Help:Your first article

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Writing an article
Learn how you can create an article.

New here?

Creating an article is one of the more difficult tasks on Wikipedia, and you'll have a higher chance of success if you help us out with other tasks first to learn more about how Wikipedia works. You can always come back to create an article later; there is no rush!

Welcome to Wikipedia! As a new editor, you will become a

Wikipedia first to make sure that an article does not already exist on the subject.


is restricted to editors with some experience. For information on how to request a new article that can be created by someone else, see Requested articles

Please consider looking at our introductory tutorial or reviewing contributing to Wikipedia to learn the basics about editing. Working on existing articles is a good way to learn our protocols and style conventions; see the Task Center for articles that need your assistance and tasks you can help out with.

The basics

First, please be aware that Wikipedia is an

"What Wikipedia is not"

We find "accepted knowledge" in high-quality, published sources. By "high-quality", we mean books by reputable publishers, respected newspapers, peer-reviewed scientific and academic journals,

self-published sources
. We summarize such high-quality, published sources in Wikipedia articles. That is all we do! Please make sure that anything you write on Wikipedia is based only on such sources.

Here are some tips that can help you with your first article:

  • Register an account. All you need is to choose a username and password. This will give you various powers. After a few days of editing articles, you will be allowed to create a new one.
  • Practice first. Before starting, try editing existing articles to get a feel for writing and for using Wikipedia's mark-up language – we recommend that you first take a tour through the tutorial or review contributing to Wikipedia to learn editing basics.
  • Biographies of living people are among the most difficult articles to get right. Consider starting with something easier.
  • Search Wikipedia to see if an article already exists on the subject, perhaps under a different title. If an article already exists, feel free to improve it, while citing the sources that verify your changes. Citing sources is the most crucial part.
  • No article on the subject exists? OK, now you need to try to determine if the subject you want to write about is what we call
    on Wikipedia. The question we ask is: does this topic belong in an encyclopedia?
  • The Article Wizard will help you create your article in Draft space, and will put some useful templates into your draft, including the button to click when you are ready to submit the draft for review.

These points are explained in further detail below.

If you are logged in, and your account is

, you can also use this box below to create an article, by entering the article name in the box below and then clicking "Create page".

Search for an existing article

The English Wikipedia already has 6,663,919 articles. Before creating an article, try to make sure there is not already an article on the same topic, perhaps under a slightly different name.

autoconfirmed, you can request a redirect to be created at Wikipedia:Articles for creation/Redirects and categories, where a volunteer will review the request, and if it seems like a plausible search term, accept the redirect request. Also, remember to check the article's deletion log
in order to avoid creating an article that has already been deleted. (In some cases, the topic may be suitable even if deleted in the past; the past deletion may have been because it was a copyright violation, did not explain the importance of the topic, or on other grounds addressed to the writing rather than the topic's suitability.)

If a search does not find the topic, consider broadening your search to find existing articles that might include the subject of your article. For example, if you want to write an article about a band member, you might search for the band and then add information about your subject as a section within that broader article.

Is it new? Type, then click "Go (try title)"

Gathering references

Gather sources for the information you will be writing about. You will use references to establish notability and to cite particular facts. References used to support notability must meet additional criteria beyond reliability. References used for specific facts need not meet these additional criteria.

To be worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia, a subject must be sufficiently

reliable sources

As noted, the sources you use must be reliable; that is, they must be sources that exercise some form of editorial control and have some reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Print sources (and web-based versions of those sources) tend to be the most reliable, though some web-only sources may also be reliable. Examples might include (but are not limited to) books published by major publishing houses, newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, websites of any of the above, and other websites that meet the same requirements as a reputable print-based source.

In general, sources with no editorial control are not reliable. These include (but are not limited to) books published by vanity presses, self-published 'zines', blogs, web forums, Usenet discussions, personal social media, fan sites, vanity websites that permit the creation of self-promotional articles, and other similar venues. If anyone at all can post information without anyone else checking that information, it is probably not reliable.

If there are reliable sources (such as newspapers, journals, or books) with extensive information published over an extended period about a subject, then that subject is notable. You must cite such sources as part of the process of creating (or expanding) the Wikipedia article as evidence of notability for evaluation by other editors. If you cannot find such reliable sources that provide extensive and comprehensive information about your proposed subject, then the subject is not notable or verifiable and almost certainly will be deleted. So your first job is to go find references to cite.

There are many places to find reliable sources, including your local library, but if internet-based sources are to be used, start with books and news archive searches rather than a web search.

Once you have references for your article, you can learn to place the references into the article by reading Help:Referencing for beginners and Wikipedia:Citing sources. Do not worry too much about formatting citations properly. It would be great if you did that, but the main thing is to get references into the article, even if they are not perfectly formatted.

