Hi AFisch99, and welcome to your adoption center. I've substituted across a lesson for you and I thought you'd like to know that you do now have your own official page. As you can see from User:Worm That Turned/Adopt, I've created an adoption HQ, where you can read ahead in the lessons. I haven't finished them all as yet - the red linked ones are likely to change, but feel free to read ahead - it might help. The tests might include a couple of extra unique questions if I see an area that you might need a little extra development - don't take it as a negative, it should help. Also we now have a talk area for us to use, away from the more public areas - if you would like to use it - it's at User Talk: AFisch99/Adoption. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see. Best, Electric Catfish (talk) 13:57, 28 September 2012 (UTC).
The Five Pillars
One of the most important essays in Wikipedia is WP:FIVEPILLARS which is designed to eloquently sum up what we're here for.
- Pillar one defines Wikipedia as an encyclopedia. It suggests some things that we are not. Thoughts about what we are not are covered in the deletion lesson.
- Pillar two talks about neutrality, a concept that this lesson will be concentrating on.
- Pillar three talks about free content. The Copyright lesson will go into this in more detail.
- Pillar four talks about civility. Wikipedia is a collaborative working environment and nothing would ever get done if it wasn't. I'll go into civility more during the dispute resolution module.
- Pillar five explains that Wikipedia does not have firm rules. This is a difficult concept and will be covered in the Policy and consensus lesson.
Once you get your head around these five pillars, you will be a Wikipedian and a good one at that. All 5 are covered in my adoption school, though at different lengths. Be aware that I don't know everything and I would doubt anyone who said they did.
How articles should be written
The articles in Wikipedia are designed to represent the sum of human knowledge. Each article should be written from a neutral point of view – personal opinions such as right and wrong should never appear, nor should an editors experience. Neutrality also means giving due weight to the different points of view. If the broad scientific community has one set of opinions – then the minority opinion should not be shown. An example is in medicine – if there was an article on say treatment of a broken leg, a neutral article would not include anything on homeopathy.
To ensure that the information in an article is correct, Wikipedia has adopted a policy of verifiability. Anything written in Wikipedia should be available to confirm by looking at the associated reliable source. Wikipedia should not include anything not verifiable by seeing it is published elsewhere; in other words, it should not contain anything original.
So what is a source? Wikipedia uses the word source for three interchangeable ideas – a piece of work, the work's creator or the work's publisher. In general, you would expect a reliable source to be published materials with a reliable publication process, authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both. This doesn't mean that a source that is reliable on one topic is reliable on every topic, it must be regarded as authoritative in that topic – so whilst "Airfix monthly" may be a good source on the first model aeroplane, I would not expect it to be authoritative on their full size equivalent.
A source that is self-published is in general considered unreliable, unless it is published by a recognized expert in the field. This is a very rare exception – so self publishing is generally considered a no-no. This means that anything in a forum or a blog and even most websites are considered unreliable by default. One interesting sidepoint is on self-published sources talking about themselves. Obviously, a source talking about itself is going to be authoritative, but be careful that the source is not too self-serving – the article really should not be totally based on a direct source like that.
Mainstream news sources are generally considered reliable... but any single article should be assessed on a case by case basis. Some news organizations have been known to check their information on Wikipedia – so be careful not to get into a cyclic sourcing issue!
There's a lot more about what makes a source reliable here.
Any questions or would you like to try the test?
This test is going to be based on questions. One word "Yes" or "No" answers are unacceptable. I want to see some evidence of a thought process. There's no time limit - answer in your own words and we'll talk about your answers.
1) Q - You have just discovered from a friend that the new Ford Escort is only going to be available in blue. Can you add this to the Ford Escort article and why?
- A - Nope. Not allowed, because the information was gained from a friend. That's not a reliable source. ✓
2) Q - A mainstream newspaper has published a cartoon which you see is clearly racist as part of an article. Can you include this as an example of racism on the newspaper's article? What about on the racism article?
- A -
3) Q - You find an article that shows that people in the state of Ohio eat more butternut squashes than anywhere in the world and ranks each of the United States by squashes per head. Interestingly you find another article that ranks baldness in the United States and they are almost identical! Can you include this information anywhere on Wikipedia? Perhaps the baldness article or the butternut squash article?
- A - Wow. This example made me laugh :) I don't think you could include this anywhere. I mean, you're observing it yourself, and you're not an authoritative source! ✓
- A - I'm going to have to say "no" and "no". No to the first, because it sounds like an issue they might have an opinion on, and no to the second because it sounds like something they would definitely have an opinion on! ✓ It's an obvious COI!
- A - No, I don't think so. Facebook pages are pretty promotional. ✓
6) Q - A "forum official" from the Daily Telegraph community forums comments on Daily Telegraph's stance on world hunger. Would this be a reliable source?
- A- If it's a forum, it's not allowed, so no. ✓ Public forums are generally considered to be unreliable sources.
7) Q - Would you have any problem with http://www.amazon.co.uk/ or an "iTunes" link being used in a music related article?
- A -
- A - Hmmm...maybe. I would think it might not be okay, because generally companies try to promote themselves. I would check out the link and see. However, because this is the history of the company, it probably would be fine. ✓ The basic company overview and history is fine, but the promotional content is not.
9) Q - Everybody knows that the sky is blue right? An editor doesn't agree - he says it is bronze, do you need a source?
- A - I don't think we'd need a source that the sky is blue! :) Also, the "how articles are written" section says Wikipedia article should reflect the opinions of the majority. ✓ See also WP: BLUE.