Help:Wikipedia: The Missing Manual/Editing, Creating, and Maintaining Articles/Creating a New Article

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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual (Discuss)

Wikipedia needs more articles. Yet of the thousands of articles that are created every day, about half end up being deleted or otherwise removed. Most of the deletions happen within a day of the article's creation. If you're thinking about adding an article to Wikipedia, this chapter will help you avoid having that article become instant roadkill. (This chapter also discusses when it's better not to write the article at all, or write it for another wiki or other Web site besides Wikipedia).

Even if you're not thinking about creating a new article, this chapter can be useful. You'll get a much better sense of what articles in Wikipedia should be like, which will help you when you want to improve existing articles. You'll also have some criteria to use when you come upon an existing article that you suspect might not belong in Wikipedia at all. (Chapter 19: Deleting Existing Articles discusses the process for getting an article deleted.)

Does That Article Already Exist?

Before you even start thinking of writing a new article, you'll want to make absolutely, positively sure that Wikipedia doesn't already have an article on the same subject.

Wikipedia's internal search engine isn't the greatest, but it's the easiest place to start. Try searching for just part of what you think the article should be called (two or three words is plenty), and try any likely alternative names and spellings. (The page Wikipedia:Searching—shortcut WP:S—has more details. It also has links to other Wikipedia search tools.)

After you've done a reasonable amount of internal searching of Wikipedia, try an external search engine. For example, to use Google to find all Wikipedia pages with the word "Wyly," type Wyly site:en.Wikipedia.org into the Google search box. An external search engine could turn up a page that the internal search engine missed, since external search engines can be more tolerant of misspellings than Wikipedia's.

What Makes a Good Article[edit]

If you're not a registered user (see Chapter 3, Setting Up Your Account and Personal Workspace), you can't create new articles, at least as of December 2007. (You may have heard of a proposal to allow non-registered users to make new articles, in November 2007, but it didn't gain consensus.) Instead, you have to submit a proposed new article for review by other editors, using the Articles for Creation wizard (Figure 4-1). That wizard is a five-step online interview that questions you about three things: the proposed article's motivation, notability, and sources. This section discusses all three issues, one by one. They're important for all new articles, no matter who creates them.

Figure 4-1. The Articles for Creation wizard asks a series of questions to determine if your idea for an article is a good one. Registered users normally don't use this wizard to create articles, but it's still a good learning tool. To get there, go to the Wikipedia:Articles for Creation page (shortcut: WP:AFC), scroll down until you see the large "Start Here," and then click that link. Then click "I would like to submit an article without registration".
Tip:
Even as a registered user, it's worth your time to use the wizard to see if you can get to the final step (being allowed to submit an article) while telling the truth (starting at step 2). If you can't get all the way through the wizard by responding honestly, then your article will probably be deleted.
Curb Your Enthusiasm and Expertise

If you really know (and probably really like) an area of knowledge, doing a hit-or-miss search for articles to create probably isn't the best use of your time. Consider these two options instead:

  • In the section about ideas for new articles, you'll find pointers to a number of places where other editors have identified needed (missing) articles. Many of these lists are sorted by topic area, so you can focus on needed articles in your area of interest.
  • You can join (formally or informally) an existing collaboration about your area of interest—what Wikipedia calls a WikiProject. Chapter 9, WikiProjects and Other Group Efforts has extensive information on these.

The Right Motivation[edit]

The ideal starting point for creating an article is when you're surprised that Wikipedia doesn't already have an article on a particular subject. If you believe that the subject is suitable for inclusion in an encyclopedia (what Wikipedia calls notability, as described in the section about notability), and that newspaper stories, magazine articles, publications in scientific journals, or public sources of information specifically focus on this topic, you have every reason to be surprised that no one's already written an article on the topic.

