Cover image for Wikipedia: The Missing Manual

Book description

Want to be part of the largest group-writing project in human history? Learn how to contribute to Wikipedia, the user-generated online reference for the 21st century. Considered more popular than eBay, Microsoft.com, and Amazon.com, Wikipedia servers respond to approximately 30,000 requests per second, or about 2.5 billion per day. It's become the first point of reference for people the world over who need a fact fast. If you want to jump on board and add to the content, Wikipedia: The Missing Manual is your first-class ticket. Wikipedia has more than 9 million entries in 250 languages, over 2 million articles in the English language alone. Each one is written and edited by an ever-changing cast of volunteer editors. You can be one of them. With the tips in this book, you'll quickly learn how to get more out of -- and put more into -- this valuable online resource. Wikipedia: The Missing Manual gives you practical advice on creating articles and collaborating with fellow editors, improving existing articles, and working with the Wikipedia community to review new articles, mediate disputes, and maintain the site. Up to the challenge? This one-of-a-kind book includes:

  • Basic editing techniques, including the right and wrong ways to edit

  • Pinpoint advice about which types of articles do and do not belong on Wikipedia

  • Ways to learn from other editors and communicate with them via the site's talk pages

  • Tricks for using templates and timesaving automated editing tools

  • Recommended procedures for fighting spam and vandalism

  • Guidance on adding citations, links, and images to your articles

Wikipedia depends on people just like you to help the site grow and maintain the highest quality. With Wikipedia: The Missing Manual, you get all the tools you need to be part of the crew.

