Public outreach/Academy/Workshops Intermediate/Intermediate lesson plan


"Preferences" allow you to personalize Wikipedia. You can change its appearance and add "scripts" that allow you to do more than underlying software envisioned. To begin, click on the "My preferences" phrase in the top right of your screen. You will see an array of tabs, each tab representing a set of preferences such as "date and time" and "watchlist". Some of the changes you can make are simple and self-exlanatory, but others are less so.

Let's look at the "Gadgets" tab. This allows you to add "scripts" that add features to wiki's software. For example, under "Editing gadgets" you can turn on WikEd, which is an integrated text editor. It color-codes wikicode, so that it is easier to read while editing, among many other features.

Notice also the "Add an [edit] link for the lead section of a page" option under "User interface gadgets". This adds a button to each article on Wikipedia that allows you to edit only the lead (which is otherwise not an option).

There are many options worth exploring in the "Preferences" and each editor selects their own desired appearance and combination of scripts. Note that scripts are written by Wikipedians and therefore are a bit more risky to use than the regular wikisoftware. However, most script writers are interested in writing ever better versions and work to fix problems.

Page historyEdit

See also Page history and Watching pages

The history of almost every change made to a Wikipedia article is retained in its history. Navigating through that history effectively can be a powerful way to understand the development of an article.

Let's look at the history of Quark.

  • Click on the "history" button at the top of the article.
  • Notice the "latest" and "earliest" links, which take you to the "latest" and "earliest" versions of the article.
  • Clicking on a particular date and time will take you to the version from that time (this is referred to as a "diff").
  • To compare an old version with the current version, click "cur".
  • To compare a version with its predecessor, click "prev".
  • To compare two specific versions, tick the left-column radio button of the older version and the right-column radio button of the newer version, and then click the "Compare selected versions" button.

Try adding Quark to your watchlist.

  • To track the changes in a particular page and its associated subpages over time, you can add that article to your watchlist. When viewing a page, click the "watch" or "unwatch" tab at the very top of the page, to respectively add or remove the page from your watchlist. When editing a page, check or uncheck "Watch this page" before saving.

You can also use the history to revert changes made to an article. Try this on an article of your choice (you do not have to press save in the end).

  • Click "undo" to return the page to its penultimate form.
  • Go to the top of the page in question, click on the "history" and click on the version to which you wish to revert. When that page displays, you will see a phrase similar to: "This is an old revision of this page, as edited by ***.*.***.*** (Talk) at 15:47, January 24, 2009. It may differ significantly from the current revision." Click on "edit" at the top of the page and save the page, ignoring all warnings.
  • To remove a single edit from further back in the history, view the diff for the edit, then click on "undo" above the newer version.

Adding imagesEdit

Wikipedia's abundance of multimedia, particularly images, sets it apart from other encyclopedias. Because it is online, it is easier for us to add images, sound clips, and videos. Let's look at how to add images to an article. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke article could use a picture of Richard Nixon in one of its sections.

  • First, let's look to see if Wikimedia Commons already has some images of Nixon. If they do, we won't have to upload any ourselves.
  • When we put "Nixon" into the Commons search box, the first result we get is "Category:Richard Nixon".
  • When we click on the category, we see a bunch of images and some links to other Nixon pages. Categories on Commons encompass every image that has been tagged with the label "Richard Nixon" (in this case). The subpage entitled "Richard Nixon" is a gallery. An editor created it and selected images to be in the gallery. They have helpfully labeled each image. While galleries often contain organized sets of images and more information about the images, categories often contain more images overall.
  • Let's select a portrait.
  • After we've selected a portrait, all we need to do is place it in the article. To do so, we use the following simple syntax, indicating the size and the left/right alignment.

[[File:Example.png|thumb|Example image caption]]

[[File:Example.png|thumb|120px|Example image caption]]

[[File:Example.png|thumb|left|Example image caption]]

Uploading imagesEdit

Uploading free (as in free content) images is a wonderful contribution to the project that takes very little time. Let's look at the process of uploading images at Wikimedia Commons. We try to upload images to Commons rather than to Wikipedia, because images on Commons can be used across all of the Wikipedia projects. Anything uploaded to Commons is available to the entire world. Let's upload an image to Commons together.