By contrast, if you're thinking about writing an article for one of the following reasons, then your chances of having your article deleted are high:

  • You've developed a new or unusual concept, idea, or invention; or you know something that disproves conventional wisdom on a topic; or you have an unusual theory about the way the world works, or should work. Don't use Wikipedia to announce these things.
  • You have intense feelings about something or someone. For example, you may have a strong dislike of something (airplane travel, wiretapping, animal abuse), or a very favorable impression of a Web site, a local band, or a cult YouTube video. Whether it's good or bad, if you have a strong feeling or opinion about something, you probably think that Wikipedia doesn't adequately cover it and could use another article or two about it. But other editors may not agree, and in any case it's going to be very hard for you to write with the required neutral point of view.
  • You see Wikipedia as a marketing opportunity for your company, Web site, band, or product. Or worse, for a company, Web site, band, or product that you're being paid to promote. Even if the marketing or promotion is just to help a friend or relative—no money or direct involvement—it's still promotion and has no place in an encyclopedia.

It's possible, of course, that even if you have the wrong motivation, there's a legitimate need in Wikipedia for the new article you're thinking about. But if your motivation falls into one of the previous three categories, think twice. If you ignore Wikipedia's rules and write articles that are only going to get deleted, you're wasting your time and that of the editors who have to delete them.

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest occur when editors add or delete information from Wikipedia articles with the intention of improving the image, interests, or visibility of the editors, their family members, employers, associates, or business or personal endeavors. Reshaping articles to be more positive about such personal interests stands in direct contradiction to Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy (shortcut: WP:NPOV).

If you have a possible conflict of interest, you're not barred from editing articles where such a conflict may exist, but you must be careful that your work maintains a neutral point of view. (Details are at Wikipedia:Conflict of interest; shortcut: WP:COI.) To be really careful, don't delete anything but obvious vandalism from articles. When you think the article should be changed, post to the article's talk (discussion) page (see the section about talk pages), asking other editors to make the changes. (You can add the {{request edit}} template to make sure your request gets attention.)

Creating a new article when you have a potential conflict of interest is particularly tricky. In step 8 of the tutorial on creating a new article, you will see how to move your article from your personal space (the draft) to mainspace, where actual articles reside. If there's any question of a conflict of interest, don't move your article. Instead, post a comment on the talk page of the most relevant WikiProject (Chapter 9, WikiProjects and Other Group Efforts) or at Wikipedia:Editor assistance (shortcut: WP:EA), asking other editors to review your draft, edit it if they want to, and—if they then consider it sufficiently neutral and meeting other criteria for Wikipedia articles—move it to mainspace themselves. Give the process a week or so. If no one moves your article, and no one objects strongly (or you feel you've addressed the objections), then move the article yourself.

Notability[edit]

Folks new to Wikipedia frequently see it as a place for information on everything. After all (so this mistaken impression goes), Wikipedia's the first place most people turn to for information on any possible topic, so logically it should have complete coverage of all new and interesting topics. If a topic isn't yet covered, then that's an open invitation to write a new article.

In fact, Wikipedia is by design not a publisher of initial reports. As the main notability guideline says: "A topic is presumed to be notable if it has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject." If that sentence sounds familiar, it's because you read about No original research in Chapter 2, Documenting Your Sources (see the section about content guidelines).

You can find specialized Wikipedia guidelines for a number of areas, including books, music, and organizations and companies, at the main Notability guideline page (shortcut: WP:N). For example, a musical band would qualify as notable if it met any of a dozen different criteria, including, "Has had a record certified gold or higher in at least one country." Or, for example, a film is notable if it's been widely distributed and received full-length reviews by two or more nationally known critics.

If you write an article that doesn't state, at the very beginning, why something is notable, you've significantly increased its roadkill potential. And if you also fail to provide any good sources (see the section about reliable sources), then you've backed other editors into a corner. They'll use an external search engine to do a quick search of the subject, but it's a matter of luck whether they'll find acceptable sources, such as newspaper articles, that indicate that a subject is important. If they don't, your article is probably toast.

