Wikipedia is the largest online free resource on the Web that has information on practically anything. It covers many topics for people of all interests. If something’s famous, chances are, there’s already a page on the site dedicated to it.
If you’ve gained traction over the Web or run a renowned business and don’t see your page on the site. Well, you could try three things. Wait for someone else to write it for you, hire a Wikipedia writer, or write it yourself. If you plan on Wikipedia writing (Wiki writing), you must understand it’s completely different from writing any essay or article. Luckily for you, you’re at the right place. The blog covers the best writing practices to use for writing for Wikipedia. In addition, it also offers things to avoid while writing. So, without further ado, let’s get to writing.
The Best Practices of Writing for Wikipedia
Even if you have prior experience in writing, wiki writing is a whole new ball game. The platforms implement strict guidelines and policies for the content they receive, and only if they comply will it allow to publish. Here are some practices that can help you avoid Wikipedia page rejection.
Ensure Subject Notability:
Before writing, let’s first ask you, “What or who are you writing about?” It is a vital question to ask before you start writing. The reason is that Wikipedia only allows topics of notability in its entries.
If you’re writing about a person: Are they famous? Have they contributed to their field or industry? Are they the talk of the town? Can you pinpoint them to reliable sources such as journals, news articles, magazine pages, books, websites, etc.? Similar can be said for a business. You must ensure that the topic of your writing has an interest over the Web, with information on different platforms that you can cite from.
Keep Information Comprehensive:
Recent statistics of 2023 showed that around 4.5 billion users visited Wikipedia. The thing that makes it so special is that it has information on practically anything. If something has gained traction on the Web, then chances are you’ll find close to everything about it or them on Wikipedia.
Let’s consider a movie. Not only will you find the general information like release date, budget, cast, director, producers, etc. But if you go deeper, you’re sure to find the movie summary, plot, production details, music, marketing techniques, reception, as well as inside stories. So, just as the site offers close to everything about anything, that’s what your writing for a Wikipedia page should strive for. Only through offering comprehensive information gives your page a better chance of publishing.
Conduct Extensive Research:
You have to write comprehensively, but how will you do that? If your answer is “Well I could make some stuff up, or add in some filler content to make my page look detailed.” Well, don’t even try it. Wikipedia has strict guidelines on content with no original research, and any violation can cause an indefinite ban.
There’s a fine line between filler and comprehensive content, and extensive research is the only way to cross it. Before starting any topic, you must scan all the sources to get comprehensive knowledge of the subject you want to write on. These sources can be anything, from books to newspaper journals to websites. You can use information from anything published.
Have a Keen Eye for Structuring Content:
Now you have detailed information on the content. But that doesn’t mean you can just dump out everything on Wikipedia and think it’s a page. Along with comprehensive information, Wikipedia requires that your content is highly structured. For it, you need to use sections and subsections to make it readable and easier to navigate.
But how do you know what sections to include? Well, let Wikipedia be your guide. If you plan on writing about someone, take the time to go through Wikipedia pages on different personalities and view how they’re made. Observe the sections and the information It offers about them. That should be your goal when writing for a Wikipedia page.
Keep your Tone Neutral:
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia to promote knowledge to those who access it. It has to offer factual knowledge, so it only publishes unbiased information. Wikipedia guidelines state that information has to be free from libel, vandalism, and self-promotion. You can’t let your personal feelings guide your writing. Only present information that’s free from bias.
For instance, if you’re writing about a technology business, you can’t write, “XYZ Company has been the best in the business regarding technology.” This is a biased statement showing the author’s support towards the company. Here is a version that would go well with Wikipedia guidelines, “The XYZ company is a technology company that is considered the World’s largest company in terms of revenue.” Notice how the statement uses facts to present the company as superior to others without showing the author’s opinion. Always use facts from well-documented sources while keeping your tone neutral while writing for a Wikipedia page.
3 Things to Avoid in Wiki Writing
Now that you’re aware of the best practices of writing, you should also be aware of bad writing practices you need to avoid. Here’s what not to do while wiki writing.
Never Use Personal Knowledge:
Although you may know a lot about the topic, it doesn’t mean you should write about it using your personal experience. Wikipedia only allows information that has reliable and independent sources. So, as you can’t verify your information through personal knowledge, you can put it on the side.
Never Write for Yourself or Business:
Now if you’re someone famous, or run a renowned business, you would think that you’re the best person to write about the topic, Right? Well, although there’s no harm in writing about yourself or your business, you might fail to stay neutral. As stated earlier, Wikipedia doesn’t allow self-promotion, and writing about yourself while staying neutral is a challenge. The best solution is to let someone else write it or hire a Wikipedia writer.
Dictionary Type Entries:
Let’s make one thing clear, “Wikipedia isn’t a dictionary.” It’s an online public encyclopedia that provides comprehensive free information. Your aim of writing is exploring the topic, not telling the readers the simple definition of something.
To summarize, Wiki writing isn’t the same as writing an essay or article. It’s a completely different practice and only through following the guidelines provided above can you ensure your article gets published on the site. Ensure extensive research and collect comprehensive information from reliable sources if you find a topic notable. Keep your writing tone neutral and use a proper structure. And if that seems like a hassle, you always have the opportunity to hire a Wikipedia writer.