Help:Wikipedia: The Missing Manual/About this Book

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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual (Discuss)

This book as editable documentation[edit]

The first printing of the first edition of the book Wikipedia: The Missing Manual is now (January 25, 2009) also a set of wiki pages in the Help: namespace of Wikipedia. The content has been released by the publisher, O'Reilly Media/Pogue Press, and by the author, John Broughton, under the standard Wikipedia free content license.

We believe strongly in the mission of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation - to collect and develop knowledge under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. That mission is carried out by the millions of people who have or will edit Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects; this book can make them better and more productive editors, as well as introducing potential editors to the matter of how to be a good editor.

Our hope is that the Wikipedia community will take ownership of these pages, updating the material to reflect changes to Wikipedia since the first printing of the book was done in January 2008, correcting the inevitable errors that appeared in that print version, and improving the content in whatever ways Wikipedia editors think will make it more valuable to other editors and to potential editors.

-- Peter Meyers, managing editor, The Missing Manuals (O'Reilly/Pogue Press)
-- John Broughton, author

Questions that might be asked[edit]

Q: Wikipedia already has thousands of pages of documentation. Why this book? (Or: Why update and improve these pages when Wikipedia already has good documentation?)

A: This book is different than the other documentation: it offers systematic guidance for people who want to learn the "core curriculum," the critical information needed to avoid running afoul of the rules. The book is organized as a structured process for learning to edit, with numerous tips and tools for easier editing. This book charts the path from novice toward expert, with step-by-step illustrations for every topic along the way.

Q: Why should I help improve this version of the book when O'Reilly/Pogue Press will take the work that I do, for the next edition of the book, without paying or crediting me?

A: When (or if) O'Reilly publishes a second edition of the print book, many of the changes in this version of the book will certainly affect the wording of the new edition. But a wiki is not the same as a printed book, and it's much more likely that the wiki version and the second edition will sharply diverge as much material gets removed, totally new material is added, heavy copyediting is done for tone, and a lot of new screenshots are created.
Perhaps the best reason why you should edit this version of the book is that it will help new editors. Wikipedia has more than enough readers - what it needs are more new editors. Having a good starting point to learn Wikipedia editing can only help encourage readers to become editors.

Q: What if I want to significantly change this version of the book - for example, by adding a chapter, or splitting a chapter?

A: The more radical the change, the more important it is that you post first at the relevant talk/discussion pages (those related to the chapter or chapters you want to change), or at the main talk/discussion page (Help talk:Wikipedia: The Missing Manual). (The latter is for cases such as when you propose to add a new chapter.) You should not make significant changes until it is clear that there is at least a rough consensus to do so.

Q: How do I get consensus to make a significant change to this version of the book?

A: Wikipedia has a number of ways to gain consensus: see the topic in the editor's index regarding consensus, and the topic regarding content disputes.

About the author and the creative team[edit]

The following is from the "Missing Credits" section of the first printing of Wikipedia: The Missing Manual (January 2008, ISBN 0596515162):

  • John Broughton has been a registered editor at Wikipedia since August 2005, with more than 15,000 edits by the time he wrote this book. His biggest Wikipedia endeavor has been the Editor's index to Wikipedia (just type "WP:EIW" into the Wikipedia search box). This index lists every important reference page on Wikipedia, as well as hundreds of off-Wikipedia Web pages with useful information and tools for Wikipedia editors.
  • Nan Barber (editor) has worked with the Missing Manual series since its inception. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and G4 Macintosh.
  • Dawn Frausto (editor) is assistant editor for the Missing Manual series. When not working, she rock climbs, plays soccer, and causes trouble.
  • Nellie McKesson (production editor) is a graduate of St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where her favorite places to eat are Punjabi Dhaba and Tacos Lupita.
  • Sohaila Abdulali (copy editor) is a freelance writer and editor. She has published a novel, several children's books, and numerous short stories and articles. She recently finished an ethnography of an aboriginal Indian woman. She lives in New York City with her husband Tom and their small but larger-than-life daughter, Samara.
  • Jill Steinberg (copy editor) is a freelance writer and editor based in Seattle, and has produced content for O'Reilly, Intel, Microsoft, and the University of Washington. When she's not working with words, Jill takes Italian classes, practices opera singing, and helps create urban parks.
  • Daniel Mocsny (tech reviewer) discovered Wikipedia editing in April 2006. He edits as an ordinary user, and as of late 2007 had the second-highest edit count on the Wikipedia Help desk. In addition, he is an administrator on two other public wikis and three corporate wikis, with a real-life involvement in software development, documenting, and technical support.
  • Godmund Schick (technical reviewer) is an avid coffee drinker who periodically spends time baking, quilting, running, reading, and experiencing new things.

The following is from the "Colophon" section:

  • The illustrations that appear in Wikipedia: The Missing Manual were produced by Robert Romano and Jessamyn Read using Macromedia FreeHand MX and Adobe Photoshop CS.