Thursday, September 1, 2011

James Underdown ~ Writing a page from scratch ~ Stating NPV

This is really advanced and a time consuming task.  Not impossible, totally doable but not something new editors should be working on IMO.  We are going to talk about building a page from scratch. 

First off do not expect the page to be ready to publish quickly.  The example I'm going to give took several weeks.  Then I held onto it for a few more weeks waiting to make sure there was nothing else I wanted to include, plus I was trying to understand the instructions for the "Did You Know" project. 

Tim Farley gave me some really great advise when starting a new page, don't actually work on it on the page it will eventually become.  Work on it on your "user" page or in the Wikipedia Sandbox.  Let me explain.

When you decide that you are going to write a page, you first have to discover if there already exists a page.  Before I started Jim Underdown's page I tried looking on Wikipedia for Jim Underdown and James Underdown and made sure it wasn't already done.  I also asked him if he knew if someone was working on it, don't want to get all done and discover someone else has beat me to it. 

What I discovered was that there used to be a page called James Underdown, but it was long deleted.  It had been for a rugby player or something.  So the search brought up a page giving me that info, and it wanted me to write the page right there.  If I had done that, then the whole time I was editing it other people would be able to watch me, and help.  Also every edit I did would also be in the history of the page, Tim suggested that having a fresh clean history would be a good thing.  So I created a user page for Jim.  It looked like this User:Sgerbic/James Underdown

If you would like to go back to the beginning of the history of this page, you can "watch" me build the page before your eyes.  Here is the very first draft created on June 8, 2011.  Looking back on it now, this is a far better draft than a lot of real pages out there. 

To see the history of the page you go to the top right of the page you want to view.  Click on "view history" and you will see a lot of links appear.  Go to the very bottom of the page (in this case it is only one page, but  some pages you may have to click on further edits).  What you are looking for is a date written in blue like this. 05:51, 8 June 2011  You can watch the page grow as you move up in time.  Interesting.

You will discover that I do not write the page all by myself.  I allowed Jim to give me links to his articles and he helped me with grammar and spelling.  In the world of Wikipedia at first this seems like a major no-no.  Wikipedia believes that if a person is noteworthy enough to warrant a page then there should be enough data floating around for the writer to find, plus the writer shouldn't be personally involved because then they won't be neutral.  This is all really true, we don't want people making vanity pages, or trying to hide unflattering information.  We are trying to write an encyclopedia not People Magazine.

In truth I don't have the time to gather all the information by myself when I know that a quick email to Jim and he would be able to come up with most of the links quickly.  Who better than the subject to have the info stored somewhere.  In reality I could have gone to a website Jim already had stored somewhere and copied the links and never have contacted him at all.  The only difference is that I notified him that I was doing this, and asked for as much info as I could get. 

Once you have gathered everything you can find, you have to sort through it.  Read each link, toss out the ones that are not going to be helpful, and follow up on other leads.  It can be very time consuming and something that the subject should not be helping you with.  Only the writer can know what to keep in, as I said you don't want to hide unflattering but noteworthy items.

In Jim's case it was a little easier as I was able to find him mentioned elsewhere on Wikipedia with citations.  I just copied the links to the citation and then pasted them back into his page.  It is important to re-follow those links to make sure the link still works, and it is going to the place you intended.  Plus on a on-line citation you need to write the date you "accessed" the page.  

While your working on the page you should make sure it is clear that it is not a regular Wikipedia page.  Pasting this {{Userspace draft|source=ArticleWizard|date=June 2011}}  into the top of your edit page will give you this...
This is not a Wikipedia article: It is an individual user's work in progress page, and may be incomplete and/or unreliable. The current/final version of this article may be located at James Underdown now or in the future. For guidance on developing this draft, see Wikipedia:So you made a userspace draft or Wikipedia:Requests for feedback.This draft was last edited 30 days ago.
When you are completely sure you are done with the page and ready to publish, then you need to check with a few more people.  When I wrote my first page I tried to leave it on a page where other editors will look it over and offer advise.  I don't even remember where that was because after a few days and getting no response I grew frustrated and actually went to a few editors I had "met" on Wikipedia.  They looked it over and made some changes to it.  Then you have one more decision to make.  Do you want to try and get the page featured on the front page of Wikipedia?  It will mean a lot of views.  See this blog for more info.

In the case of Jim Underdown, I wanted to get him featured as a Did You Know?  That was kinda tricky as I'm not the type that follows written directions well.  The reason why this needs to be decided right away before publishing is because only pages five days old or less can apply (or pages that were severely edited). I'm not going to detail how I got Jim on that DYK page at the moment because I don't know if I did it right, and I don't know if he will be accepted.  

When I decided to actually publish the page (I call it launching) then I went to "edit page" and copied everything (except the "This is not a Wikipedia article...") and then went to normal Wikipedia and typed in "James Underdown" in the search bar.  It came up with the same page I had found in June when I started the project.  I simply pasted everything into the page, wrote in the edit summary area, hit preview and reread the page again, and added the page to my watch list then finally hit publish.  This page now has a different URL than the Sgerbic/James Underdown page.  And it has a clean fresh history.

But I was not done.  Remember I know Jim Underdown.  

You need to disclose this to anyone who might think that the page isn't neutral or wants to make ugly for some reason.  Wikipedia editors have this policy called "In Good Faith" which means that until you have other knowledge contradicting it, you need to assume that the editor means well and isn't trying to fool/hide/lie or whatever the rest of the readers/editors.  

So on Jim's discussion page I left this little message.  

Launching James Underdown's page today. To be clear about any possible NPV I want to admit that I do know Underdown personally, I stand by everything in this article. If you have any concerns with any possible conflict of interest, I will gladly stand back and allow you to make the necessary changes without complaint from me. I understand that though I am the creator of this page, I do not "own" this page, it is the property of the world. Sgerbic (talk) 23:17, 31 August 2011 (UTC)  

And I mean it.

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