Things to avoid

Articles about yourself, your family or friends, your website, a band you're in, your teacher, a word you made up, or a story you wrote
If you or someone or something you are personally involved with is worthy of inclusion in the encyclopedia, let someone else add that article. Putting your friends in an encyclopedia may seem like a nice surprise or an amusing joke, but those articles are likely to be
blocked from editing if you repeatedly make attempts to re-create the article. These things can be avoided by a little forethought on your part. The article may remain if you have enough humility to make it neutral and the subject really is notable, but even then it's best to submit a draft for approval and consensus
of the community instead of just posting it, since unconscious biases may still exist that you are unaware of.
Please do not
reliable sources that are independent from the subject you are writing about. For a business or similar organization, make sure it meets the specific notability guidelines for businesses and read the FAQ for non-profits and for-profit businesses
Attacks on a person or organization
Material that violates our
biographies of living persons policy or is intended to threaten, defame, or harass its subject or another entity is not permitted. Unsourced negative information, especially in articles about living people, is quickly removed, and attack pages
may be deleted immediately.
Personal essays or original research
Wikipedia surveys existing human knowledge; it is not a place to publish new work. Do not write articles that present your own
reliable sources
that report the connection.
Non-notable topics
People frequently add pages to Wikipedia without considering
Wikipedia is not
a directory of everything in existence.
A single sentence or only a website link
Articles need to have real content of their own.
See also:

And be careful about...


As a general rule, do not copy-paste text from other websites. (There are a few limited exceptions, and a few words as part of a properly

and clearly attributed quotation is OK.)


Copying things. Do not violate copyrights!
Never copy-paste text into a Wikipedia article unless it is a relatively short quotation, placed in quotation marks, and cited using an
our non-free content guidelines for text. Finally, please note that superficial modification of material, such as minor rewording, is insufficient to avoid plagiarism and copyright violations. See Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing
Good sources

1. have a reputation for reliability: they are

reliable sources

2. are independent of the subject
3. are
by other editors

Good research and citing your sources
Articles written out of thin air may be better than nothing, but they are hard to
cite them properly. Doing this, along with not copying text, will help avoid any possibility of plagiarism. We welcome good short articles, called "stubs", that can serve as launching pads from which others can take off – stubs can be relatively short, a few sentences, but should provide some useful information. If you do not have enough material to write a good stub, you probably should not create an article. At the end of a stub, you should include a "stub template" like this: {{stub}}. (Other Wikipedians will appreciate it if you use a more specific stub template, like {{art-stub}}. See the list of stub types
for a list of all specific stub templates.) Stubs help track articles that need expansion.
Articles or statements about
living persons
As with all topics, articles written about living persons must be referenced so that they can be
. This requirement is enforced far more rigorously for any statements about a living (or recently deceased) person, and reviewers are supposed to immediately remove any unreferenced material without discussion. It is good practice to add your references as you write the article to avoid this immediate removal.
Advocacy and controversial material
Please do not write articles that advocate one particular viewpoint on politics, religion, or anything else. Understand what we mean by a neutral point of view before tackling this sort of topic.
Articles that contain different definitions of the topic
Articles are primarily about what something is, not any term(s). If the article is
one subject as well as some more material to go with it.
Make sure there are incoming links to the new article from other Wikipedia articles (click "What links here" in the toolbox) and that the new article is included in at least one appropriate category (see help:category). Otherwise, it will be difficult for readers to find the article.
Local-interest articles
These are articles about places such as schools or streets that are of interest to a relatively small number of people such as alumni or people who live nearby. There is no consensus about such articles, but some will challenge them if they include nothing that shows how the place is special and different from tens of thousands of similar places. Photographs add interest. Try to give
Breaking news events
While Wikipedia accepts articles about notable recent events, articles about breaking news events with no enduring notability are
not appropriate for our project. Consider writing such articles on our sister project Wikinews. See Wikipedia:Notability (events)
for further information.
Editing on the wrong page
If you're trying to create a new page, you'll start with a completely empty edit box. If you see text in the editing box that is filled with words you didn't write (for example, the contents of this page), you're accidentally editing a pre-existing page. Don't use "Publish changes" to make your additions. See Wikipedia:How to create a page, and start over.

Are you closely connected to the article topic?

Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, but there are special guidelines for editors who are paid or sponsored. These guidelines are intended to prevent biased articles and maintain the public's trust that content in Wikipedia is impartial and has been added in good faith. (See Wikipedia's conflict of interest (COI) guideline.)

The official guideline is that editors should be volunteers. That means Wikipedia discourages editing articles about individuals, companies, organizations, products/services, or political causes that pay you directly or indirectly. This includes in-house PR departments and marketing departments, other company employees,

online reputation management
consultants. However, Wikipedia recognizes the large volume of good-faith contributions by people who have some affiliation to the articles they work on.

