Contributing to Wikipedia: Getting Deep

Writing is much more a part of system administration than most people acknowledge. A good writer will be more likely to produce quality documentation and presentations and other documents.

Writing for Wikipedia can be one method that you can use to improve your writing (by seeing other’s writing, and by getting reviews from others). However, contributing to Wikipedia is also a way to give back to the community, a way to show appreciation for what Wikipedia provides.

The most obvious is to just edit any article that needs it, and to improve its wording and spelling. However, there are techniques that are not as obvious in which you can participate in the growth of Wikipedia.

First, there is the Wikipedia Community Portal – a sort of single point of entry for contributing to Wikipedia. This should be a starting point for anyone "going deep" into Wikipedia contributions.

One can also join a Wikipedia Patrol. Wikipedia patrols watch over a certain type of Wikipedia page for problems and assist in making pages better.

For example, one join the Recent Changes Patrol, watching the Recent Changes page (reloading every so many seconds for instance) for new edits, and check any that appear to need closer examination: edits that are from IP addresses, or that have no comments – or edits that come from users that are making a lot of edits rapidly.

One could also join the Random Page Patrol, selecting a random page to improve.

Another thing to do is to join a Wikipedia WikiProject. For instance, there is the Wikiproject Circus – which is focused on improving pages about circuses. (By the way – you really should visit the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, sometime…)

Contributing – and improving your writing and others – is not limited to Wikipedia: you can add your abilities to Wikipedia’s sister projects:

Add your voice to Wikipedia!

You can also work on similar sites that are not directly related to Wikipedia – such as WikiHow (how-to manuals) or others – but Wikipedia and its related sites are probably better because of their respectability, their focus towards writing (articles, etc) and their wide audiences.

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