The University of British Columbia‘s class SPAN312 (“Murder, Madness, and Mayhem: Latin American Literature in Translation”) contributed to Wikipedia during Spring 2008. The collective goals were to bring a selection of articles on Latin American literature to featured article status (or as near as possible). By project’s end, they had contributed three featured articles and eight good articles. None of these articles was a good article at the outset; two did not even exist.
- To improve Wikipedia’s coverage of selected articles on Latin American literature, particularly those related to dictator novels.
Done Eight new good articles and one new B-class article
- To submit these articles to Wikipedia review processes, such as peer review, good article nominations and featured article candidates.
- To increase the number of featured articles in this area.
Done Three new featured articles.
From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Murder_Madness_and_Mayhem/Planning_and_resources, written by the instructor Jon Beasley-Murray
These seem to me the stages we need to pass through:
- Start. Get familiar with Wikipedia. Make some trial edits, however minor. Demystify the process. Leave behind any sense of intimidation. As Wikipedia puts it, learn to be bold. Learn basic editing skllls. By January 5, everyone should have made at least one edit.
- Plan. But minor edits alone won’t get us much closer towards Feature Article status. We need to have a sense of what more needs to be done, and an overall plan for the article. Look at models and guidelines (e.g. guidelines for articles about novels) on how to write good and feature articles. What sections are required? What will be the article structure? What information is needed? By Spring Break (February 15), each group should have their plan in place. It would be useful to put details on article talk pages.
- Share. We will need to divide up the tasks that we’ve identified in the planning stage. Who is going to do what and when?
- Research. This is vital. A Wikipedia article is worth nothing unless it comprises verified research, appropriated referenced. This will entail going to the library, as well as surfing the internet!
- Assemble and copy-edit. As the referenced research is added to an article, we need to ensure that it does not become baggy and disorganized, though there will be moments when it is obviously in a transitional stage.
- Informal Review. First, informal reviews among ourselves and consultation with members of the FA-Team.
- Good article nomination. Ideally by March 22 (perhaps March 29 at the latest?), if we are going to submit subsequently to Feature Article review, as there’s a backlog of articles to be reviewed, and because a nomination can easily be put on hold until the article is improved in line with a reviewer’s suggestions.
- Further Informal Review.
- Feature article nomination. By April 10.
The above could probably be refined. (Be bold and do change it!) And of course, there’s no precise order for everything. There’s always the need for small, incremental change. But over the course of the project we’re looking for radical change, in some cases seeking to create a feature article from scratch. So we need also to be methodical.
And it may turn out that not all articles will be submitted to Feature Article Review. But this should still be our goal!
NB see also what Wikipedia has to say about article development.
Whenever you edit, make sure that you are signed in. Also, add four tildes ~~~~ to the end of all comments you make on talk pages. This will let people know who is talking.
To get past the stumbling blocks of GA and FA, articles will have to conform to the Wikipedia style guides. The three largest barriers are:
- Wikipedia:Layout – this guide describes heading and sub-headings.
- Wikipedia:Lead section – the all important abstract at the head of an article.
- Wikipedia:Manual of Style – the collection of rules.
Secondary style guide are specific to different projects. Articles must conform to these also. Conflict between any of these is inevitable and troublesome; editors simply have to work out conflicts through consensus.
- Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction) – collection of rules for fiction.
- Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Style guidelines – mostly lay out issues for articles on novels.