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Wikipedia:How to start a new article

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia ever written. However, there are many things about which there is not yet an article; the list of requested articles has some of them.

This page explains how to start a new article. For all the gritty details, see starting an article.

To create articles, you have to be a logged-in user; log in or create an account first if necessary. Alternatively, you can submit an article and ask for it to be created for you.

Bear the following things in mind:

  • It is a good idea to become accustomed to editing existing articles before starting an article from scratch.
  • Content you add must be your own; copyright violations will be removed.
  • While there is no limit to the size of Wikipedia, there are limits on what is appropriate for an encyclopedia.

Before creating an article, there are various things you should check and be aware of. Follow the guidance below to avoid having your article deleted.

Subjects to avoid[edit]

The mere existence of something does not automatically warrant its inclusion in an encyclopedia. Wikipedia's content policies recommend against articles about:

  • Yourself. You may or may not warrant your own article, but that is a decision best made by others.
  • Organizations you are strongly affiliated with. Contributions from people not personally affiliated with the article's subject are likely to produce a more balanced article.
  • Subjects for which an article already exists.
  • Something you made up.
  • Very trivial subjects that are best covered by a few words in a more general article.
  • Subjects for which you cannot find reliable sources.

Additionally, Wikipedia has inclusion criteria for certain types of subject (such as people, books, and films); articles about these things must show that they meet these criteria.

Check for existing articles[edit]

If you want to write about something, chances are an article on it already exists, although it might not have the exact title you had in mind. This doesn't mean you cannot contribute the material you were planning to; no article is perfect and indeed the existing article may be in need of rewriting.

Type the name of the article you want to create into the Search box on the left of the screen, and click "Go". You may find that you are taken to an existing article, to which you can contribute.

If there is no article by that name, search results will be displayed instead. It may be that one of these is an article about the thing you searched for, or something very close to it. If so, it is better to contribute to that article than start one that duplicates it. Before doing this, consider creating a redirect from your search term to the existing article, so that future searches display that article. To do this, click the red "Create the page" link at the top of the search results, insert the text #REDIRECT ''name of article'', replacing "name of article" with the title of the existing article, and click "Save page".

What your article should have[edit]

You should ensure that any article you create meets the following criteria. If it doesn't, there's a good chance it will be deleted if you do create it. If you want to start working on something, but it doesn't yet meet these criteria, you can still store it on Wikipedia, just not in the main encyclopedia, as that needs to remain presentable to readers. Instead, create a user subpage and put it there.

  • Sources. This is the most important point. Anyone can edit Wikipedia, so in order to have some confidence in the information it contains, articles must cite other, more reliable, sources. This is usually done by including citations at the end of the article in a "References" section. If no reliable source exists for the information, it does not belong in an encyclopedia.
  • Links to other, relevant articles.
  • Categories. See here for help categorizing articles. In particular, if the article is about a living person, make sure you add the text [[Category:Living people]] at the bottom of the page.
  • Formatting. Generally, the article's title is given in bold in the first sentence, the article is divided into sections, images have captions, and so forth. See the manual of style for details on how to do these things.

Creating the article[edit]

Once all the above is in order, create the article by following a red link to it or entering its URL in your browser's address bar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/name of article, replacing "name of article" with the article name). If you were working on the article in a user subpage, you can move the subpage to the article title instead.

Once the article is created, consider linking instances of the article title in existing articles that mention the subject if they do not already do so. You can see which articles link to a given article by clicking "What links here" in the sidebar.