Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Adventure/Script

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The levels are transcluded from subpages. To see or edit the underlying text, use the links in the headers of this page or at User:Ocaasi/The_Wikipedia_Game#Levels, or type in the address:, where X is the level number.



Dialogue 1

Welcome to Wikipedia! Wikipedia is a volunteer created encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Really!

This interactive tutorial is designed to let you learn the interface and the basics of successful editing in an easy, fun, realistic way. I'd love to show you around the site. Let's get started!

Dialogue 2

The first step to taking advantage of all Wikipedia has to offer is registering an account. Here we go!

Dialogue 3

Registering an account is free and easy. You don't need to be an expert, and you don't need to register your email address. If you have an account, you get to use editor tools. Having an account also keeps your internet address (known as an "IP address") hidden, so that your privacy is more protected. Now, let's pick a username for your account.

Dialogue 4

A good username should be friendly and personal. It doesn't have to be your real name (but it can be, if you want to allow everyone in the world to know your name). Any name is okay if it's appropriate for the entire community to see, and if no one else has already registered that name. However, you shouldn't choose a name affiliated with a company or product you might be working on.

Interface 1 - Mock registration
Input a username and choose a password. A good password has some uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Don't use a common word, and don't use something that is related to you in real life like your telephone number. Passwords that are longer and more complex are more secure, as long as you can remember them.
Dialogue 5

Congratulations! Your account is set up and ready. Now let's introduce yourself to the community. Let's go to your personal userpage by clicking on your username at the top of the page.

Action 1 - Highlight Username

Click here to access your userpage.

Action 2 - Load userpage after click.
Dialogue 6

Hmm... it says the page hasn't been created yet. Creating a page on Wikipedia is as simple as editing it and clicking Save. Your userpage is a place for you to tell other editors about yourself. You can share as much as you like about your personal background or just leave a few words about what you'd like to contribute to the project. It's up to you. Just remember that everyone on the internet can view your userpage, so be careful with private details and contact information. How do you want to introduce yourself to the Wikipedia community?

Action 3 - Highlight 'Start the user{username} page'

Click on start to create the page

Dialogue 7

To edit Wikipedia you just type in the text box. When you're done, click Show Preview to see how it will look. Then click Save to add the edit.

Interface 2

My username is _____. I'm from _____. My interests are ______, ______, _____, and ____. Stop by and drop me a message on my talk page!

Dialogue 8 - Show Preview

When you're ready to see how it looks, click [Show Preview]

Action 4 - Highlight [Show Preview]

Click on Show Preview to see how your page will appear

Action 5 - Edit Summary

Don't forget to add an edit summary. An edit summary is just a brief note about what changes you made. Other editors can see at a glance what you did. Click here to add one. Adds ["Creating my userpage, a little about me"]

Dialogue 9

The last thing to do is is Save the page. Saving means it's live and anyone can see the changes. Are you ready?

Action 6 - Save

Click Save to add your changes.

Action 7 - Load saved userpage
Dialogue 10

Nice work. Now people can get to know you a little better. You're an editor! You're off to a great start! You see, almost every page on Wikipedia can be edited by you. Did I mention, Great Work!

Action 8 - Highlight editing toolbar

Let's go back and make a few changes to the text. How about adding bold to your name? Click [edit] at the top of the page to go to the edit page.

Action 9 - Highlight Edit

Click edit to make changes

Dialogue 11

Wikipedia is written in a language called Markup which makes it easy to add formatting. It looks a little funny at first, but you'll get the hang of it in no time.

Dialogue 12

The editing toolbar makes adding formatting and making changes to text as easy as pressing a button. You might even learn to memorize some of the symbols which make changes. Neat trick. How about at the bottom?

Action 10 - Highlight name

Click and drag the mouse to highlight your name

Action 11 - Highlight Bold on editing toolbar

Click B to add the markup code for bold

Action 12 - Add around username in text box
Dialogue 13

Do you see the three (') on each side of your name? When you click "Save," your name will show up in Bold. Also, don't forget to add an edit summary saying, "added bold."

Action 13 - Edit summary, Show Preview, and Save
Dialogue 14

Looks good. Let's do one more. Let's put your interests in italics. Click Edit again.

Dialogue 15

Italics is the i on the toolbar. It works just like Bold did.

Action 14 - Highlight Italics on editing toolbar

Select your interests and click i to add the code for italics

Action 15 - Add around interests
Dialogue 16

Now add an edit summary saying, "added italics", Show Preview, and Save

Action 16- Edit summary, Show Preview, and Save
Dialogue 17.'re awesome. And you're done the first mission!

Action 17 - Progress menu advance
You've completed 1 mission out of 12
Dialogue 18

You progress has been saved! Do you want to try the next mission or continue later?

Action 18 - Try the next lesson or continue later?



Action 1 - Load userpage
Dialogue 1

Glad you're still with us! This mission we'll learn about communicating with other editors. In addition to a userpage, every editor has their own talk page. Other editors can leave you notes and comments. Hey, look at that...

Action 2 - You have new messages
Click here to access your talk page, which is also known as your "discussion page."
Action 3 - Welcome message on talk page
Message 1
Welcome to Wikipedia! This is a collaborative project, where editors build articles based on good sources, and help each other to make the articles be complete and full of great information. Here are a few links that will be helpful to you during your time here.
  • Help Desk
  • Wikipedia:About
  • Wikipedia:Introduction
  • Wikipedia:Tutorial
  • Wikipedia:Community tutorial
  • Wikipedia:Simple ruleset
Message 2
Yeah, great to have you on board!
Dialogue 2

That was nice! Let's write back. Responding to talk messages on Wikipedia involves two important pieces: indenting and signatures. Indenting is how you show your comment as a reply to another editor. It moves the text over to the right and makes it clear who you are talking to. To indent, you just add : , one more than the person you are replying to.

Action 4 - Type colon under talk message
Dialogue 3

Great, just like that. Now let's write a reply.

Interface 1
For now we'll simplify the editing just a bit and let you pick from 3 options.
  • Thanks so much for your friendly welcomes. I can't wait to start editing!
  • That was really nice of you two. I sure hope everyone is this friendly!
  • Great to hear from someone else. I'm new here but hope to learn a lot really quickly!
Choose a message to respond.
Dialogue 3a

Signatures are how to let other editors know who wrote what comment. When you type ~~~~ after your comment it will add a link to your userpage, your talkpage, and the time of your message. For this level, I'll add the signature automatically, and next time you can take over.

Action 5 - Insert message
Inserts message below the welcome, indented and signed.
Dialogue 4

Let's see how that looks.

Action 6 - Highlight Show Preview
Click here to see a preview of your reply.
Action 7 - Load Preview
Dialogue 5

Just how you wanted it. All you have to do now is click Save and you're done

Action 8 - Highlight Save
Click here to save your changes.

Action 9 - Load Saved page

Dialogue 6

An easy way to keep track of the changes you've made is with your watchlist.

Action 10 - Highlight My Watchlist

Click here to access your watchlist.

Dialogue 7

A watchlist is your personal feed of changes to articles you follow. Nothing in there yet. You can add an article to the watchlist anytime by clicking the star at the top of the page.

Action 11 - Highlight My Talk

Click here to go to your Talk page

Action 12 - Load talk page
Action 13 - Highlight Watchlist star
This is the button you press to add a page to your personal watchlist. Let's go add the page to your watchlist.
Dialogue 8

What else... how about keeping track of all of the contributions you're going to make?

Action 14 - Highlight My Contributions
Click here to access your contributions
Action 15 - Load My Contributions
Dialogue 9

4 edits so far! But none of them are on real Wikipedia articles. Hmm... what can I do about that?

Action 16 - Highlight Reload page button in browser

Click here to reload the page and see if anything new has happened

Action 17 - New message banner

Click here to access your new messages!

Action 18 - Load talk page
Message 3

Hey, I see that you're from Planet Earth. I have been working on the Wikipedia article on Planet Earth. Would you like to give me a hand on it? --GaiaGirl 1988

Interface 2

What would you like to say?

  • "Sounds great. I've been interested in Planet Earth for as long as I can remember. How do I get to the page?"
  • Swell, do you have a link?
  • "Awesome, it's my favorite planet! How do I get to it?
Action 19 - Type reply after colon
Dialogue 10

This time, you sign it, by adding ~~~~ after your name.

