Dear 100 Hour Board,
Have any of you written a Wikipedia article? If so, can you like them? Do you have any tips for writing them?
Well, when I was a kid, my friends and I used to entertain ourselves by writing stupid things on our city's Wikipedia page and seeing how long it'd take before someone removed them. These days, though, I mostly write wikiHow articles because paying rent is important and I don't want to go back to my 5 A.M. Creamery job from last summer. Some tips for that might cross over. Hopefully they do.
- Have an informed yet engaging tone. Don't overload the text with too much jargon. Wiki pages should be detailed enough for someone to learn from but approachable enough for anyone to understand.
- Use authoritative sources. If a Buzzfeed article said some fact, that's great but see if you can find a better source (like a government page or a peer-reviewed research paper). Wiki pages can be edited by anyone, but the information will be most accurate/helpful if it's backed up by sources. Never use content marketing as a source because it usually has an agenda.
- Put yourself in the reader's perspective. When a reader accesses this Wiki page, what are they hoping to learn? What key points should they understand about this topic? Think about how much experience the average reader will have on this topic and what would be most helpful for you to add.
- Depending on how extensively you're editing the page, you could write up an outline beforehand to keep your edits organized. Write out the section headers (or key paragraph points) and record the sources associated with them. Writing the actual piece will go more swiftly when you've gathered enough information.
- The Wiki article's introduction should be both engaging and concise. Instead of just recapping the topic, try to make the introduction unique (without being gimmicky). A good tone would be professional but approachable.
If you have more specific details about the Wikipedia article you're editing or have more questions, feel free to email!
PS: Also, some dude on Twitter had been gradually making Mike Pence's Wikipedia photo's face smaller and smaller, and it is beautiful.