About the help pages
Wikipedia's help pages are of varying complexity, from basic introductions to technical documents. This variety however has its flaws: it is easy to navigate to a page that contains concepts that have not already been covered, or is overly complicated for one's needs.
Where to start
If you would like to get a good overview of the whole project and how it works you could read through the introductory pages which are found on Getting started.
If you want to fix an obvious mistake or otherwise wish to contribute then following the same introductions through to the Tutorial or Newcomers training will provide you with all the basic information to get editing yourself.
If you just want help on how to read Wikipedia, the introductions can help you understand the coverage and content of articles, and Wikipedia:Searching is a good place to start for how to actually search.
How to use help
- Frequently asked questions are listed by general topic at Wikipedia:FAQ.
- Help:Contents is the main help page that will guide you in the right direction. The help page may be reached at any time by clicking help displayed under the ► Interaction tab on the left side of all pages.
- Help:Contents/Browse is a menu-style page that will direct you to the right place to find information.
- Help:Contents/Directory is a descriptive listing of Wikipedia's informative, instructional and consultation pages.
- Wikipedia: The Missing Manual is a converted book that covers most subjects, split into 21 chapters.
- You can ask for help on using Wikipedia at the help desk and teahouse.
- General information questions can be asked at the reference desk.
- The template below outlines Wikipedia's help pages and can be viewed at the bottom of related articles.
- The portal to the right will direct you to the main "help contents" page.
- The Wikipedia Help pages book is a collection of Wikipedia's "How to pages" that can be easily saved, rendered electronically (such as PDF), and ordered as a printed book.
If you type keywords of your question into the search box, a page relevant to your question will usually turn up in the search results, e.g. 'How do I create an article?' ( type in 'create an article' ), 'What size are thumbnails?' ( type in 'thumbnail size' ). The search needs to be limited to the help pages using the advanced search page (which appears after you have clicked 'search') or you can use the search box in Help:contents (accessed by clicking 'Help' on the sidebar of all pages). This is duplicated below.
Contributing to the help pages
Like articles, most of the help pages can be edited - so feel free to improve any pages you come across. When a high traffic page has been protected to help prevent vandalism, suggestions can still be made on the talk page. Some coordination happens at Wikipedia:Help Project.