9 Tips for Building a Wikipedia Account
In an Australian first, NSW HSC students will from next year be able to take a course in studying Wikipedia, the online collaborative encyclopedia.
Wikipedia, which ranks among the world’s top-10 most visited sites, has been listed by the NSW Board of Studies as prescribed text for an elective course in the English syllabus for 2009-2012. – Sydney Morning Herald
I’ve been saying it for a long time . Being familiar with Wikipedia has been a huge asset for me over the last year. Not just in terms of traffic – a site like Robert’s gets 15% of all its visitors from Wikipedia – but in understanding how to work within a community from the inside. Having an outlet like Wikipedia, makes you a better reader and gives you a reason outside of school or work to be didactic.
BUT the last thing you should do is act like you’re entitled to the benefits without paying for your share.
Here are some of the best ways I’ve found to rack up edits [contribute]:
1) Fix grammar and spelling
2) Work on pages for books you read, as you read them
3) Double or triple source citations
4) When you’re reading an news article that mentions hard sales figures for something (for example, that certain book sold 20,000 copies) add it to the product or artist’s entry. Those are rarely ever featured on Wikipedia and are great, credible support. They are also really easy to cite.
5) If you go to a decent university, use your schools account for Lexis Nexis to dig up old press than other people can’t find. A lot of interesting stuff is stuck behind the pay wall.
6) Delete PR fluff when you see it. (this entry is a good example. You could do this page a big favor using only the delete key)
7) When you see articles tagged for Notability, add sources until you can delete the tag. You can usually find enough through Google News.
8) Link relevant articles together. Every good article should have a See Also section, if it use it to connect the dots as you find them. (or create the section)
9) Cite books whenever you can, they are much harder to dispute and give you more room to paraphrase.
One of the first posts of yours which I ever read was the Jan 22 ‘Finding New Rabbit Holes,’ in which you discussed how you were just beginning to edit Wikipedia. This venture sounded brilliant at the time and I thought it was a great (and easy to mimic) idea… until I realized that I had no idea where to start.
I really like these tips though — as obvious as many of them seem, they are motivating in their simplicity.
I do that a lot. If I am being vague or way too theoretical, please let me know.
Funny…just yesterday I started adding 20 minutes of Wikipedia editing into my daily regimen. I started with companies I know, and adding in data I could find. As Ryan noted, my best edits were made with the delete key.
Great stuff! Thank you for this!
One I’d add: paper books and publications that aren’t on the Web. In many ways it’s as if history started in 1995 … but, of course, it didn’t. Online copies are good, but not essential. Of course, you need to be more careful in your reference; a short quote from the original is appropriate for context. And so on. There’s a vast amount of knowledge (as opposed to raw data or slightly-processed information) that isn’t online and may never be online; Wikipedia needs that too.
So I am a little confused. Besides learning how to add to a great online resource, what is the benefit to doing this. You make it seem like there can be ways to direct more traffic to you by doing this. Not sure I understand…
John, I think editing wikipedia is like the “favor bank” one of the characters in “Bonfire of the Vanities” is always talking about (phenomenal book, Ryan, if you’re looking for something to add to your reading list). Wikipedia has the potential to help you and your site, but only if it remains popular. And the only way for it to remain popular is if people continually add what they know to numerous articles. You can’t just expect that everyone will write articles that only benefit themselves, as that will lead to an insufficient amount of information, in addition to bias.