Help:Your first article

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Writing an article

Newcomer tip: You might want to build up your skills doing smaller tasks first at Wikipedia:Task Center.

Welcome to Wikipedia! Before starting a new article...

  • Please review
    substantive detail
    . They might be books, newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly journals and similarly high-quality sources.
  • Information on Wikipedia must be
    third-party
    sources can be found on a topic, then it should not have an article.
  • Search
    Wikipedia first to make sure that an article does not already exist on the subject.

An article should follow Wikipedia policies and guidelines, especially:

  • Neutral point of view
  • Coverage of a notable topic
  • Supported by reliable sources

An Article Wizard is available to help you create an article through the Articles for Creation process, where it will be reviewed and considered for publication:



Consider looking at our

style conventions; see the Task Center
for articles that need your assistance and tasks you can help out with.

The basics

Wikipedia is an

self-published sources
are generally not suitable for Wikipedia.

Our job is to summarize high-quality and published sources from other places, in the form of Wikipedia articles. That really is all we do! Do make sure that anything you write on Wikipedia is based only on such sources.

Many of the notable topics have already been written by people in the past, and the fact of the matter is, most new articles nowadays are written about fairly obscure subjects. That can make distinguishing topics that are suitable or not suitable on Wikipedia very difficult and are often

No amount of editing can overcome a lack of notability of a topic
. More than 200 articles are deleted from the English Wikipedia every day; most are deleted for this very reason. We don't want you to waste all of your effort just for it to be marked for deletion!

Avoid making an article that you have a

conflict of interest in, meaning that you have a close connection to the subject as an employee, family member, friend, etc. or your financial and other relationships. This is a very strict policy on Wikipedia. In practice, articles created out of a conflict of interest are usually rejected or deleted on sight. (Further information: Help:Your first article § Are you closely connected to the article topic?
)

If you want to succeed at this endeavor, you should gain ample experience beforehand and get a feel for what would be a 'suitable' topic to write on Wikipedia. Because the stakes are lower, this is a perfect opportunity to hone your editing skills! Take a tour through the tutorial, ask around at the Teahouse, or read Wikipedia:Article development. Don't be disappointed if you couldn't find a new topic to write for Wikipedia; plenty of distinguished contributors here have only edited existing articles; you could be the one to turn a rubbish article into a great one.

Before creating an article, try to make sure there is not already an article on the same topic. If you don't find a match, perhaps try using a slightly different or broader search term: (Tip: 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.)


Gathering references and establishing notability

Before beginning to write any of your first article, 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 establish notability must meet additional criteria beyond reliability. References used for specific facts need not meet these additional criteria.

To be suitable for inclusion in an encyclopedia, a subject must have

verifiable through citations
.

As noted, the sources you use must be

reliable
: 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. Examples include: 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, blogs, web forums, Reddit discussions, personal social media, fan sites, and other similar venues. If anyone at all can post information without anyone else checking that information, it is probably not reliable. Similarly, an opinion column in an otherwise reputable newspaper cannot help establish notability.

Many web sources feature

user-generated content
. This anyone can sign up and create content. All wikis are like this, including Wikipedia. Also IMDb, Goodreads, YouTube, LinkedIn, and social media such as Twitter and Instagram. Except for a few specific exceptions, these sources cannot be used.

A good resource for determining the quality of a source is

WP:RSP
. This does not list things like books, or extremely reputable sources which are never questioned, like the Associated Press. It does list many sources that have been debated frequently. If your source is listed on that page as "generally unreliable" or "deprecated", you should not use it in your article.

Sources used to establish notability must additionally be independent: they must not be connected to the subject. A company's own website cannot help establish notability. An interview with someone cannot help establish notability, as these can be bought. A press release repackaged as a news item (

churnalism
) cannot help either, and is sometimes more difficult to spot. Articles in Forbes magazine whose author is listed as a "Forbes contributor" are the equivalent of an opinion column, usually paid for by a business or individual with the intent of self-promotion.

Sources used to establish notability must additionally demonstrate significant coverage: they must discuss your subject for a while, at least multiple paragraphs. A mention in one or two sentences, or the appearance of your subject in a table or list is not enough to help establish notability.

Sources that are not independent of the subject or do not demonstrate significant coverage can still be used in your article to support factual claims, but do not count towards notability. Sources that are not reliable should not be used at all.

If there are reliable independent 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 a Wikipedia article as evidence of notability for evaluation by other editors. If you cannot find such

reliable sources
that provide extensive information about your proposed subject, then the subject is not notable or verifiable and almost certainly will be declined or deleted.