Despite very specific guidelines for notability, many editors think notability is subjective—who's to say what's notable? Experienced editors focus on the presence or absence of reliable sources (discussed in the next section). Still, the concept of notability, as defined by Wikipedia's guidelines, helps ensure that articles are relevant and interesting to a wide audience of readers.

Where Original Writing Is Welcome

I know everything there is to know about custom golf clubs, a subject that's woefully neglected on Wikipedia. But since I've come up with a lot of the innovations myself, I can't provide sources that Wikipedia considers reliable. Isn't there some way I can share what I know?

Sure there is. First of all, if you have a conflict of interest (for example, you have your own custom golf club business), see the box about conflicts of interest. You can enlist other editors' help in publishing your article.

But any time Wikipedia's rules don't allow the type of new article that you have in mind, remember you don't have to fight the system. Instead, find a place elsewhere that's more welcoming.

Wikipedia is nothing more than a wiki—a collection of pages written by a group, collaboratively. But it's hardly the only wiki out there. If you've written something uniquely your own (a theory, an argument, a how-to) another wiki might be the perfect fit. Not surprisingly, Wikipedia has a page about alternatives to Wikipedia (the shortcut is WP:NOTWP). Another good place to check is http://wikiindex.org/, which has thousands of pages about wikis that aren't—let's face it—as obsessive-compulsive as Wikipedia about keeping out original writing.

Reliable Sources[edit]

Just as you must cite reliable sources when you add text to an article, as discussed in depth in Chapter 2, Documenting Your Sources (and at WP:RS), you must fully document new articles you write. For new articles, here are the general guidelines:

  • Try to cite at least couple of independent, reliable sources in your article, regardless of the article's length. If you don't, it's just your claim, as the author, that the subject is notable. While you may be the most honest and trustworthy person on the planet, other editors don't know that, and they may delete your article because they can't easily find reliable sources for it.
  • Include any relevant links to Web sites created or owned by the subject of the article. For example, articles about musicians usually contain links to their own Web sites. However, although these "official" links help other editors examining the article, they don't count as independent sources.

It may seem counterintuitive, but good sources are more important than the words in your article. Yes, you want to write an article that has all the right parts (see the section about the parts of an article) and reads well. But if you include reliable sources in your new article, particularly online sources (in English), other editors will find it credible, no matter how poorly written. By contrast, if you write an article that doesn't cite independent sources, it doesn't matter that what you've written is elegant, thoughtful, and interesting. If other editors judge your article to be original research or about a non-notable subject, they'll just delete it.

Ideally, when you write a new Wikipedia article, you footnote every sentence (or paragraph, if the entire paragraph is from one source). It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, if you're looking for sources for an article you've already written. A better approach is to start by finding reliable sources for the article you want to write, and then write the article from those sources.

Stubs

A stub is an article containing only a few sentences of text. A stub is usually long enough to serve as a quick definition, but too short to provide encyclopedic coverage of a subject (see Figure 4-2). Stubs are common. The last time someone counted, Wikipedia had roughly a hundred thousand articles with fewer than 200 characters. The most important thing to know about stubs: Don't contribute new ones. If you have a good idea, but only a little material, create a user subpage (see the section about personal subpages) and work on the article until it's ready for prime time.

One of the most common complaints from authors of just-deleted stubs is that they expected their article to be left in place for a while, so that other editors could contribute to it, eventually expanding it into a real article. In fact, there's no such policy of mercy for new stubs: The stubbier a new article is, the more likely it is to be deleted. If you think a topic is important enough to deserve a new article, then you should be willing to spend enough time finding information—from reliable sources—so that the article doesn't begin life as a stub. Otherwise, the article will quite possibly reach the end of its short life being a stub, and you'll have wasted your time and the time of the editors who deleted it.

Figure 4-2. When an article is a stub, it says so, as shown at the very bottom of this example. Stubs usually have just a sentence or two about their subject, and sometimes links to related, longer articles. Wikipedia's administrators are quick to delete stubs, so work on articles in your user space until they're long enough for prime time.

