My Horrendous First Attempt with Wikipedia

Wikipedia, a website that everyone knows, and a site that I thought was easy to write on and edit, however, it is not as easy as I thought. I had not realized that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, I always thought that encyclopedias were giant books with lots of information, not a website. To start the process of making my own page, I had to think about what I wanted to write about. Now, this topic had to be something that did not already exist on Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia said not to write about anyone you know, I still chose my father because he had sources online that could give credibility to what I was saying.

That being said, in the process of creating this Wikipedia entry I have encountered several issues that have made this process very tedious and complicated. The first problem being that trying to write the code for my footnotes to appear correctly was extremely complicated in the beginning. The tedious process of switching back and forth between the Wikitext Cheatsheet with the coding information and the actual draft to check if I was doing it right was exhausting. Especially when I would make small mistakes and it would not be in the correct format, I would have to scan the entire sentence or paragraph to find what was wrong with my coding. After every piece of information where sources needed to be cited, I had to type out the code and put the URL. There was also information that I could not find online and there were no ‘credible’ sources that could provide evidence of the accuracy. This information would be like my father’s birthday, or where he is from and things about his family. This was a lot for my brain to handle already, so the first day I attempted this I got very frustrated and had to pick up where I left off another day. Another thing that I came across that was very hard, was that no matter what I tried I could not figure out how to correctly format my references at the end. So they ended up just being numbers with smaller letters and numbers beside them. I was just happy that something showed up.

The second issue I had with Wikipedia, is that it does not let you save the draft you are working on, even though it gives you the option to save it. Maybe it could have been my computer glitching, but it never worked and I had to save what I wrote from the draft, including all of the codes at the end of the sentences, in a Google Doc. The page says, “this is only a preview; your changes have not yet been saved! –> go to editing area” and when I clicked on it, it would just take me back to the bottom of the page.

Another issue that I ran into was on how to organize my thoughts on the page and what I wanted to write about. Information is limited when it comes to choosing what to write about because there are not sources for everything when you write about a family member/someone that you know. Wikipedia said not to use someone’s own website because it is not considered ‘credible’ but I used his website from his company anyways. Not even sure if that is allowed or not.

Wikipedia works in more complex ways than I had originally thought. They have a whole list of content guidelines. These guidelines include: anarchism referencing guidelines, policies on writing autobiographies, guidelines on how to cite your sources, guidelines on days of the year (depending on what time it is in your residing country), guidelines for accuracy, external links, content forking, fringe theories, policies on creating hoaxes, guidelines on selecting reliable sources, logos, copyrights, plagiarism, public domain, scientific citation guidelines, and many others as well that are listed below —

Now listed above are the general guidelines, but in terms of guidelines for making your first article, they are as followed:

  1. You must first register for an account on Wikipedia
  2. Consider something easier than writing a biography about a living person because those articles are the hardest to get right
  3. Search for an existing article in your topic because you cannot repeat
  4. Ask yourself, “does my topic belong in an encyclopedia?”
  5. Make sure you have high-quality sources
  6. Be mindful of conflict of interest – if you have one you will probably have a hard time writing a Wikipedia article that is good enough
  7. Things to avoid: articles about yourself, family or friends, advertising, attacks on a person/organization, personal essays, online research, non-notable topics, a single sentence or only a website link
  8. Be careful about: violating copyright, good research and citing your sources, articles about living people, advocacy and controversial material, organization, local-interest articles, breaking news events, editing on the wrong page
  9. Editors must be volunteers, and cannot be paid directly or indirectly
  10. Create your draft