To understand Wikipedia, it is easiest to think of this website as having two types of pages: pages that are part of the encyclopedia itself, and pages of the community (used by contributors to help build and operate the encyclopedia).
To find your way around the encyclopedia, either enter a term into the search box at the top-right side of the screen, or go to Wikipedia's table of contents. You may also use Wikipedia's category system to browse through the article categories.
Wikipedia's community pages include instructions, help pages, policies and guidelines, processes, discussion forums, places to make requests, pages to report problems, and user pages. These are all pages which we use to develop the encyclopedia and to communicate with each other in that mission.
- Using shortcuts
There is a quick and easy way to find community and project pages: Almost all "Wikipedia-space" pages have shortcuts that take you directly to the page you want from whichever page you are currently on. Most of these shortcut redirects are just abbreviated forms of the page's title. To use a shortcut, in the search box simply type WP: followed by the word of what you wish to learn about. For example, if you wish to learn what primary sources are, you would type WP:PRIMARY in the search box and hit enter, or if you want to know what NPOV means, just type WP:NPOV (it doesn't necessarily need to be in capital letters) and it will take you straight to the relevant page. This is also why you sometimes see short notes at the tops of pages saying things like "WP:FOO" redirects here. For <blank>, see <blank>., it's to ensure users arrive at the correct destination. Experienced and established users navigate throughout Wikipedia using this method and it's also a great way for new users to find their way around.
Some directories to help you find your way around the community are:
- Wikipedia:Department directory - what gets done where
- Wikipedia:Questions - where to go to ask questions
- Wikipedia:Requests - where to make requests
- Wikipedia:Community portal - Wikipedia's hub of activity. It includes announcements, news, ongoing projects, and task lists. This is where to find out where your help is needed most.
- See also