What Articles Don't Belong on Wikipedia[edit]

So far, this chapter has shown you what a Wikipedia article needs: appropriate intentions on your part, notability of the subject, and reliable sources. Even with all these factors in place, your article idea may not be right for Wikipedia. As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia is a compendium of useful information, but not all useful information. Some kinds of information just don't fit in.

What Wikipedia Isn't[edit]

To judge whether an article belongs in Wikipedia, take a look at what kinds of articles don't belong there. Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not (shortcut: WP:NOT) is the definitive policy on this. Much of that policy you've already heard about: "Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought," "Wikipedia is not a soapbox," for example. But there are several more guidelines worth noting:

  • Wikipedia isn't a dictionary. The Wikimedia Foundation does have a sister project, Wiktionary, for definitions, and there are others on the Web (for example, Urban Dictionary) that welcome your submittals.
  • Wikipedia isn't a directory. Articles shouldn't consist of loosely associated topics such as aphorisms, people, books, unusual crimes, or geographical trivia, no matter how well referenced. Quotations belong in another sister project, Wikiquote. Similarly, radio or television station schedules, or lists of government offices and current office-holders for local governments, aren't acceptable. Product price guides don't belong on Wikipedia, either.
  • Wikipedia isn't a manual, guidebook, or textbook. Wikipedia articles should not include instructions, advice or suggestions (legal, medical, or otherwise); how-to guides, tutorials, instruction manuals, game guides, or recipes. You can find (and submit) user-written textbooks at Wikibooks (a sister project), travel guides at Wikivoyage (another sister project), and step-by-step guides at wikiHow (not related to Wikipedia).
  • Wikipedia isn't an indiscriminate collection of information. Articles should not be constructed from, or contain, lists of frequently asked questions, lengthy plot summaries, lengthy lyrics (even when unprotected by copyright), or long and sprawling lists of statistics.
  • Wikipedia isn't a news ticker. The fact that someone or something is newsworthy doesn't automatically justify an encyclopedia article. Newspapers and television stations report constantly on people who have been badly harmed, barely escaped disaster, done something horrible, or otherwise are unusual enough to justify 15 minutes of fame. Such stories don't make people and incidents into encyclopedic subjects. Wikipedia articles should not be voyeuristic or ongoing violations of a reasonable right to privacy.

Don't Repeat Someone Else's Words at Length[edit]

Suppose you've found a topic that isn't covered in Wikipedia—say a nonprofit group called the International Development and Improvement Organization for Theoretical Scientificality. The organization's Web site has a number of detailed pages about the history, goals, mission, and executive leadership of the organization—perfect for a detailed article. Add links to a few reliable sources, and, presto!—instant article.

This, of course, is a massive copyright violation. Even if you're the head of that organization (a conflict of interest, but that's another matter), you can't somehow waive normal copyright requirements just for Wikipedia. If the article isn't instantly deleted, it's highly likely to go into copyright lockdown (with a huge banner across the top of the page, telling editors to leave it alone until it's been fully reviewed).

With that in mind, you can copy, more or less verbatim, from a few places. You probably don't want to copy lots of text from these sources, because it's likely to be inconsistent in tone from the rest of the article, or too detailed, or quite possibly just boring. Still, if you really want to, you can copy:

  • Information from U.S. government publications and Web sites, which are in the public domain, unless otherwise stated. (Publications of state and local governments in the U.S., on the other hand, usually are copyrighted.) You can find a list of resources in the public domain at Wikipedia:Public domain resources (shortcut: WP:PDR).
  • Text copyrighted with the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). That's the same type of license as Wikipedia uses (but see the Note in section xx). You can find research resources that use this license at Wikipedia:GNU Free Documentation License resources (shortcut: WP:FDLR).
  • Older material whose copyrights have expired. In the U.S., any work published before January 1, 1923, anywhere in the world, is in the public domain. (For more details, see shortcut WP:PD.)

