Writing for Wikipedia

Writing for Wikipedia

Anyone is allowed to write on Wikipedia. This guide tells you everything you need to know to publish on the worlds largest encyclopaedia.

Note, Wikipedia have strict conflict of interest rules and do not allow paid editing or promotional contributions. That does not mean paid editing or promotional contributions cannot be done, however, it does mean I do not offer it as a service.

Follow these steps to see how you can write on Wikipedia:

Step 1:

First, you need to make an account on the site if you have not got one already. If you got have a confirmed Wikipedia account skip to step 3

When you create a new account on Wikipedia before you can contribute you must wait 24 hours. I recommend using an alias for your username. Do not use your real name like I did, especially if you are writing for black-hat SEO purposes. If you use your real name, the admins will Google you if they get suspicious. I caught an admin viewing my LinkedIn profile once – scary stuff.

Step 2:

During or after the 24 hour wait period, you must make 15 minor edits to existing articles.

A minor edit is anything from simply adding a sentence, correcting grammar or editing sentence structure. To do a minor edit, search for articles on topics you are familiar with and click the edit button in the corner.

Avoid using superlatives when adding information and write as neutrally as possible. Try to add value in your minor edits.  

Everything you write needs to be referenced to a verifiable reliable source published online or in a book, magazine, etc. If you cannot reference it, you cannot write it. Referencing is easier than it seems, though. You can copy and paste a website link in to the reference tool and Wikipedia automatically fills out the citation and bibliography. So, do not stress about this.

Step 3: 

Now you have completed steps one and two, you are able to contribute to Wikipedia. Before you write an article, please be aware that Wikipedia has strict rules about which subjects deserve a stand-alone article. The topic or subject of your article is what or who it is about. I recommend checking the notability of your subject before you write anything.

“A topic is presumed to be notable enough for a stand-alone article when it has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.”

In other words, the subject of your article needs to notable. Over 200 articles are typically deleted from the English Wikipedia every day, mostly because of lack of notability. I understand notability is a subjective assessment. But if your subject does not have much coverage online (e.g. news articles) then do not expect an easy ride getting the article uploaded to Wikipedia.

“Availability of secondary sources covering the subject is a good test for notability.”

A secondary source is a third party source of information – anything not written by you or the subject or anyone connected to you or the subject. If there are many secondary sources available, you are able to write a stronger article with a higher chance of getting uploaded. 

For example: Google ‘Nathan Bickerton’ and you will see various articles – which is still crazy to me. Yet, despite the fact there is coverage from different news sites, it is not significant coverage as it only covers one event; the Wikipedia page for Steven Bartlett. Therefore, I am not notable enough to have my own Wikipedia article. Significant coverage means coverage of many different events on many different sites.

Step 4:

Plan your article and language carefully. If you are thinking of writing an article for someone, you now can. The easiest way to start writing an article is to search on Wikipedia to see if there are any existing articles on your subject. If there are no existing articles, it should say something similar to “Article ‘what you searched’ does not exist. Click here to contribute.” Click that link and you will be able to start typing.

Recommendations

  • Plan your article structure before you write.
  • Write your article in a word processor then copy and paste it into Wikipedia.
  • Save a copy of your article locally in case it gets deleted.
  • Write in chronological order with the most prominent events near the top.
  • Group together like events and use the headings available to format your article neatly.
  • Add an image. But know the image you upload must be free use and have no copyright. 

And there you have it, congratulations, you can now write for Wikipedia!🙌

But remember, Wikipedia is a valuable free asset that most of us probably wouldn’t have made it through school without. 

I know most people reading this will be doing so in order to write an article for someone they are connected to. If that is you, I recommend reading through the wikipedia guidelines beforehand. 

Please try to keep your contributions free of promotional language. If you fail to, the admins will catch you. They are absolutely ruthless. And then you will have wasted time.

Good luck!

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