How to Create Wikipedia Entries that Will Stick
If you’re considering about joining our initiative to rewrite Wikipedia for postcolonial studies and marginalized peoples, here are some helpful tips to create entries and changes that will stick:
- Wikipedia editors like citations–the kinds of citations that would be recognized in a scholarly paper, or in a well-written undergraduate academic paper. Such sources include peer-reviewed sources, reports by respected news organizations, or anything that has been fact-checked.
- When you write entries/additions, refer to an academic paper you’ve been working on. Don’t cite your unpublished paper, but use the citations from your paper’s bibliography to create a more robust entry. Also note that unlike most of the papers you are used to writing, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, or a tertiary resource. In other words, Wikipedia summarizes secondary sources and does not include any original research. As we have noted, one of the core statements of the site is ‘verifiability, not truth,’ meaning that its key objective is to find good sources for its statements.
- Try to reference as many Wikipedia pages as possible in your entry. Entries with many links to other Wikipedia pages cannot be easily deleted.
- Save multiple drafts of your edits and annotate what you’ve changed in each draft on the “Talk” page. Explain your edits on the “talk” page of the article so that the community understands what kind of material you are adding and why. This helps prevent a removal of a large chunk of your edits at once, as editors are able to look through your draft and decide which changes they want to delete/overwrite. If your edits are separated into multiple drafts, editors may just change one or a few of your edits rather than delete everything.
- Make minor grammatical and word choice cleanup on non-controversial articles, as they help to establish that you’re a “good faith” member of the community. They also help your input be taken more seriously if you become embroiled in larger disputes later.
Written by Adeline Koh and Roopika Risam. Suggestions sourced from Adrianne Wadewitz, David Golumbia, Fiona Barnett and Kaysi Holman. Thank you everyone!
Check out our Why Rewrite Wikipedia and Helpful Links pages.
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