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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

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Reorganize and Edit Existing Content

Chapter 10 was entirely about content disagreements among editors—how to minimize them and how to resolve them. When there are other editors very interested in an article, any major change is going to meet with skepticism, if not outright opposition. If you’re working on a really bad article that needs a major overhauling, you have three choices:

  • Make series of incremental changes to the article.

  • Make specific proposals on the article talk page.

  • Rewrite the article in your user space, or a subpage of the article talk page, and discuss that rewrite on the article talk page.

This section discusses the first approach, which is generally quicker to implement, and well-suited for articles without active editors who may oppose a major overhauling. It has the advantage of being easier for other editors (who may just be checking the changes to make sure they’re not vandalism) to follow what you’re doing, and thus to maintain the assumption of good faith (shortcut: WP:AGF) that you’re not trying to slip something by other editors.

Warning

Don’t reorganize a major, established article (one that has lots of edits in the article history, lots of comments on the talk page, lots of interested editors, and so on) by simply starting to edit it. The organization of such an article represents a consensus, albeit an informal one. You should post advance notice on the talk (discussion) page about anything you’d like to do that’s more major than shuffling a few subsections ...

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