Writing interesting Wikipedia articles

Before you begin writing a Wikipedia page, you will have to do your research very thoroughly. Writing interesting Wikipedia articles is very challenging, rather like writing a detailed college assignment.

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You will also have to do research into how Wikipedia and its community works. This community of Wikipedians consists of contributors to Wikipedia, almost all of whom are volunteers.

Understanding how the community works will help to ensure that your page is not deleted or challenged when you have it reviewed.

You might already know that you have to be a registered user to edit and change a page. Perhaps the best way to start is to make some edits to an existing page. When you open a Wikipedia account, all the changes you make, however small, are logged on your user page. Everyone can access this page. When you have sufficient editing and creative experience, it is possible for you to become an auto-confirmed user. You can then upload certain things to the site, such as images.

Before you start writing, you should gather information. If you use Wikipedia, you will know that there is a reference section after articles. You should gather your sources and list them in a file to save time after you have written and polished your article.

Whatever you write has to be checked and verified, whoever you are even if you are a respected academic. You can, of course refer to magazine and newspaper articles, as well as online materials. What you write should be neutral, in the sense of being unbiassed. You shouldn’t give your opinion about the topic.

Be careful when choosing appropriate images to use. They should be your own, ideally, or at least not subject to copyright.

You will need to list all the materials you used to write your article, so be methodical about doing this.

Because Wikipedia has so many contributors you can come across many interesting and strange Wikipedia articles. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it could provide you with some ideas for writing your own interesting, if not strange Wikipedia article.

  • There is an article about Xeer, the Somalia’s traditional legal system, for example. That’s certainly unusual.
  • Another is about Rai Stones, which are large discs carved from crystals of calcite and aragonite. The article states that these stones, or crystals were quarried in a few of the islands in Micronesia and taken to the island of Yap where they were used as currency.
  • There’s an interesting article about the Bielefeld Conspiracy. Bielefeld is a place in Germany but there was a conspiracy theory about the city claiming that it does not exist.
  • Another interesting article is about the book, Gadsby, not to be confused with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. It is unusual because it doesn’t contain the letter ‘e’.
  • One unusual article is about dying because of laughter; what could be stranger? The first person to have died laughing was Chrysippus, one of the Stoic philosophers who lived in the 9th century BC. His laughter was caused because he gave his donkey wine and then watched as it attempted to eat figs. You have to have a vivid imagination to appreciate this. The article also cites other examples of people literally dying from laughter.
  • There’s an interesting article about the Voynich manuscript, which is dated to the 15th century. The interesting thing about this manuscript is that it is written in a language that is unknown. It is an illustrated text which has defied the deciphering powers of modern cryptographers.
  • If you have ever wondered why we change our clocks in spring and autumn, there’s an interesting article on Daylight Saving Time. The reasons for changing time are fairly obscure and a recent article, published on March 9th, 2018 has suggested that the idea is absurd.
  • If you are fascinated by the supernatural, you may like the Wikipedia article about the ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman. This story probably has its origins in the 17th century although the first written document about its ghostly appearances is in a travel book published in 1790.
  • The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 had far-reaching effects. In Europe the eruption and its was called the ‘summer-less year’. The year following the eruption was colder than usual in summer and winter. It was in the summer of 1816, the coldest on record for Europe, that Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who later married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote her famous novel, Frankenstein.
  • The Krakatoa eruption in Indonesia was far bigger than the one in 1815. Krakatoa was an island in the Sunda Strait, it is no more as the eruption obliterated it. Once again, an eruption caused the world’s climate to cool and triggered tsunamis.

If you want to capture your readers’ attention, you will need to study Wikipedia entries and find some very interesting articles. You will have to come up with your own ideas and make your article as interesting as you can.

You can write about anything that you feel passionate about in Wikipedia. Your passion and enthusiasm for your chosen subject should mean that your article is interesting. The reader has to be able to feel your excitement about the topic you write about. If you are a scientist, for example, write fascinating articles, not ones that bore the reader. Unfortunately, there are very good scientific articles which are very boring. You may not have the gift of writing interesting articles, but you can learn if you have creative writing classes, whether in a classroom or online.

Practice writing entertaining articles and ask friends and families for their honest opinions. Don’t be disheartened by constructive criticism. Polish your articles until they meet with approval. Remember that people have different areas of interest. You need to write an article with general appeal. That can only be achieved if it is written in an interesting, imaginative way.

  • How?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Who?
  • Why?

