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.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.