Wikipedia:How to write the perfect "Did you know" hook

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On the Main Page of Wikipedia, there is a section which is called Wikipedia:Did you know. It is meant to showcase new articles as well as rebuilt articles (articles which have been expanded over five times their original size, essentially making them new). The key to making a good hook that will garner attention on the main page can take some experience. Below are four easy steps to make this process easier for a beginner. Note, not every article will be able to fit the criteria below and that is all right because no article is perfect.

Steps[edit]

Make it interesting[edit]

Writing a hook that essentially says, "Did you know...that it has been said that one plus one equals two?" is unlikely to get attention because it is not only boring, but it also tells the casual reader all that they need to know. A good hook should make the reader want to find out more information. When your hook isn't about snails in pillows (fossilized snails found in rock formations), you might have to write in a style that increases a reader's want for more information. For example, if your subject involves how an island was misidentified for many years, you could say, "...that Adventurer Island was thought to exist for five hundred years before it was proven to be nearby Guano Island?" This makes the reader want to read up on why the island was misidentified for so long. Another example that garnered 30,100 views when it was used on the main page is the following, "... that some hermaphrodite snails and slugs pierce each other with love darts (pictured) during mating?" A love dart sounds interesting because it involves not only snail sex, but the name itself makes one want to learn more about what it is.

Make it weird[edit]

Another way to create a good hook is to make it weird. Sure you could just say that the Termitaradus mitnicki no longer lives on this planet, or you could say, "... that researchers have identified the pictured life form which no longer lives on this planet?" That hook makes people want to find out more about how scientists have not only managed to find a deceased life form intact but also find out how they were able to identify it. In addition, you don't have to add the title of the article to the hook. Masking the name of the article can work perfectly if it might confuse people. For example, the hook, "... that James Brown flew an F-22 Raptor and survived a fuel leak while traveling at almost the speed of sound?" works because they are going to think of the Godfather of Soul James Brown, not James E. Brown III, a civilian test pilot.

Make it crazy[edit]

In the words of the late George N. Parks, "Make it crazy!" Feel free to do whatever you want to help make the hook better, as long as it stays within the guidelines of the Did you know process. Imagination is allowed on Wikipedia because it helps to get things done. The same goes for a hook. You can either create lines of boring questions or create something that is truly innovative and inspiring to others who are aspiring Wikipedians.

Make it inspiring to others[edit]

Finally in the words of George, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Plan to make your hook the greatest that it can possibly be because you might just inspire someone to create an article and improve the encyclopedia that either might have always vandalized the Wiki or just thought that editing is dumb. The Did you know process is Wikipedia's one chance to showcase entry-level work and if you can succeed at that, you have succeeded for the day.

See also[edit]