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Wiki Your Science

Tips and hints for editing and writing planetary science Wikipedia articles


WikiSince 2001, when Wikipedia came on the scene, it has grown to be one of the most referenced websites on the Internet. Millions are guided to Wikipedia when searching the web for a variety of information, including information about lunar and planetary science.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute encourages scientists and postdoctoral researchers to share their expertise and enthusiasm for planetary science by becoming writers and contributing editors on Wikipedia. There are many ways to get involved — identifying and correcting errors, omissions, and inadequate citations, as well as creating new, original pages. And because Wikipedia is available in many different languages, there is also a need for translation of existing pages.

It’s easy to get started. Go to Wikipedia and create a free account by choosing a username and password. Once you’ve registered, you can edit existing pages and write new pages in Wikipedia.

Editing

Editing Wikipedia pages is easy and is a great way to get started in Wikipedia. Once you’ve logged on with your username and password, go to the page you’d like to edit by doing a search, then click on the Edit tab at the top of the page. You’ll get a new page with a text box with editable text of the current page. At this point you can use Wiki Markup language to edit the page. Once you’ve made changes to the page, click on Show preview at the bottom of the text box to see what the changes will look like once they go live. Once the page looks the way you want with your changes, you can click on Save page to make the page go live. At this point, the page is part of Wikipedia and available for others to read and edit. All changes made by all editors of that page can be viewed by clicking on the View history tab at the top of the page.

Writing

See if the page you want to create already exists by doing a search. If the page doesn’t already exist, ask yourself the following: Is the subject worthwhile, notable, and verifiable? A subject must meet these standards before a page is created. Log on with your username and password, then click on Create an article now. You’ll get a new page with an empty text box in which to start creating your page with Wiki Markup language. Write a short introduction and the main body of the page. Click on Show preview at the bottom of the text box to see what the new page will look like once it goes live. Proofread it carefully for spelling and grammatical errors. Once the page looks the way you want, you can click on Save page to make the page go live. Now others can see this new page and add to it or edit. All changes made by all editors of that page can be viewed by clicking on the View history tab at the top of the page.

Wikipedia is a collaborative effort, and anyone can create new pages or edit the pages that exist. There is, however, a “Wikipedia style” that is expected: Content must be authoritative, neutral, and verifiable. Pages that do not meet the standards will receive warnings by Wikipedia editors and may be taken down.

Because of its collaborative nature, writers and editors in Wikipedia should expect to have their work modified over time. It is important not to take changes to your work personally. This is not an individual effort — it’s a group effort.

There is a lot of information available about editing and writing in Wikipedia, including in Wikipedia itself.

Helpful Websites

Wiki markup quick reference
Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia

Websites

Helpful Books Books

How Wikipedia Works and How You Can Be a Part of It
by Phoebe Ayers, Charles Matthews, and Ben Yates (2008, No Starch Press), ISBN 159327176X

Wikipedia: The Missing Manual
by John Broughton (2008, O’Reilly Media), ISBN 0596515162

The Complete Guide to Wikis: How to Set Up, Use, and Benefit from Wikis for Teachers, Business Professionals, Families, and Friends
by T. Brian Chatfield (2009, Atlantic Publishing Company), ISBN 1601383193

Join the Wiki Your Science effort and enhance the lunar and planetary science content on Wikipedia

Last updated August 29, 2013