- Cut and pasting advertising material or project descriptions to Wikipedia. This material is of dubious copyright status (hint: there are tools that automatically scan Wikipedia for text that appears elsewhere on the web) and is almost certainly written in the wrong style for Wikipedia.
- Rewriting an existing page from scratch. This repudiates the contributions and points of view of previous contributors to the article in favour of the contributions and point of view of a single contributor.
- Coping material from partisan documents into the article. Wikipedia strives to be an encyclopedia, which involves being fair, impartial and balanced where ever possible. If you must draw on partisan documents, you need to go out of your way to note their partisanness.
- Writing an essay-style article on the benefits of the project. Wikipedia is not a forum for original research or original writing, it strives to be an encyclopedia and has a very specific encyclopedic style. This style is only casually connected to that of an essay.
There’s a barrier to entry for all pages in Wikipedia—the subject of the article must be “notable.” Notability is a flexible concept, but if something is known to only a small number of people, is not written about by third parties or is essentially ephemeral, it may not be notable. Articles about non-notable subjects are quickly removed from Wikipedia, so it is important that the first version of the page address the reputation, impact or fame of the subject to establish notability.
If you’re writing about a standard, discuss any standardisation bodies involvement, numbers of implementations, numbers of deployments, etc. If you’re written about software, talk about numbers of installs, downloads, turnover of companies involved, etc. In all cases mention institutions involved and any organisation or person linked to the project who already has a Wikipedia page, with links to those pages.
10 steps to improving your page on Wikipedia
- Get a Wikipedia account. By registering for an account, you show yourself willing to be held accountable for your edits. Other editors will be more willing to help you and you will have access to more pages. Your edits will also attract less attention from the automated bots that patrol Wikipedia for spam, copyright infringements and other badness.
- Add your page to categories. Look at the Wikipedia pages for other similar projects and see what categories they are in. If appropriate, add your page to the same categories. Categories are an major tool in navigating Wikipedia.
- Examine other pages in the same categories as your page to see what your page might aspire to. These pages are the pages in Wikipedia that are most similar in nature to your page and will give you ideas as to how to improve it.
- Add an infoBox (table in the upper right), a standard way of representing tabular information. InfoBoxes are a key way of tabulating information about organisations, places and other features in Wikipedia. Readers expect to see them. The exact content of the infoBox will depend on the categories that your page is in, check other pages in the same category and crib as many fields as apply to your project.
- Add links to third party reviews comparisons and news sources. These, and links from the text to particular references, are key to quality articles and article verifiability.
- Add disambiguation text. Often the same word or acronym can mean several different things in different fields. Disambiguation text at the start of the article ensure that readers are where they think they are and redirects them if necessary.
- Add article content, broken into useful sections and navigated by a table of contents (the wiki generates the table of contents automatically). Browse other pages in the same categories for suitable subject matter for your page.
- Make small incremental changes, unless you really know what you’re doing. Small improvements to a page are much easier to judge the quality of than large rewrites. They’re also more likely to engage other editors (rather than merely being reverted) if you break a guideline.
- Add links to/from other Wikipedia pages. Links from your page allow readers to explore related concepts in more detail. Links to your page mean more readers reading it.
- Encourage other members of your community to contribute. A single-author page will always have problems representing multiple points of view that a multi-author page can mitigate. More authors and editors on a page mean more content, better proof reading and more links.
If you’ve got specific questions about specific pages you’re interested in, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org