Letter to a prof. about getting a quick start on editing
(body of letter follows)
I just quickly surveyed some support materials prepared by the Wikimedia Foundation (the umbrella organization behind Wikipedia), and also some tutorial materials that are actually a part of Wikipedia. I'll send you a few more links tomorrow, but for now here are three excellent starting points that will go far toward helping you feel comfortable working IN an article:
- Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia - A quick two pages, from PLOS Computational Biology, written for academic/research professionals.
- Wikipedia editing tutorial - I have never seen this until moments ago. It looks both accessible and thorough, and has lots of links to other useful material.
While this tutorial looks pretty good to me, but I can imagine some confusion arising rather quickly around a few aspects of it. I'll combat that quite directly by working through this with you (if this level of editing knowledge is appropriate for you) while we create an article together in the "sandbox" - or maybe on a section of your user page (better, actually, because it can stay there, if you like). With just a little experience, you'll see that this is all quite doable. Just jumping in is definitely the way to go with this stuff. Indeed, the best possible thing for you to do as a result of our Friday session would be to pick an article to improve, or start one from scratch.
Also, there are tools you can add to your user account which make the basic editing interface more powerful and user-friendly. We'll probably add a couple of these at the very beginning, and you'll appreciate what they do for you. I rely upon them, and you can too.
- Wikipedia – The Missing Manual - Another support resource I'm unfamiliar with (yes, I learned the hard way), but it looks very good. A freely available, professionally published book, online and downloadable - right here.
I have much more, but I'll develop a list tomorrow, and have it available.
As you'll see, the Wikipedia community is eager to provide support. There's a lot of it.