Preventing copyright violations, and fixing them as quickly as possible, are major concerns at Wikipedia. And you as an individual editor are liable, not Wikipedia, as long as the violation gets removed as soon as an editor detects it.

Note:
Whether or not information is from a copyrighted source, you should always cite where you got it. That's absolutely critical if the text is a direct quotation or if the text is saying something critical of anyone or anything, particularly a living person.

Tutorial: Creating a New Article[edit]

In this tutorial, you'll see a new article created from scratch. If you want to practice creating your own new article as you follow along with the tutorial, you can do one of two things:

  • Find a real topic (for example, using the information in the section about ideas for new articles, concerning articles that are needed or requested).
  • Write a pretend article, and don't do the very last few steps, which involve moving the article into mainspace, where real Wikipedia articles exist.
Before you start the tutorial, you might want to review Chapter 1, Editing for the First Time through Chapter 3, Setting Up Your Account and Personal Workspace, or take a look at Wikipedia:Your first article (shortcut: WP:YFA) to reinforce what you need to know about choosing new articles to write, and working in Wikipedia's edit window.
A New Article Creator Gets It Very, Very Wrong

Zeo works at a public relations firm. One client, though quite young, is creating innovative international events. A Wikipedia article about her, Zeo thinks, would be ideal free publicity, and she would be appreciative. Creating the article is a breeze, using text from old press releases, with links to various Web sites about the client, her organization, and her events.

The next day, Zeo notices that his article is gone. Strange, but no problem—he'd saved a copy. He creates it again. Three hours later, the article is gone again, and there's a warning on Zeo's user talk page about blatant advertising.

But Zeo is persistent. He's figured out this "reliable sources" thing. He does the article again, toning down the rhetoric and adding links to a few news articles about the events and their creator. Five hours later, he logs into Wikipedia and sees a notice on his talk page that the article is up for discussion at "Articles for Deletion" (with a link).

At the AfD discussion, the regulars have already posted a lot of "Delete" recommendations. Zeo defends his article's notability, providing links to a few more newspaper articles. But he's at a disadvantage: He's new, he hasn't contributed anything else to Wikipedia, and this is the third time he's created the article. (Right or wrong, many editors see repeatedly recreating deleted articles as either fanaticism or spammer's zealotry). Of the editors commenting on the proposed deletion, almost all think that the young promoter isn't that notable: Sure, the events exist, but are they important? The article goes down for the count for a third time.

Zeo waits a week, and then tries again. This time, the article's deleted within an hour, the topic name is locked down (meaning an administrator needs to approve its creation), and Zeo is blocked from editing for 24 hours.

End of story? Not necessarily, but Zeo—or, better yet, Zeo, working with another, more established editor—is going to find more articles, build a new Wikipedia article solely from news stories and other reliable sources, footnote every single sentence, and then go through the deletion review process (DRV) (see the section about appealing deletion). As long as the article, as rewritten, makes a reasonable case for notability, it's likely that DRV will approve it. But it would have been easier for everyone if Zeo had done it right the first time.

1. Choose a name for the article.

In general, use the topic's most commonly used name. Using a search engine to compare the total number of hits for each version of the name is a good way to determine which name is the most popular. Once you have a couple of ideas, check the rules: Wikipedia has lots and lots of details about proper naming of articles. You'll find these at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (shortcut: WP:NC).
In this tutorial, the new article is a biography, Sam Wyly. A search engine check shows that this is much more common than "Samuel Wyly."

2. Do a search (or several) to find out what Wikipedia already has on the topic.

You can read about search techniques in the box in the section about searching. Don't search for "Sam Wyly"; that Wikipedia article was already created as an example for this book. Rather, search for the name of the real article that you want to create, or use one of the topics identified as missing in Wikipedia (see the section about ideas for new articles).
Biographical Information: Two Caveats

In Wikipedia articles, any controversial statement (whether positive or negative) about a living person must be properly sourced. If it's not, you and all other editors are authorized to—and supposed to—take it out immediately, as it's a major violation of Wikipedia policy.

