How to Contribute to Wikipedia - Formatting a Wikipedia Entry
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You’ll notice, as you write your entry in the text editor, that Wikipedia’s own formatting changes the look of what you’re writing. Let the natural formatting do what it will. Even so, your work is only half-done. You still need to add formatting to your entry to make it conform to Wikipedia’s standards.
First, make sure the first word (or words) of your entry are the same as the title of your entry. Also, make sure these words appear in bold. You can do this with ease by using the text editor toolbar (which appears at the top of the editor itself). The toolbar is what you’ll use to turn your words into a viable Wikipedia entry.
The first paragraph of your entry should be very short and sweet, giving a brief explanation. For instance, if your article is about Bob Johns and Bob Johns is an inventor who largely makes his money through the Internet, the first paragraph of his Wikipedia entry will read something like this:
Bob Johns (born April 20, 1956) is an American inventor and entrepreneur, best known for his online business efforts.
The information you present about Bob Johns must be arranged in categories. Often, these categories include items such as “history,” “early career,” “present day,” maybe “awards;” you get the general idea. Once you have formatted the entry to conform to Wikipedia standards, you may be anxious to submit your work to the site. But it’s still not ready.
Finishing Off Your Wikipedia Entry
To give your entry the professional look for which Wikipedia strives, you’ll have to include a few more extras before you can call it finished. First, you want to include the sources for your entry at the very bottom. Find and use two or three reputable web sites as sources. Do not fail to include this information! If you can’t prove that you gained this information from some viable source, how can Wikipedia reasonably accept your entry into their online encyclopedia?
You’ll want to submit these sources by creating external links at the bottom of your entry in the text editor. You can do this easily with the toolbar by selecting the icon that looks like a globe. Hit the button once and HTML code will pop up for you to use. Simply enter the correct information inside the bracket code, and you’ve just cited a source for your entry.
Including source links at the bottom isn’t the last step for your entry, though you are getting closer to being done. Wikipedia likes to see entries which also feature internal links. Internal links take traffic to different pages within Wikipedia. This means it’s a good idea for you to comb Wikipedia, looking for entries you can link to within the entry you’ve written. Simply type words that appear in your entry (any cities or dates are likely to have existing Wikipedia entries, as well as some businesses) into the site’s search tool. Once you find an entry you can link to, all you have to do is hit the right button on the toolbar (this looks like a blue Ab) and enter the right URL within the brackets that appear.
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