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Wikipedia Reader's Guide: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

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Chapter 2. Editing for the First Time

Anyone can edit Wikipedia—including you. That’s right. There’s no fee, and you don’t have to register. You don’t even have to have an email account (but if you’re reading this book, you probably do). All Wikipedia articles are collaborative efforts, and you can jump right in and add your own knowledge with just a few clicks and some typing.

This chapter explains what you see when you look at an article in Wikipedia’s editing window and how to practice, preview, and save your edits. You’ll also learn a few more basic editing skills—how to create a link from one article to another, and how to edit a section of an article rather than the whole article. Once you’ve got these skills under your belt, you’re ready for the first step in for-real Wikipedia editing: identifying an article in need of an edit.

Tip

You can dive right in and start editing without setting up a Wikipedia account (that is, getting a user name). However, there are advantages to having a user name—increased privacy and the ability to create new articles and a personal user page, to name two.

The Wikipedia Way of Editing

Experienced Wikipedia editors understand one thing above all else: Wikipedia is a collaboration. There’s no need to be intimidated, because you’ve got the support of an entire community of researchers, fact-checkers, and proofreaders. Keeping the following points in mind will get you into the right mindset for effective editing:

  • You don’t need to know everything about ...

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