Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites on the Internet, regularly bringing in millions of readers a day. But how exactly does a huge site like this work? What are its strengths? What are its weaknesses? Who edits the site? And perhaps most importantly how can you, the reader, help make the site better?
In this book, Paul A. Thomas—a seasoned Wikipedia contributor who has accrued almost 60,000 edits since he started editing in 2007—breaks down the history of the free encyclopedia and explains the process of becoming an editor.
After reading Inside Wikipedia, you will be ready to contribute to the largest, most comprehensive knowledge base the world has ever seen. What will you write about?
Paul A. Thomas is a library specialist at the University of Kansas and a PhD candidate at the Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management. He has been an avid Wikipedia editor since 2007, having created 260 articles, made over 60,000 edits, and promoted over 296 articles to “good” or “featured article” status. From 2017 to 2020, he also served as a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, helping to improve articles on Ancient Roman and Latin literature. He lives in Overland Park, KS.
1. The History of Wikipedia
2. The Wiki-Ethos: What to Know Before You Edit
3. Getting Started: Making Your First Edits
4. Growing as an Editor: To Wikitext and Beyond
5. Concrete Ways to Make Wikipedia a Better Resource
6. Becoming a Critical Editor: Countering Bias
A Short Glossary of Wiki-Slang
About the Author
Readers with a hankering to be a top-notch Wikipedia editor should find a copy of this how-to guide, grab it, and keep it close. It explains the intriguing history of Wikipedia, clarifies the unique ethos that makes Wikipedia so special, and provides detailed, technical instructions for writing entries, submitting them, and participating in Wikipedia’s lively community of editors. Roughly half the text offers step-by-step instructions on editing Wikipedia articles, and this is the heart of this guide. Questions about entry layout, the user-option toolbar, the history tab, the visual editor, Wikitext, behind-the-scenes code, hyperlinks, peer review, locking articles, WikiProjects, and Taskforces are all answered with practical, nitty-gritty guidance and advice. Examples include the technical instructions for signing messages and how to load an article and lock in changes (and add an edit summary). This title is enthusiastically recommended for Wikipedia devotees. Even those with no interest in being a Wikipedia editor will find engaging and enlightening information about Wikipedia's history, its pros and cons, and its utility as an adjunct to traditional encyclopedias.
As Thomas notes, most of us use Wikipedia and know that anyone can contribute to it, but most don’t know who edits it and how and why they do this work. Thomas explains all in plainly written chapters on the history of the resource, what to know before editing, getting started, and growing as an editor in “Concrete Ways to Make Wikipedia a Better Resource.” Crucially, there’s a closing chapter on countering bias in the work. Particularly helpful to librarians will be the section for editors who want to work with libraries and museums, as it is a mini lesson for librarians on what these patrons expect.
This book should be titled Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Wikipedia (*But Were Afraid to Ask) - as it provides a very comprehensive, yet super accessible summary of what Wikipedia is, how it works, and how one can contribute. If you're not editing Wikipedia yet, it is a must-read. If you do, get the book anyway, and spread the good word!
Expert and accessible. Thomas brings his decade-plus experience of collaborating on Wikipedia to print with this new book. Thomas takes the reader inside the online encyclopedia, revealing its history and culture, and showing the reader not only how to contribute but how to be a good contributor---in short, how to become a Wikipedian.
In Inside Wikipedia, Paul Thomas brings an experienced Wikipedian's knowledge in newcomer-friendly prose to explain how to join the community of contributors. His discussion of 'critical editing' in the context of Wikipedia's biases is a particularly welcome addition to the corpus of publications about Wikipedia.
10/7/22, Inside Higher Ed: This book was featured in a roundup of books about technology and digital media.