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Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Guide

This guide provides tips for participants in Wikipedia Edit-a-thons

How to start contributing to Wikipedia

  1. Register for an account with Wikipedia. Wikipedia has an entry on policies and best practices for choosing a user name that is a useful read. Most accounts do not use real names.  It is important to register for an account in advance of the Edit-a-thon.  
  2. When creating content, keep Wikipedia's guidelines in mind:
  • Stay "neutral": As loaded as that term is, your content must be written from a neutral point of view.  This means representing significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias.
  • Maintain verifiability: All quotations and all content that could be perceived as controversial must be attributed to a reliable, published source. In Wikipedia, verifiability means that people reading and editing the encyclopedia can check that information comes from a reliable source.
  • No original material: Wikipedia does not publish original research or thought. All material in Wikipedia must be linked to a reliable, published source. New analysis or synthesis of published material that advances a position not clearly verified by the sources is not recommended.
  • Avoid any conflicts of interest: Don't create or edit an article that relates to you, your workplace, or anything else that you're personally invested in.  It will likely be deleted.
  • Use reliable sources: If available, academic and peer reviewed publications are usually the sources considered most reliable by Wikipedia. Other reliable sources include university-level textbooks, books published by 'respected' publishing houses, magazines, journals, and mainstream newspapers.
  • Test notability: Information on Wikipedia must be verifiable or checkable. If no third party sources can be found on the topic, then most likely the article created on the topic will be deleted. 
  • Be aware of stubs: A stub is an article that, although providing some useful information, is too short to provide a full view of a subject. If a stub has very little verifiable information, or if is subject has no apparent notability, it may be deleted or be merged into another relevant article.

What to contribute

Start small
If you are editing Wikipedia for the first time, or have less than four hours to dedicate to this task, start by adding citations or edits to existing articles.

This Wikipedia tutorial explains about editing, formatting, citing, and more.

Build gradually

If you are writing a new entry, do it in your sandbox. This will allow you to work on things gradually and keep editing before Wikipedia editors start to scrutinize your content.

The Article Wizard will guide you through creating an article.

Wikipedia has an entry to help you write your first article.

Take some training

Art + Feminism has many useful guides for how to start editing in Wikipedia, including how to navigate Wikipedia pages, basic rules of editing, user pages and the sandbox, adding citations, adding images, and creating a new article.

Important Wikipedia Concepts

Copyright Considerations

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