The answers to these questions should generate a few topics and then you can play around with them until you find the perfect topic for you to write about.

There are a number of topics with general appeal, hoaxes, for example.

  • Hoaxes, such as the Cardiff (New York, not Wales) Giant one, can make for entertaining reading. This particular one was perpetrated before the internet was with us. Originally it was the brainchild of George Hull in 1869 after a discussion about a biblical passage, Genesis 6:4 which states that Earth was once inhabited by giants. It is one of the most famous of all American hoaxes. George Hull was a tobacconist (as well as an atheist). He commissioned a group of stonemasons to carve a large piece of gypsum into the shape of an enormous man. He buried this on his cousin’s farm and left it there for a year. Next, he hired some men to dig a well exactly where the ‘giant’ was buried. This caused a sensation and Newell charged 50 cents for people to view it.
  • The Loch Ness monster has also been the subject of hoaxes. It is alleged to be a prehistoric creature. There is quite along history of ‘Nessie’ sightings, probably beginning in 1852. On this occasion, farmers armed with pitchforks arrived at the Loch prepared to do battle with the creature from the deep. ‘Nessie’ was actually a pony enjoying a swim. Later, in 1933, Nessie was in the news again. This time, George Spicer, who came from London, claimed to have seen the Loch Ness Monster with a lamb in its mouth. That really hit the headlines, but, naturally there was no authentication of this event. Interestingly some tourists to Loch Ness believe that they may be lucky enough to see its fabled monster.
  • A radio recording of the H. G. Wells novel, War of the Worlds, fooled a lot of listeners, although it was not intended as a hoax. It was aired on the day before Halloween in 1938. Listeners panicked and headed away from their homes in their cars, convinced that an alien invasion of Earth was taking place. The radio broadcast took the form of fictional news bulletins interspersed with other programmes such as dance music. It seems that even though the programme was announced as a piece of theatre, some listeners didn’t understand, perhaps because they had missed the introduction. It was after this broadcast that Orson Welles became truly famous.
  • One of the most famous hoaxes is that of the so-called Cottingley Fairies. Cottingley is a village near Bradford in Yorkshire, England. The photographs, a series of five, were taken by the cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright showed the children playing with fairies. Elsie’s father was one of the earliest people to become a qualified electrical engineer. The photos were taken on his camera, and when he developed the plates, he declared that the fairies were fake, as indeed they were. He forbade his daughter to use his camera again, and that should have ended the matter. However, Elsie’s mother believed that her daughter’s photos were authentic. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, rather misguidedly wrote an article an English magazine and in which he claimed that the photos were authentic.
  • Piltdown man is a famous archaeological hoax. The story attached to this began in 1907, when a German sand miner found remains of Homo heidelbergensis, a hominim that lived between 200,000 and 600,000 years ago. This is now thought to be a possible common ancestor of modern people and Neanderthals. UK naturalists were envious of the find and their negative feelings were exacerbated with the start of the First World War. Charles Dawson, a lawyer and amateur fossil hunter, wrote a letter to his friend, Sir Arthur Smith Woodward, that he had found remains that would be in the same league as the German finds. In 1912, the two men presented their findings to the Geological Society of London. Of course, at that time it was impossible to accurately date the finds. Over the years poor Piltdown Man was overshadowed by finds from other countries. It wasn’t until 2009 that the hoax was discovered. A palaeontologist, Isabelle De Groote, and her team, uncovered the hoax with Computer Tomography (CT) scans. It became clear that the body parts were human and those of an orangutan.
  • The BBC famously aired a Panorama programme on April 1st, April Fool’s Day in 1957 showing ‘spaghetti-bearing’ trees. At that time, most Brits probably had no idea about what spaghetti actually was. The programme showed a film of a family from Ticino, in Switzerland, allegedly harvesting spaghetti. Richard Dimbleby, the presenter said that there was nothing quite like homegrown spaghetti. The following day the BBS was inundated by callers asking where they could get a spaghetti tree, or at least, a sapling. It was suggested that spaghetti grew best in a tin of tomato sauce.

If you know of a really amusing hoax, or indeed, any other kind, you could write about it, especially if it tool in a lot of people.

Do you need help with writing an interesting Wikipedia article? Or perhaps you need an article editing to make it more interesting. For ideas, proofreading and editing services, contact us now. Our highly professional writers can help make your Wikipedia articles great ones. Our services are completely confidential., so for help with writing an article, for publication in Wikipedia or any other magazine online or off, contact us now to find out more.

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