• ...
← Go back

Things I've learnt editing wikis

It was a hot summer, and the 10-years-old was browsing the Internet until it stumbled upon a wiki. It wasn't my first time seeing a wiki (like Wikipedia), but I was impressed by the fact that it was about a TV series I used to watch, Dragon Ball, and anyone could edit it.

So I signed up for an account on Wikia, nowadays Fandom, and I completely fell in love with editing. I spent my afternoons finding articles to edit, chatting with other fellow editors or tweaking my profile which introduced me to web development. Out of everything a wiki has to offer, I specialized in technical matters, as I was the typical tech-savy kid.

Over time, I became more and more experienced. I met all kinds of people, from many countries, backgrounds and skills. I had quite a good reputation and volunteered in almost every position, from news writing to wiki management to technical help. I even landed a job there!

In 2020, I decided to take an indefinite hiatus, helping from time to time people who needed my help. That's why I would like to give some advice that's universal and I believe it will help every wiki editor:

  • A wiki community is a team effort. Generally, you're not the only one editing. Everyone has their own opinion and skills. You're not always going to agree with your fellow editors, but dialogue is a vital part of keeping a community alive and healthy.
  • Be kind, share with others. Wiki collaboration means that you're taking your time and knowledge to help others. But that shouldn't be limited to content articles. Help out lost users.
  • Assume good faith, everyone commits mistakes. I've dealt with countless cases of vandalism, spam and sockpupetting. But I've always reviewed each case with detail to find the best solution for both sides. While blocking for 1,000 years sounds cautious, blocking the user might actually result in a loss of a potential editor! Every case is different. Sometimes they just had a bad day, or didn't know how to properly edit.
  • Wiki rights aren't a reward, they are a responsibility. You don't know how many times a user asked me to being promoted to mod or admin, and never came back. It's true that having a badge that says you're a moderator makes you feel proud, but remember what Uncle Ben said.
  • The technical side is hard. If you're starting out and you don't really understand Lua modules, how ResourceModule works or the best way to create an infobox that accomodates your content, that's fine! Even after a decade, I often needed to lookup the documentation.
  • Save your drafts before submitting the edit. Wiki software sometimes break. Some people recommend using Notepad, but I recommend using Typio. It works for any website with forms, keeps the data in your PC, auto-cleans afters ome time and is a really time saver.

Happy editing!