Writing an article
|This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia articles follow certain guidelines: the topic should be notable and be covered in detail in good references from independent sources. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia – it is not a personal home page or a business list. Do not use content from other websites even if you, your school, or your boss owns them. If you choose to create the article with only a limited knowledge of the standards here, you should be aware that other editors may delete it if it's not considered appropriate. To create full articles (as opposed to draft pages), your account must be at least 4 days (96 hours) old, and you must have made more than ten edits. For information on how to request a new article that can be created by someone else, see Wikipedia:Requested articles. To create an article, you can try the Article Wizard.|
Welcome to Wikipedia! You have probably already edited blogs or social media sites. Maybe you have already made minor edits to our articles – but now you want to start a new article from scratch. Note: The ability to create articles directly in mainspace is restricted to autoconfirmed users, though non-confirmed users and non-registered users can submit a proposed article through the Articles for Creation process, where it will be reviewed and considered for publication.
First, please be aware that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and our mission is to share accepted knowledge to benefit people who want to learn. We are not social media or a place to promote a company or product or person, or a place to advocate for or against anyone or anything. Please keep this in mind, always. (This is described in our "mission statement", "What Wikipedia is not".)
We find "accepted knowledge" in high quality, published sources. By "high quality" we mean books by reputable publishers, high-quality newspapers like The New York Times, or literature reviews in the scientific literature. We summarize such sources here. That is all we do! Please make sure that anything you write in Wikipedia is based on such sources - not what is in your head.
Here are some tips that can help you with your first article:
These points are explained in further detail below.
If you are logged in, and your account is autoconfirmed, you can also use this box below to create an article, by entering the article name in the box below and then clicking "Create page".
The English Wikipedia already has 5,722,217 articles. Before creating an article, try to make sure there is not already an article on the same topic, perhaps under a slightly different name. Search for the article, and review Wikipedia's article titling policy before creating your first article. If an article on your topic already exists, but you think people might look for it under some different name or spelling, learn how to create redirects to alternative titles; adding needed redirects is a good way to help Wikipedia. Also, remember to check the article's deletion log in order to avoid creating an article that has already been deleted. (In some cases, the topic may be suitable even if deleted in the past; the past deletion may have been because it was a copyright violation, did not explain the importance of the topic, or on other grounds addressed to the writing rather that the topic's suitability.)
If a search does not find the topic, consider broadening your search to find existing articles that might include the subject of your article. For example, if you want to write an article about a band member, you might search for the band and then add information about your subject as a section within that broader article.
Gather sources for the information you will be writing about. To be worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia, a subject must be sufficiently notable, and that notability must be verifiable through citations to reliable sources.
As noted, the sources you use must be reliable; that is, they must be sources that exercise some form of editorial control and have some reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Print sources (and web-based versions of those sources) tend to be the most reliable, though some web-only sources may also be reliable. Examples might include (but are not limited to) books published by major publishing houses, newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, websites of any of the above, and other websites that meet the same requirements as a reputable print-based source.
In general, sources with no editorial control are not reliable. These include (but are not limited to) books published by vanity presses, self-published 'zines', blogs, web forums, usenet discussions, personal social media, fan sites, vanity websites that permit the creation of self-promotional articles, and other similar venues. If anyone at all can post information without anyone else checking that information, it is probably not reliable.
To put it simply, if there are reliable sources (such as newspapers, journals, or books) with extensive information published over an extended period about a subject, then that subject is notable and you must cite such sources as part of the process of creating (or expanding) the Wikipedia article. If you cannot find such reliable sources that provide extensive and comprehensive information about your proposed subject, then the subject is not notable or verifiable and almost certainly will be deleted. So your first job is to go find references to cite.
Once you have references for your article, you can learn to place the references into the article by reading Help:Referencing for beginners and Wikipedia:Citing sources. Do not worry too much about formatting citations properly. It would be great if you did that, but the main thing is to get references into the article, even if they are not perfectly formatted.
Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, but there are special guidelines for editors who are paid or sponsored. These guidelines are intended to prevent biased articles and maintain the public's trust that content in Wikipedia is impartial and has been added in good faith. (See Wikipedia's conflict of interest (COI) guideline.)
The official guidelines are that editors must be volunteers. That means Wikipedia discourages editing articles about individuals, companies, organizations, products/services, or political causes that pay you directly or indirectly. This includes in-house PR departments and marketing departments, other company employees, public relations firms and publicists, social media consultants, and online reputation management consultants. However, Wikipedia recognizes the large volume of good faith contributions by people who have some affiliation to the articles they work on.
Here are some ground rules. If you break these rules, your edits are likely to be reverted, and the article(s) and your other edits may get extra scrutiny from other Wikipedia editors. Your account may also be blocked.
|Things to avoid||Things to be careful about||Great ways to contribute|
Note that this has to do only with conflict of interest. Editors are encouraged to write on topics related to their expertise: e.g., a NASA staffperson might write about planets, or an academic researcher might write about their field. Also, Wikipedians-in-residence or other interns who are paid, hosted or otherwise sponsored by a scientific or cultural institution can upload content and write articles in partnership with curators, indirectly providing positive branding for their hosts.
Click here: Article wizard, read the brief introduction, and then click the big blue button to get started creating your draft.
Now that you have created the page, there are still several things you can do.
Wikipedia is not finished. Generally, an article is nowhere near being completed the moment it is created. There is a long way to go. In fact, it may take you several edits just to get it started.
If you have so much interest in the article you just created, you may learn more about it in the future, and accordingly, have more to add. This may be later today, tomorrow, or several months from now. Any time – go ahead.
To format your article correctly (and expand it, and possibly even make it featured!), see
Others can freely contribute to the article when it has been saved. The creator does not have special rights to control the later content. See Wikipedia:Ownership of articles.
Also, before you get frustrated or offended about the way others modify or remove your contributions, see Wikipedia:Don't be ashamed.
An orphaned article is an article that has few or no other articles linking to it. The main problem with an orphan is that it'll be unknown to others, and may get fewer readers if it is not de-orphaned.
Most new articles are orphans from the moment they are created, but you can work to change that. This will involve editing one or more other articles. Try searching Wikipedia for other pages referring to the subject of your article, then turn those references into links by adding double brackets to either side: "[[" and "]]". If another article has a word or phrase that has the same meaning as your new article, but not expressed in the same words as the title, you can link that word or phrase as follows: "[[title of your new article|word or phrase found in other article]]." Or in certain cases, you could create that word or phrase as a redirect to your new article.
One of the first things you want to do after creating a new article is to provide links to it so it will not be an orphan. You can do that right away, or if you find that exhausting, you can wait a while, provided that you keep the task in mind.
See Wikipedia:Drawing attention to new pages to learn how to get others to see your new articles.
If the term is ambiguous (meaning there are multiple pages using that or a similar title), see if there is a disambiguation page for articles bearing that title. If so, add it to that page.
Try to read traditional paper encyclopedia articles to get the layout, style, tone, and other elements of encyclopedic content. It is suggested that if you plan to write articles for an encyclopedia, you have some background knowledge in formal writing as well as about the topic at hand. A composition class in your high school or college is recommended before you start writing encyclopedia articles.
The World Book is a good place to start. The goal of Wikipedia is to create an up-to-the-moment encyclopedia on every notable subject imaginable. Pretend that your article will be published in a paper encyclopedia.