When it comes to privacy violations, Wikipedia's standards are even stricter. Wikipedia biographies should not include addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, or other contact information for living persons. If the birthday of the person is not widely publicized, only the birth year should be included. These kinds of information may even be removed from prior versions of that article. (Prior versions are available via the "history" tab. You can also read about the concept in Chapter 5, Who Did What: Page Histories and Reverting.) You can find full detail in the "Presumption in favor of privacy" section of Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons (shortcut: WP:BLP).

3. If you find an existing Wikipedia article that contains a mention of the topic you searched for, do two things:

  • Change that mention into an internal link (wikilink), if it's not already, by editing the page and adding two square brackets on each side: "[[Sam Wyly]]". After you save your change to that article, you see that the link you created is a red link, since it points to an article that doesn't yet exist. Adding such wikilinks is called, in Wikipedia, building the web.
  • Copy the name of the page, and possibly useful details about the topic that are on the page, to a temporary place (for example, Windows Notepad). Figure 4-3 lists the Wikipedia articles that mentioned Sam Wyly before the Sam Wyly article was created.
Figure 4-3. Five articles that mentioned Sam Wyly were found during the process of creating a new article about him. Information from those articles was copied (in this illustration, to the Windows Notepad) because it'll be used in the article. Part of building the web is creating outgoing links from a new article, pointing to existing Wikipedia articles.

4. As shown in the steps in the section about creating a personal sandbox, create a user subpage for the article.

Typically, you give this user subpage the same name that the article will have. In this tutorial, though, the subpage is just called "New article."

5. Find independent, reliable sources. Add them to the subpage.

Note:
You can read about finding copyright-free sources in the section about copyright. Also, the section about writing resources has a discussion about finding reliable sources from which you can take facts and limited amounts of text in accordance with fair use laws.
Figure 4-4 shows the results of searching for sources for "Sam Wyly." If you use a search engine, a lot of results are going to be links to bloggers, forums, or other unacceptable sources. Don't ignore these—they may have a link to a reliable source or ideas for keywords you can use to search for good sources.
Figure 4-4. Here are a number of reliable sources for the planned article. There isn't any standard way to put them on the subpage (the top of which is shown here), but it's a good idea to start building the format for full citations (see the section about citations). On the other hand, don't put the full text of long articles on the page—that's a copyright violation the moment you save the page with all the text on it, even though you're doing the work on a user subpage, rather than on an article page.
Note:
If you're coming up dry in Web searches for reliable sources, you may have picked a non-notable topic for a new article. Or it may mean that you need to tap into other resources (see the section about writing resources).

6. Create a first draft of the article, with section headings and footnotes for every sentence (or, at minimum, every paragraph, if everything in the paragraph came from a single source).

Whatever writing approach works for you, use it. Regardless of how you create the article, keep three points in mind:
  • Work from the sources to the article, rather than writing the text of the article and then looking for sources.
  • Don't copy and paste large chunks of text; that's a copyright violation.
  • When you add text to the article, add the source of that information, right then, as a footnote.
Parts of an Article

This chapter can't describe everything that would go into a perfect article, but that's okay. A perfect article isn't your goal. Rather, you want to start what could at some point be a really good article. Make sure to establish notability, cite a number of reliable sources, and create something that you and other editors can use as a base to expand and improve over time.

Still, you should aim for a certain minimal number of sections in your new article:

  • A lead section of a couple of sentences (see the section about the lead section for more details).
  • At least three sections in the body of the article, well footnoted. If you're having trouble figuring out how to divide the information you've found into sections, take a look at other Wikipedia articles on similar topics. If your article is a biography, look at biographies for other people in the field; if it's a company, look at larger competitors; if it's an annual event, look at larger events of a similar nature.
  • A "References" section (for footnotes), and an external links section, at the bottom. The external links section should contain official Web sites related to the topic, even if already cited in footnotes. Otherwise, generally avoid duplicating links. (You'll find specific guidance via the shortcut WP:EL.)

