Wikipedia talk:Guide to improving articles

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Why this page exists[edit]

I wrote this page in an attempt to help out intermediate Wikipedians — no longer newbies, but not aware of all the dozens of pages in the Wikipedia namespace. I didn't even know about some of these myself until I researched for this page. Of course, if you have any improvements you'd like to make, go ahead! Comments are also welcome. • Benc • 15:03, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It would be interesting to know how actual featured articles came about. I expect many of them were substantially written by one author, with just the odd cleaning round the ages from others. But others must be genuine collaborative efforts. I wonder what the ratio is. Pcb21| Pete 15:07, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Good question, but I'm afraid that one would have to dig through the histories of the featured articles to get an idea. I might do that sometime when I'm bored, if no one else does it before then. • Benc • 18:20, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

A good idea[edit]

I like the idea behind this page very much, though I don't really have time right now to make any helpful comments or suggestions on how to improve it.... -Sewing - talk 20:18, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

...You might want to mention some of forks in the road, like redirection, merging, disambiguation (as in, creating a new article sometimes involves disambiguating an existing article), or adding a page to a category.... -Sewing - talk 20:21, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Thank you very much for the feedback. :-) I mentioned article disputes, which is the biggest bump in the road. I'd rather not see this document get too big (long how-tos are sometimes discouraging to begin reading), but the other forks in the road that you mentioned probably deserve at least one section. Thanks, • Benc • 00:04, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There's Wikipedia:Utilites to cover these issues. This guide has a somewhat narrower scope. :-) • Benc • 01:54, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Do we really want to encourage people to create substubs?

Looks like a good guide. Why don't you mention categorization - every good article should be categorized(?) ··gracefool | 23:24, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Oh dear, of course we don't want to encourage people to write substubs. Good catch.
As for the categorization, I don't want to needlessly duplicate material found in other how-to guides. I agree that categorization is very important, but so are images, references, NPOV, navigational templates, and dozens of other things. As I noted in the last paragraph of this page's lead, I kind of wanted to limit this document's scope. It's long enough as is, methinks. Thanks for the feedback, • Benc • 00:01, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Glad to help :)
You could chuck in some links to those guides. ··gracefool | 03:39, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Done. :-) • Benc • 01:55, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The perfect editing history[edit]

This is a good idea for a page, and it reminded me of something I've meant to try and find for a while; could we find some page that exhibits an "idyllic" editing history --- a pristine example of collaborative editing? Such a history might fit criteria along the lines of:

  • Start: the article starts off as a reasonable stub
  • End: it ends up as an excellent article -- maybe a Featured Article
  • Incremental: it has grown "incrementally" -- relatively small edits and refactorings over a large(ish) period of time
  • Monotonic: each edit has been an improvement
  • Collaborative: it has had significant contributions by a number of editors
  • Harmonious editing: it has avoided edit wars
  • Edit summaries: the edit summaries have been filled-in and descriptive
  • Refactoring, not deletions: errors or POV is reworked rather than simply deleted

Certainly great articles can (and should) be written which don't follow such a pattern, of course. — Matt 02:24, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Interesting idea... I'll keep my eye out for such an article (if there is such a thing). • Benc • 01:56, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
What about Talk:Three Laws of Robotics --Ancheta Wis 12:28, 21 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I am considering merging this page with several others. Please discuss at this page. Gareth Aus 23:01, 18 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]