  • Step 1: Download an image from the "What's new" section of the Public Heath Image Library at the CDC. Almost all of these images are in the public domain, but just check the "Copyright restrictions" field at the bottom of the image description to be sure.
  • Step 3: Click on "Upload file" at the left under "Participate".
  • Step 4: Click on "It is from a US federal government source"
  • Step 5: Fill out the form (see below)
Local filename: load file
Destination filename: Change name, if necessary
Original source: Where was the image originally published and where did you find it? Link back to the CDC.
Author: Who originally created the image? If it was altered, who altered it?
Date: When was the image originally created?
Description: Description of image (detailed as possible - copy this from the original page)
Licensing: US Federal Government
Categories: Start typing to find the appropriate category (the words will fill in).
  • Step 6: Click "upload file".


See also en:Help:Template

A template is a page created explicitly for transclusion - the MediaWiki process of including the contents of one page within another page. They are commonly used for boilerplate messages, designs, standard warnings or notices, infoboxes, and similar content. Templates may contain plain text, wikitext, HTML and/or CSS, or even other templates, and they have some limited programming capacities: customizable values (called parameters), calculation and branchings (using parser functions), and access to wiki-specific variables (magic words), such as dates, times, and page names.

To use a template in an article or page, a template tag (always of the form Template:Template name; the name of the template enclosed in doubled curled brackets) is added where you want the template to appear.

Some of the most commonly used templates are the reference templates, as they help standardize citations. Some examples are:

Here is what they look like inside of an article: en:Bacteria.

The concept behind most templates is the same: You fill in fields and the template arranges the material for you. The template documentation helps you figure out what each field is for. Let's look at an example:

{{cite book |last= Cordell |first= Bruce R. |coauthors= Jeff Grubb, David Yu |title= [[Manual of the Planes]] |publisher= [[Wizards of the Coast]] |year= 2001 |month= September |isbn= 0-7869-1850-8}}

Let's practice adding some templates into articles that are missing references. See en:User:Awadewit/Academy for a list.

Creating a new articleEdit

See also Your first article
  • Step 1: Make sure an article doesn't already exist under a different name. Could "Teddy Roosevelt" already be listed under "Theodore Roosevelt", for example?
  • Step 2: Gather references. Not only is it imperative that you establish that the subject you are writing an article about has been worthy of commentary in secondary sources, but also it is important that you supply references that readers can use to check out the information in the article.
  • Step 3: Consider requesting feedback. It is always a good idea to have someone else check over your work.
  • Step 4: Consider creating in your userspace first. Many people like to write a first draft in userspace rather than drafting live on Wikipedia - this is entirely up to you, however.
  • Step 5: Post.

New articles, even if they are what Wikipedians refer to as "stubs", should have at least few sentences explaining to the reader the basic elements of the topic, at least one reference, categories, and basic writing competency. It is also nice to add an image as well as a tag on the talk page identifying which WikiProject is responsible for the article as this will hopefully draw attention to the article. Let's create some articles! See the list at en:User:Awadewit/Academy.

Good and Featured ArticlesEdit

Good Articles and Featured Articles are both processes on Wikipedia where editors nominate articles to be judged against a set of criteria. At Good Article, a single reviewer judges whether or not the article fulfills the criteria. At Featured Article, a group of reviewers decides together. The criteria for Good Article are generally accepted to be less strict than those for Featured Article.

Both have lists of articles awaiting review. At Good Article, they are divided by subject and there usually about 100 articles awaiting review. Featured Article retains a single list of about 40 articles at any given time.

Take some time to look at the criteria and the reviews that are ongoing to get a feel for what this part of Wikipedia is like. This is one of the areas in which editors help each other out the most. See, for example, this current GA review that I am currently undergoing and the thoughtful comments left by the reviewer.