Wikipedia:WikiAfrica/Get started

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Get Started! Logo WikiAfrica Palabre.jpg

How to get started on Wikipedia

Get started, click on the [edit] button.

Every article on Wikipedia was started by someone using the editing tool on the site to create an article. Usually, an article begins as a "stub". This is the first attempt at defining a topic. Once the article is up, another Wikipedian expands it, while another contributor may shrink it again. Editors have many different functions: some edit for style, others for typos, others add references or verify a fact, and others update the information in the article.

WikiAfrica needs you to contribute your knowledge of Africa to Wikipedia. Here is how you can do it. The steps below are a way of getting you started and guiding you towards becoming a Wikipedian.

Create an Account[edit]

You have to be logged in to make changes to an article. (You can edit without logging in, but that is not recommended and you may not be able to edit all articles as some are blocked from non-logged in users) Users with accounts have the ability to start new pages, edit semi-protected pages (if they are autoconfirmed), rename pages, and upload images. Other benefits include having your own user page, a personal watchlist, and eventually the potential to become an administrator.

It is easy to register, follow these four steps.

  1. To register, go to the Main page
  2. Go to top right hand corner and click on "create account".
  3. Fill in the fields, and click the “create account” button at the bottom. (Note: Providing your email address is not mandatory. However, should you forget your password, you will not be able to reset, as Wikipedia will not know where to send the reset link to.)
  4. Once successful, there is an Introduction page, where you can find out everything you need to get started.

Remember: Once in your user page, identify yourself as part of the WikiAfrica project by copying this banner {{WikiAfrica member}} and pasting it on to your discussion page. This allows us to track how many articles have been added or edited.

Now you can edit[edit]

Aliu Amadu literally wrote the first article of the Peul Wikipedia, Ndimaagu, about wisdom

Wikipedia will not allow you to create an article until you have made at least 10 edits. These can be any kind of edit on any article. To edit, find an article that you know something about and that can be improved, and make it better. Or you could improve the spelling and grammar, rewrite articles for readability, add content, or remove non-constructive edits. If you wish to add new facts, you must try to provide references so the facts can be verified, or suggest them on the article's discussion page.

To edit an article, follow these steps.

  1. Use the Search window in the top right corner to find an article that you know something about, or look at the list of articles that need expanding on the individual Projects pages.
  2. Once you've found what you want to edit, click on the "Edit" tab above the article (on the right) or the edit tab next to the section in question.
  3. Wikipedia has its own way of formatting and styling text. Take a moment to look at the tool bar above the article. With the toolbar you can help to format the text so that it fits into Wikipedia's formatting style. Click here, for a cheat sheet on formatting
  4. You can add, change or delete the content/references/external links.
  5. You can check how your edit will look before saving the page by clicking on “preview”.
  6. If you contribute content to a page that relates to Africa, identify this article as part of the WikiAfrica project by copying this banner {{WikiAfrica}} and pasting it on to the discussion page (click on "discussion" on the top left above the article's title) of each article that you contribute to.
  7. Add the User:SuggestBot Template Tag to your User Talk page, and receive articles you can improve weekly.
  8. When finished, click 'Save page' and your edit is complete.

Tip for Editing: To keep up with the pages that you have edited or, later on, created, add the pages to 'your watchlist. For more information on the watchlist, look at the video tutorial at the bottom of this page.

Start an article[edit]

How to create a Wikipedia article.

Once you have made your 10 edits, you can start an article. Before you start an article, bear the following in mind:

  • Your account must be at least 4 days old.
  • You must not copy and paste an article directly from a document that has been published, or is on the Internet.
  • You must write facts (though not commercially) not opinion. Do not use words like: exclusively, exciting, etc.

To start an article:

  1. Go to the Article Wizard. The Wizard will take you through 6 steps. Read each step carefully otherwise the article will be removed.
  2. Once the article has been created, and until it is ready to be moved onto Wikipedia, it will be in your user page.
  3. Identify this article as part of the WikiAfrica project by copying this banner {{WikiAfrica}} and pasting it on to the discussion page (click on "discussion" on the top left above the article's title) of each article that you start.