Dialogue 11

You know how this works already! Just leave an edit summary saying, "I'd love to help". Then Preview and Save.

Action 20 - Edit summary, preview, and save
Action 21 - Reload talk page

Reload the page to see if there's a response

Action 22 - Load Talk page
Dialogue 12

Oh, that was fast!

Message 4

Great I'm excited. To get to the page just click this link: [[Earth]]. It will take you to the article. There's plenty to work on and I could really use a hand. Glad to have your help. See you there! --GaiaGirl1988

Dialogue 13

Nice job, you've got something to work on already. Wikipedia is full of things to help out with and a great place to start is with a topic you're interested in. Next mission we'll take a look at that Earth article and see how we can lend a hand.

Action 23 - Your progress has been saved. Break or continue?



Dialogue 1

Glad you're still with us! In this mission, we'll check out the Earth article and see what changes we can make to improve the it. Let's get started. To begin, we need to get to the Earth article. There are three easy ways to get there:

  • We can click the link the editor left us on the talk page
  • We can use the Search box
  • We can type the proper address in the internet browser address bar

This time let's use the link on your talk page.

Action 1 - Highlight User Talk

Click here to access your talk page

Action 2 - Highlight Earth link

Click here to access the article

Action 3 - Load article

The Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It is one of the four terrestrial planets in our Solar System. This means most of its mass is solid. The other three are Mercury, Mars. The Earth is also called the Blue Planet, "Planet Earth", and "Terra".

The Earth is home to millions of species of plants and animals, including humans.

Dialogue 2

So this is Planet Earth! Articles on Wikipedia are designed to give an encyclopedic overview of a subject. They tell readers a little bit about everything that's important to know. First let's read the article. Keep an eye out for any problems.

Action 4 - Highlight article text
Dialogue 3

Did you notice anything? It sounds like accurate information, but there were a few typos for sure.

Action 5 - Highlight typos

thurd, fore, tree, aminals, hughmans

Dialogue 4

To make changes to the article, we can use the edit link just like we did before. Click the edit link to fix those typos.

Action 6 - Highlight edit link

Click here to edit the article

Action 7 - Load editing page with highlighted errors
Dialogue 5

Let's fix those typos. Here's a cheatsheet in case spelling is not your favorite subject.

Pop-over 1

thurd -> third, fore -> four, tree-> three, aminals -> animals, hughmans-> humans. Fix or retype the words correctly.

Dialogue 6

Great work. Now add an edit summary. How about, "fixed typos". Then you can Show Preview and Save

Action 8 - Edit summary, Show Preview, and Save
Dialogue 7

Wow. Now the whole world can see the improved version of the article...pretty cool! Let's make a few more changes using the skills from the last mission. Remember bold and italics? Let's add bold around the first mention of Earth in the first sentence. This lets readers focus quickly on the main subject of the article.

Action 9 - Highlight Earth in text
Dialogue 8

Just like before, click edit to make changes.

Action 10 - Highlight Edit
Dialogue 9

To add bold, just highlight the word and click the B on the toolbar. This will add around the word. If you're picking things up fast, you might realize that you can also type them, three ' on each side. You can do either on Wikipedia, whichever you find easier. Go ahead and add the bold formatting now.

Dialogue 10

You're getting the hang of this. Let's do the usual Edit Summary, and Show Preview to double-check the work.

Action 11 - Show Preview
Dialogue 11

Looks good. Save it.

Action 12 - Load updated article
Dialogue 12

Neat! One more thing for this mission. Let's add italics to day and year in the sentence: One spin is called a day and one orbit around the Sun is called a year.

Action 13 - Highlight Sentence
Dialogue 13

Click edit to make changes.

Action 14 - Load editing page, highlight sentence
Dialogue 14

To add italics, highlight day and click the i on the toolbar. Do the same for year.

Dialogue 15

You know what to do. Edit summary: "added italics". Show Preview and Save.

Action 15 - Load updated page
Dialogue 16

Whew... This is exciting! That's enough for now. Next mission we'll learn about Wikipedia's most important principle: the Neutral Point of View.

Action 17 - Break or Continue?



Dialogue 1

You're really getting the hang of things. This mission is about Wikipedia's approach to information. You'll learn how editors talk about information in a way that keeps them in the proper role of encyclopedia writers. Let's see what's going on first.

Action 1 - You have messages on your talk page. Click My Talk to access them
Message 1

Hey thanks for fixing up those typos! I've added some more content to the article if you want to take a look. --GaiaGirl1988

Dialogue 2

That sounds like a good idea. Let's check out the article. This time we will use the search bar to find it. The search bar is on the top right of every page. All you have to do is type in the subject or article you're looking for and click enter.

Action 2 - Highlight search box

Type Earth into the search box and click enter

Action 3 - Load search results page
Dialogue 3

This is a list of pages on Wikipedia that contain the term you searched for. Right at the top is the article you were working on. Click on it to go to the page.

Action 4 - Highlight Earth search result
Action 5 - Load updated Earth article
Dialogue 4

It looks like there's some new content. Let's see what they added.

Action 6 - Highlight new text on article

The Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It is one of the four terrestrial planets in hour Solar System. This means most of its mass is solid. The other three are Mercury, Mars. The Earth is also called the Blue Planet, "Planet Earth", and "Terra".

The Earth is home to millions of species of plants and animals, including humans. Earth is the best and coolest planet in the whole galaxy. Earth is a place that's perfect for humans to live.

Dialogue 7

It looks like the editor added some information that might be a little biased. How do we make choices about how to present information? Wikipedia editors rely on an idea called the Neutral Point of View.

Interface 1

The neutral point of view, also called NPOV, is the idea that Wikipedia does not have its own opinions or rely on the opinions of its editors. Instead, we summarize what good sources have already written about a subject and do that in a balanced and unbiased way. Here's the actual text of the Neutral Point of View Policy:

Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view.

Pick the choice that summarizes this well in an easy to understand form.

  • NPOV is about writing what every source has said about a subject
  • NPOV is about saying that every source is equally right
  • NPOV is about balancing what good sources say, without adding your own opinions
Dialogue 8

Nice work. NPOV is a very important idea. With so many people and so many different opinions working on the project, NPOV is how we keep articles fair and the Wikipedia community cooperating. It's easy once you get the hang of it: find good sources, summarize what all sides say, give the most attention to the most reliable and most common views. Now let's take a look at those changes to Earth again. Do you see any problems?

Dialogue 9

"Earth is the best and coolest planet in the whole galaxy. Earth is a place that's perfect for humans to live." Those additions are trying to say something important but they're not balanced. They're not neutral. What would be a way of writing that, which keeps the neutral point of view in mind.

Interface 2

Choose an option which is balanced, and doesn't add editors' personal opinions.

  • Current text: "Earth is the best planet in the whole galaxy. Earth is a place that's perfect for humans to live."
  • "Earth is awesome, unless you're in Antarctica. Earth has great houses in it and people can live anywhere that's not too cold."
  • "Earth is the only planet in the galaxy which is known to support life. Earth has many places that are suitable for humans to live, although some areas of the planet can be dangerous for humans."
  • "Earth is a terrible, miserable place outside of Rio de Janeiro. Everywhere else is too quiet and boring."
Dialogue 10

Good work. You picked the option that doesn't share an editor's personal opinion and is balanced to present all important sides of an issue. Replace the old text with the new text by clicking here.

Action 7 - Replace text
Dialogue 11

Go ahead and add an edit summary ("changed text to be more neutral"), Show Preview, and Save

Action - Show Preview and Save
Dialogue 12

That was great. It's important that Wikipedia read like a real encyclopedia and not any one editor's personal blog. We're all here to share information in a way that is balanced. Sometimes that process is complex and challenging, but we all should have the same goal. In our next mission, we'll focus on how to think about and add sources to articles.



Dialogue 1

You're still going strong! Great, let's get back to it. This mission you'll learn about verifiability, which is how Wikipedia creates articles based on good published sources. Also, we'll cover what to do if you get stuck and need help. Here we go!

Action 1 New messages

Click on the link to new messages to go to your talk page.

