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How To Write A Wikipedia Entry
Posted on August 25th 2010
When you’re searching for something on the internet you’ll notice that a vast majority of the time the first or second entry on Google’s search engine results page will be a Wikipedia link. To date, Wikipedia boasts an impressive 16 million articles, of which 3.3 million are in English. Currently, it is one of the largest and most popular reference sites available on the net. A large network of Wiki editors review all articles that are submitted and use a group approval system to determine if content will be published, or in some cases, banned.
Because Wikipedia is a wiki, anyone with access to a computer and a Wikipedia account can make edits to posted entries. It’s important to remember that jus because you post an article, you don’t own it and updates and changes can be made by others at large.
Although writing a Wikipedia article seems like an utterly simple task you’ll need to know a few basics in order to prevent your content from being deleted. Before you begin make sure that you’re writing from a neutral point of view (NPOV). The best way to approach a NPOV is to make your entry mirror what it would look like if you were to read it in a traditional encyclopedia. The content that you submit should be unbiased, verifiable, noteworthy and not breach copyright.
Wikipedia is a social community and it takes the content that users submit very seriously. If you’re not able to draft an article that follows Wiki’s protocols it will more than likely be deleted. The other thing to keep in mind is that not every brand, service or product can produce an entry that acceptable by Wiki standards for the simple reason that vanity, promotion and opinion are not looked upon favorably.
Before You Begin
If you’re still feeling optimistic enough to craft a Wiki article you’ll want to do the following first:
- Search Wikipedia to confirm that an article doesn’t already exist.
- Use alternate search terms just in case your article is labeled under a different heading.
- Determine if your article is verifiable and noteworthy before you begin writing it.
- Create a user account if you don’t presently have one.
- Aim for an article that is a minimum of 1500 characters, but no more than 4,000 words.
- Practice entering your article with the Wikipedia Sandbox first.
Building your first Wiki article does take a bit of planning. You’ll want to structure your article so that it reads in chronological order. Next, make sure to gather your references and credible sources that you can cite to support what you’re saying. As you write, reference other Wiki articles by including links to them. This helps to substantiate your article and it cross-promotes other reference material on Wikipedia.
When you’re ready to submit your article to Wikipedia, you might be surprised to discover that you’ll need to use Wiki-style codes to achieve specific text attributes like boldface, italics and bullet points. Check out the cheat sheet so that you have an understanding of what needs to be input to achieve your desired result on the user end.
Even though Wikipedia sounds like a marketing dream come true you’ll learn that it doesn’t quite work the same way that a brochure or brand website does. Wiki entries are not promotional landing pages for businesses or individuals. Entries are informational and neutral and quite the opposite of a marketing tool. Once you make that connection you’ll be able to assemble a solid piece that meets the criteria set forth by Wikipedia.
Word To The Wise
If you submit a Wiki entry and it gets deleted and then you make edits to the same entry and continue to resubmit in an effort to get it published, you run the risk of being permanently banned and blacklisted from Wikipedia. Instead of repeating the same mistakes read over the guidelines and look at current entries to get a better sense and understanding of what an entry should sound, read and look like.