[Portal] Contributing to Wikipedia

This page provides information and resources needed to comprehend, comment on, and edit Wikipedia. If you just want help with searching and browsing the encyclopedia, see Help:Navigation. If you want to contribute financially, see the donation page.

Wikipedia's purpose

A short video about that "Edit" button and what it can do when you are bold! (1:06 min)

Our purpose is to create a web-based, free content encyclopedia of all branches of knowledge, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. The goal of a Wikipedia article is to create a comprehensive and neutrally written summary of existing mainstream knowledge about a topic. Editors are encouraged to be bold in editing in a fair and accurate manner with a straightforward, just-the-facts style. Articles should have an encyclopedic style with a formal tone instead of essay-like, argumentative, promotional, or opinionated writing. The five pillars is a popular summary of the most pertinent Wikipedia principles.

Getting started

Related pages: Welcome to Wikipedia

As a new contributor, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of this project called Wikipedia. Don't worry too much if you don't understand everything at first, as it is acceptable to use common sense as you go about editing. Wikipedia not only allows you to create, revise, and edit articles, but it wants you to do so. You just need to remember that you can't break Wikipedia and although there are many protocols, perfection is not required, as Wikipedia is a work in progress. Collaborative editing means that incomplete or poorly written first drafts can evolve over time into excellent articles.

Introductions and tutorials

A downloadable "Editing Wikipedia guide" in PDF form written by the staff at the Wikimedia Foundation
For a listing of introductions and tutorials by topic see: Help:Getting started

To achieve our goals, a wide range of how-to and information pages are made available. Aside from this page, there are some other introductions (tutorials) to the project. The Wikipedia tutorial (basic) is a step-by-step guide explaining what this place is all about and how to contribute. The Wikipedia Adventure is a comprehensive and fun 7-mission interactive guided tour, which covers all the essentials about editing and the expectations and norms of the Wikipedia community.

Creating an account

You do not have to log in to read Wikipedia. You do not even have to log in to edit articles on Wikipedia. Just about anyone can edit almost any article at any given time, even without logging in. However, creating an account is free and has several benefits (for example, the ability to create pages, upload media and edit without one's IP address being visible to the public). To create an account in seconds, click Create account and fill out the few required fields. This will be logged, your account will be created, and you will be provided with a link back to this page.

Community protocols and conventions

Policy and Guideline: Wikipedia:Civility and Wikipedia:Etiquette
How to pages: Help:Introduction to policies and guidelines and Wikipedia:Simplified ruleset
A video that articulates the diversity and enthusiasm of the Wikipedia Community by editors like you. (4:10 min)

Wikipedia does not employ hard-and-fast rules and there is no need to read any page before editing. However, some standards and behavioural expectations may be enforced. General social norms should be followed by all Wikipedia editors. The Wikipedia community is made up of people from different countries and cultures, with different views, perspectives, opinions, and backgrounds, sometimes varying widely. Editors should treat each other respectfully, work together collegially, and avoid behaviour that would be widely seen as unacceptable, disruptive, tendentious, or dishonest.

Policies, guidelines, and formatting norms are developed by the community to describe the best practices, to clarify principles, resolve conflicts, and otherwise further our goals. These rules are principles, not laws, on Wikipedia. To varying degrees, policies and guidelines exist as rough approximations of their underlying principles. They are not intended as inflexible, controlling statutes on any set of norms or practices under all circumstances, nor to exhaustively define all matters within their ambit. They must be understood in context, using common sense and discretion. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and, as a means to that end, an online community of individuals interested in building and using a high-quality encyclopedia. Therefore, there are certain things that Wikipedia is not and common mistakes that should be avoided.

Discussion and consensus

Guideline page: Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines
How to pages: Help:Introduction to talk pages and Help:Using talk pages
A screencast demonstrating how to use a talk page. (2:43 min)

Behind the scenes of Wikipedia articles, there is a large community of volunteer editors working to build the encyclopedia. It is not uncommon for editors to disagree about the way forward. That is when discussion and attempts to reach consensus should take place. Every article on Wikipedia has a talk page, reached by clicking the Talk tab just above the title (for example,

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    This page was last updated at 2020-12-11 01:04, update this pageView original page

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