Writing your first article

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Welcome to Wiki4CAM! This is a guide to some things you should know before creating your first encyclopedia article. We'll explain some of the DOs and DO NOTs of writing an article, then we'll tell you how to create your article. Before you create your first new article, here are some tips that may help you along:

  1. Try editing existing articles to get a feel for writing and for using the mark-up language in use at Wiki4CAM.
  2. Search Wiki4CAM first to make sure that an article does not already exist on the subject, perhaps under a different title. If the article already exists, feel free to make any constructive edits you feel are necessary.
  3. Consider creating the article on user sub-page To create an article, you must first be a registered user. Once you sign up, you'll find that you have your own user page. You can make your own area there to start working on a new article; you can get it in shape there, take your time, and only move it into the "live" Wiki4CAM once it is ready for prime time.
  4. Remember the article you create will be deleted quickly if it is not acceptable. Wiki4CAM has a new pages patrol division where people check your new articles shortly after you create them.
  5. Gather references both to use as source(s) of your information and also to demonstrate notability of your article's subject matter. Articles that do not meet notability by citing reliable published sources are likely to be deleted.
  6. Please do not create pages about yourself or your friends, pages that advertise, personal essays or other articles you would not find in an encyclopedia.
  7. Be careful about the following: copying things, controversial material, extremely short articles, and local-interest articles.
  8. Gather references to reliable published sources.
  9. Create a new page.
  10. List references to your sources and show notability.

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Contents

Search for an existing article

Wiki4CAM already has a lot of articles. Before creating an article, try to make sure there is not already an article, perhaps under a slightly different name; you can search for it here; check the Wiki4CAM naming conventions. If an article on your topic is there, but you think people are likely to look for it under some different name or spelling, learn how to add a redirect with that name; adding needed redirects is a good way to help Wiki4CAM. Also, remember to check the article's deletion log in order to avoid creating an article that has already been deleted.

If a search does not find your article, consider broadening your search to find existing articles that might include the subject of your article. For example, if you want to write an article about a band member, you might search for the band and then add information about your subject to that broader article.

Gathering references

Template:IncGuideGather sources to the information for your article. To be worth including in the encyclopedia a subject must be sufficiently notable and that notability must be verifiable through references to reliable sources.

These sources should be reliable; that is, they should be sources that exercise some form of editorial control. Print sources (and web-based versions of those sources) tend to be the most reliable, though many web-only sources are also reliable. Some examples include (but are not limited to): books published by major publishing houses, newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, websites of any of the above, and other websites that meet the same basic requirements as any print-based source.

In general, sources with NO editorial control are not generally reliable. These include (but are also not limited to): books published by vanity presses, self-published zines, blogs, web forums, usenet discussions, BBSes, fan sites, and the like. Basically, if anyone at all can post information without anyone else checking that information, it is probably not reliable.

To put it simply, if there are reliable sources with enough information to write about a subject, then that subject is notable and those sources can verify the information in the Wiki4CAM article. If you cannot find reliable sources (such as newspapers, journals, or books) that provide information for an article, then the subject is not notable or verifiable and almost certainly will be deleted. So your first job is to go find references.

Once you have references for your article, you can learn to place the references into the article by reading Wiki4CAM:Citing sources. But do not worry too much about formatting them properly. It would be great if you do that, but the main thing is to get references into the article even if they are not well formatted.

Things to avoid

For more information, see: Wiki4CAM:What Wiki4CAM is not.


