Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
This page in a nutshell: In order to comply with copyright policy, Wikipedians need to consider the creativity of compilations and lists before incorporating content from them.
And even if the source is fact, copyright may still protect its selection and arrangement if these are creative.
When a source is listing value judgments or opinions, we will likely have to limit our use of it to comply with non-free content policy and guideline.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors.
This page is not one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community.
To comply with those laws, we may freely reproduce only works that are either not protected by copyright (whether that's because copyright has expired, or because the material was never eligible for copyright protection) or works released under a suitable free license. (See Idea-expression divide.) Discoveries (facts) are not copyrightable, but compilations often are.
With lists and compilations, we sometimes face challenges in determining whether the material is eligible for copyright and, if so, how we might use it. Copyright doesn't only govern fiction; an historical essay may be as much an original work of authorship as a purely speculative science fiction novel.
In assessing the nature of the material, we first have to determine if content is subjective ("value judgment") or not.
Sometimes this will be obvious ("best love songs"; "U. Presidents, chronologically by term"), and sometimes it will require evaluating the criteria used by the original creator.