|5th March 2010||#1 (permalink)|
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GUIDE - for Editors and Edititing Content
A strong wiki community needs readers, writers and editors. Readers and writers play upon each other. A wiki needs content to attract readers, and with those readers will come those who want to contribute themselves. These readers-turned-writers provide new content, which in turn attracts new readers some of which will become writers, and thus the wiki snowballs.
But what really sets a strong wiki apart from the crowd are the editors. Almost anyone can contribute to a wiki. We all know something, some of us knowing a great deal about a few things, others knowing a bit about a lot of things. Wikis use this knowledge to create a vast resource for everyone.
But, while most people can contribute to the knowledge, not everyone can do it with good, strong language. That's where the editors come in. They tighten the language, clean up the grammar, and make sure the entries are well written and easy to read.
Wiki Editing - Edit What You Know
One way to get started editing wikis is to browse through topics in your area of expertise. Because you are familiar with the topic, it will be easier to comprehend the entry even if it is not written very well.
This tactic also allows you to add to the entry as well as edit it. If you spot something that is incorrect, or feel an important piece is missing, you can go ahead and add it while you are editing the entry.
Also, being familiar with the topic, you are better able to spot whether or not the flow of the article makes sense. Often, information is best presented in a certain order. If, for example, I were to explain the basics of sentence structure, it is best that I start with the subject and the predicate before moving on to prepositional phrases.
Wiki Editing - Edit What You Are Interested In Reading
While editing what you know has the bonus of being familiar enough with the subject that you can spot inaccuracies, it does have the downside of being more difficult to maintain your interest.
Some people love to read as much as possible about their favorite subjects, and that's great, but there are also a lot of people that crave new information. If you love to edit, and you love to learn, then editing what you are interested in learning about is a great way to get started editing wikis.
There is still a lot that can be done in articles where you are not quite as familiar with the subject matter. Not only can you look at grammar, but also sentence and paragraph construction. Or, I should say, grammar beyond the commas and periods. Creating an easy flow of words is as important as creating a grammatically correct article.
Wiki Editing - Edit What Needs To Be Edited
A third way of going about the business of editing a wiki is to specifically target articles that need editing.
Many wikis have a discussion forum where members might ask for help in editing an article. Some also maintain lists of the most recently contributed articles. New articles are a great place to start editing since even the best of us often don't get it perfect the first time.
Utilizing a discussion forum will also allow you to become more involved in the community of content providers. This might lead to future requests for you to edit specific articles.
Wiki Editing - Random Edits
If you still can't decide on which tactic to use to start editing a wiki, you can always use the random page tool. This will take you to a random article. Scan it and see if it needs changes. If so, make them, if not, go to another random article.
If you are browsing through a new or small wiki, you'll probably find an article that needs editing rather quickly. If you are randomly browsing Wikipedia, it might take a bit longer, but you will eventually find something that jumps out at you.
Wiki Editing - Learning the Markup Language
The biggest hurdle to editing a wiki is learning the markup language used to format the article. But this isn't something that needs to be tackled right at first. The important thing to remember is that the markup language is not difficult to understand, so don't let it intimidate you.
A markup language really very similar to punctuation. A comma tells a reader to pause slightly, and a period tells a reader to pause a little longer. In wiki markup languages, a double bracket around a word might indicate a link to another article, and a series of equal signs might indicate the bold title of a section.
You can get started editing articles without even worrying about the markup language. You simply need to learn to recognize them and ignore them. Concentrate on the writing and grammar outside of the markup sections. As you grow used to it, you will begin to learn the symbols by association -- seeing a link in the text and seeing brackets around it while editing will teach you that brackets create links.
Most wikis will also have a help page that you can pull up that contains a guide to the markup language. It is a good idea to read through this and become familiar with it, but if it reads like another language to you, don't let it stop you from contributing. Just remember, markup language is easy, and you can easily go about the business of editing entries without much knowledge of the markup language. Let it come in its own time.
"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." ~ Albert Einstein
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Last edited by HothouseFlowers; 5th March 2010 at 03:52 PM.
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