How To Get a Wikipedia Page for Your Organization?

10th Apr 2012
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Yes, everyone wants a Wiki page. It is nothing less than a stamp of authority on your or your brand's existence. But anyone who has taken a shot at writing a Wikipedia page would agree that it's not everyone's cup of tea. I've been fumbling my way through it and have managed to get a hang of it but I'm sure there are many who'd want a few pointers. I got in touch with Varun Agrawal, Wikipedia editor and asked him to pen down a few indicators.Here's what he had to say:Looking at the immense popularity of Wikipedia.org, as well as the fact that it is a non-profit enterprise with Jimmy Wales running it on the back of donations provided by the myriad of users, it is not surprising that today, having an article on your organization is the fastest and easiest way to achieve two distinct goals: Verify your organization as legitimate and provide easy access to information for potential customers, investors and partners.

However, Wikipedia hasn’t built its reputation just on the sheer quantity of contributions it receives. There is a strict code whenever it comes to generating a new article on the website and new articles that fail to adhere to this code are inadvertently deleted.

The most important rule to follow when writing the page on your organization is to make sure there is no Conflict of Interest. Wikipedia is, in definition, an encyclopaedia. Its job is to have articles that are meaningful insights of knowledge rather than the whims of a blogger or some kind of advertising for a brand. It is not some forum for promoting yourself or your inventions, there are other avenues for that. You have to keep in mind that anything one says or does on Wikipedia can have an impact in the real world.

The first thing to be aware of is to make sure the article is impartial and does not have an advertising feel to it. It should be neutral in its opinions, have reliable sources and should as far as possible be written by someone not affiliated with the organization. Finding a writer is not difficult, considering everyday new writers are conscripted to become part of the community. But the trick here is to follow the second rule: Cite sufficient sources, especially 3rd party ones. Blogs, youtube videos, discussion forums, etc, do not qualify as valid references. Peer-reviewed scholarly papers, books by major publishing houses and national-level newspapers are some that do have the trustworthy tag associated with them.

Verifiability is big on the agenda of Wikipedia editors and any article that fails to meet the above two criteria is a definite shoo-in for deletion. Editors can delete articles for a range of reasons, from poor references to inadequate approval of disinterest in the organization in subject. Thus, all-in-all, the big idea here is to simply provide a meaningful description of your organization and try not to be too pompous about it and end up getting carried away.

Once we get the gist of what setting up a Wikipedia page is all about, all we need now is someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in the organization to write it up. Wikipedia’s software is relatively user friendly, foregoing the use of HTML like tags in favour of conventions that make editing a cinch. For example, ==Title== is all you need to write to get a top-level header, with more = signs decrementing the order of the header. Anything inside double single-quotes is treated as italic in font and in triple single-quotes, eg. ‘’’BOLD’’’, is considered to be in the bold format. Of course, the WYSIWYG form of HTML tagging and editing is also present, thus amplifying the convenience of editing. The highlight feature, however, has to be the links. A simple [[Water]] will link you to the page on Water. No anchors, no references and it allows for alternate text display as well as categorization very conveniently. There are atleast a score of other features, but for the sake of pithy as well as keeping the reader interested, I will refrain from making this a full-fledged tutorial on wikipedia editing.

Concluding, a good deal of thought before setting up the Wikipedia page is always desired. Wikipedia recommends reading some of its feature articles in order to get a crystal clear understanding of what is expected from writers and to set the standard for all its pages. Once the design phase is done, creation is taken care of by The Article Generation Wizard, which can be accessed once you have a Wikipedia account (recommended in order to help maintain your organization’s page due to features such as User Talks and Edit History). As you can evidently see, Wikipedia takes itself very seriously, just like all other organizations do. This is the reason it has become a valuable and citable source of information around the world even though it has an open structure which allows anyone to freely edit its records. Now that you can come to appreciate the work done behind maintaining Wikipedia, hopefully we expect to see quality and top-notch articles from all you great SMBs out there!

Hope this is good advice to startout with. Do let us know what you feel about setting up a Wikipedia Page. Would a detailed list of syntax be helpful?

Also, here are a few tips from Jimmy Wales for startups and a bit about the famous Wikipedia Banner ads!

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