Welcome to the Fossil Wiki! This is a guide to some things you should know before creating your first encyclopedia article. We will explain some of the DOs and DON'Ts of writing an article, then we'll tell you how to create your article. Here are some tips that may help you along the way:
- You do not have to be a registered user to create a new article.
- Try editing existing articles to get a feel for writing and for using the mark-up language in use at the Fossil Wiki.
- Search the Fossil Wiki first to make sure that an article does not already exist on the subject, perhaps under a different title. If the article already exists, feel free to make any constructive edits you feel are necessary.
- Gather references both to use as source(s) of your information and also to demonstrate notability of your article's subject matter. References to blogs, personal websites and MySpace don't count—we need reliable sources.
- Consider requesting feedback. You can request feedback on articles you would like to create in a number of places.
- Articles that do not meet notability by citing reliable published sources are likely to be deleted.
- Do not create pages about yourself or your friends, pages that advertise, personal essays or other articles you would not find in an encyclopedia.
- Be careful about the following: copying things, controversial material, extremely short articles, and local-interest articles.
Search for an existing articleEdit
The Fossil Wiki already has a lot of articles. Before creating an article, try to make sure there is not already an article, perhaps under a slightly different name; you can search for it here; check the Fossil Wiki naming conventions. If an article on your topic is there, but you think people are likely to look for it under some different name or spelling, learn how to add a redirect with that name; adding needed redirects is a good way to help the Fossil Wiki. Also, remember to check the article's deletion log in order to avoid creating an article that has already been deleted.
If a search does not find your article, consider broadening your search to find existing articles that might include the subject of your article. For example, if you want to write an article about a band member, you might search for the band and then add information about your subject to that broader article.
Gather sources to the information for your article. To be worth including in the encyclopedia a subject must be sufficiently notable and that notability must be verifiable through references to reliable sources.
These sources should be reliable; that is, they should be sources that exercise some form of editorial control. Print sources (and web-based versions of those sources) tend to be the most reliable, though many web-only sources are also reliable. Some examples include (but are not limited to): books published by major publishing houses, newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, websites of any of the above, and other websites that meet the same basic requirements as any print-based source.
In general, sources with NO editorial control are not generally reliable. These include (but are also not limited to): books published by vanity presses, self-published zines, blogs, web forums, usenet discussions, BBSes, fan sites, and other similar resources. Basically, if anyone at all can post information without anyone else checking that information, it is probably not reliable.
To put it simply, if there are reliable sources with enough information to write about a subject, then that subject is notable and those sources can verify the information in the Wikipedia article. If you cannot find reliable sources (such as newspapers, journals, or books) that provide information for an article, then the subject is not notable or verifiable and almost certainly will be deleted. So your first job is to go find references.
Once you have references for your article, you can learn to place the references into the article by reading FW:Citing sources. But do not worry too much about formatting them properly. It would be great if you do that, but the main thing is to get references into the article even if they are not well formatted.
Things to avoid Edit
- Articles about yourself, your friends, your website, a band you're in, your teacher, a word you made up, or a story you wrote
- If you are worthy of inclusion in the encyclopedia, let someone else add an article for you. Putting your friends in an encyclopedia may seem like a nice surprise or an amusing joke, but articles like this are likely to be removed. In this process, feelings may be hurt and you may be blocked from editing if you repeatedly make attempts to re-create the article. These things can be avoided by a little forethought on your part. The article might remain if you have enough humility to make it neutral and you really are notable, but even then it's best to submit a draft for approval and consensus of the community instead of just posting it up, as unconscious biases may still exist of which you may not be aware.
- Non-notable topics
- People frequently add pages to the Fossil Wiki without considering whether the topic is really notable enough to go into an encyclopedia. Because the Fossil Wiki does not have the space limitations of paper-based encyclopedias, our notability policies and guidelines allow a wide range of articles - however, they do not allow every topic to be included. A particularly common special case of this is pages about people, companies or groups of people that do not assert the notability or importance of their subject, so we have decided that such pages may be speedily deleted. This can offend - so please consider whether your chosen topic is notable enough for Wikipedia, and assert (or preferably show!) the notability or importance of your article's subject if you decide it is notable enough.
- Personal essays or original research
- The Fossil Wiki surveys existing human knowledge; it is not a place to publish new work. Do not write articles that present your own original theories, opinions, or insights, even if you can support them by reference to accepted work. A common mistake is to present a novel synthesis of ideas in an article. Remember, just because both Fact A and Fact B are true does NOT mean that A caused B, or vice-versa (fallacies). If that is true, then reliable sources will report that connection, and you should cite those sources.
- A single sentence or only a website link
- Articles need to have real content of their own.
And be careful about...Edit
- Copying things. Do not violate copyrights
- To be safe, do not quote more than a couple of sentences of text from anywhere, and document any references you do use. You can copy material that you are sure is in the public domain, but even for public domain material you should still document your source. In fact, most things written since January 1, 1978 are automatically under copyright even if they have no copyright notice or © symbol. If you think what you are contributing is in the public domain, say where you got it, either in the article or on the discussion page, and on the discussion page give the reason why you think it is in the public domain (e.g. "It was published in 1895...") If you think you are making "fair use" of copyrighted material, please put a note on the discussion page saying why you think so.
- Good research and citing your sources
- Articles written out of thin air are better than nothing, but they are hard to verify, which is an important part of building a trusted reference work. Please research with the best sources available and cite them properly. Doing this, along with not copying large amounts of the text, will help avoid any possibility of plagiarism.
- Advocacy and controversial material
- Please do not write articles that advocate one particular viewpoint on politics, religion, or anything else. Understand what we mean by a neutral point of view before tackling this sort of topic.
- Make sure there are incoming links to the new article from other Fossil Wiki articles (click "What links here" in the toolbox) and that the new article is included in at least one appropriate category (see help:category). Otherwise it will be difficult for readers to find the article.
How to create a pageEdit
any non-blocked user can create an article.
In the search box below, type the title of your article, then click Go. If the Search page reports "No page with that title exists" then you can click the red "Create the page" link to start editing your article.
The very first thing you should write in your article is a list of the source(s) for your information. For now, just enter them like this (and they will automatically turn into links):
- (1) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/books/12vonnegut.html
- (2) http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/space/space_shuttle.html
Later, you'll learn how to format them to appear as footnotes.
After you have entered your article, click Show preview to check for errors, then click Save page.
And then what?Edit
Now that you have created the page, there are still several things you can do.
Keep making improvementsEdit
The Fossil Wiki is not finished. Generally, an article is no where near being completed the moment it is created. There is a long way to go. In fact, it may take you several edits just to get it started.
If you have so much interest in the article you just created, you may learn much more about it in the future, and therefore, have more to add. This may be later today, tomorrow, or several months from now. Anytime, go ahead.
To format your article correctly (and expand it, and possibly even make it featured!), see the following links:
Others can freely contribute to the article when it has been saved. The creator does not have special rights to control the later content.