Tips for writing a good article

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Feel free to jump away and contribute. It's not that bad if you make mistakes, because they can (and should) be corrected later; there are always Wikipedians willing to lend a hand. It is often a good idea to first create an article in a separate word processor and then post it later


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Writing an article that is going to appear on the internet brings extra demands. For example, it is more difficult to read text from a screen than from paper, which means that the structure of a web page is very important. Pages that have a good structure give a user the ability to skim the page and find useful information faster.

  • Make sure your article begins with a brief introduction to the topic: You should, as it were introduce it to the reader. The first paragraph should contain a summary of what follows or a description of the topic. If the article is about a person, it is advisable to mention why he or she is important, where he or she came from and when he or she lived. For a city, for example, it is useful to mention in which country it is located and what it is called in the local language.
  • Use headings, images, tables, or lists where necessary.
  • Think carefully about the use of internal links to other articles: do not be stingy with links, but it is also not necessary to link to every word that sounds difficult.
  • Do not make the article's paragraphs too long, because long paragraphs seem unnecessarily difficult. Shorter paragraphs give more structure, but:
  • Do not make the article's paragraphs too short, because one-sentence or one-line paragraphs create the impression of a bunch of incoherent facts, instead of a coherent whole.
  • Where appropriate, it may be helpful to repeat the pattern of similar articles. For articles on e.g. countries or chemical elements, it makes sense to use the same setup and layout.
  • Try to avoid slang or crude language as much as possible.
  • Do not address the reader unless necessary. A sentence such as "you can get this disease when you come in contact with harmful substances", can be replaced with "this disease can be contracted by contact with harmful substances". Stay matter-of-fact and let only the facts inform the reader.
  • The use of the present tense for events that have taken place in the past ("In 1982 he signed a treaty with the USA") is confusing and unnecessary.

Before you start writing

What do we already have?

Before you start a new article, first look at Wikipedia what has already been written on the subject. Doing so prevents you from writing an article about "penguins" while " penguin " already exists.

If you feel you would rather not start a brand new article, you can always browse through the Seeds or short pages and choose something to expand on.

Gather more information 

If you would like to start or expand an article but do not have much information about it, it is a good idea to look up the topic in foreign-language Wikipedias, as some of them contain extensive and reliable information. However, do not forget that these articles are also written by volunteers: they also (like you) make mistakes and it will help if you also use other sources. Consult several (more than one) websites dealing with the same topic or visit your local library.

A useful method is also to use Google (and so on) and search for books on your topic instead of websites. Often there are pieces of information in the preview that you can use and it is also possible to find good references if you click on the information about the book.

Wikipedia is for everyone

Wikipedia is meant for everyone, including Jan Rap and his partner. Articles should therefore not only be aimed at specialists, because it is more likely, for example, that someone without prior knowledge will read the article on economics, than a third-year economics student. If you use strange terms or concepts, you can define them or explain their meaning, or you can insert a [[link]] that makes this information accessible. This is especially useful if the same information needs to be explained on multiple pages. If your article has a specialist topic, then make sure that the [[links]] to the basic concepts provide good information and do not stay red. Images, tables, and diagrams can sometimes also be useful.