29 things: how Wikipedia works and how to get involved in the process for having a post changed

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I deliberately left my post on the mark-up language for Wikipedia out of the 29 things meme because I didn’t want to encourage PR people altering their clients Wikipedia entry – if anyone thinks that as an implicit message from my previous post then they are wrong. You will be caught, there are great free tools out there which will expose you as surely as night follows day. If you do not believe me have a play with WikiScanner.

Wikipedia is based on the likes of you and me writing posts. A key part of this process is that every point or fact made is verified (links to third party sources: news articles, academic papers, company websites). In order to make sure that this works, there is a disputes procedure and a body of editors who go around fixing grammatical errors, resolving editorial disputes between contributors, locking contentious posts that are likely to be vandalised and deleting posts that don’t meet the community standards of Wikipedia.

Every Wikipedia page has four tabs at the top of the page:

  • Article – the default tab
  • Discussion – about the page where readers can express their opinion as to the quality of the content, the article relevance and quality of references
  • Edit this page – where you can add, amend or edit content on the page
  • History – a record of who has made what alterations to the page

This is the starting point. If you have a problem with a post, for instance that it is factually incorrect, I would suggest put in a concise comment of the issue in the discussion section together with links to independent content that verifies the the points that you make. If you need to escalate the process further read this page very thoroughly. Generally people want just what you want an accurate source of reference, keep it professional and neutral in tone when you are disputing content.

Posts in this series

29 things: the basics of how to record audio

29 things: how Wikipedia works and how to get involved in the process of having a post changed

29 things: how to tweet

29 Things: Understand the nature of conversations and their appropriateness for your client

29 things: how to use Google for fun and profit

29 things: how to use an RSS reader

29 things: how to organise a PR account

29 things: how to embed pictures and video

29 things: how to create a link

29 things: how to touch-type

29 things: how to manage your communications platform

29 things for PR people

This was the post that started it all: 29 not-very-technical things that every PR person should know