Wikipedia/The language of Wikipedia

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Writing an article
What is Wikipedia?
The structure of Wikipedia
The Five Pillars
The other projects

As with many evolved systems, Wikipedia users have developed their own language and shorthand to be used in discussion. In this lesson we take a quick overview of many of these terms, and in some of the later parts of the course we will return to these topics and examine them in more detail.

Roles[edit | edit source]

  • Editor: A contributor on Wikipedia. Unlike the normal use of the term outside of Wikipedia, no distinction is drawn between those who write, those who copyedit materials, those who provide media, and those who perform a more traditional editorial role.
  • WikiGnome: Editors who do large numbers of small tasks on Wikipedia, such a fixing punctuation, cleaning up image placements, fixing categories, and generally improve the presentation of articles.
  • Vandal fighter: Editors who predominately watch out for vandalism on articles (see below), responding as necessary.
  • Recent Changes Patroller: An editor who checks the Recent changes list to make sure that there are no problems with the latest changes to Wikipedia.
  • New Pages Patroller: With new articles being constantly treated on Wikipedia, there is a need for people to check to make sure that they meet Wikipedia's requirements. Those on New Pages Patrol focus on this side of the project.

Structure[edit | edit source]

  • Mainspace: The bulk of Wikipedia's "articles" on subjects are contained in "article space" or mainspace. This is where the encyclopaedia proper is kept.
  • Userspace: Pages that are under the control of users, and are not regarded as part of the full "public" aspect of Wikipedia. Userspace is used for general discussion between editors, information about editors (normally on the main "user page", such as User:Jimbo Wales), and subpages where editors work on articles before moving them into mainspace. Indicated by the "User:" in front of the page name.
  • Projectspace (sometimes Wikispace): The portion of Wikipedia dedicated to articles providing information about Wikipedia, or pages dedicated to assist with the running of the project. Includes policies, guidelines and noticeboards. Indicated by "Wikipedia/" in front of the page name, as in Wikipedia:Project namespace.
  • Articles: A Wikipedia page about a particular topic.
  • Discussions : Pages intended for discussing the content of the main page. On articles, the associated discussion page is found by selecting "discussion" from the bar at the top. Also referred to as "talk pages".
  • Sandbox: A page specifically intended to allow editors to make test edits. The shared sandbox is found at Wikipedia:Sandbox, but users often make their own sandbox in their own userspace.
  • Watchlist: Users with accounts are able to add articles to their watch list by clicking on the "start" at the top of each page. If an article is changed, it will appear on the user's watchlist.
  • |Template: Templates allow editors to add common content to pages quickly an easily, such as warning messages, navigation which is common to multiple articles, or general information in a standardised format. A template page (in the template namespace) contains the text to be added, and by using {{template name}} the template's contents can be added to the article.
  • Wikiprojects": A Wikiproject is formed when a group of editors come together to work on a particular theme or task, and create a series of pages (the Wikiproject) to manage their editing. Anyone can join, and by asking questions on a Wikiprojects' discussion page, editors interested in the general topic have an opportunity to respond. Examples include WikiProject Public art and WikiProject Accessibility.

Article development and maintinence[edit | edit source]

  • Vandalism and Vandals: Edits deliberately intended to damage the encyclopaedia are considered to be vandalism. These range from the deliberate insertion of false information, through to replacing content with "Charlie loves ..." or an equivalent.
  • Reverts (RV): The removal of a previous editor's changes. Often used to combat vandalism, but can be used with good faith edits (see below) where there is a genuine disagreement over content.
  • Good Faith; On Wikipedia, edits which are intended to improve the encyclopaedia, even if they are mistaken or against policy, are said to have been made in "good faith". One of the requirements of Wikipedia is that we assume that all editors are editing with the intent to improve the project, and thus we should "assume good faith" (AGF).
  • Deletion: If an article or media file is considered to be inappropriate for Wikipedia, it is removed from the project. This is generally reversible, though, if it can be shown that it was deleted in error.
  • Speedy Deletion: In some cases, the problem with the article or media file is blatant enough that it can be deleted immediately, without undergoing a discussion. These are referred to as "speedy deletions", but their use is strictly controlled.
  • Neutral Point of View: As an encyclopaedia, Wikipedia is not intended to take sides. Thus editing from a "neutral point of view" means to present information fairly and without bias.
  • Verifiability: The ability to confirm that a given statement in an article is accurate, in that it can be traced back to a reliable source, and that it is a fair representation of that source.
  • Tagging: Placing a message on a page, normally using a template, to identify problems with the article. "Drive by tagging" is when tags are left on an article without explaining why on the associated discussion page, typically by an editor not otherwise involved in the article.
  • Consensus: Disputes and disagreements on Wikipedia are solved using consensus, which is to say that a conclusion is reached by considering everyone's views based on their arguments, rather than through numeric voting.
  • Bots

Copyright[edit | edit source]

  • Non-Free Content (NFC): On the Wikimedia Projects, including Wikipedia and Wikiversity, "Non-free content" is text or media that has not been released under a license which is compatible with the licensing requirements of the project.
  • Copyright Violation (Copyvio): The addition of non-free content to an article in a manner which does not meet the permitted exceptions for non-free content. Normally relates to direct copying of copyrighted text, but can also refer to text that isn't sufficiently different from the original (close paraphrasing), copyrighted images used incorrectly or without proper attribution, and images or other media based on copyrighted works.
  • Plagiarism: Not properly attributing the source of text. Although often connected with copyright violations, something can be a copyright violation without also being plagiarism, or plagiarism without being a copyright violation.
  • Contributor Copyright Investigation (CCI): If a particular person is believed to have been making extensive copyright volitions, an investigation may be opened.
  • Fair Use: Copyrighted works can be used under certain provisions, normally referred to as "fair use". Wikipedia takes a more restrictive view of fair use than would be employed elsewhere, in part due to Wikipedia's mission.