Editing Wikipedia Articles

About This Document

This document explains how to create a Wikipedia account and edit Wikipedia articles.

Morris and Traditional Dance Articles on Wikipedia

As described in a survey of Wikipedia Articles About Morris and Traditional Dance Wikipedia articles can be very popular: the Wikipedia article on ‘Morris dance’, for example, has been viewed over 960,000 times since 2015! There are also articles on Border morris, Rapper sword and Long sword dance with the main traditional dance articles having been viewed over 200,000 times from September 2020 to August 2021.

Engaging With Wikipedia

Getting A Wikipedia Account

The first thing to do is to create a Wikipedia account. Although strictly you do not need an account to edit articles, articles edited anonymously may be treated as vandalism and any changes discarded. In addition if you are logged in your updates will enhance your status as a valued Wikipedia contributor.

To create an account is simple: simply click on the Create account link from the Wikipedia home page, enter a username and password and email address, after completing any CAPCHA security check, your account will be created.

Figure 1: Creating A Wikipedia account

Fixing Mistakes (Steps to Becoming a Trusted Contributor)

You may wish to read guidance for new contributors before making and edits. You’ll find many helpful articles including Help:Getting started and Wikipedia:Contributing to Wikipedia.

However if you spot a typo you may simply want to fix it. To make a simple edit, simply click the Edit button at the top of the article, correct the mistake and, after giving a brief summary of the change, click on the Save button at the bottom.

Figure 2: Edit interface for a Wikipedia article

As shown in Figure 2, the syntax of content in articles can be somewhat confusing for new editors (for example the ”’Grenoside Sword Dancers”’ creates a link to the Wikipedia article about Grenoside Sword Dancers). In order to avoid making mistakes we recommended simply correcting simple errors in the text until (a) you have gained more experiences in using Wikipedia editor and (b) you account becomes more identified as a trusted contributor.

Making More Significant Updates to an Articles

You may feel that you wish to make a more significant change to the content of an article: perhaps an article is flagged with suggestions for improvements (as shown in Figure 3, in which the ‘Rapper sword’ article has been identified as needing additional citations from neutral sources) or it may be that you have knowledge of the topic of the article which you feel would improve the article.

Figure 3: Wikipedia article about ‘Rapper sword’

However before making any significant changes to an article you should note that popular article may have had a significant number of contributors (there have been 287 contributors to the Morris dance article, for example). It is therefore desirable that there is agreement on the relevance, importance and accuracy of any changes.

Using an Article’s Talk Page

Every Wikipedia article has a Talk page, which can be viewed by clicking on the Talk tab next to the Article tab. The Talk page for the Morris dance article, which is shown below, provides a good example of how the talk page can be used to discuss changes to an article.

Figure 4: Talk page for the ‘Morris dance’ Wikipedia article

In Figure 4 item 14, Northwest Morris and clogs, provides a good example of a proposed change to the article, based on factual information provided.

If you wish to make significant changes to an article it is recommended that you:

  • View the article’s Revision history page, to get a feel for how the article may have developed over time. For example see the Morris dance’s Revision history page.
  • Look at the article’s Talk page to get a feel for discussions and suggestions for development of the article. For example see the Morris dance’s Talk page.

Note to add suggestions to a Talk page you will use the same editing tool as you would use for updating or creating an article. Doing this will therefore help you gain further expertise in making edits.

Creating A New Article

Before creating a new Wikipedia article you will need to have gained experience in editing an article, which is likely to include some advanced technique such as citing references, adding images, etc. In addition you will need to understand the Wikipedia philosophy including providing content from a Neutral Point of View (NPOV) and ensuring articles are Notable.

A document on Creating a Wikipedia Article which addresses these issues will be published shortly.

Summary

If you wish to update a Wikipedia article you should:

  • Get a Wikipedia account.
  • Fix typos, grammatical errors and similar errors which will give you experience in editing and help your account to gain credit as a trusted contributor to Wikipedia.
  • Learn about Talk pages for articles.
  • If you wish to make significant changes to an article, provide details of the proposed changes, including supporting evidence before making the changes.
  • Make the changes – and if the updates are removed, look and the reasons why. If your updates are accepted, feel free to continue your work as a Wikipedia contributor.

Status of this Document

Document published: 29 Sep 2021

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the "Editing Wikipedia Articles" document by Brian Kelly, Comms and IT volunteer with the Morris Federation.  

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