We all know that anyone can edit a Wikipedia article but have you ever thought about editing one yourself? It can seem intimidating at first because it feels like Wikipedia editors are omniscient beings. Although editors are very knowledgeable, they all have to rely on reliable sources, the Wikipedia community, and guidelines to make changes. The most important part is taking the first step.
Editing My First Article
This week, I edited my first article, and I wanted to share my experience with you. I will say that this process completely changed how I view Wikipedia. Initially, it never registered to me how the editing process worked, and I thought you had to be a part of a special group to make edits. It turns out it’s easier than I thought. One thing to point out is that approvals and response times can take a while so even though you’ve made edits, it’s uncertain if they will remain permanent until green-lit by the community (to the best of my knowledge). I made my suggestions a week ago, and I’m still awaiting a response. Nevertheless, I went through with my first edit.
Choosing a Topic
Choosing a topic to edit was one of the most challenging parts. It’s intimidating because I feel as though what knowledge can I add to articles that seem to have everything? Naturally, I had some trouble in the beginning but, then I remembered that my professor advised to think local.
In Miami, there’s ongoing construction to keep up with the growth of the city. I thought about writing about the new shopping center that went up in my neighborhood but, it turns out my neighborhood is not notable enough to even have a Wikipedia page. Then, I started to think about new construction, events, and landmarks nearby. This lead me to malls in South Florida.
Two malls came into mind, The Falls and Dadeland. When observing both their pages, I saw that most of the content included store updates. What stood out on Dadeland Mall’s page were the inclusion of events occurring a few decades prior like, an unfortunate massacre during the Cocaine Cowboy’s era.
I remembered on local news, police were recently still investigating burning body that took place at The Falls. This is important because this mall is very upscale and neighborhood friendly.
How to Request an Edit
The process of requesting an edit for a page was quite confusing. Various instructions are available but, this is how I did it:
- Visit an article you’re interested in editing
- Click the “Talk” tab on the top left (you’ll be able to see all requested edits for this page).
- Click the “Edit Source” tab on the top right to add your desired edits to talk page.
Formatting a Requested Edit
When requesting an edit, it’s important to think about formatting the information. I used the Australia Talk page provided on the Wikipedia guidelines page as an example. Overall, it’s important to be polite, stay objective, and include sources.
I realized after my request that I didn’t add a title nor, did I know how (there were no other edits made to this page to use as a template).
Then, I requested another edit on Dadeland Mall’s talk page. Here, I discovered from previous requests that “= [ text here] =” is used to add a title to the request.
A week passed, and no replies were made to my requests so I updated Dadeland Mall’s Wikipedia page. I chose this edit over The Falls because I felt this edit would be least likely to be disputed.
Editing an Article
To do so, visit the article you wish to edit, and on the top left next to the “Read” tab there is an “Edit” tab.
This action changes the page to editing mode in which you can add your edit to whichever area of the article you’d like. You can click the “cite” tab to add a citation (in which Wikipedia automatically generates a citation for you). The citation is added as a number after your statement as well as to the reference list found at the bottom of every article.
I hope this post will inspire more people to make edits to articles.
I will post any updates.