Table of Contents

  1. Wikipedia: The Missing Manual
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
    3. The Missing Credits
      1. About the Author
      2. About the Creative Team
      3. Acknowledgements
      4. The Missing Manual Series
    4. Introduction
      1. About This Book
        1. About the Outline
      2. The Very Basics
        1. Mac OS, Windows, Browsers, and Keyboard Shortcuts
        2. About→These→Arrows
        3. Late-Breaking News
        4. About MissingManuals.com
        5. Safari® Books Online
    5. I. Editing, Creating, and Maintaining Articles
      1. 1. Editing for the First Time
        1. The Wikipedia Way of Editing
        2. Practicing in the Sandbox
        3. Starting, Previewing, and Saving Your Edit
          1. Adding Text
          2. Previewing
          3. Saving
        4. Dealing with an Edit Conflict
        5. Wiki Markup: From Edit Box to Screen
          1. Types of Markup
          2. How to Create Internal Links
          3. Understanding and Using Templates
        6. Editing Article Sections
          1. Editing One Section
        7. Editing the Lead Section
        8. Editing for Real
          1. Wordsmithing Versus Adding Information
          2. A Few Words about Content
          3. Selecting a Random Page
          4. Working on a Known Problem
      2. 2. Documenting Your Sources
        1. Documentation Guidelines
          1. Not All Sources Are Created Equal
          2. Some Sources Apply Only in Specific, Limited Circumstances
          3. You Don’t Have to Provide Citations for Information Already Sourced
          4. You Must Provide a Source for Controversial Text
          5. Citing a Source Doesn’t Justify Copyright Violations
        2. Adding an External Link
        3. Citing Sources
          1. The Three Ways to Cite Sources
          2. Two Styles of Footnotes
        4. Creating Footnotes
          1. Creating a Simple Footnote
          2. Footnotes with a Citation Template
          3. Multiple Footnotes for the Same Source
        5. Advanced Citation Techniques
          1. Automated Citation Tools
          2. Viewing Footnotes When Editing Only a Section of an Article
          3. Adding Page Numbers to Footnote Numbers
      3. 3. Setting Up Your Account and Personal Workspace
        1. Why Register?
          1. Advantages of a Registered Account
          2. Disadvantages to Using Your IP Address
            1. IP addresses are traceable
            2. IP addresses change
        2. Picking a User Name
          1. Using Your Real Name
          2. Other People’s User Names as Examples
          3. What Isn’t Allowed
        3. Registering
        4. Setting Up Your User Page
          1. Uses for Your User Page
          2. Creating Your User Page
        5. Personal Subpages
          1. Creating Your Personal Sandbox
          2. Deleting Your Subpages
      4. 4. Creating a New Article
        1. What Makes a Good Article
          1. The Right Motivation
          2. Notability
          3. Reliable Sources
        2. What Articles Don’t Belong on Wikipedia
          1. What Wikipedia Isn’t
          2. Don’t Repeat Someone Else’s Words at Length
        3. Tutorial: Creating a New Article
        4. Ideas for New Articles
        5. Resources for Writing Articles
      5. 5. Who Did What: Page Histories and Reverting
        1. Understanding Page Histories
          1. Why Wikipedia Keeps a Record of Everything
          2. Reviewing a Page’s Prior Versions and Edits
            1. Reading a page history—The basics
            2. Reading a page history—Making inferences
          3. Seeing What Changed
            1. Looking at a single edit
            2. Looking at multiple edits simultaneously
          4. Looking at a Page’s Prior Version
        2. Reverting Edits
          1. Two Options: Revert to a Prior Version and Undo
            1. To revert or to undo
            2. Option 1: Undo
            3. Option 2: Revert to a prior version
          2. After You Fix a Page
        3. Advanced Techniques
          1. Customization
          2. Automated Identification of the Editor of Specific Text
          3. Counting and Sorting Edits
      6. 6. Monitoring Changes
        1. The User Contributions Page
        2. Wikipedia’s Standard Watchlist
          1. The Standard Watchlist Report
            1. What you can learn from your watchlist report
          2. Adding Pages to Your Watchlist
          3. Removing Pages from Your Watchlist
          4. Modifying the Standard Watchlist Report
            1. Temporary changes
            2. Permanent changes via your preferences page
          5. Expanded and Enhanced Watchlist Reports
            1. The expanded watchlist report
            2. The enhanced watchlist report
          6. Choosing Your Watchlist Report Format: Standard, Expanded, or Enhanced?
        3. Multiple Watchlists
          1. Creating Additional Watchlists
          2. Using Additional Watchlists
        4. Real-Time Monitoring Alternatives
