Public outreach/Academy/RfC/Scientist questions

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Bluntly-worded questions that might be asked by scientists unfamiliar with Wikipedia.

Fundamentals[edit]

What is Wikipedia good for?
blah, blah, blah
Why should I believe that Wikipedia can help in public outreach?
blah, blah, blah
How good are the articles on Wikipedia? Is Wikipedia reliable?
blah, blah, blah
How can we account for Wikipedia's progress?
blah, blah, blah
What are some of Wikipedia's pathologies?
blah, blah, blah

From a prospective contributor[edit]

If I write a mini-review for Cell or Current Opinions, I advance the field and my career. Why should I contribute to Wikipedia, which demands significant time?
blah, blah, blah
Will my contributions to Wikipedia be translated into other languages?
blah, blah, blah
Will editors on Wikipedia help me? How do I find good collaborators?
blah, blah, blah
Will I have to waste time arguing with ignorant, even abusive, amateurs?
blah, blah, blah
Will anyone get rich from my contributions to Wikipedia?
blah, blah, blah
Since I am an expert, will the article be locked after I am finished?
blah, blah, blah

Introduction to Wikipedia articles[edit]

Who's the target audience of a Wikipedia article?
blah, blah, blah
How important is writing vs. content in a good Wikipedia article?
blah, blah, blah
Is it possible to write for both lay-people and other scientists?
blah, blah, blah
What are the marks of a good/bad article?
blah, blah, blah
What's the point of wikilinks? How many is too many? too few?
blah, blah, blah
What's the typical structure of a Wikipedia article?
blah, blah, blah
What makes for a good lead?
blah, blah, blah
How much referencing is typical?
blah, blah, blah
How are figures, tables, and lists used to supplement the text?
blah, blah, blah

Reviewing and corrections[edit]

I'm interested in contributing, but I don't want to write articles.

Basics of writing[edit]

I'm interested in writing, but I don't want to spend a lot of time.

Basic principles
no original research, neutral point of view, and citations to the literature.
Respect copyright law, and do not plagiarize.

Focused contributions[edit]

I've decided to contribute significantly to a single article on Wikipedia. What do you suggest?

Choose an article to work on. Here's are some lists to choose from
blah.
Several factors might influence your decision: current state of development, overall importance to the field, importance to other articles (num. of incoming links), number of readers per year, number of languages, etc.
Your own expertise will play a role, too. As with review papers, much of the work in writing an article lies in providing references to the scientific literature. Also, experts will know little "tricks of the trade" and small, important facts that are often not covered in other reviews.
Examine the history and Talk page to see whether the article is controversial, or the subject of edit-wars.
If you are a beginning editor, choosing another topic is the most efficient course.
Identify the principal recent contributors, and write to them personally to engage them.
Courtesy, good will and cooperation will bring many rewards on Wikipedia.
Identify the leading WikiProject(s) and leave a message appealing for help.
blah, blah, blah
Develop an outline of what contributions/rearrangements you'd like to make, and discuss it on the Talk page. Give the active editors a few days, perhaps even a week, to respond.
blah, blah, blah
You may wish to prepare your additions on a subpage of your user page, before committing to the article. This is a good practice for checking.
blah, blah, blah
"Make before you take." It's better to add your new material before removing old material, even if the article temporarily looks hodge-podge. If it's possible, try to incorporate the old material with the new, rather than deleting it outright.
blah, blah, blah

Featured Articles[edit]

I've decided to being an article to Featured Article status and get it on the Main Page for a day. How do I do that?

Sister projects to Wikipedia[edit]

Commons, Wikibooks, Wikiversity, Wiktionary