A brief guide to wikipedia for citizen journalists

Disclaimer:I’m very sceptical of the whole “citizen journalists” concept”.

Still if we are going to have citizen journalists writing about wikipedia we might as well try to make sure they do so as well as possible.

On paper wikipedia is a great thing for citizen journalists to write about. After all they can research whatever the story is  during whatever time they have available and can do so without leaving their desk or even making a phone call. Still for those that want to go beyond regurgitating claims in newspaper articles wikipedia’s shear size can be a problem. So where to start. If the story is an ongoing event that impacts the whole of the english wikipedia then the best places to go are probably the two main Administrators’ noticeboards:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators’_noticeboard

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators’_noticeboard/Incidents

They are the closest wikipedia has to a general information clearing houses even if most of the stuff they cover related to the rather arcane issues involved in the day to day running of wikipedia. For stories with wider impact it may be worth trying the WikiEN-l and Foundation-l mailing lists. The various village pumps may be worthwhile as a long shot. If you want to talk to someone quickly then the english wikipedia’s IRC channel is probably your best bet. I don’t claim it’s inhabitants represent a regular cross section of wikipedians but they do generally collectively have a reasonable idea as to what is going on. Your other option would be to email a user involved in events. This would require you to register an account with an email address. After that go to the user page of the person you wish to email and click email this user. Otherwise just leave a note on their user talk page.

For stories that relate to a single article it’s worth checking the article’s talk page. It is however worthwhile checking to see which comments come from more experienced wikipedians rather than new and drive-by accounts. It may also be worth reviewing the edit comments that can be found in the article history.

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