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Wikipedia:How to start a page

Here is how to start a Wikipedia page. You might also want to learn about:

Table of contents

General principles

  • Search to see whether someone has written an article before you start one yourself.
  • It is highly recommended to start a page from an existing link. (The so-called "ghost links" or "red links" -- links that have been made in the text, but for which no article exists.) See below for more.
  • Remember to establish context, i.e. write a short introduction at the beginning of a new article. Don't write "This was his third novel..." -- while you may have followed the link from the famous novelist X, other readers may arrive at this page from elsewhere.
  • Review wikipedia's naming conventions before naming a new page. Proper naming will ensure your page will be linked by other related pages, and will help to avoid any need for renaming pages.
  • Start with a complete sentence, not a dictionary definition. Highlight the title phrase or title word very near the beginning of the article.

Starting a page from an existing link

To start a new page, you can start from a link to the title of the new page. As you're reading through Wikipedia articles, you'll see clickable links to pages that haven't been written yet (like this: Sample article title[?] -- but DON'T CLICK ON THIS PARTICULAR EXAMPLE LINK). Links to unwritten pages appear in red (if you are logged in you can change this to a small question mark using the preferences). Click on the link, and you'll arrive at a page that says:

You've followed a link to a page that doesn't exist yet.
To create the page, start typing in the box below:

Just start typing your article in the edit-box. When you're finished, click the "Save" button at the bottom of the page. (Use the "Preview" button if you want to see what the page will look like first.)

Quick Start

One of the easiest ways to start a new page is to enter something like the following into your browser as a page address:

/wiki/Sample_article_title

Replacing "Sample_article_title" with whatever you want the article to be called. For example, to create an article about frumpysnarf, type:

/wiki/Frumpysnarf

This will bring up a template page that informs you that there is currently no text in the article yet. So, click on the "Edit" link at the top of that page, and presto! you are now editing your brand new article. Your careful attention to accuracy and neutrality will be greatly appreciated, of course.

Creating links to other pages

While you are editing some existing article, if a word or phrase you are typing strikes you as if it ought to have an article of its own linked from here, just put it in double square brackets, [[like this]]. We call that "wikifying" the text. When you save the present article, that word will either magically link to an article if one exists, or it will become one of those red links mentioned above which allow you to create the article. This is a great way to build new articles.

Creating new pages

If you want to create a brand-new topic, probably the first thing to do is to use the "search" form (see the bottom of this page, for example) and see whether someone has not already created a page on that topic or some very similar page.

You should look for similar pages, and either this will remove your need to generate a new one, or you may find that you simply need to create a redirection page to the existing entry. For example if you want to put in entries for Rachmaninov or Rakhmaninov, you may find a satisfactory existing entry for Sergei Rachmaninov so you just need to create a redirection page.

If no-one has already made a page on your subject, you can find some related topic (often a general category, like Philosophy or Biology), edit that page, and (in an appropriate place) add the title of the article you want to create between double brackets, [[like this]]. Then press the "save" button at the bottom of the page. On the page you just edited, you should see a clickable red link or question mark (depending on your user preference settings); click on that and go to work on your new page! This is often good practice since it structures the encyclopedia, but it may lead to unncecessary entries in some pages.

An alternative way is to use the sandbox!

  • Edit the sandbox, then create a new link.
  • Then create/edit your new page by clicking on the link and writing new text.

Note: The sandbox is periodically erased, so remember to bookmark the page(s) you have created, in order to edit them again in the future. If you are a registered user, it will also appear under "My contributions" in the Quickbar.

When creating pages it is also good practice to run the text through a spell checker before submitting. You may find it more convenient to take a copy of the original page, work on it, then paste the edited copy back in.

Creating brand-new topics is a great way to help Wikipedia increase its breadth (and depth).

Note! Bear in mind that Wikipedia is an open content encyclopedia. You are contributing to a free, publicly-usable database of information. You automatically license everything you contribute under the GNU Free Documentation License; you can only do that if you own the copyright to the material (which you do if you created it), or if the material is in the public domain. See Wikipedia:Copyrights for details. Never submit copyrighted material without permission from the copyright owner.

See also:



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
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