How Wikipedia works and how you can help write new pages or edit existing entries in the large online encyclopedia
Even if the writer is not paid, they a Wikipedia contributor gives some satisfaction because they become part of a community and make their contribution to the most important source of impartial information that can be found on the internet, with a higher degree of reliability of any other site or blog. Wikipedia can be participated in various ways, by creating new pages or by making revisions, updates, checks and bug fixes. Everyone can become a writer or contributor to Wikipedia, the important thing is to have passion and competence on a topic and have some free time to spread this knowledge.
How Wikipedia works
Although established since 2011, Wikipedia is constantly evolving. In the beginning, Wikipedia was completely open-source, allowing you to create pages and make changes within seconds of completion. This management, however, has led to the publication of many inaccurate information, pages with errors, the presence of ideological prejudices and meaningless or irrelevant text.
With the increase in popularity, some language editions of Wikipedia have deemed it appropriate to place restrictions on the creation and modification of articles, with even some pages that have been considered semi-protected or protected so that only some reliable editors can modify them.
Contributing to Wikipedia therefore requires, first of all, to know some of the site’s policies, that is, to always have a neutral point of view, to always give verifiable information and there must be no original thought of the author.
In other words, Wikipedia is not written to give opinions or to spread his own subjective thoughts and comments, the author is not a journalist, but always and only report verifiable and verified stories and facts, citing the source they come from.
For example, in the biography of a famous person, there must be no opinions on his work and there must be no mention of any gossip about it, but only described certified facts about his career, such as marriage, the films in which he appeared, any proceedings judicial or controversial statements. More delicate pages such as those related to diseases or homeopathic treatments, must not give medical opinions, but report, in addition to the official scientific explanation, objective data from certified, statistical and eventual studies.
How to write on Wikipedia
To write or participate in the correction of Wikipedia pages, you must first create an account. The creation of a free account to use the site is not mandatory, however it will guarantee the user multiple privileges, including that of creating and modifying site pages.
To create a Wikipedia account, access the homepage of the official website and select your preferred language (for example Italian), then press on Sign in located in the upper right corner. Enter all the required information in the respective text fields and create an account by confirming the email address. Once logged in, you can see that the ribbon at the top of the page has changed.
To get started with page creation It is important to make sure that the topic has not already been covered. Using the search bar, you can check if there are already pages dealing with the topic we want to write about. If a topic has already been covered, under the search bar and before the various results, the link will be clickable to open this page on which it will be possible, however, to contribute with your knowledge by making additions or corrections. If, however, there is no wiki page on the subject, then Wikipedia will say a phrase like this: “Create the “How2do” page on this project“with a red link to start writing.
At this point, you should open the editor for writing the new page. Before writing, however, you should practice with the editor which is available in two versions, a visual and a source. To test, click on the link at the top right Evidence where you can practice making a test page without risking publishing anything. At the top of this page there are all the useful links to get help and know everything about the rules and how to write it in Wikipedia. Even if it is only in English, the guide to writing the first article is very useful (perhaps even someone could translate it into Italian and publish it) to avoid making mistakes as a beginner.
Editor writing a Wikipedia article
The writing editor on Wikipedia can be tried in Sandbox version by clicking the link at the top of the evidence which allows you to practice with the instrumentor before creating a live article draft. The sandbox is essentially the user page where you can make your own biography and add things about us which can then also be published if you wish. To switch between visual editor and source editor you can click the pencil in the upper right corner. The visual editing editor is, of course, easier to use, because you can immediately see how what you are writing looks like. At the top left there are the formatting tools, where the choice of style is essential for writing the title, subtitles and plain text. You can add bold, italic, links to external sites, quotes, tables, images and much more. Quotations, which are always required to prove facts and information, will automatically appear in the section References down. In creating pages you can use models already set, to facilitate writing.
Writing in wikiTesto, that is, with the editor in “edit source” mode, even if more complicated, should certainly be learned if you plan to write and contribute to Wikipedia on several occasions. If you are a registered user, you can see the source code of any page from the link at the top right.
Technically, writing on Wikipedia is very simple, just enter the text in the empty field and then save to resume when you want. You can press the question mark button at the top at any time to call up the support guides. When you finish writing and are sure you have followed the rules (which is the hardest part), it is possible publish the page by clicking the button below.
There is no key Save on Wikipedia, but every new page created is automatically saved and you can continue to write on it and make changes without publishing it.
As for the publication of images and photos, it is necessary to own them and have the rights and the license to publish them.
The draft of a page can be updated and modified as desired, as long as six months do not pass without a single modification or the draft will be deleted. Since Wikipedia is not a site where you can manage your personal online blog. You can use the sandbox to rehearse, but when writing a page, you need to be sure that it can be published in a full version.
Publication on Wikipedia
Once the page is published online, it is immediately reviewed by other users (those registered for the longest time who have the power to make revisions) and can be completely discarded or accepted as sketch, with the request to learn more about the topic.
Contribute to a Wikipedia page
If you want to edit a Wikipedia page already published, you have to check if this is not classified as protected or semi-protected. If the article is semi-protected, you can only make minor changes to the page. Protected pages can be recognized by the lock icon at the top right which can be red or yellow.
The easiest pages to edit are those marked as “Sketch” or Stub. The tag Sketch is assigned to an article that is not yet complete in all its details.
If you want to add something to a draft, you can click the link to get immediate modification privileges. After adding the changes to the article, the changes can be published which will then be described so that they can be approved.
To find the list of all Wikipedia pages currently marked as Sketch, you can open this page.
Another way to contribute to Wikipedia is to remove spam and correct it vandalism that often occurs on pages published with false information, insults or other types of violations. Wikipedia has millions of readers and contributors who review its resources daily, so it is unlikely that a modification with insults or jokes can remain online for more than a few minutes.
If, however, you find a page with broken or inappropriate links, meaningless text or deleted articles, you can restore the page to a previous state. Anyone who violates the rules of publication on Wikipedia in a continuous way, can also be reported and banned forever.
In order to review, approve or reject the changes, the account must be at least 4 days old and ten changes have been made.
Once enabled, you can check all the latest changes via the link in the left menu of Wikipedia, which is a list with real-time updates. You can therefore help Wikipedia by correcting the errors to make it a better place for everyone who uses the site as a source of information.
There is still much to explain about how Wikipedia works, the rules of writing and ways to contribute, control and edit pages. For example, I did not mention the discussion page, which is present on every Wikipedia page, which allows you to propose changes or updates on a topic to other users.
The best way to understand what can be written and what is not is to read already consolidated pages such as those of biographies, those of historical facts, those that explain technical elements. The important thing is to consider Wikipedia as an encyclopedia, where therefore personal opinions must not be published and where people or companies cannot be advertised and where everything you write must be proven by authoritative sources or incontrovertible facts.
READ ALSO: How to download Italian Wikipedia