If none of your sources are reliable and independent while providing significant coverage, it doesn't matter how many you have. No amount of these is enough to establish notability. Adding many inadequate sources will not help your article get approved, and will delay review as reviewers struggle to check them all.

So your first job is to go find sources 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. If you are using the Visual Editor, it can automatically generate citations for you if you tap the quotation mark icon and feed it a link to a webpage. Please double check these, as they sometimes contain errors or lack important information, such as author and publication date. You can toggle between the Visual and Source editors by tapping the pencil / eyeball icon in the upper right corner of the editing area.

Things to avoid

Articles about yourself, your family or friends, your website, a band you're in, your teacher, etc.
If you or someone or something you are personally involved with is suitable for inclusion in the encyclopedia, let someone else add that article. You will have to ignore all your own knowledge and all your own feelings in order to create an article that is appropriately sourced and
neutral
.
Advertising and promotion
Do not
An article about yourself is not necessarily a good thing
. Please don't write an article about yourself. Focus your brand building on platforms where you control the messaging, and when you eventually qualify for an encyclopedia article, someone else will write one.
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 original theories, opinions, or insights, even if you can support them by reference to accepted work. A common mistake is to present a novel synthesis of ideas in an article.
Non-notable topics
People frequently add pages to Wikipedia without considering
Wikipedia is not
a directory of everything in existence.
Things from the future
A film that has not been released yet, a sports season that has yet to begin, or a book that has not yet been published are all examples of topics that may be suitable for an encyclopedia article in the future, but not yet. Wikipedia
cannot see the future
.
A single sentence or website link
Articles need to have real content of their own. Short articles – called
stubs
– are welcome, but the article content should be at least several sentences. A good rule of thumb is if you cannot find ten separate facts about your topic in your sources, there might not be enough information for a standalone article.

And be careful about...

Copyright

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

cited
and clearly attributed quotation is OK.)

Wikipedia:Copy-paste

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. Material that violates copyright will be deleted very quickly, and you will lose all your progress and have to start over. 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
verifiable
by other editors

Good research and citing your sources
Please research with the
AI programs like ChatGPT
to compose text or to verify information. These are not reliable, and can make things up.
Add citations as you write
Adding a citation to each important statement as you write the article is much easier and quicker than the opposite, where you write the article and then try to find sources to verify the information you added. This is called
writing articles backward
.
Articles or statements about
living persons
As with all topics, articles written about living persons must be referenced so that they can be
verified
. This requirement is enforced far more rigorously for any statements about a living (or recently deceased) person, and reviewers are supposed to remove immediately any unreferenced material before discussing. 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.
Assuming your subject is notable because of similar articles
Wikipedia's quality control has increased over time. There are old articles that were created when standards were lower that would no longer be considered acceptable today.
do not need to be in English
.
Articles that contain different definitions of the topic
Articles are primarily about what something is, not any term(s). If the article is
defines
one subject as well as some more material to go with it.
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
notable
.
Breaking news events
While Wikipedia accepts articles about
not appropriate for our project
.

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.

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. Many Wikipedia articles have been assessed for quality, which can be checked on the article's talk page. If an article has been assessed as B-class, or as a Good Article or Featured Article, it is safe to use as an organizational template for your article. You can also consult Wikipedia's

Manual of Style
to see how articles are supposed to be structured.

Gather your sources, summarizing what they say in your own words, adding citations as you go. Clearly establish your subject's notability. Disclose any applicable conflict of interest. Adhere to a neutral point of view and write in an encyclopedic tone.

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 {{

Non-English sources are fine
, but many of us cannot read them to verify the statements in your article. Please have patience. We are all volunteers.

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. 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.

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]]. 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.

See

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
    .
  • 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

Read

Encyclopedia Britannica is a good example of an online general purpose encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Iranica
is a specialist online encyclopedia, but also a good example. 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.

Once you are experienced

When an experienced editor starts an article directly in mainspace, they routinely take care of things such as:

  • that the subject is
    redundant
    in light of already existing content on Wikipedia.
  • that the article is correctly
    named
    .
  • that the three core content policies of
    required degree of sensitivity with regard to a living person
    if it contains information about that person.
  • that they follow
    disambiguation
    .
  • that the prose is competently written, in proper encyclopedic
    citing sources
    ) as possible.
  • that they tag the article as being in scope of
    stub
    , that they mark it as such.

When an editor does not feel certain about being able to fulfill the above requirements with regard to an article they want to create, AfC is probably recommended. This includes very experienced editors, who may be sure about all of the above most of the time, but with regard to a specific subject, they are unsure about a few things.