Eager to add your expertise to an article on Wikipedia, the free, online encyclopedia that's one of the world's most visited websites? Follow these helpful hints to edit your first article.
Step 1: Consider opening an account If you're not already a registered Wikipedia user, consider becoming one. If you edit a piece without registering, the site will record your IP address publicly in the article's edit history. With an account, you can also start new pages and upload images. To register, click "create account" at the top right of any page.
Step 2: Edit text To get started, click on the "edit this page" tab at the top of the page. This will bring you to a new page with a text box containing the editable text of the original page. Just start typing! Get help at any time by clicking the link "Help" in the toolbox on the left of any page.
TIP: If you don't see an "edit this page" tab at the top, it means the page is protected from editing, probably because of a high incidence of malicious changes.
Step 3: Open only what you need If you're making just a small change in one part of the article, look for the "edit" link on the right side of each section, and click on the one next to the passage you want to revise. This allows you to make changes in one section without opening the whole article.
TIP: Use the tool bar above the way you would with any word processing program. Don't worry about strange punctuation marks that might appear; this is just Wikipedia formatting your copy.
Step 4: Source your work If you're adding new information, be sure to provide reliable sources that verify your work, or it will likely be deleted. Detailed instructions on the proper way to cite sources can be found by typing WP:CITE into the search box and hitting "Go."
TIP: Material in books and newspapers generally is considered reliable; the musings of bloggers are not. And don't bother writing about yourself; it's considered a conflict of interest.
Step 5: Explain your edit Briefly explain your changes in the "Edit summary" box at the bottom. Your explanation can run up to 200 characters.
Step 6: Review your changes Review your changes by hitting the "Show preview" tab at the bottom. If you want to compare your changes to the text you altered, hit the "Show changes" button. Once you're satisfied with your work, hit the "Save page" button.
Step 7: Check it out Check out your contribution, which will appear instantly. But be aware that if there are any inaccuracies in your text, someone will soon be editing you. Wikipedia saves all versions, and anyone can view them.
TIP: If you have an account, click the "watch" tab to track changes made to the article. On the "My watchlist" page, click "diff," to see exactly what has been changed
Step 8: Look for your work Keep an eye on the featured content on Wikipedia's front page; the article -- with your improvements -- may show up there someday!
FACT: Seventy-five percent of Wikipedia edits are made by two percent of users.