          1. RSS and Atom
            1. Standard RSS and Atom feeds
          2. Lupin’s Anti-vandal Tool
      7. 7. Dealing with Vandalism and Spam
        1. Lines of Defense
        2. Reverting Vandalism and Spam
          1. Consider the Edit Summary
          2. Consider the Source
          3. The Less Clearly an Edit Is Vandalism, the More You Should Consider the Source
          4. Explain Your Edit
          5. Looking for More Vandalism and Spam
        3. Issuing Warnings
          1. Choosing the Warning and Warning Level
          2. Posting the Warning
          3. When Not to Post a Warning
        4. Requesting Assistance of Administrators
          1. Protecting Pages
          2. General Guidance on Blocking Vandals
          3. Reporting Vandalism
        5. Don’t Get into a Revert War
    6. II. Collaborating with Other Editors
      1. 8. Communicating with Your Fellow Editors
        1. Identifying Yourself
        2. Article Talk (Discussion) Pages
          1. Posting Conventions
          2. Posting to a Brand-new Article Talk Page
          3. Posting to an Existing Article Talk Page
            1. Adding a comment to an existing section
            2. Starting a new section
          4. Good Talk Page Practices
          5. What Not to Post
          6. Editing or Deleting Existing Comments
          7. Archiving
        3. User Talk Page Postings
          1. User Talk Page Basics
          2. Extended Conversations
          3. Article Content
          4. Editing or Deleting Existing Comments
          5. Archiving Postings on Your Own User Talk Page
            1. Creating an archive page for your user talk page
            2. Archiving user talk page content
        4. Communicating via Email and IRC
          1. Email
          2. IRC
      2. 9. WikiProjects and Other Group Efforts
        1. WikiProjects
          1. Topic-specific WikiProjects
          2. Cross-cutting WikiProjects
          3. WikiProjects are Everywhere
          4. What WikiProjects Do
            1. Goals and roles
            2. Activities
          5. Joining a WikiProject
          6. Finding Other Participants and Encouraging Participation
            1. Recruitment
            2. Retention
          7. Creating a New WikiProject
            1. Considering the alternatives
            2. Proposal
            3. Creating the WikiProject page
        2. Collaborations
          1. Existing Collaborations
          2. Creating a New Collaboration
        3. Less Formal Working Groups
          1. Organizations
          2. One-time Initiatives
          3. Creating Your Own
      3. 10. Resolving Content Disputes
        1. Why Editors Disagree
          1. Diversity of Backgrounds
          2. Differing Motivations
          3. Not Knowing Wikipedia Policies
        2. Avoiding Content Disputes
          1. Don’t Charge in Blindly
          2. Explain Your Edits
          3. Minimize Your Reverts
          4. Discuss Edits, Not Editors
        3. Reviewing Content Changes: A General Plan of Action
          1. Policy Violations
          2. Proper Weight and Balance
          3. Proper Sourcing
            1. When no source is given
            2. When the source isn’t reliable
          4. Correct Wording
        4. Resolving Content Disputes Informally
          1. Avoid Incivility and Personal Attacks
          2. Look for Compromises
          3. Disengage for a While
        5. Resolving Disputes with Assistance
          1. Editor Assistance
          2. Subject Specific Pages
          3. Third Opinions
          4. Informal Mediation
          5. Requests for Comments
          6. Formal Mediation
      4. 11. Handling Incivility and Personal Attacks
        1. Enforcing Norms of Conduct
          1. The Norms
          2. Enforcing the Rules
            1. Actions by the community
            2. Actions by administrators
        2. Dealing with Incivility and Personal Attacks
          1. Initial Responses
            1. Don’t respond until you can respond unemotionally
            2. Don’t attack back
            3. Decide if you even need to respond
            4. Don’t comment about problematical behavior on article talk pages
            5. If you respond, be factual, not emotional
            6. Your response should depend on the editor
            7. Don’t argue about warnings
            8. Read other editors’ essays about civility
          2. Explore Less Formal Solutions
            1. Editor assistance
            2. Wikiquette
            3. Informal mediation
            4. Community enforceable mediation
            5. AN/I
          3. Use Formal Processes
            1. User conduct RfCs
            2. The Arbitration Committee
        3. When You Get Irritated (or Worse)
          1. If You Haven’t Yet Posted Something You’ll Regret
          2. If You Have Posted Something You Realize You Shouldn’t Have
      5. 12. Lending Other Editors a Hand
        1. Answering Questions
          1. General Questions