For more guidance, take a look at the pages Wikipedia:Layout (WP:GTL), Wikipedia:Writing better articles (WP:BETTER), and Wikipedia:Annotated article (WP:ANAR). In Chapter 18: Better Articles: A Systematic Approach, you'll find a comprehensive discussion of how to take a poor article and make it a much better one.

You can work offline, if you want to, writing a rough draft in your favorite word processor, with notes about where each sentence or paragraph came from. You can also do your work iteratively within Wikipedia: Edit the article draft in your user subpage, preview, edit some more, preview, and so on.
Note:
As discussed in the section about edit conflicts, if you keep an article open in edit mode too long, you risk an edit conflict when you try to save it, because another editor has saved an edit in the meantime. You don't have to worry about this with your own user subpage, so you can be leisurely about saving your changes. Just save your work every hour or so; computers have been known to crash.
Figure 4-5 shows the wikitext for one section of the Sam Wyly article, partway through the process of creating a final draft. The article-building method illustrated here first starts out with less-detailed sources (typically, short articles) to construct a set of points that you or other editors can fill out later with more general sources and additional sources. Ideally, editors will replace the initial footnotes with others that better support lengthier information in each part of this section. Your approach can be different, but remember that your goal is to footnote every sentence (or, at the very least, every paragraph).
Figure 4-5. A section of the Sam Wyly article in rough draft form. Sections in the body of articles normally consist of prose paragraphs, not bullet points or lists as shown here, but that's because the article is still in very rough form. You should at least turn the bulleted sentences into bulleted paragraphs.

7. Do your final edits to the lead section.

It's okay to do a draft of the lead section early on, but it's best to wait to finalize it until the article is pretty close to done. The lead section, after all, is supposed to be a relatively brief summary that just touches on the highlights of why the topic is notable, and the article needs to be close to done before you can properly summarize it.

8. Build the web: Go through the article and create internal links (wikilinks) that point to other articles (this is part of what is called wikification).

Now's the time to review the list of articles you put together earlier—the ones that'll link to the new article (see Figure 4-3). You want your new article to contain internal (wiki)links pointing back to those articles, whenever mentioning the topics of those articles in your new article makes sense.
Don't limit yourself, however, to this list. Almost certainly your new article should link to more than just the articles you found earlier. Add more wikilinks and check their validity (but don't overlink; see the box about when to link).
Note:
The fastest way to check new wikilinks is to put the double brackets around the words or phrases to be linked, and then do a preview and see if the links are red or blue. Follow each blue link via a new browser tab or page. If it leads (via a redirect or disambiguation page) to an article with a different name than you thought was the case, change the wikilink to point directly to the article of interest (using a piped wikilink if you want). For each red link, either change the wording and try again, or do a search from a separate window. You can leave a red link in the article if you decide that there's no article to link to but that Wikipedia should have an article on that topic.

9. Save the subpage one last time. Now it's time for you to move the article from your personal user space (as a subpage) to Wikipedia mainspace (where the real articles are):

  • At the top of the article, click the "move" tab. (If you can't see the tab, you're not in normal/reading mode.) You'll see something like Figure 4-6.
Figure 4-6. The standard page for moving (renaming) a page gives you information and warnings. Use the "Measure twice, cut once" rule: Check your spelling and capitalization carefully before you move your article to its new home. It's not the end of the world if you misspell or otherwise err with the title of your new article (you can always move the page again), but it's embarrassing.
  • In the "To new title" box, change the old name of the page (in this case, "User:Your username goes here/New article") to the new name of the page (in this case, "Sam Wyly"); enter a reason (typically, "Creating new article"); and click the "Watch this page" box (see the section about your watchlist).
  • Click the "Move page" button.
Warning:
Don't move the page if you have a conflict of interest in publishing the article. If you do, or aren't sure whether you do, read the box about conflicts of interest for advice on how to handle such conflicts. Basically, you should get help from non-conflicted editors to create the article.

