This is a guide to how I edit, as a courtesy to other wikipedians. After being employed as an editor for a government-affiliated bilingual periodical overseas, and then for a group of trade magazines about various manufacturing industries, I returned to the United States and edited an academic journal while pursuing my postgraduate degree. Thus I approach Wikipedia editing as a professional or scholarly task, even though it is fun recreational volunteer work for you (I hope) and for me.
We are here to build an encyclopedia, so let's discuss how to improve as many of the 4,399,681 articles on Wikipedia as we can. One thing I have learned from working in editorial offices is that every writer needs an editor—including a writer who is also an editor. A writer writes, with the writer's intention, and then a reader reads, perhaps inferring a different meaning from what the writer intended. A writer can learn from an editor how another reader interprets what the writer wrote. That's why I'm glad to discuss with other wikipedians what I write in wikispace. Your comments are welcome on my user talk page.
Seeking and verifying sources
The one thing I most like to do is to edit according to reliable sources. For article text on topics that relate to human intelligence or health or genetics, I edit that text according to Wikipedia source guidelines on medicine. I collect source lists to share with you and other wikipedians so that we can discuss what the sources say and what implications the sources have for improvements in article text. You are welcome to suggest additional sources on the suggestions page for each source list. You are also very welcome to post on my user talk page your comments about my edits. It is possible for reasonable minds to differ about what is an appropriate edit, and I welcome your comments so that I can learn from you.
Communicating with other editors
Some of the topics I try to edit have been plagued by edit wars since long before I became a Wikipedian in April 2010. At least a few of the most viewed articles on my watchlist have actually declined in quality for long periods from 2009 to 2013, as the result of deletion of content from reliable sources, although some have improved a little since the year before I began editing Wikipedia. To give editors a chance to check sources in advance, to avoid article content being cited to sources that don't actually support article text, I generally tend to first list sources on the source lists for sharing with everyone here. If you have access to a decent library (especially a library with interlibrary loan service), you can obtain a copy of a source yourself to verify it. As I continually read and digest sources, in an order of reading sometimes constrained by library due dates, I often first add sources to articles in the articles' Further reading sections, which I sometimes create for that purpose. This, again, allows other editors time to gather the sources themselves and verify that the sources have information that adds to what is posted in article text (as will always be the case if I add a source to a further reading section). Then as time goes on, I gradually make edits, whether WikiGnome edits or bold edits, directly to article text based on the sources I have at hand. I also make extensive use of source verification templates, especially the template for tagging primary sources that aren't backed up by a reliable secondary source, to alert other editors to article content issues that need additional verification. There have been some notorious instances on Wikipedia of editors inserting hundreds or even thousands of fudged sources into articles on a variety of topics, so I think all of us editors have to be alert to how to check sources and verify that the sources are being used in accord with what the sources actually say. In all cases, you can reach me by a new message to my user talk page if you'd like to discuss sources or article text edits further. Comments on the article talk page of each article are also fine, and may be better for including other editors in the discussion, as I am happy to do.
Hope for the future of Wikipedia
I want to thank experienced wikipedian and administrator rʨanaɢ for pointing out the quotation below (from Wikimedia Foundation's Public Outreach Officer and Wikipedia administrator User:Peteforsyth) on his user page:
I think this is a very hopeful statement. We can learn together as wikipedians how to reach a higher standard of online behavior. We can verify information better than is done in blog comments (or even blog articles by the rare experts who maintain blogs), treat one another more civilly than is done on most online discussion forums, stay more serious (while still enjoying ourselves) than is usually done on social networking sites, and generally contribute better to the broader world on Wikipedia than we can on most other online sites. The community helps wikipedians become better editors. Wikipedians who become better editors, in turn, build up the content quality and participation on Wikipedia, which are explicit goals of the Wikimedia Foundation. It's delightful to be part of a project in which conscientious volunteer work by thousands of editors can help readers around the world by the tens of millions.