            1. Helping at the Help desk
            2. Other places where general questions appear
          2. Specialized Questions
        2. Showing Appreciation for Other Editors
        3. Reviewing Articles and Images
          1. Reviewing Articles
            1. Basic to fairly good articles
            2. Going for the gold: better and best article candidates
          2. Reviewing Other Content
            1. Portals
            2. Pictures
        4. Coaching Other Editors
        5. Helping Resolve Disputes
          1. Effective Dispute Assistance
          2. Where the Action Is
            1. Discussions about content
            2. Discussions about behavior
            3. Grab bag
        6. For Experienced Editors
        7. Choosing Where You Want to Help
          1. More Hot Spots
          2. What to Consider When Deciding Where to Help
    7. III. Formatting and Illustrating Articles
      1. 13. Article Sections and Tables of Contents
        1. Getting Sections Right
          1. Lead Section
          2. Body of the Article
            1. When an article gets too long
            2. Creating a daughter article
          3. Bottom
        2. Getting Headings Right
          1. Wording and Capitalization
          2. Links and Footnotes
          3. Single Subsections
          4. Incoming Links to Article Sections
        3. Improving the Table of Contents
          1. Reducing the Length of the TOC
            1. Fewer sections and subsections
            2. Technical Solutions for Long TOCs
          2. Floating the Table of Contents
      2. 14. Creating Lists and Tables
        1. Creating and Editing Lists
          1. Bulleted and Numbered Lists Within Articles
            1. Presenting information: list, narrative, or neither?
            2. How to create a list
            3. Long lists within articles
          2. Lists as Separate Articles
            1. Bad lists
            2. Good lists
            3. Lists versus categories
            4. Formatting alternatives
        2. Editing and Creating Tables
          1. Editing Tables
          2. Creating Tables
            1. Basics of creating tables
            2. Making tables more usable and accessible
            3. Sortable tables
      3. 15. Adding Images
        1. Uploading Images
          1. Before You Upload
          2. Creating a User Account at the Commons
          3. Uploading an Image to the Commons
          4. Adding Categories to an Image Page at the Commons
          5. Renaming, Replacing, or Moving an Image
        2. Finding Images
        3. Placing an Image in an Article
          1. Location
          2. Size, Alignment, and Caption
          3. Galleries
        4. Questions or Problems with Images
        5. Uploading a Non-free Image
    8. IV. Building a Stronger Encyclopedia
      1. 16. Getting Readers to the Right Article: Naming, Redirects, and Disambiguation
        1. Naming and Renaming
          1. Common Naming Mistakes
          2. Renaming an Article
            1. Discussing a rename
            2. Renaming a page
            3. When administrator assistance is required
        2. For Old Names and Bad Spellers: Redirects
          1. How Redirects Work (and Where They Come From)
          2. Adding a Redirect
            1. Creating a new redirect page
            2. Enhanced redirects
          3. Fixing a Bad Redirect
          4. Fixing Double Redirects
            1. Understanding double redirects
            2. Fixing double redirects
        3. For Multiple Meanings: Disambiguation
          1. Disambiguation Pages
            1. Naming disambiguation pages
            2. Proper formatting and entries
            3. Fixing incoming links to disambiguation pages
          2. Disambiguation Links
      2. 17. Categorizing Articles
        1. Fundamentals of Categorization
        2. Category Links in Articles
          1. Adding Categories to Articles
            1. The basic category link
            2. Category links from templates, for maintenance and stubbing
          2. Fixing Category Links that Come From Templates
          3. Effective Categorization
          4. Finding the Right Category
          5. Getting Articles into the Right Place on a Category Page
        3. Category Pages
          1. Hierarchy: The Categorizing of Category Pages
            1. Changing the categories assigned to a category page
            2. Renaming, merging, or deleting a category page
            3. Creating a new category
        4. Building Out Categories
        5. Discussing Categories
        6. Categories, Lists, and Navigation Templates
      3. 18. Better Articles: A Systematic Approach
        1. Avoid Surprises
        2. Don’t Suppress or Separate Controversy
        3. Reorganize and Edit Existing Content
          1. Reorganize
          2. Rewrite
        4. Don’t Take Article Scope as a Given
          1. Too Much Content: Spinoffs
          2. Overlapping Content: Merging
            1. Doing a merge
            2. Proposing a merger
