A project of the European University 'Viadrina', Frankfurt, Germany (Study and Research Centre on Media Law, Law Faculty)
Media Section

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Join Wikipedia as an editor - and become part of global collective knowledge sharing!

Wikipedia searches for new authors, continuously, sometimes even desperately. Many domains of knowledge have not yet or only in small parts been exploited. There is a lot to do. But it is not always easy to join in as a new Wikipedia author. A hardly comprehensible and understandable flood of rules and policies frustrates many beginners. Sometimes rudely phrased corrections or reverts by experienced editors lessen the motivation. Scientists found in recent studies that decisions within the encyclopaedia today are taken rather by a small elite of experienced long-time editors, than by the collective intelligence of grassroot authors. Wiki-Watch aims at helping those who struggle with initial problems and controversies. Wiki-Watch supports those who aim to become Wikipedians. We try to compile and provide relevant know-how and and to be of assistance if specific questions emerge. An excellent source for beginners are the "Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia".

Users on Wikipedia

Everybody who want to contribute continuously to Wikipedia should create a user account with a pseudonym or their own name and e-mail address. Registered users enjoy a much higher acknowledgement and document their intention to contribute. On their own user pages editors can present themselves, reflect on certain personal interests and get in touch with other Wikipedians through the personal discussion page. Moreover, only registered users may actively contribute to shaping the Wikipedia rules - after passing a qualification phase. They may then elect administrators and arbitrators as well as assess articles and pictures published by others. Only registered users may define and save settings that simplify editorial work.

Guidelines for good cooperation are

The software and its difficulties

Authors on Wikipedia will have to become accustomed to MediaWiki (the software running Wikipedia) and its defining features. With Wikipedia's MediaWiki one can create and edit texts different from a normal text editing software, which is why the simple and basic rules of typing and formating within Wikipedia need to be learned. Wikipedia offers a "sandbox" in which one can easily learn the necessary steps: using the editor, getting familiar with the software, testing certain formats. Advanced editors can make use of standard and automatic templates and boxes.
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