Here are some ground rules. Note that this is not necessarily a full list, so use

common sense
when applying these rules. If you break these rules or game the system, your edits are likely to be reverted, and the article(s) and your other edits may get extra scrutiny from other Wikipedia editors. Your account may also be blocked.

Things to avoid Things to be careful about Great ways to contribute
  • Don't add promotional language
  • Don't remove negative or critical text from an article
  • Don't make a "group" account for multiple people to share
  • Don't neglect to disclose your affiliation on the article's talk page
  • Maintain a neutral, objective tone in any content you add or edit
  • Cite
    reliable source
  • Make minor edits/corrections to articles (e.g., typos, fixing links, adding references to reliable sources)
  • If you are biased, suggest new article text or edits on the
    article talk page
    (not on the main article page).
  • Disclose your relationship to the client/topic.
  • Edit using personal accounts.
  • Recruit help: Seek out a sponsor (volunteer editor) who has worked on similar articles, or submit ideas for article topics via
    Requested articles

Note that this only covers conflicts of interest. Editors are encouraged to write on topics related to their expertise: e.g., a NASA engineer might write about Jupiter, or an English professor might write about Mark Twain. Also, Wikipedians-in-residence or other interns who are paid, hosted or otherwise sponsored by a scientific or cultural institution can upload content and write articles in partnership with curators, indirectly providing positive branding for their hosts.

Create your draft

It's always a good idea to draft your article before adding it to the main article space, and it's required for very new contributors. The article wizard will guide you through the steps of creating a draft.

Prior to drafting your article, it's a good idea to look at several existing Wikipedia articles on subjects similar to yours to see how such articles are formatted. The quality of our existing articles varies, so try to pick good ones.

Article wizard

When you feel that the article is ready, you can submit it for review by an experienced editor. If there isn't already a "Submit for review" button on the draft, you can add {{

}} to the top of the draft to submit it. A reviewer will then look at your draft and move it to the main article space or give you feedback on how to improve it. You can always edit the page, even while waiting for a review.

pagemove, as explained in Wikipedia:Drafts#Publishing a draft

And then what?

Now that you have created the page, there are still several things you can do:

Keep making improvements

Wikipedia is not finished
. Generally, an article is nowhere near being completed the moment it is created. There is a long way to go. In fact, it may take you several edits just to get it started.

If you have so much interest in the article you just created, you may learn more about it in the future, and accordingly, have more to add. This may be later today, tomorrow, or several months from now. Any time – go ahead.

Improve formatting

To format your article correctly (and expand it, and possibly even make it featured!), see

Others can freely contribute to the article when it has been saved. The creator does not have special rights to control the later content. See

Wikipedia:Ownership of articles

Also, to avoid getting frustrated or offended about the way others modify or remove your contributions, see Wikipedia:Don't be ashamed.

Avoid orphans

An orphaned article is an article that has few or no other articles linking to it. The main problem with an orphan is that it'll be unknown to others, and it may get fewer readers if it is not de-orphaned.

Most new articles are orphans from the moment they are created, but you can work to change that. This will involve editing one or more other articles. Try searching Wikipedia for other pages referring to the subject of your article, then turn those references into links by adding double brackets to either side: "[[" and "]]". If another article has a word or phrase that has the same meaning as your new article that is not expressed using the exact same words as the title, you can link that word or phrase as follows: "[[title of your new article|word or phrase found in other article]]." Or in certain cases, you could create that word or phrase as a redirect to your new article.

One of the first things you want to do after creating a new article is to provide links to it so it will not be an orphan. You can do that right away, or, if you find that exhausting, you can wait a while, provided that you keep the task in mind.


Wikipedia:Drawing attention to new pages
to learn how to get others to see your new articles.

Add to a disambiguation page

If the term is ambiguous (meaning there are multiple pages using that or a similar title), see if there is a

disambiguation page
for articles bearing that title. If so, add a link to your article to that page.

Still need help?

  • For a list of informative, instructional and supportive pages, see
    Help directory
  • The best places to ask for assistance are at the
    Help desk
  • Click here to ask for help on your talk page. A volunteer will visit you there shortly!
  • For a list of the services and assistance that can be requested on Wikipedia, see
    Request departments
  • Alternately you can ask a question through the Wikipedia #wikipedia-en-help connect on IRC chat.
  • Wiki Education offers a library of trainings for novice Wikipedia editors and students.

Read a traditional encyclopedia

Try to read traditional paper encyclopedia articles (or

articles on Wikipedia) to get the layout, style, tone, and other elements of encyclopedic content. It is suggested that if you plan to write articles for an encyclopedia, you have some background knowledge in formal writing as well as about the topic at hand. A composition class in your high school or college is recommended before you start writing encyclopedia articles.


World Book
is a good place to start. The goal of Wikipedia is to create an up-to-the-moment encyclopedia on every notable subject imaginable. Picture your article being published in a paper encyclopedia.