WP:Twinkle on April Fools' Day
  20. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools' 2#Separate XfD log sections (by Ansh666)
  21. ^ Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion/Archive 70#Relisting AfDs that were created 1 April
  22. ^ See the history of the 2017 1 April AfD log.
  23. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools'#Ban interference with non-harmful jokes
  24. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/April Fools'#More creative DYK hooks