In my last post, I shared with you the disheartening feedback from Wikipedia editors on an article I’ve submitted.
After taking a nap, I woke up feeling fresh and optimistic, and I’m ready to share with you the top 6 tips on Wikipedia editing that I’ve garnered from a Wikipedia support group chat that I logged into to seek help.
1. It may be too early.
If you are writing about a company, and the company doesn’t have any news coverage, it isn’t enough to just cite the company’s website. That was what I did, and I got my article rejected!
Instead, the company needs to be the subject of significant coverage in multiple reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject.
If the company doesn’t have any news coverage or secondary sources, then it’s too soon for an article on Wikipedia. If others in news media have taken note of the company and reported on it, then Wikipedia has no foundation for an article.
For more information, you may refer to this link on notability.
2. You may freely contribute to Wikipedia after being confirmed.
You may freely create pages, without being rejected by editors, after 4 days of opening your account, and 10 edits. Once you’ve completed 10 edits, you will receive this notification from Wikipedia:
You just made your tenth edit; thank you, and please keep going!
Hence, if you see that some Wikipedia articles don’t contain third party references at all, perhaps the article needs to be improved; or perhaps a discussion should take place to decide whether to delete the article.
Confirmed editors can create articles directly in the mainspace of the encyclopedia. Such pages, however, are subject to New Page Review, and might be speedily deleted if they violate any policies or don’t meet the inclusion guidelines.
3. Wikipedia is not an ‘organised’ version of Google.
Before my editing experience, I always perceived Wikipedia as a random and non-credible platform. After all, didn’t our professors and teachers always told us not to cite Wikipedia? I always thought of Wikipedia as somewhat like Google, just that you don’t really have to begin by searching for a topic. Links can also be easily navigated, so you can branch out and learn more.
I was told that Wikipedia is certainly not a version of Google. Wikipedia is instead a collection of articles about subjects that have been well-noted by others.
As such, Wikipedia welcomes volunteers who are interested in helping to build and improve the encyclopedia.
4. Citations are evaluated on an article-by-article basis.
Now that you’ve learnt that secondary sources are so important for Wikipedia, there’s something else you should know as well. Sources will be evaluated by Wikipedia editors on an article-by-article basis.
Say you found an article written by a less-known but independent-looking site such as Connected to India, and wish to cite it. If the news site has an editorial staff; if they have a policy and procedure for fact-checking their articles; it is likely an indicator of a reliable source.
However, if an organization accepts user- or reader-submitted material, and republishes it with little or no oversight; then that is commonly called “churnalism”, and is unreliable.
Some organizations do both. That’s why Wikipedia editors will need to examine sources individually. That is one of the main purposes of Wikipedia’s Articles For Creation Review process.
An article, for instance, may have a byline for the writer, a publication date, and a writer’s bio snippet at the end. However, it may not provide the type of in-depth reporting needed to establish notability of a company.
As the first step before beginning a draft encyclopedia article is to find multiple sources that will support notability, Wikipedia editors will keep an eye out on your citations.
5. Begin by gathering credible, in-depth sources.
Usually, as a draft writer, you begin without a clear vision of what coverage you might find. You can start assembling you research in your own user sandbox.
In fact, I’m told that most ideas for encyclopedia articles fall short. Some take months or years to develop completely!
If you develop an interest in researching and building encyclopedia articles about subjects that interest you (but you have no conflict of interest), then Wikipedia will welcome your editing contributions.
For a start, read the articles that already exist on Wikipedia. When you find one that needs improved, fixed, or expanded, look for guidance because you’ll learn by doing.
That is why one of the most difficult tasks is article creation. It can be overwhelming when you are new to Wikipedia. Making small edits to existing articles well help you learn Wikipedia’s policies and procedures.
One day, article creation won’t be overwhelming….it will just be frustrating! Haha.
6. Do not copy and paste from your sources.
Copy-pasting could be copyright infringement, so you should always paraphrase. Here’s a policy article worth reading. Take your time to read, because one of the best ways to learn what Wikipedia is…is to understand what it is not!
Hence, the first and most important thing to do when you’re writing a new article is to make sure you’ve got an appropriate topic.
7. It takes time for Wikipedia editors to review your submission.
For some of you, it may have been weeks since you submitted your article or edits for consideration. Since editing is all done by volunteers, in their own time, depending on how interested they are in the topic, reviewing could take minutes to weeks, sometimes upwards of a month. Sit tight, be patient, and grab a warm beverage!
We hope this sharing changes your view of Wikipedia, and we hope you see the value of the platform now. We also know someone in Singapore who has experience in contributing to Wikipedia. If you’ll like to see your company appear on Wikipedia, get in touch with us and we’ll connect you to the pro. Best of luck!