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How Wikipedia Works

This is a page for information, updates and feedback about a book about Wikipedia, called How Wikipedia Works, which is authored by Phoebe Ayers, Charles Matthews, and Ben Yates, and published September 2008 by No Starch Press. The book is, like Wikipedia itself, released as free content under the GFDL license and is online.

We cover Wikipedia from soup to nuts: for readers trying to understand what's in Wikipedia, how and why it got there, and how to analyze the quality of the content you might find on the site; for current and future editors, from basic editing techniques and wikisyntax to not-so-basic information on complicated syntax, referencing and researching content, and editing collaboratively and harmoniously; and finally for anyone interested in how Wikipedia's vibrant and complicated community comes together to produce content, resolve disputes, and keep the site running. Finally, we touch on the wider world of Wikipedias in other languages, other Wikimedia projects, and the Wikimedia Foundation itself. We close with appendices about reusing Wikipedia content according to the terms of the GFDL license, and thoughts on using Wikipedia in a classroom setting.

Throughout, we provide community consensus viewpoints and our own thoughts on a common-sense approach to using and participating in Wikipedia, and a selection of carefully-chosen links to the thousands of pages of documentation, help and Wikipedia-space pages that we discuss -- not to mention a sprinkling of humor. In every discussion, we try to provide a sense of the community that supports and is at the heart of the Wikipedia project and mission.

For more information, see:

Any contributions left here that are used will be appropriately credited. Please sign your comments.

Thank you for your time!

Table of contents and updates[edit]

Reader comments[edit]

  • feel free to leave comments about the book, suggestions, corrections...

  • Why wasn't the book written on Wikibooks? You even mention Wikibooks, and somehow didn't notice that the missions line up perfectly?  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 00:03, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Wikibooks is wonderful. I want to write my next book on Wikibooks :)
I don't have a great answer to this question, except that we did consider it and ultimately had to make a choice between a completely collaborative, wiki-authored book and a more traditionally written one. We went the traditional route in part because that's the way I wanted to work, and in part because that's how the publisher wanted us to work (there's also the commercial aspect -- how would people on Wikibooks feel about having their work sold under the name of a single person?) I think it would have been an equally valid experiment to try writing it on an open wiki, but I'm not sure what the results would have looked like. We did freely license the book, of course, and I think that there's a good opportunity to try producing a revised edition via Wikibooks. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 15:20, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm hopefully maybe eventually going to put it in Wikibooks. Someday, I promise :D  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 16:19, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

category:community category:essays