Top Ten Things You Must Avoid When Creating a Wikipedia Page

Wikipedia page creation is a complex and delicate process. It requires the careful weaving of many different threads: facts, sources, citations, verifiability, neutrality, biographical information, and more. The process must be handled with care, lest it unravels completely. As in all things Wikipedia, the first step to creating a successful page is to avoid making mistakes that can lead to its deletion (such as violating Wikipedia’s policies or guidelines). This list details ten of the most common errors committed by page creators.

1) Don’t Claim You’re an Expert on Something If You Aren’t

If you are not a subject-matter expert, refrain from writing about your area of expertise. Your personal opinions and interpretations will undermine the validity of your claims, and you may well be challenged for being “subjectively biased.” This is especially true when writing about yourself; if you are not an expert on your own life, then don’t write about it!

2) Don’t Be Too Closely Connected With Your Subject

Any article should be written from a neutral point of view, with no undue emphasis on one side or another. If you have strong feelings about the subject, keep them to yourself and give a balanced treatment rather than trying to skew the article toward your preferred side. If you are a government official or public figure, include a disclaimer stating that your views do not reflect those of your agency or organization. Similarly, people with a financial interest in their subject matter should also disclose that relationship.

3) Don’t Be Too Promotional

The goal of Wikipedia is to provide accurate information without bias. Articles are not intended to be advertisements for products, services, or organizations. Please see WP:PROMO for more specific guidelines.

4) Don’t Make Up Information That Isn’t Verifiable

It’s fine to paraphrase information that has not been independently verified. However, if you wish to include new material, it must be sourced from reliable sources. Do not attribute an idea or fact to a source unless you can cite that source. Remember, Wikipedia is a reference resource, not a blog. Furthermore, do not use Wikipedia as a platform to promote your business or website through unsourced promotional content.

5) Don’t Cross-Reference Yourself

Cross-referencing creates a tangled web of relationships between individuals and subjects. For example, linking out to other pages is acceptable if they contain additional information related to a particular topic. However, creating links within a Wikipedia article that refer directly back to your page is considered inappropriate. The best way to handle this issue is to remove any cross-references in your text.

6) Don’t Try to Lure Readers Away From Wikipedia

One of the main goals of Wikipedia is to encourage readers to stay on Wikipedia. If you try to lure visitors away from Wikipedia with information not published there, you will violate our policies. Cross-linking to external websites relevant to your subject can be encouraged, but only if it does not violate Wikipedia’s guidelines regarding Promotions and Self-Promotion.

7) Don’t Give Out Unsourced Information

The goal of Wikipedia is to provide correct information. Simply stating something as fact without providing documentation is a violation of Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines. Whenever possible, include links to sources such as books, newspapers, or magazines. Even if you cannot find a primary source, if the information is widely accepted within your field, it might still qualify as a secondary source.

8) Don’t Use Media Coverage to Create an Article

Only three types of articles can be created using press coverage: Featured Articles, List Articles, and Category Articles. If you want to discuss the contents of any of these articles, please contact the article’s editor(s) or its community of editors. Do not create a page based on news stories without permission from the publishers or authors.

9) Don’t Write About Yourself Without Permission

Unless you have written or spoken about yourself, or if you were the subject of a book or a documentary, it’s generally not appropriate to write about yourself. However, it may seem like a fun way to celebrate your accomplishments, but remember that Wikipedia is not a vanity project.

10) Don’t Overlook the Rules

It is easy to overlook the rules when starting a new article. That’s why it is important to familiarize yourself with WikiProjects, which include projects aimed at improving the quality of certain types of articles. To learn more about how to enhance a certain kind of article, check out its Wikipedia page and click on “WikiProject” under the “See also…” section at the bottom.

Final Words

Our goal is to produce a high-quality encyclopedia. As a result, we often need to edit articles to remove questionable, unverifiable, or otherwise problematic content. While some people object to this practice, remember that Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. Our job is to provide reliable information—not to protect peoples’ egos. If you follow the guidelines above, you will avoid unnecessary disputes with other users and help ensure that the encyclopedia is accessible to everyone.

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