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Life Hacks: 

Become a Wikipedia editor in 5 easy steps

Wikipedia

Can you compete with Sverker Johansson’s 2.7 million Wikipedia articles?

You may have read recently about Sverker Johansson, the one-man Wikipedia editing machine who is responsible for 2.7 million articles. That’s approximately 10% of all articles on everyone’s favorite online encyclopaedia.

Sverker uses a sophisticated bot to help him rack up such an impressive tally, producing up to 10,000 articles on a good day. You may not be able to compete for sheer number of articles, but we bet you could teach Johansson a thing or two on quality over quantity. Here’s how to get started as a Wikipedia editor.

1. Create an account

Before you wade in and begin making grand changes to Wikipedia, you’ll need to create an account. Head over to the Create an account page and sign up with a username, password and email address. You can remain semi-anonymous if you prefer, just choose a handle that doesn’t identify you when choosing a username.

Once you’re satisfied, confirm you email address and you’re good to go.

2. First practice by correcting mistakes

Before you go creating your own Wikipedia pages, learn the ropes by editing some existing articles for practice. There is a page for ‘Wikipedia articles that need editing‘ which have been flagged for spelling and grammar mistakes. This is a good place to start, so find a subject you know a little about and lookout for any errors.

As blogger Patrick Coombe suggests, one good trick here is to copy and paste the full text from the Wikipedia article into Word and run a spelling and grammar check. Once you’ve spotted the mistake(s), go back to the existing Wikipedia page and click the edit button at the top of your screen. Remember, you should also write a brief description explaining the changes you’ve made so that the moderators know what to look for.

3. Search existing subjects

Now you’ve mad a few edits, it’s time to create your own page. Presumably it’s about you or something great that you’ve done and you’ve skipped right over point number two – it’s fine, we know how it goes.

It may seem obvious, but the first stage in setting up a Wikipedia page is to see what’s out there already. Enter your proposed subject into the search bar and look for any existing articles you could edit instead of creating an entirely new page. If there’s truly nothing out there, head over to the articles for creation page.

4. Gather references

Once you’ve titled your new page and resolved any disambiguation issues,  the first thing you’ll need to do is compile a list of references. These footnotes are there to legitimise your writing so readers know that what you’ve written hasn’t been made up for your own amusement.

Wikipedia has a tutorial on how to cite sources correctly, so follow this carefully and then proceed onto writing your article.

5. Create a page

With all the references in place, you can now write your article being extra careful to check for spelling, grammar and factual inconsistencies. Once complete, give your article a category, preview, and publish.  Congratulations! You are now a published Wikipedia editor. But remember, Wikipedia is never finished, so keep updating your pages as new information becomes available.

Even if you can’t manage 10,000 articles a day, every new edit helps to make Wikipedia better for everyone – thanks in advance.

Photo: 360b/Shutterstock.com

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