Tips for writing an article Logo WikiAfrica Palabre.jpg

Wikipedia has a number of rules that ensure the on-going quality of the encyclopedia. Besides the set ways of formatting the information, all of Wikipedia's official policies and guidelines are based on five pillars that make Wikipedia what it is. By following the tips below when writing your article, you will help to maintain these pillars – and will also ensure that your article is not put up for deletion. This is just an introduction. Once you get started, you will want to get more tips on how to navigate and edit on Wikipedia. To get more tips, click here.

Maintain neutrality and cite sources

Wikipedia strives to be neutral. Remember, you have a point of view. Think about whether your edits or the information in your article is putting only your point of view across, or if other users will think it is biased. If you are unsure, leave a note in the discussion page (above the title of the article in the left hand corner). This will allow for constructive debate and editing rather than an edit war.Wikipedia articles should be neutral. When writing about facts, cite sources that verifiy the information you've presented. Stick to a factual style even when writing about fiction or opinions.


How to cite sources.

It is important that the information in Wikipedia is true and accurate. Therefore, one of Wikipedia's core policies is to verify all information. So, when writing facts, it is important that you cite your sources and provide links to those references. Avoid this kind of phrase: "some people believe". Citing sources helps readers to know who believes what, and why. If you need help citing sources or getting sources, contact one of the people at the bottom of this page. Add references as you write the article, by doing the following:

  • Try to reference any factual information or opinion by providing a source.
  • Type <ref> then the source (url or book title)and close it with </ref>, e.g. After Shakespeare wrote his last play, he took a long walk. <ref>The history of Shakespeare, Adam McRowe 1988</ref>

Tips for editing: Do not write that your source is 'Google' or ‘my own knowledge’.


How to bold and link your text.

Links are used for others extend their knowledge on specific subjects by surfing through Wikipedia or linking out into the Internet. There are two ways of doing this:

Click on the chain link image

  • If you want to link to another Wikipedia article, highlight the word you want linked. Click on the chain image in the toolbox at the top of the content window.
  • In this window enter the subject that you want to link to.
  • Linking to wikipedia article: make sure the to a wikipage is checked; if the wiki page exists, a link will appear in the top right. If it does not link to a wiki page, then the image of a broken link will appear in the same position.
  • Linking to an external article: enter the url in the top field, and write what you want to appear in the text in the field below.

Short cuts in text

  • Linking to wikipedia article: If you are already sure the page exists, you can put the word between two brackets like this: [[flower]] when your typing your article.
  • Linking to an external article: If you want to insert the link faster, you can put the link, a space and then the word between one bracket like this: [http: // Bear] when your typing your article.


Talk pages, and how to use them.

One of the strongest elements of Wikipedia is its community. There are thousands of volunteers out there who want to help make this encyclopedia the best it can be. Once you get started, you will find that people suggest, guide, and question your articles and edits. They will do this in several ways. Equally, there are several ways in which you can seek guidance and help:

  • Other wikipedians will leave notes for you on your "my talk" page that is part of your user page.
  • At the Village pump you can discuss the technical issues, policies, and operations of Wikipedia.
  • At article-specific talk pages you can either seek help, or discuss elements of a specific article. There are rules to using these pages, please see the video in this section to learn about them.
  • The English IRC channel is a chat room that regularly has up to 300 users to answer your questions.

User page

Watchlists, and how to use them.

When you open an account, you get your very own "home page".

When logged in, you can access this page by clicking on your username at the top of every Wikipedia page. This page is customizable and is a way of navigating your experiences on Wikipedia. It is also a space for you to introduce who you are and what you are interested in.

Curious Wikipedians visit user spaces to find out who has made edits or created a page. They will also leave messages on your Talk page.

The user page also works as a storage space where you can place your favorite Wikipedia and external reference links, so you can access them anytime you want from anywhere on Wikipedia. It also allows you to watch the articles that you have created or contributed to. For more information on watchlists, watch the video on the right.

Contact Logo WikiAfrica Palabre.jpg

For help you can contact Islahaddow You can also e-mail Isla Haddow at islahf [at] africacentre [dot] net