Welcome aboard! We're glad you wish to help develop Wikipedia, and we hope you enjoy participating in this virtual community as much as we do. As a new contributor, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of this project (which includes over 100,000 regular participants)...
...but don't worry, things will become easier and clearer as you go, and if you have any problems, there will always be other Wikipedians happy to help, see Wikipedia:Requests for more information. There are some resources set forth below to help you get started. Good luck and have fun! -- The Wikipedia Welcoming Committee
If you would like to get a good overview of the project and how it works you could read through the introductory page which is found at Wikipedia:Contributing to Wikipedia. The same basic information can be seen at the Wikipedia:Tutorial. There is also Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Adventure, a 7-mission interactive guided tour which covers all the basics about editing and the expectations and norms of the Wikipedia community.
To browse help related pages see the help menu or help directory. Or you can use the search box at Help:contents (accessed at any time by clicking Help displayed on the left side of all pages). There is also a copy of a comprehensive published book, at Wikipedia: The Missing Manual.
Tip: Sign your name - At the end of your comments simply type four tildes (~), like this:
~~~~. If you are using the edit toolbar option (it usually appears above the edit screen by default), click the signature icon: or , to add the four tildes; this will automatically produce your username and the time, aiding the flow of discussion.
To understand Wikipedia, it is easiest to think of this website as having two types of pages: pages that are part of the encyclopedia itself, and pages of the community (used by contributors to help build and operate the encyclopedia).
To find your way around the encyclopedia, either enter a term into the search box at the top-right side of the screen, or go to Wikipedia's table of contents. Clicking on links like this one will take you to relevant or related pages. If you know the name of the topic you are looking for, simply type it into Wikipedia's search box and press Go.
If you would like to look around Wikipedia to see what's on it, keep in mind that many major subjects have a root article on the Portal:Contents/Overviews page and an outline on the Portal:Contents/Outlines page.
There are some other "Tables of Contents" type pages on Wikipedia. They are:
Wikipedia also has an alphabetical index of all of its articles, and a categorical index of most of them.
Wikipedia's community pages include instructions, help pages, policies and guidelines, processes, discussion forums, places to make requests, pages to report problems, and user pages. These are all pages which we use to develop the encyclopedia and to communicate with each other in that mission. We even have an online newspaper, The Signpost, that reports on developments that affect the encyclopedia and its community, from within and abroad.
Some directories to help you find your way around the community are:
- See also
- Collaboration groups
WikiProjects are social groups of contributors (anyone may join them), who work together as a team to improve Wikipedia. These groups often focus on a specific topic area (for example, women's history) or a specific kind of task (for example, copyediting). WikiProject are one of the central places for editor collaboration and the organization of specific topics. The English Wikipedia currently has over 2,000 WikiProjects and they all have a variety of tasks to get done (for example, Canadian articles to improve).
If you've made a mistake and wish to undo it, revert it. Here's how: click history at the top of the page you made the mistake on. Then click on undo at the end of the first line which is your edit. Then save page. See more detailed instructions at Help:Reverting.
There are two main styles of help on Wikipedia: self-help and assistance...
Self-help involves reading the help and instruction pages around Wikipedia. Some very informative self-help pages are:
When you get stuck, confused, or befuddled, assistance is available on Wikipedia's "desk" and "request" pages - use these when self-help hasn't provided you with an answer:
Almost anyone on these lists will help you as well:
Searching Wikipedia with regular expressions (regex)
To search all of Wikipedia using regex, you need to download the Wikipedia database and do the search offline with AutoWikiBrowser's Database Scanner. Activate it from the tools menu in AutoWikiBrowser (AWB). It returns the names of the pages that match your query, which you can have sent directly to AWB's list maker (then you can use AWB to view them all). The Database Scanner has many features, and each query can be easily configured to match, exclude, specify namespaces, ignore redirects, etc. as you see fit.
To a lesser extent, regex (regular expressions) can be used online to search Wikipedia in the following ways:
- To search Wikipedia titles with regex, use Grep.
- WikEd, the full-featured Wikipedia integrated text editor for Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome web browsers, can do regex searches within the current page (in the edit window). Enable WikEd from your user Preferences in Gadgets.
- AutoWikiBrowser can do regex search/replaces, on a list of articles that you provide it.