Message 1

I see you've been working on the article on Earth. It looks better. But I'm concerned that it doesn't cite any sources. How do I know that the information there is something I can trust? Would you write back and tell me what Wikipedia's policy on sources is all about? Thanks! --GaiaGirl1988

Dialogue 2

Ok, a good problem. That's a question we want to answer, but you don't know how yet. Who can you ask? Luckily, Wikipedia is full of pages, places, and people to find help. You just have to know where to look. Let's go over the options:

  • Ask an editor on their talk page
  • Help desk
  • Help search
  • Place a {Help me} template on your talk page or article
  • Use the IRC live help chat channel

Asking for help is a natural part of learning and becoming a good editor. There's a lot to learn here and new editors as well as old editors are always checking out new tips and tricks. Let's ask for help, this time at the Help Desk. Hmmm... how to find the help desk. How about we use that Search box.

Action 2 - Highlight Search box

Type here to search for a page.

Dialogue 3

Try typing "Wikipedia Help Desk" into the search bar and see what comes up. Click enter when you're done.

Action 3 - Type Search query

Type "Wikipedia Help Desk" and click Enter.

Action 4 - Load result page.
Dialogue 4

Great it took us right to the help desk. This is a place where you can ask any question about Wikipedia anytime, and someone will write back to you if they can help. Let's try asking them about sourcing policy. In general it's best to search through past questions, but today, we'll just go ahead and add a new one. Hmm... how to add a new post to the page?

Action 5 - Highlight New Section link

Click here to add a new post to the page.

Dialogue 6

Great, an editing window. You know how to use these! I'll add the question, you go ahead and add your signature (remember, four of these ~ and an edit summary ("question about sourcing"). Then click Show Preview and Save, like normal.

Action 6 - Add question

I'm trying to learn about sourcing on Wikipedia. What is the policy? Thanks!

Action 7 - add signature, edit summary, preview and save.
Dialogue 7

Nice work. Someone should get back to you shortly. Hmm... how will you know when they do? This kind of message won't show up with a banner notification like when someone writes on your talk page. How about we add this page to your watchlist? Remember that, the watchlist is your personal feed of pages you want to watch. You can check it anytime to see what has been added to articles you are following.

Action 8 - Highlight Watchlist star

Click the star to add the page to your watchlist.

Dialogue 8

Nice work. Now we can check to see when your post has been updated, along with any other pages which we add to the watchlist. Hey, let's go add Earth to it! You can get there using the Search bar just like before.

Action 9 - Highlight Search bar

Type in Earth and click enter to go to the article.

Action 10 - Load article, Highlight Watchlist star

Click the star to add the page to your watchlist.

Dialogue 10

Now let's check the watchlist and see what's been going on.

Action 11 - Highlight My Watchlist link

Click on My Watchlist to view changes to the articles you are following.

Dialogue 11

Okay, this looks a bit confusing at first, but you'll figure it out shortly. Each article has a listing and the most recent changes to it show up. I'll walk you through it quickly.

(diff | hist) . . Help:Help Desk . . (+168) . . {Username} (talk | contribs) (question about sourcing)
  • On the left is (diff | hist). That's a handy way to compare versions of an article. We'll come back to it another time.
  • The page or article title.
  • The time of the edit. It might look different than your time, because the time is displayed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is based in Greenwich.
  • Number of bytes which were added or removed from the page. That's a quick measure of whether content was added or taken away.
  • The user who made the change to the page.
  • The edit summary they left with the changes. That's why it's important to leave short, informative notes so that others can follow your work.
Dialogue 12

It doesn't look like anyone has responded yet, or made changes to Earth since you did. Let's reload the watchlist by clicking the reload button in the browser.

Action 12 - Highlight browser Reload Page

Click here to reload the page.

Action 13 - Reload page
Dialogue 13

Oh look, someone responded.

(diff | hist) . . Help:Help Desk . . (+350) . . {HelperUsername} (talk | contribs) (reply about sourcing policy)

Click the page title (Help:Help Desk) to go to the help page and see what they said.

Action 14 - Highlight help page title

Click here to go to the help page.

Dialogue 14

Okay, let's check out what they said.

Message 2

Hey {Username}. Glad you asked about our sourcing policy. Sources are so important to Wikipedia. Sources are the way we know that information is reliable. Everything on Wikipedia must be able to be backed up by a good, published source--one that has a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Good sources include published books, newspaper articles, magazines, academic journals, and expert websites. These are much better than self-published books, blogs, personal websites, and other personal writing. They're what we rely on for every article. It's part of the policy called Verifiability. In practice, not every single sentence has a source, but the key is that it could be sourced, and if someone asks you to provide a source, you have to do that or remove the information until you can. So glad you asked! Feel free to come back any time for help. Cheers, --NeverSleepsAWink

Dialogue 15

Wow, bet most people didn't realize Wikipedia is not based on editor's personal knowledge but always on published, reliable sources. Good to know. Most people are relieved and impressed when they find this out. Even though Wikipedia is still a volunteer-written project, put together by mostly non-experts, it's still based on good sources. Let's do a quick exercise to review that.

Interface 1

Choose an example which summarizes the Verifiability policy in a way that's easy to remember.

  • All information on Wikipedia should be written by someone who swears that the information is true.
  • All information on Wikipedia should have a source to support the information right now.
  • All information on Wikipedia should be supportable by a reliable, published source.
Dialogue 16

That was great. You learned how to ask for help and you learned about Verifiability. In the next mission, we'll see how we can put it to use.

Action 15 - Break or continue?



Dialogue 1

Welcome back! You've learned so much already. Now you get to start putting it to use. Let's see what's going on by checking your talk page. Looks like you have a new message.

Action 1 - You have new message

Click new message or My talk to access them

Message 1

Hey, it's me again. Did you find out anything about sources? I really want to make the Earth article great and think it will need some good sources to become a truly useful article. I've put some sources on the article's talk page but I have no idea which ones are good. Maybe you can help? Thanks again. --GaiaGirl1988

Dialogue 2

Oops, almost forgot about that message. So much going on here it's easy to get sidetracked ;-) . Let's write back a quick note and go check out the sources collected on the article's talk page.

Action 2 - Select a talk response
  • Sorry it took so long. I found out that we need good published sources like books, newspapers, and magazines. I'll be right over.
  • One word, Verifiability.
  • You're really persistent... I hope I will be as dedicated as you are one day. I'll check out the sources as soon as I can. Have a great afternoon!

Action 3 - Add chosen message

Dialogue 3

Remember the steps. Add you signature (~~~~), add an edit summary ("published, reliable sources"), Show preview, and Save.

Action 3 - Edit summary, Show preview and Save
Dialogue 4

Now let's get to the article. You can use the link on your talk page this time.

Action 4 - Highlight Earth link on talk page

Click here to go to the article

Action 5 - Load Earth article
Dialogue 5

Ok, the article looks the same as when we left it last. Oh, the editor said they put sources on the article's talk page. How do we get to that? It's similar to getting to your user talk page, except instead of a link at the top right of the site, there's just a link at the top left of every article. The tab says 'Discussion', but editors usually call it the talk page.

Action 6 - Highlight Discussion tab link

Click here to go to the article's talk page

Action 7 - Load talk page
Message 2

Is this earth? -unsigned message

Sources about Earth:


Dialogue 6

They sure did some interesting research. Okay, let's put the verifiability policy to use. We want published, reliable sources which have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy, which are authoritative and independent. Sources we can trust. Have any ideas which one we should use?

Interface 1

Choose a source from the 3 on the talk page

Dialogue 7

CNN. Good choice. The blog is way too personal. We want to know what experts and professionals write about a subject, since those sources are best for an encyclopedia. The children's book is probably a fun read, but it's a bit too simple for our use. The wrong audience, even though I love kids! Now that we have the source, what can we do with it? First, let's leave a note on the talk page telling GaiaGirl1988 our opinion.

Dialogue 8

To add a reply, you can click the [edit] box next to her post. Don't forget to indent (:) so it shows up as a reply. Choose a response that is friendly but informative.

Interface 2

Choose a response to GaiaGirl1988

  • You dummy! You can't use blogs and kids books. Everyone knows that!!
  • I have a feeling our best choice is the more newspapery one, ya know. Let's maybe use that maybe... I think?
  • CNN is a source with a good reputation. I think we can trust it for this article. Nice research!
Dialogue 9

You picked a good choice. Communication should be polite but clear. Being too harsh and rude or too vague and wishy-washy makes it hard for other editors. Now about using that source. Let's take a look at it and see if it has any information we can use.

Article 1 - 'Earth in the balance of history', CNN

Manhattan - NYC Every time around the spring I like to look out my window at the smog-choked street and recall a few scientific facts about our precious planet. Where else would you like to spend a few decades than here? Here's what we know about this great place:

  • Science shows that the Earth formed around 4.5 billion years ago.
  • The things that live on Earth have completely changed its air (atmosphere); this is called a biosphere.
  • About 71% of Earth's surface is covered in salt water oceans. Earth is the only place in the Solar System where liquid water is known to exist at present.
  • The other 29% is made of rocky land in the shape of continents and islands.
  • Earth interacts with other objects in the Solar System, particularly the Sun and the Moon. The Earth orbits or goes around the Sun roughly once every 365.25 days. One spin is called a day and one orbit around the Sun is called a year. This is why there are 365 days in a year.
  • Earth has only one moon, known as the Moon.

That's all for today folks. I have to go take a brisk walk to the men's room. I'll see you here again next March. Same worn-in desk, same worn-through chair, same Johnny Chewedpencil charm. Happy Springtime!

Dialogue 10

That's a good article. We can trust Johnny C. to do his research. Now we can pick one of those facts and add it to the article. And then... we can cite the article so readers and other editors know where we got the information from. Exciting!! Ahem, sorry. I get carried away with this whole project sometimes. Isn't it cool? Ok, back to the source. Let's use that great fact about 71% of Earth being covered in water. To add it to the article, click this magic link which will copy and paste it into the editing box in the right place.

Action 7 - Add content to article

Click here to add the sentence from Johnny Chewedpencil's article to the Earth article

Action 8 - Load editing page with added text; highlight text
Article 2

The Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It is one of the four terrestrial planets in hour Solar System. This means most of its mass is solid. The other three are Mercury, Mars. The Earth is also called the Blue Planet, "Planet Earth", and "Terra".

The Earth is home to millions of species of plants and animals, including humans. Earth is the only planet in the galaxy known to support life. Earth has many places that are suitable for humans to live in, although some areas of the planet can be very dangerous, too.

About 71% of Earth's surface is covered in salt water oceans. Earth is the only place in the Solar System where liquid water is known to exist at present.

Dialogue 11

Let's add that and see how it looks. Edit summary ("add info about water on Earth"), Show Preview and Save

Action 9 - Edit summary, Show preview and Save
Dialogue 12

Well, that was fast. Somebody already came by and left a cleanup tag on what we wrote. Hmph! Okay, chin up. Here's what happened and what we do about it. Some editors spend all their time on Wikipedia making sure that the content is in top shape. There's a lot to look at, so when they see something with a problem, they add a tag to the page so editors know to fix it up and readers no to be careful with that information. Hopefully they also leave a note on the article talk page explaining what they think was wrong. Let's check there now.

Action 10 - Highlight article Talk page link

Click here to access the talk page

Message 3

The info you added doesn't even have a source. Does anyone know where this came from???? --Taggy McTaggerstein

Dialogue 13

Okay, stay cool, stay calm, don't get frustrated. Deep breaths, deeeep breaths, deeeeeeeep breaaaaths. Aah. Sorry, I just get a little worked when I don't have time to make improvements before others point it out. But back to you. What would you like to say to this editor so that he knows you understand sourcing policy and were on your way to adding the source (as soon as you learned how).

Interface 3

Choose a response to Taggy McTaggerstein

  • A source? No, but at least I have a life! Sheesh.
  • You're pretty quick there Taggy. I'm glad people like you are looking out for readers. I'll add a source as soon as I get a chance.
  • Hi, um Taggy is it? We need to have a little heart to heart about your 'messages'. I don't like them, not one little eensy weensy bit.
Dialogue 14

Good choice. Staying calm and clear-headed even when others are not so friendly is always the best policy. Stay civil. Be respectful. It pays in the end. Most editors really are friendly and just trying to help improve the encyclopedia. The worst thing to do with a difficult editor is to drop to their level. You took the high road. Congrats. Now let's add that source.

Action 11 - Highlight Edit tab link

Click here to edit the page and cite a source.

Dialogue 15

Citing a source means saying where you found the information in an article. A source used to support information is called a reference, so I'm going to show you how to add a reference in the article and how to do it using an in-text citation. We put the citation in the text so that readers know exactly which sentence the source backs up. Here's how you do it:

  • Find the source - a reliable, published source, and add information from the source on the editing page
  • Place the mouse after the end of the sentence you want to source.
  • Click [Cite] in the editing toolbar
  • Select the type of source (book, web, tv, etc.)
  • Fill out the fields you know about the source (author, date, title, publication, etc.)
  • Click Add Citation
  • Add an edit summary, show preview, and save

It looks like a bunch of steps but it's really easy and once you've done it one time you can do it a thousand times. Trust me. Let's add the in-text citation now.

Action 12 - Citation template walkthrough
  • Highlight cursor after end of sentence - Click after the period to move the cursor
  • Highlight [Cite] in the editing toolbar - Click Cite to add a reference
  • Highlight [Cite Web] in the citation template -Click Cite Web to add a web-based reference
  • Fill out the fields from the source:"Planet Earth in the Balance of History". Chewedpencil, Johnny "newsdesk". CNN Science. March 21, 2010. Retrieved {two weeks ago}
    • Title: Planet Earth in the Balance of History
    • Author last name: Chewedpencil
    • Author first name: Johnny
    • Publication: CMM Science
    • url:
    • publication date: March 21, 2010
    • access date: today
Dialogue 16

That's enough for now. The goal of adding more than just a link to the website is so that anyone can find the article, even if they're not on a computer! Gasp. But it happens. And unfortunately internet links can go bad or 'rot', so the more information the better. Let's see how it looks by clicking Add Citation, and then Show Preview.

Action 13 - Show Preview
Dialogue 17

So that's what it looks like. The reference will just show up as a number inside the article, after the period and superscripted up above the line. At the bottom of the page I'll show you how to make the references automatically show up in full there. You can even click on the numbers to take you directly to the full link at the bottom of the page. It's neat. Okay here's how you make them show up.

  • Click the Edit tab. You're going to make a new section at the bottom of the page. Sections are created by placing == on both sides of the section title, in this case 'References'. So it would be ==References==.
  • Underneath the section title, also called a 'header', type {{reflist}}. Reflist will make all of the sources format in a pretty and organized way.
  • Add an edit summary ("added reference, see discussion on talk page"), Show Preview, and Save

Okay, let's do it.

Action 14 - Edit summary, Show Preview, and Save
Dialogue 18

Look at that! It's like a magic trick. Gosh that gets me every time. I just take so much pride in my--I mean your references. How do you feel about it? Do you feel good? You should, because you're learning. In the next mission, we'll go deeper into the maze. This is fun.

Action 15 - Break or Continue?



Dialogue 1

I don't need to welcome you anymore. You're becoming one of the regulars. It's nice to start feeling like you can make a positive contribution to a project, which is what you're learning how to do. This mission you'll do a little more, helping put your new understanding of adding references to use, and getting to know more about Wikipedia. It looks like your skills are needed again. Have fun!

Action 1 - New messages

Click here to access your talk page.

Message 1

Oh my gosh, {username} that was so great of you to add references. I get it now, but I just don't know how to do it. Maybe you can explain it to me later. Meanwhile I gathered some more sources on the article's talk page--good, reliable published sources, and wondered if you could add them for me. I know... but you're so good at it! I have to run out, but let me know what you think. --GaiaGirl1988

Interface 1

Choose a reply

  • Uch, I hate lazy people!
  • I'll do it today, but just today, and never, ever, ever, never again.
  • Sure, glad to help. It's nice to put my new skills to use. I'm just getting comfortable with it but can show you how later. Have a good day!
Dialogue 2

Good choice. Others on Wikipedia are often just as uninformed as you or more about some issues. Everyone is in a position to help eachother. That said, it's perfectly fine to tell someone you're busy or don't have an interest in a particular task, just try to do it nicely. Let's get back to the Earth article. Use the Search bar to navigate to the page.

Action 2 - Highlight search

Type your search term (Earth) into the search bar and hit Enter

Action 3 - Load updated page
Article 1

The Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It is one of the four terrestrial planets in hour Solar System. This means most of its mass is solid. The other three are Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The Earth is also called the Blue Planet, "Planet Earth", and "Terra".

The Earth is home to millions of species of plants and animals, including humans. Earth is the only planet in the galaxy known to support life. Earth has many places that are suitable for humans to live in, although some areas of the planet can be very dangerous, too.

About 71% of Earth's surface is covered in salt water oceans. Earth is the only place in the Solar System where liquid water is known to exist at present. The other 29% is made of rocky land in the shape of continents and islands. Earth interacts with other objects in the Solar System, particularly the Sun and the Moon. The Earth orbits or goes around the Sun roughly once every 365.25 days. One spin is called a day and one orbit around the Sun is called a year. This is why there are 365 days in a year. Earth has only one moon, known as the Moon.


Shape and structure

Earth is a terrestrial planet. This means it is made up of solid rock unlike a gas giant such as Jupiter. It is the largest out of the four terrestrial planets in mass and diameter. The Earth's shape is an oblate spheroid. This means it is basically a sphere but it bulges around the middle. The circumference of the Earth is about 40,000 kilometers; the average width of the Earth is about 12,700 kilometers. The highest point on Earth is the peak of Mount Everest at 8,848 meters above sea level. The lowest natural point is the bottom of the Mariana Trench at 10,911 meters below sea level. Because of the bulge at the middle or the equator, the farthest point from the Earth's center is the top of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador.

Inside, the Earth is similar to the other terrestrial planets. It has an outer, solid rock layer called the crust. Everything that lives on Earth is on top of the crust. Below that is a layer of thick, semi-liquid rock called the mantle. Under that is a thin liquid layer called the outer core and then the solid iron inner core. The thickness of the crust changes. On land the average is between 30–50 kilometers thick. Under the oceans in some places it is only 6 kilometers thick.

Tectonic plates

The Earth is the only terrestrial planet with active plate tectonics. Due to plate tectonics the Earth's crust basically floats on the thick liquid rock of the mantle below. The crust is split up into parts called plates. These plates interact as they move about causing earthquakes and creating volcanoes and mountain ranges. The place where plates meet are called plate boundaries. There are three types of plate boundary: constructive, destructive and transform.


The Earth changes greatly from place to place. Over 70% of the Earth surface is covered by water. The underwater surface has many of the same features as the above sea with volcanoes, mountains and trenches or canyons. The 30% not covered by water is mostly forests, deserts plains, mountains and plateaus. Human civilization has led to increasing urbanisation — the growth of cities. Many things can change the surface of the Earth. Plate tectonics is main cause of change but there are others such as erosion from wind and rain, erosion by the oceans or meteorite impacts. There are three main types of rock that make up the Earth's surface: Igneous rock is made when magma or lava from the mantle reaches the surface and cools. As it gets colder it turns into rock or solidifies. Sedimentary rock is made from sediment, like sand or small bits of other rock, that has been crushed and packed tightly together. Metamorphic rock which is made when either of the other two types are changed by high or low temperatures and pressures.


A planet's atmosphere is a layer of different gases surrounding it. It is kept there by gravity. The Earth's atmosphere is made of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and small amounts of other gases. This mixture is often called air. Further up there is a layer of ozone gas called the Ozone layer. Ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. Ultraviolet radiation is dangerous to people, so without the Ozone layer life would not be possible. The atmosphere also protects the earth from crashes with meteors and small asteroids. This is because they burn up due to all the friction as they fly through it. It also helps to keep Earth warm. Some gases including carbon dioxide and methane act like a blanket around the Earth, they trap heat under them, keeping the Earth warm.

Weather, climate, and water cycle

Hot air rises. As it rises it gets colder again and falls. This is called convection currents. When hot air meets cold air different weather effects happen. Convection currents are the cause of almost all weather on Earth. When it gets hot on the surface water evaporates and becomes steam or water vapour. This hot water vapour rises. As it rises it gets colder. When it gets cold enough it turns back into water again. This causes the clouds and rain. It is called the water cycle.

Orbit and rotation

The Earth takes about 24 hours to complete one day and about 365 days to complete a year. Actually, the Earth take 365.24 days to revolve around the sun. After every four years, an extra day is added, and the year has 366 days. This is a leap year. The Earth is, on average, 150 million kilometers away from the Sun, and moving at a speed of 30 kilometers a second or 108,000 miles an hour. The Moon orbits the Earth at an average distance of 250,000 miles. It is tidally locked to Earth, which means it always has the same side facing the Earth. It takes roughly one month to complete one orbit. The Earth is part of the Solar System and orbits the sun along with thousands of small objects and eight planets. The Sun, and therefore the Solar System, are currently traveling through the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy and will be for approximately the next 10,000 years.

Dialogue 3

It looks like some other editors have been making additions! That's one of the great things about Wikipedia: you're not alone in your work. Often you'll find complete strangers fixing your typos, adding sources to your writing, or helping add pictures and formatting. Hmm... how can we figure out what has changed since we were last here? Aha, the History page. Remember that from the first mission? Almost every Wikipedia page has a record of every change ever made to it, ever. That's one of the reasons Wikipedia can be so open to editors--since all the changes are public, anyone can see what people do and judge whether it is an improvement. To access it, all you do is click the View History tab at the top of any page.

Action 2 - Highlight View History tab

Click here to access a record of changes to the article

Action 3 - Load History page
Dialogue 4

Ok, this should look a little familiar even though it might seem confusing at first. Remember the watchlist? Your watchlist is actually just a little slice of many page's histories which you have chosen to get updates about. The history page works the same way, except it's all the updates to a single article. Here's a quick review:

(cur | prev) Time Date Editor(talk | contribs) (bytes added or removed) (edit summary)

Each of those pieces tell you something and/or link somewhere useful.

  • cur - brings up a comparison of that version and the current version
  • prev - brings up a comparison of that version and the previous version
  • time and date - tell you when the edit took place
  • editor - tells you who made the change and links to their talk page and list of edits or contributions
  • bytes added - tells you whether content was added or removed, and how much
  • edit summary - where the editor tells you was trying they were trying to do in that edit

So, we want to know what changes in the current version are different from the one we last worked on. To do that, you click prev on the top version (or cur on the one below it--they would be the same comparison). You can compare changes across many edits by using the circle buttons, clicking the right one for the more recent version and the left one for the older version you want to compare it to. Let's do a comparison between the current version and the last one you worked on. A comparison on Wikipedia is also called a 'diff' for difference.

Action 4 - Highlight cur/prev buttons

Click here to compare the changes made between the current version and the version you edited last

Action 5 - Load diff
Dialogue 5

Wow, that's a lot of new content! It's great when other Wikipedia editors work on what you're working on. The name Wikipedia is based on the concept of Wiki, which means quick in Hawaiian. It can make work really fast when many people are able to make changes to the same page. Just remember that this also means people can edit what you write. It takes a little getting used to at first, and can be a good challenge if there are disagreements, but overall this method has worked so well it has produced the entire encyclopedia! Let's see what the editor changed.

Action 6 - Highlight changes in diff
Dialogue 6

The changes on the left are from the older, previous version, and the changes on the right are from the newer, current version. The text in red is what has changed.

Dialogue 7

It looks like editor ProfessorPlanet added these sources a few hours ago. Some editors who work on Wikipedia are experts in their field. Others are just helpful, ordinary folks. On Wikipedia everyone is treated equally and the same rules apply. What is treated differently are good and poor sources, and the content that comes from them. It looks like ProfessorPlanet knows what they are talking about, and they might really be a professor, but we still need to back up the information with a good source. Let's check the article talk page to see if they left a note about their changes.

Action 7 - Highlight article Discussion link

Click here to go to the article talk page

Action 8 - Load talk page
Message 1

I wrote the textbook on planet Earth which I use in my college course. I want to add some of that content to this article. I've left a list of the sources I used for each section below:

  • Shape and structure
"Origin of the Moon and Earth". Reisch, Maggy. Volume 10:2, p.19-27. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  • Tectonic plates
"Shifting Sands". Roberts, Paul. Harvard University Press. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  • Surface
Toshiro Tanimoto. "Crustal of the Earth". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
"The Crust". Alphonz, Edgar. Oregon State University. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
  • Atmosphere
"NASA - Earth's atmosphere". NASA Student Guides. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
  • Weather, climate, and water cycle
"What causes weather?". NASA Student Guides. Retrieved 2009-08-06
  • Orbit and rotation
"Earth's in the Milky Way". NASA Student Guides. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
Dialogue 8

Oh good, he didn't just write from his own personal knowledge. Even experts cannot be used as sources unless they use a reliable, published source they have written like a book, magazine, academic journal, or respected website. It looks like we're going to be adding some more references! There are actually two ways to add references to an article. The first one you learned used the Cite button on the editing toolbar. That way uses citation templates to help you fill out the fields with information about the source. Sometimes, like with ProfessorPlanet's sources, the references are already formatted properly. In that case we can use the Reference button. On the editing toolbar it looks like a book with a red string bookmark. When you click it, it will add reference tags <ref>...</ref>. These tell the system that in between the ref tags will be a reference. The reference will appear on the bottom of the page in the References section when "reflist" is added with {{}} marks around it. Since ProfessorPlanet's sources are ready to go, you can simply use the Reference button when your cursor is in the right places and add those references between the ref tags.

Interface 1

Using the edit toolbar and the Reference button, add these references at the end of the sentence in the last paragraph of each section.

  • Copy the reference
  • Click the edit page link
  • Find the section you want to source
  • Place the cursor at the end of the sentence or sentences you are sourcing, after the period.
  • Click the reference icon on the toolbar (red book)
  • Paste or type the reference between the ref tags
  • If there's more than one reference for a section, place them immediately after eachother.
  • Edit summary, Show Preview, and Save
  • To make the references automatically show up, add: ==References==

to the bottom of the article

Dialogue 9

Nice work. You're a real pro at this.

Action 9 - You have new message
Dialogue 10

Hey, it looks like you have a new message! Check it out...

Action 10 - Click here to check your talk page
Action 11 - Load talk page
Message 2

You have been granted the Barnstar of References, for your exemplary work adding published, reliable sources to Wikipedia articles! Keep up the good work.

Dialogue 11

How about that, it's nice to be noticed for good work. Now that you've developed some skills, lets see what else is happening in this great, big place.

Action 12 - Break or continue?



Dialogue 1

Hi! Now that you know the basics, let's get a little more familiar with the Wikipedia project. This mission is about what Wikipedia is and what makes it successful. To start, let's visit the main page and take a look around. The main page is Wikipedia's front door, where thousands of readers every day get started on their reading and editing. The link is easy to find, you can either click on the big globe in the top left of the page or you can click on the Main page link in the left-hand sidebar.

Action 1 - Highlight Wikipedia Globe and Main page link

Click here to visit Wikipedia's Main Page

Dialogue 2

While were looking at it, let me tell you a little about the Globe. To begin with, like almost everything on this site, it was designed by an editing volunteer. No matter what your specialty or skill set, there's an area of Wikipedia that can benefit from it. There are people who only work on images, people who help fix typos, people who do research, people who cleanup edits by unconstructive editors, and people who do a little bit of everything. Whatever you can contribute, it helps, and there is always lots to do. Back to the globe... If you look closely, you'll see different symbols on each piece. Those represent the different languages that have a Wikipedia encyclopedia. That's right, in addition to the English Wikipedia there are Wikipedias in 266 languages! In some languages, Wikipedia is the only encyclopedia that has ever existed. This is a very special project, and for many people it gives them access to information they otherwise could not access, understand, or afford. Wikipedia's stated mission is to give every person on the planet access to the sum total of the world's encyclopedic information. Isn't that a wonderful goal? Let's see what's happening on the main page.

Dialogue 3

The main page is updated every day, but it includes some regular sections. On the top left is the day's Featured Article. Featured Articles show off the best that Wikipedia has to offer. These are articles that are complete, well sourced, neutral, and well-written. They have been gone over with a fine-tooth comb to fix any errors. You may have been reading an article with a star on the top right, that means it was given the Featured Article rating.

Action 2 - Highlight Featured article
Dialogue 4

What's so impressive about Wikipedia is that even the articles featured on its main page are usually open for anyone to edit. Even you! Keep in mind, of course, that those pages typically have a few hundred people who are watching them closely that day, so it's unlikely any changes will get through that are not good improvements. Even Featured articles are not perfect--everything on Wikipedia is in a constant state of advancement.

Action 3 - Highlight Featured article link

Click here to go to the Featured article

Dialogue 4

You'll notice a few things about Featured articles. For one, they have a lot of content. They are 'complete', because they cover every major aspect of a subject. They also have nice introductions which summarize the body of the article. They have good images to illustrate the content in the article. They have references for every statement. They are pretty much finished, even though no article is ever truly finished. One day, with some time and practice, you can work on an article which will be featured on the main page. Let's go back there now.

Action 4 - Highlight In the news section
Dialogue 5

You'll notice to the right of the featured article is the 'In the news' section. This is where current events go. Even though Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and not a news website, we still cover events that have received significant attention from... published, reliable sources. You guessed it! Remember those 3 words! Below the news section, the 'On this day' section has links to articles which are about events that have anniversaries today.

Action 5 - Highlight Did You Know section
Dialogue 6

To the left of that is the 'Did you know' section. This is a cool section where articles that are very new or very recently expanded can have an interesting clip from them highlighted. Full or great, random facts!

Action 6 - Highlight Featured Picture section
Dialogue 7

This is where the best photographs submitted by Wikipedia editors go. Wikipedia actually has a sister website which deals only with free images and files, which I'll tell you more about a little later. A few more things to point out on this page...

Action 7 - Highlight Other areas of Wikipedia
Dialogue 8

We won't spend much time here today, but just know that Wikipedia is a very big and busy place and there's somewhere to discuss almost anything. The Community Portal is a place we'll definitely visit. The Help Desk you've been to already. The reference desk is where you can ask real questions about researching subjects, just like in a real library. The Village Pump is our community water cooler, where all kinds of interesting discussions happen about how to improve the encyclopedia. Moving on down...

Dialogue 9

Remember that sister project I mentioned? Well there are actually 8 of them. It's a big family. Each one takes on a different slice of the world of information, images, news, definitions, quotations, books, documents, species, and instruction books. Still, just between us Wikipedia is by far the most active of all of them combined.

Dialogue 10
  • Commons: Images and other media
  • Wikinews: News
  • Wiktionary: Dictionary and thesaurus

Wikiquote: Quotations Wikibooks: Any kind of publication Wikisource: Source documents Wikispecies: Species encyclopedia Wikiversity: Instruction

Dialogue 11

Free is a very important word around here. There are two kinds of free in this world, free as in really cheap, and free as in anyone can do whatever they want with it. Wikipedia content is both. It has not cost to read, and you can reuse it, remix it, or even sell it. Really. But that's not why were here. Almost all editors work for nothing but love of the project's mission. Any profit that comes from this is purely a bonus. Oh, one more thing. All of those sister projects share a site for coordination called Meta-Wiki. Here's one more fact: Wikipedia and all of the sister projects are actually run by a non-profit organization called the Wikimedia Foundation. Every year, cute donation banners pop up on Wikipedia which are from the Wikimedia Foundation. The Foundation also keeps the servers running, and develops the software and a bunch of other stuff. Did you know Wikipedia is among the top five most visited websites in the world, but it has the smallest budget and fewest employees of any of the top 10 sites?

Action 8 - Highlight Wikipedia languages
Dialogue 12

Just below, at the bottom of the page is the list of all the Wikipedias. As I mentioned before, English Wikipedia is not the only one. 13 million articles in 269 languages. Remarkable. A few more little things.

Action 9 - Highlight CC license, sequential list of items
Dialogue 13

Do you see all of that small text at the bottom?

  • The first part is about freedom and copyrights. It means that Wikipedia is released free for anyone to use, modify, or sell as long as they give credit back to Wikipedia and others who use the content afterward do the same.
Action 10 - Highlight Sidebar menu, first toolbox
Dialogue 14

Coming up around the left, you'll see the sidebar menu

  • First there's a list of Wikipedias in different languages
  • Then there's Print/Export. You can actually make, download, print, or buy electronic and bound paper copies of Wikipedia articles. Make your own book!
  • Toolbox has some handy links for editors. You can find out what other pages link to the page you're reading, what has changed recently on those articles, the link for uploading a file, a link to "special" pages (I'll give you a hint, History and Watchlist are some of them), and a permanent link if you want to visit an article.
Action 11 - Highlight interaction links, click to visit each one.
Dialogue 15

The interaction links are for getting involved.

  • "About Wikipedia" is a great overview of the project. One its neat features is an updated counter of how many articles, edits, and editors are active. Let's check today!
Action 12 - Highlight About Wikipedia link

Click to find out information about the project

Action 13 - Load updated page
Dialogue 16
  • 3,648,651 articles, and 24,084,860 pages
  • 465,231,474 edits.
  • 845,104 uploaded files.
  • 14,660,108 registered users, including 1,789 administrators.

What an amazing collection of people and ideas! On Wikipedia you may just be 1 in 14.6 million, but you matter. Every article and every link and every bit of code was put in place by someone's hands (ok, or by a computer program they wrote to do it for them. Wikipedians are dedicated and crafty folks).

Dialogue 17
  • The community portal is where you'll find the most centralized location for what's happening and what's being worked on. Let's swing by for a look.
Action 14 - Highlight community portal

Click here to see what's happening in the community.

Action 15 - Load real/mock community portal page
Dialogue 18

The community portal is like a giant bulletin board of ongoing discussions, maintenance tasks, and news. On the right is The Signpost. That's Wikipedia's own weekly community newspaper. It comes out every monday and gives a great look at what has happened that week both on the site, in the news, and with the Wikimedia Foundations projects.

Action 16 - Highlight The Signpost
Dialogue 19

Scrolling down you'll notice Centralized Discussions. With so many pages, ideas, and topics being debated every day, this is a place to find the most pressing ones, the changes that would most likely effect you as an editor. RfC stands for 'request for comment', which is Wikipedia's way of asking people to give their opinion. Although we have a very democratic structure, we don't vote here. We try to talk about all sides of an issue, make compromises, and come to a consensus, an agreement.

Centralized Discussions (mock-up with perennial proposals)
  • RfC to permit advertising on the site
  • RfC to add Facebook like buttons
  • RfC to only allow registered editors to make changes
  • RfC allow any Copyrighted images to be used on the site
  • RfC to give Administrators 2 year terms
  • RfC to give the Arbitration Committee more governing power
Dialogue 20

Interesting stuff. So far the community has decided to keep Wikipedia ad-free, separate from social media, and open for anyone to edit. We also have a pretty conservative position on using Copyrighted work. Even though Wikipedia is free for anyone to use, we can't just copy other people's work and include it in the encyclopedia, only in very particular circumstances. There is that 'administrator' word again. Who are they? Wikipedia are a group of regular editors with some special rights. They have the ability to delete pages, add protections summarize complex discussions, and place blocks on editors who are causing a lot of trouble for the site. We don't punish people here, but we do make sure the project is safe and running smoothly (or as smooth as 14 million volunteers can be). Last, what's the Arbitration Committee? They're like a supreme court for Wikipedia. When an issue can't be resolved anywhere else, the Arbitration Committee, which is sometimes called "ArbCom," steps in to make a decision for the community.

Dialogue 21

Wrapping this up, at the bottom of the Community portal page are all kinds of links for where to help and how to collaborate. It looks like a lot at first--like I said, anything you can imagine being worked on on Wikipedia, someone is trying to do, and they could always use your help.

Action 17 - Highlight recent changes link
Dialogue 22

The last link in the sidebar I want to show you (last one for this mission, I promise) is the recent changes page. You've seen article histories and watchlists. The recent changes link is the watchlist of the entire encyclopedia. It's the history of all 465 million changes (loaded a few at a time). This feed is like the part in the movie The Matrix -- you can see what is happening in the background.

Dialogue 23

Ok, it's time for a snack. In the next mission we'll go back to Earth and see how to work well with other editors, even in tricky situations, and with great results. See you there!

Action 18 - Break or continue


Dialogue 1

Are you ready? This mission you're going to deal with some of the challenges of working in a wiki-environment. Anyone can edit a wiki, and that makes them amazingly good at gathering lots of content, since everyone can contribute a little piece (or a big piece). Sometimes, however, two people will have different ideas about what to add or what to remove or how to say something. Let's see how Wikipedia deals with these situations.

Dialogue 2

Start out by going to the earth article. Here's a shortcut to get to it. Type in, but place the article name where it is capitalized.

Action 1 - Load page from browser address
Dialogue 3

Whenever you visit an article, it's a good idea to check the talk page. Even if you don't see any obvious changes or if the article History hasn't changed, someone might have left a comment for discussion. Great editors use the talk page.

Action 2 - Highlight Discussion tab

Click here to go to the talk page.

Message 1

I just want to say that I disagree with the recent changes to the article. It's too long now. And there's too much science and not enough pop culture. Who lives on earth and who is famous there? That's what I want to know. Also, all of these references are a bit much, don't you think? Does anyone disagree that Earth is a planet? I mean, really. It's right here, don't we know what it is? Duh. --SurelySam15

Dialogue 4

Disagreements on Wikipedia can take all kinds of forms. Here's one that is a combination of length, focus, and format. The editor feels pretty confident about his position. What should you do?

Dialogue 5

The best advice in almost any situation on Wikipedia is to stay cool. We have a saying here that you should "focus on the content not the contributor", meaning that however you respond, it's best to leave out your opinion of the other person or their motivations. Editors are not all the same (and that's a good thing) but one thing that is the same is every editor is a person behind their username. Treat them in a civil way, a respectful way, even a kind way, to get the best results. So what should we do? Here are some steps.

  • Stay cool. Be clear and polite. There's no point to getting flustered or angry. If you're right, enough other editors should see your point. And if you're wrong, getting annoyed won't help.
  • Break out the issues. Disputes that have many pieces are easier to handle one at a time. Most discussions are simpler this way.
  • Write out your position. You have a position. That's good. What is it and why do you think it?
  • Get others opinions. Many people have specific knowledge and experience. Use them for best results.
  • Read up on policy. Almost any issue has a policy or advice page on it. Try to find out what the community approach is before assuming you are correct.
  • Build consensus. Get as many people as you can on the same page. Sort out the remaining issues with a good compromise.
Dialogue 6

So there are three issues, length, focus, and references. Let's resolve each one. Now that you have gotten a clear head about things, think about your position. What do you think the length of an article should be? What do you think articles should focus on; how about this one? Do you really need references for everything? Now it's time to get other's opinions and read up on policy. There are a number of places where editors can get second, third, or 12th opinions. Here are a few:

  • The Help Desk: this is always a good starting point.
  • Noticeboards: these are places that editors gather to handle specific issues.
  • WikiProjects: these are groups that work on specific subjects. The groups often have active talk pages.
  • Editors you trust: you can always invite someone you've worked with before to help out. Try to ask people from both sides of an issue.
Dialogue 7

Let's try out a few of these. The basic idea is to leave people a note explaining the situation and ask them to comment. One good habit is to ask your questions in a neutral way, so that you can get an unbiased opinion back (Wikipedia is all about being neutral). Let's start at the help desk. You can get there by typing in Wikipedia Help Desk to the search bar. Note that if you just type in "Help Desk", you'll go to an encyclopedia article about them (don't worry, it has a friendly note pointing people who are looking for the Help Desk to the right place). Help pages and policy pages are not in 'article-space' but 'Wikipedia-space' or 'help space'. They're like different parts of town. Right now we're going to Help Town.

Action 3 - Highlight Search bar

Type in Wikipedia Help Desk and click Enter

Dialogue 8

You've been here before. To ask a question, click [new section] at the top. What do you want to ask?

Interface 1
  • This teenage dummy thinks we should have short articles on Brittany and Madonna with no references. What do you think?
  • I have a question about a comment about an article on the encyclopedia. Can you help?
  • I'm working on the Earth article and there's a talk page discussion about article length, article focus, and references. Where can I get some advice about these?
Action 4 - Insert comment into text box
Dialogue 9

Good choice! Never personally attack another editor, even if they have said a pretty boneheaded thing. There are ways to handle rude editors, but don't become one of them is the best tip I can give you. Also, make sure you give people enough information to respond right away. Tell them what article you're working on, where discussion is happening, and what it's about. Then ask for something specific.

Dialogue 10

Now sign (~~~~) your comment, leave an edit summary ("Help on Earth"), Preview, and Save

Action 10 - show preview and save
Dialgoue 11

Okay, it's been a while. Let's add this page to our watchlist and then check to see if anyone has responded. (You could also visit the page again or reload it in your browser).

Action 11 - Highlight Watchlist link

Click here to see changes to the articles you're following.

Action 11 - Load Watchlist
(diff | hist) . . Help:Help Desk‎; 16:42 . . (+462) . . NeverSleepsAWink‎ (talk | contribs) (reply to {Username}, where to look)
Dialogue 12

Click on the Help:Help Desk link to go to the page.

Action 12 - Highlight link in Watchlist

Click here to go to the help desk page.

Message 2

{Username}. Thanks for bringing your question here. It's always good to ask.

  • The issue of length is handled by our Manual of Style (MOS); articles should be long enough to cover all major topics in an article, but not so long they are hard to read or would be better split into pieces.
  • The issue of article focus is handled by our Neutral Point of View policy; articles should focus on the aspects of a subject which get the most attention in the best sources. Articles should only focus on popular culture if it's an article specifically about that topic or person. On Earth it's best to focus on the science, since the best sources do too.
  • The issue of references is handled by our Verifiability policy. It says that any material challenged or likely to be challenged must have a citation to back it up from a published, reliable source. Very obvious plain facts like 'water freezes into ice' don't need a reference, but everything else can have one.

Hope this helps. If you want more advice you can ask at the Manual of Style Talk page, the NPOV noticeboard, or the Reliable Sources noticeboard. Sweet dreams! --NeverSleepsAWink

Dialogue 13

Well, that was a great response. Okay, it sounds like the article should be long enough to cover each major area, and it should not be about popular culture, since there are other articles about that. And references are a good thing to add, definitely. Do you want to ask for another opinion on one of the talk pages or noticeboards? Maybe if SurelySam still doesn't agree. Let's go back and write him a response. To get there, search for Earth in the search box or use

Action 13 - Highlight Search box and browser address bar

Search or type the URL to return to earth

Dialogue 14

Click on the discussion link.

Action 14 - Highlight Discussion link

Click here

Dialogue 15

To respond, click the [Edit] link in the section. Let's write back.

Interface 2
  • Ha, ha, you were wrong!
  • I got some answers at the help desk and they said I'm right.
  • I asked at the Help Desk and they pointed me to the Manual of Style, NPOV, and Verification policies. We should focus on all major aspects of a subject but leave pop culture for other articles. And references are important, but I agree we don't need to cite even the most obvious things. What do you think?
Dialogue 15

Good choice! It's never a good idea to rub a dispute in someone's face. It makes them feel like they lost and these are editors you want to help and encourage. Also, you'll likely run into them later and want to keep things positive. And whenever you say something you want to try and back it up with details and an explanation. This helps everyone get to consensus faster. Put the comment through with an edit summary ("feedback from Help Desk"), Preview and Save.

Action 15 - Show preview and Save
Dialogue 16

We've already added Earth to the watchlist and any time you add an article it watches the talk page too. Check the watchlist to see if you've gotten a response.

Action 16 - Hightlight Watchlist link

Click here to check for recent responses.

Action 17 - Load updated Watchlist
Dialogue 17

Well that was fast! Looks like SurelySam wrote back. Let's go to the page to see his response.

Action 18 - Highlight article talk page link in watchlist entry

Click here to check the response

Message 3

Okay. I think I understand now. I'm used to reading shorter articles but I agree we should mention the big subjects. It just gets a little hard for me, ya know? It will be sad not to read about more celebrity gossip--there's a lot of it on Earth--but I guess I can find another place to read about it. [Sigh]. I'll be okay. I guess I wasn't totally clear before about references. I agree we should cite the important scientific details just not the ones that are so obvious they're like duh. So we agree! Have a fun day!! --SurelySam15

Dialgoue 18

Oh, that feels better. It's always nice to come to consensus. Sometimes it just takes a few editors to give their opinions and discuss the issues to reach a good understanding or compromise. So all is well on Earth! Next mission we'll turn our eyes to style and format and make this article really professional looking, up to standards. I'll see you there. Hey, let's just take a peak at the Earth article one more time. It's nice to see our work, isn't it?

Action 19 - Highlight Read tab

Click here to go to the article

Action 20 - Load updated (vandalized article)
Dialogue 19

What? What happened to all of our work?

Action 21 - Break or continue



Dialogue 1

Remember what I said before, stay cool. Wikipedia can have moments where things seem a bit out of sorts, but it only takes a clear head, a little help, and a few fixes to get it back in tip-top shape. One reality of being open for anyone to edit is that some editors don't want to improve the encyclopedia. Instead they undo someone's work, or leave a silly note. Wikipedia works because there are so many eyes looking at it, and even when something goes wrong it doesn't stay wrong for long. So let's see what happened and fix it. Go to the Earth article, see what changed, and check the page History.

Action 1 - Highlight search box

Type Earth here and search

Action 2 - Load updated (vandalized) article
Article 1

The Earth is a candy bar from the banana. The Earth is also called the Highway, "gold record", and "groovy".

It is traveling through the Milky Way. It's made of chocolate.

Dialogue 2

Every now and again someone will edit an article in an unconstructive way. It's like graffiti on a Subway car. Except Wikipedia is a very high-tech subway car. In addition to having a whole team of computers and editors monitoring changes, we also are made of bytes not metal. Remember the page history and recent changes. Everything that happens here is recorded, and since it's recorded, it's a snap to undo. Let's check out the page history.

Action 3 Highlight View History

Click here to view the article's history

Action 4 Load page History

(cur | prev) 20:22, 2 June 2011‎ TrblMkr(talk | contribs)‎ . . (27 bytes) (-1,489)‎ (undo)

Dialogue - 3

You can see the most recent edit at the top. Looks like TrblMkr was staying true to his name. You can see the date and time of his edit as well as how it changed the size of the page. Looks like he took away quite a bit. Over on the right is a link to [Undo] the edit. Undoing an edit goes back to the previous version. You can always undo an edit that's obviously vandalism, but be careful about undoing edits that you just disagree with. It's better to discuss it on the article's Talk page first. Let's get rid of that vandalism.

Action 5 - Highlight Undo link

Click here to undo the last edit

Action 6 - Load undo page with Diff
Dialogue 4

At the top of the page is the 'diff' of what your edit will change. You can see that it gets rid of the vandalism and puts back the article as it was before. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll see the edit summary. It's already filled out for you, but you can add a brief not explaining the undo.

Interaction 1 - Edit summary choices
  • A) Don't be a jerk TrblMkr, or I'll hunt you down
  • B) Please!!!! DOn't ToUCH MY artiCLE!!
  • C) Undoing vandalism and content blanking
  • D) I can't believe I have to waste my time cleaning up after these fools.
Dialogue 5

Good choice. There's no need to make threats, shout, or gripe. Vandalism happens and it's best to just undo it and move on. You can also leave a note on the editor's talk page letting them know that there are better ways they can contribute to the community. Leaving a note also lets other editors see when there is a pattern of bad behavior. If it happens enough (usually 4 times), the editor can be blocked. Don't forget to stay positive if you leave a warning message; some of our best editors started out as vandals.

Level message[edit]


Non-active link

In Wikipedia you can click through to any page any time. For this tutorial we've made it a bit simpler. Graduate and you'll have free reign of the place!

Wrong message

The most important thing is to be respectful. Then to be useful. Try another choice.

Wrong edit

You're so close! Try again, giving the directions one more read through. If you are stuck, check the cheatsheet.

Badwords username

That's probably not the best choice. Try and pick something which is suitable for the entire community. There are grandmothers here!

Badwords edit

You seem to be adding text which is not encyclopedic. Please try again.

Interface choice

That was a good try! Look one more time and give it another shot!

Reference location

So close! Try and put the reference after the sentence which it supports. You can do it.