Articles about yourself, your friends, your website, a band you're in, your teacher, a word you made up, or a story you wrote 
If you are worthy of inclusion in the encyclopedia, let someone else add an article for you. Putting your friends in an encyclopedia may seem like a nice surprise or an amusing joke, but articles like this are likely to be removed. In this process, feelings may be hurt, which can be avoided by a little forethought on your part. So, just do not do it, please. The article might remain if you have enough humility to make it neutral and you really are notable, but even then it's best to submit a draft for approval and consensus of the community instead of just posting it up as unconscious biases may still exist of which you may not be aware.
Non-notable topics 
People frequently add pages to Wiki4CAM without considering whether the topic is really notable enough to go into an encyclopedia. Because Wiki4CAM does not have the space limitations of paper-based encyclopedias, our notability policies and guidelines allow a wide range of articles - however, they do not allow every topic to be included. A particularly common special case of this is pages about people, companies or groups of people that do not assert the notability or importance of their subject, so we have decided that such pages may be speedily deleted under our WP:SPEEDY policy. This can offend - so please consider whether your chosen topic is notable enough for Wiki4CAM, and assert (or preferably show!) the notability or importance of your article's subject if you decide it is notable enough. Wiki4CAM is not a directory of everything in existence.
Advertising 
Please do not try to promote your product or business. Please do not insert external links to your commercial website unless a neutral party would judge that the link truly belongs in the article; we do have articles about products like Kleenex or Sharpies, or notable businesses such as McDonald's, but if you are writing about a product or business be sure you write from a neutral point of view, that you have no conflict of interest, and that you are able to find references in reliable sources that are independent from the subject you are writing about.
Personal essays or original research 
Wiki4CAM surveys existing human knowledge; it is not a place to publish new work. Do not write articles that present your own original theories, opinions, or insights, even if you can support them by reference to accepted work. A common mistake is to present a novel synthesis of ideas in an article. Remember, just because both Fact A and Fact B are true does NOT mean that A caused B, or vice-versa. If that is true, then reliable sources will report that connection, and you should cite those sources.
A single sentence or only a website link
Articles need to have real content of their own.
See also:

And be careful about...

Copying things. Do not violate copyrights
To be safe, do not copy more than a couple of sentences of text from anywhere, and document any references you do use. You can copy material that you are sure is in the public domain, but even for public domain material you should still document your source. Also note that most Web pages are not in the public domain and most song lyrics are not either. In fact, most things written since January 1, 1978 are automatically under copyright even if they have no copyright notice or © symbol. If you think what you are contributing is in the public domain, say where you got it, either in the article or on the discussion page, and on the discussion page give the reason why you think it is in the public domain (e.g. "It was published in 1895...") If you think you are making "fair use" of copyrighted material, please put a note on the discussion page saying why you think so. For more information: Copyrights.
Good research and citing your sources
Articles written out of thin air are better than nothing, but they are hard to verify, which is an important part of building a trusted reference work. Please research with the best sources available and cite them properly. Doing this, along with not copying large amounts of the text, will help avoid any possibility of plagiarism.
Advocacy and controversial material
Please do not write articles that advocate one particular viewpoint on politics, religion, or anything else. Understand what we mean by a neutral point of view before tackling this sort of topic.
Extremely short articles that are just definitions
Dictionary definitions belong on Wiktionary. Try to write a good short paragraph that says something about the subject. We welcome good short articles, called "stubs", that can serve as launching pads from which others can take off. If you do not have enough material to write a good stub, you probably should not create the article. At the end of a stub, you should include a "stub template" like this: {{stub}}. (Other Wiki4CAMns will appreciate it if you use a more specific stub template, like {{art-stub}}. See the list of stub types for a list of all specific stub templates.) Stubs help track articles that need expansion.
Organization
Make sure there are incoming links to the new article from other Wiki4CAM articles (click "What links here" in the toolbox) and that the new article is included in at least one appropriate category (see help:category). Otherwise it will be difficult for readers to find the article.
Local-interest articles
These are articles about places like schools, or streets that are of interest to a relatively small number of people such as alumni or people who live nearby. There is no consensus about such articles, but some will challenge them if they include nothing that shows how the place is special and different from tens of thousands of similar places. Photographs add interest. Try to give local-interest articles local colour. Third-party references are very useful to prove that the subject you are writing about is notable.

How to create a page

Only logged in and autoconfirmed users can create an article. In the search box below, type the title of your article, then click Go. If the Search page reports "No page with that title exists" then you can click the red "Create the page" link to start editing your article.

The very first thing you should write in your article is a list of the source(s) for your information. For now, just enter them like this (and they will automatically turn into links):

(1) http://www.hpathy.com/2007/04/12/books/12vonnegut.html
(2) http://www.hpathy.com/ibm/history/exhibits/space/space_shuttle.html

Later, you'll learn how to format them to appear as footnotes.

If you know that it will take you a few edits to properly list references, put the template Template:Tl on top of the page to signify to other editors that you are working on it, so they do not tag it for deletion yet. Even better is to create your article in a subpage of your user page, take as long as you need to make it a good article, then move it to the main article space.

After you have entered your article, click Show preview to check for errors, then click Save page.

And then what?

To format your article correctly (and expand it, and possibly even make it featured!), see the links below.

Others can freely contribute to the article when it has been saved. The creator does not have special rights to control the later content. See Wiki4CAM:Ownership of articles.

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