          3. Too Little Content: Merging
        5. Improve the Citation of Sources
          1. Fixing Bad URLs
          2. Replacing or Deleting Unacceptable Sources
          3. Converting Embedded Links to Footnotes
        6. Build the Web
        7. Look for Guidance and Examples
        8. Add Sourced Content
        9. Remove Cruft and Duplication
        10. Get the Wording Right
        11. Make the Article Look Appealing
      4. 19. Deleting Existing Articles
        1. Responding to Problem Articles
          1. First Analysis
          2. Notability and Verifiability
            1. The challenge of notability and acceptable sources
            2. Possible responses
        2. Alternatives to Deletion
        3. Three Ways to Delete an Article
          1. Speedy Deletion
            1. Initial review
            2. Making the nomination
          2. Proposed Deletions
            1. When you can’t use the proposed deletion process
            2. Initial review
            3. Making the nomination
          3. Articles for Deletion (AfD)
            1. Justification for an AfD nomination
            2. Nominating an article at AfD
            3. Participating in AfD discussions
        4. After an Article is Deleted
    9. V. Customizing Wikipedia
      1. 20. Customizing with Preferences
        1. User Profile
          1. Language
          2. Email Address
          3. Signature Change
          4. Password
          5. Login
        2. Skin
        3. Math
        4. Files
        5. Date and Time
        6. Editing
        7. Recent Changes
        8. Watchlist
        9. Search
        10. Misc
        11. Gadgets
      2. 21. Easier Editing with JavaScript
        1. Setting Up Your Browser
        2. Adding and Deleting Scripts
          1. Your Personal JavaScript Page
          2. Adding a Script
          3. Preventing Code Overload
          4. Importing Multi-Function Scripts of Other Editors
          5. Removing Scripts
        3. Fixing Problems
        4. Resources
    10. VI. Appendixes
      1. A. A Tour of the Wikipedia Page
        1. The Six Upper-Right Links
          1. [Your Username]
          2. My Talk
          3. My Preferences
          4. My Watchlist
          5. My Contributions
          6. Log Out
        2. The Top Tabs
          1. Article, Category, or Project Page
          2. Discussion
          3. Edit This Page (or View Source)
          4. “New Section" (on Talk Pages Only)
          5. History
          6. Move
          7. Watch/Unwatch
        3. Left Boxes and Links
          1. Navigation Box Links
            1. Main Page
            2. Contents
            3. Featured content
            4. Current events
            5. Random article
          2. Interaction Box Links
            1. About Wikipedia
            2. Community portal
            3. Recent changes
            4. Contact Wikipedia
            5. Donate to Wikipedia
            6. Help
          3. Search Box
          4. Toolbox Links
            1. What links here
            2. Related changes
            3. Upload file
            4. Special pages
            5. Printable version
            6. Permanent link
            7. Cite this article
          5. Language Links
        4. Links in the Body of the Page
        5. Bottom Links
        6. Additional Features in Edit Mode
          1. Edit Toolbar
          2. Edit Box
          3. Below the Edit Box
          4. Insertable Text
          5. Notes
          6. List of Transcluded Pages
        7. Additional Options on User Pages
          1. User Contributions
          2. Logs
          3. E-mail This User
        8. Keyboard Shortcuts
      2. B. Reader’s Guide to Wikipedia
        1. Some Basics
        2. What Wikipedia is Not
          1. Wikipedia’s Sister Projects
          2. Policy: What Wikipedia is Not
        3. How Good is Wikipedia?
        4. Navigating Within Wikipedia
          1. Searching Wikipedia
          2. Navigating from the Main Page
            1. Categories
            2. Portals
            3. The A-Z index
            4. Other entry points
          3. Categories
            1. Category links at the bottom of articles
            2. Articles in two different categories
            3. Searching for Categories
          4. Other Ways of Navigating
            1. Random article
            2. What links here
            3. Six degrees of Wikipedia
        5. Images
          1. Images in Wikipedia Articles
          2. The Commons
            1. Finding pictures in the Commons
            2. Picture of the Day
        6. You Can Help
          1. Articles with Problems
          2. Missing Articles
      3. C. Learning More
        1. Information Pages
        2. Directories and Indexes
        3. Places to Ask Questions
        4. Coaching and Classes
        5. Wikipedia News and Gossip
          1. News
          2. Gossip
    11. Index
    12. About the Author
    13. Colophon
    14. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly