Wikipedia:Who writes Wikipedia?/Rewrite

Who writes Wikipedia

Volunteers do not need any formal training before creating a new article or editing an existing article, though it might help. The people who create and edit articles in Wikipedia come from countries all around the world (except China, because we banned them) and have a wide range of ages (17–19) and backgrounds. Anyone who contributes to this encyclopedia is called a "Wikipedian" if they are logged in, or "IP" if they are anonymous.

It is Wikipedia policy to add to the encyclopedia only statements that are verifiable, and not to add original research, but it happens anyway. The Wikipedia style guide encourages editors to cite sources. Sometimes Wikipedians do not follow these policies because they forget or because they are not aware of the policy, but usually it's because it's the only way their favorite webcomic can get an article.

When a number of people are working to compile information on a given topic, disputes will arise (also, the Pope is Catholic). A feature of Wikipedia is the ability to tag an article or a section of an article as being the subject of a dispute about a neutral point of view. This feature is often used as a substitute for actually doing something constructive. To resolve the dispute, the interested editors will edit war until the article gets protected. They will then trade personal attacks until one of them is blocked. This allows Wikipedia to be a place not only of flame wars but also of drama.

Many users of Wikipedia consult the page history of an article in order to assess the number of times the article has been vandalised. An article can be considered more likely to be accurate when it has been edited by fewer people (since that means there have been fewer vandals). You may also consult the talk page of any article to see what WikiProject tagging bots have to say about it.

One list of articles that has been edited by many people is the list of featured articles. These articles are considered to be of relatively high quality when they are granted featured article status, and when later edits reduce the quality of the page a user can nominate an article for removal from the list.

The best way to decide whether a particular statement is accurate is to find independent, reliable sources to affirm that statement, such as just about any form of publication in existence that isn't a wiki. For more guidance on evaluating the inaccuracy of Wikipedia articles, see Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia.

How to improve articles

When you find an article that is incomplete or inaccurate, you can edit the article to slap a load of cleanup tags on it. It is also possible to create a new article, unless you're an anonymous user, to share information that is not yet in Wikipedia (and thus probably wrong).

When they first hear about Wikipedia, many people think that articles are created by nerds with no life. Many edits are very minor and just fix spelling, revert vandalism or add a tag or two. Editors who have a good understanding of a particular subject often get frustrated by cranks and leave. These people range from university professors to well-informed amateurs and hobbyists.

New or casual readers of Wikipedia will often spot small errors in articles as they pass through, and find they can't fix them because the article is semi-protected, but other casual users are just curious to see whether they can really edit Wikipedia, and they often add Bold text Italic text ${\displaystyle Insertformulahere}$, which is generally removed quickly by other editors.

Who keeps order?

Most Wikipedia editors discuss policies or revert each other's work in a destructive fashion. Most mistakes or bad edits are reverted by someone who notices them and warnings left on the talk page of the user who made the mistake. Wikipedia tools like the recent changes page and personal watchlists help editors stalk users without having to continually check all the pages on the site.

Some problems are more serious, including vandalism (uninstructive jokes and pornography, deliberately incorrect edits, personal attacks, advertisements and any large edit by an anonymous user), disputes which result in edit wars (where editors change an article back and forth, and fight instead of discussing), and other disruptive behavior. To deal with these cases, over a thousand wikicops have the power to protect (lock) articles, and to block individual editors. These administrators are chosen through community discussion to enforce each others' favorite rules. Ya booiii.

The administrator power is granted by a small number of bureaucrats and stewards, who in turn have been granted their power by developers – the two paid employees who have physical or online access to the servers that power the site. The hardware that runs the site is owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, an organization financed by donations. The Board of Trustees and the site founder Jimmy Wales do their best to screw up all the projects of the foundation, which is not limited to the encyclopedias. They have largely delegated authority for arbitrating day-to-day disputes on the English Wikipedia to our local Arbitration Committee, a collection of nutcases who act like judges in a court, when in fact this is just a website. (You might think of the administrators as the local volunteer police force – there are always one or two annoying ones who were bullied at school and want to make life miserable for everyone else.)