User:WP Editor 2012
I'm here on Wikipedia to contribute my wealth of useless knowledge. I've been a registered user since January 27, 2012, but starting editing in April 2012. My primary area of focus on Wikipedia is contributing to articles in subject areas that I am knowledgeable about. I'm also involved in other areas such as fighting vandalism and fixing grammatical errors.
Steady, incremental improvement
Most articles on Wikipedia have problems. Nobody's interests would be served if we let the unrealistic goal of instant perfection interfere with the realistic and achievable aim of steady, incremental improvement. If you can make a contribution to an article, please be bold and go right ahead, even if it means leaving a problem only partly fixed, or leaving other problems in the article totally untouched.
Coöperate, don't compete
Please keep in mind that Wikipedia is a coöperative venture, not a competitive one. It is not a forum for credentials-wielding one-upsmanship, nor is it appropriate to beat editors over the head with the rules. The verifiability and reliability criteria for information sources and all the other protocols and regulations exist to facilitate the improvement of the project, not to foment the aggrandizement of one editor over another.
There is no intentional bias or vendetta against unregistered (IP-only) editors. Unfortunately, a large amount of the spam, vandalism, and other disruptive behavior on Wikipedia is done by IP-only editors, so whether intentionally or not, others will regard you as more of an integral part of the Wikipedia community, genuinely interested in contributing and coöperating, if you register and do your editing under a user name. If you're ever involved in a dispute, others will more readily tend to assume you're acting in good faith if you're registered, and if you want to weigh in on a question being discussed, your opinion will tend to get more listeners and be given more weight if you're registered. Registration is free, you get to pick your own user name, and it hides the IP from which you make your edits.
There is a standing — and entirely reasonable — expectation that everyone will strive to coöperate with one another, registered and unregistered alike.
The rules work for you
Those who don't coöperate are asked to please do so and shown how. Those who continue to refuse to coöperate are regarded as disruptive, and steps are taken to limit the damage they can do to the project. It may seem as though Wikipedia's rules are a bunch of legalistic babble used to block well-intended efforts to contribute, but in fact, the rules work very much in the favour of all who take the short time needed to read, understand, and follow them.
Although Wikipedia is not a system of laws, in some respects editing and making contributions is like driving on public roadways: We're not allowed to drive the wrong way down the street, go 30 over the speed limit, go through red lights or stop signs, drive after drinking alcohol, and so forth...even if we manage to do so in perfect safety without causing injury, death, or property damage. Likewise, the standard of behavior here on Wikipedia is whether you follow the protocols and procedures for whatever you are trying to do here, not whether you're right or wrong. Similarly, the standard by which contributions are evaluated on Wikipedia is not truth, but verifiability, and there are clear criteria for what is and isn't a reliable source of information. As frustrating as it can be sometimes, what you or I or anyone else knows (or thinks he knows, or says he knows) is not relevant. It's what we can prove that matters.
(And if you're still feeling overwhelmed by the idea of a big truckload of rules and procedures, don't worry...Wikipedia is also like a telephone directory: it's five inches thick and contains thousands of numbers, but at any given time you only need to know one or two of them!)
Sometimes it will happen that an editor can make contributions that don't meet Wikipedia's requirements, and can go on doing so for weeks, months, or even years before encountering any objection, resistance, or enforcement. This can create the impression that when the rules eventually are enforced, the editor is being unfairly attacked after having become accustomed to doing whatever s/he wants. In fact, the rules apply to all Wikipedia articles and all Wikipedia editors. But everyone on Wikipedia is a volunteer, and some articles are more closely watched than others. Article quality is strongly correlated with adherence to Wikipedia's standards and expectations; please try not to take the rules' existence or enforcement personally. They apply to everyone equally, from the first-time unregistered contributor to the most experienced administrator.
When you've spent a great deal of time and effort improving an article, it's only natural to feel hurt, insulted, or indignant when your text is later changed or partly removed. Remember, on Wikipedia, there is no my article or your article — this is a community-based coöperative project. Once you make a contribution, it no longer belongs to you; it becomes a part of the encyclopædia, subject to improvement and alteration by any other contributor. By the same token, you can object to alterations made to article elements contributed by anyone, including you. But be careful not to dismiss others' alterations just because you don't like them, and resist the temptation to get into an edit war; remember, without sticking to Wikipedia's standards, any effort put into an article is wasted right from the start, which is a shame.
Sometimes, you'll find an article you're interested in will have had a template applied. Here are some examples of templates:
Or, you may find some of your text has been tagged with markers indicating a need for improvement. Statements that haven't been verified by means of support with appropriate citations of reliable sources may be tagged like this, or like this[unreliable source?], or in the case of a dubious source, perhaps like this[verification needed]. Text along the lines of "It has been said" or "Some say" or "Many believe" will often be tagged like this[who?]. Text that's not clear might be tagged like this[vague]. Although you may feel these templates and tags are an ugly, negative judgment of the quality of your text, that's not so. In fact, they're a tool that will accelerate the improvement of the article. They call attention to the parts of an article most in need of development and improvement, so it's likely to happen sooner. Please don't remove templates or tags without fixing the problem they indicate.