Unlike Articles, which adhere to a neutral point of view, Essays in the Encyclopedia of Wisconsin Environmental History may adopt a non-neutral perspective. Essays must be evidence-based and must make rational arguments, but they can interpret and argue based upon an articulated set of values. For example, an essay on climate change might argue that this problem warrants a vigorous response because of the threats that it poses not only to humans but also to biodiversity. In other words, an essay is not mere polemic--it is a reasoned argument. As with articles, essays should include citations to support all claims of fact.
Although essays may depart from a neutral point of view, the tone should be even-handed. While essays may be based upon ethical principles, they should attempt to speak to readers who reasonably disagree.
Given the nature and purpose of the encyclopedia, essays should have a substantial historical component. Essays are likely to address contemporary and future-oriented concerns and issues, but they should provide significant historical context regarding their subject matter. An essay on climate change, for example, could respond to the question, "How might the history of climate change, as a phenomenon and a recognized problem, help us confront this issue as a society?"
Like articles, essays may have multiple authors, but secondary authors (authors other than the original author) should respect the original perspective of the essay. Additionally, secondary authors should wait until the essay is well established before making significant contributions. The Discussion page can be used to facilitate collaboration on essays.
It is possible for a topic to have both an article and an essay entry. The essay entry name should include "(essay)" at the end of the name. If there is also an article on the essay topic, the article should link to the essay, and vice versa. So, for example, climate change would be distinct from climate change (essay).