10. You should now see a page that says the move was successful (Figure 4-7).

Moving a page always leaves a redirect in place—that way, anyone clicking on a link to the old location of the page will end up at the new location. (Redirects are covered in detail in Chapter 16.) Now you just have to check for, and fix, any double redirects—where one redirect sends the reader to a second redirect rather than to a final destination. You'll check for these in the final step.
Figure 4-7. There's one more step after you've moved a page—fixing any double redirects. A double redirect is where article A has a link to page B; page B is a redirect that immediately takes the reader to page C; and page C is also a redirect that points to page D.

11. Click the bolded link that says "check" (it's in the second sentence in Figure 4-7) to see if there are any double redirects.

Double redirects for new articles are exceedingly rare. Still, you want to get into the habit of checking whenever you move a page. When you click "check", the result is Figure 4-8, which shows all the pages that link to the article.
Figure 4-8. There are nine direct links to the new Sam Wyly article. The last of the nine is a redirect (which is fine). If there were any double redirects; you'd see a double indentation underneath the redirect. (For more information on redirects, including fixing them, see the section about redirects.)
Congratulations! You now know how to create new articles, and how to do it right.
Categorize with Caution

The steps in this chapter didn't say anything about adding categories to your new article. While adding categories isn't difficult, if you're a new editor, it's something to approach with care. If you do want to add a category or two, you can make sure you're doing so correctly by finding similar articles, and then copying any relevant categories to your newly created article. Or you can jump way, way ahead to Chapter 17 and learn about categories.

But you don't even have to add any categories yourself. Just add an uncategorized template to your article. That template (which looks like this: {{uncat|date=January 2008}}) will attract the attention of experienced editors who specialize in adding categories to new articles, and your uncategorized article won't stay that way long. Furthermore, you're free to add more categories yourself, later, when you're more familiar with categorization.

Ideas for New Articles[edit]

If you're not sure whether Wikipedia would welcome an idea you have for a new article, consider asking for early feedback, before you spend a lot of time. You can do that at Wikipedia:Drawing board (shortcut: WP:DRAW). Be sure to read all the instructions at the top, particularly this sentence:

If you post here, you should explain (briefly) why you think an article is merited (that is, why a subject is notable), and you should provide at least a couple of links (to demonstrate that there are reliable sources for such an article).

If you're looking for a topic for a new article, you'll find lists of needed topics in a number of places:

Resources for Writing Articles[edit]

It's amazing what resources are available online today, from your home computer. In addition to regular search engines, you have Google Scholar and Google Book Search. The New York Times has made its entire archives available online for free, and more and more newspapers are deciding that advertising is now more profitable than trying to collect a fee every time someone wants to read an old article.

If that's not enough, almost every town has the perfect resource for researching Wikipedia articles. That's right—a public library. That library card languishing in your wallet may even let you go online, from your home computer, and do research via the library's connections to various databases with indexes and often full-text sources. Research librarians are also happy to help you find whatever the library has to help you write a really good new article (or improve an existing one).

You'll find that the "Research" section of Wikipedia:Article development (shortcut: WP:IA) has some useful information on researching in general, including online databases to which your library might give you access. Wikipedia also has a number of pages with links to research resources. In addition to the pages for public domain and GFDL resources mentioned in the section about copyright, these include:

Wikipedia also has a central place where you can get help from other editors: Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange (shortcut: WP:WRE). That page includes a number of resources offered by other editors ("Shared Resources") and a section to ask for help getting copies of difficult-to-find things ("Resource Request"), as well as a section ("Free Online Resources") that overlaps with some of the already mentioned pages.