Wikipedia:Guide for Indymedia authors

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Welcome to Wikipedia! Just as Indymedia is a collaborative project (similar to open publishing [1]), so is Wikipedia. However, there are some important differences between the two, so this guide has been put together to help you. Our general Help and FAQ pages are also at your disposal.

(For those unfamiliar with it, local Indymedia sites are listed on the global Indymedia site [2] and the Wikipedia article about Indymedia.)

Cultural differences[edit]

Indymedia claims (and aims) to have primary-source material, though policies on accepting or rejecting reposted material from mainstream media groups vary among the local Indymedia collectives.

Wikipedia is entirely focused on making an encyclopedia. Unlike Indymedia, there's not a lot of links to grassroots, social citizens' groups, nor face-to-face meetings, nor any attempt to claim direct access to first-hand news reports; almost all of Wikipedia's chat is about improving specific articles based mainly on material sourced to secondary, published and reputable sources;

Wikipedia doesn't accept announcements of social or political actions, though it does accept a neutral description of social and political groups or programs, in the sense that they would be accepted in an ordinary encyclopedia, with the difference that the process of accepting such descriptions is much more open, transparent and non-hierarchical than in a conventional encyclopedia.

Anyone can edit any article here. Your contributions will be edited, rearranged, reworded, expanded, and occasionally deleted. You shouldn't be shy about doing the same to other people's work. Be bold!

Wikipedia is self-moderated and relatively anarchic, rather than having moderation imposed upon it. This is similar to Indymedia, except that moderation of feature articles in Indymedia may often be done at face-to-face local meetings. See Wikipedia:Power structure and [3] or [4] for guides on the respective power structures. Most Wikipedians try to avoid personal attacks and to spread WikiLove wherever they go :-). If you say something you regret, just apologize and delete it. If someone offends you, we have some advice on staying cool when the editing gets hot. Indymedia has similar guides, e.g. see [5].

In Wikipedia, we don't have a voting system or experience measure -- be assured that Wikipedia is more than addictive enough without it.

In Indymedia, as of July 2003, there is no formal global decision-making method, though de facto decision making methods on specific functions, such as accepting new local collectives to the network [6] or making global financial decisions [7] or coordinating technical decisions [8] each have their own, transparent, consensus-related decision-making methods.

Each local Indymedia collective is expected to be autonomous and have its own general decision-making method and editorial policy, including an editorial decision-making method [9].

Using content from Indymedia in Wikipedia articles[edit]

Please consider generating good encyclopedic content from Indymedia and writing it to Wikipedia! Don't forget to search for related Wikipedia content first -- if Wikipedia already has an article on the subject, just merge your own content into it: be bold!

Note that you cannot add material to Wikipedia, unless that material has already been published in a verifiable and reputable source. For more information about Wikipedia content policies, please become familiar with:

If you have questions about our content policies, you can place a {{Help me}} tag on your talk page, and a friendly Wikipedian will surely come to assist you.

Legal issues[edit]

Each local Indymedia collective has its own editorial policy, and articles posted to the open newswires may come under any of a variety of copyright regimes.

Since the priority of Indymedia is news reporting, the default from the Indymedia point of view is usually that anything posted is free of copyright unless otherwise indicated. However, this does not mean you can blindly copy from Indymedia to Wikipedia.

Moreover, Indymedia articles or features are generally not written in a way directly suitable for copying to Wikipedia, so there's probably no point making verbatim copies. If you really think an Indymedia article or feature is worth copying to Wikipedia with only minor changes, you should contact that Indymedia collective [10] and ask what they think - and maybe suggest they update this page!

Don't worry if you make some mistakes. Other Wikipedians will quickly correct your errors.

You can mention on the Wikipedia article's talk page (click "Discussion") that you got the material from Indymedia and link to the specific Indymedia page (like this: []), where the xxx etc. are stuff which shows the link to the exact article, so that nobody thinks you're committing plagiarism. Learn how to cite your sources in Wikipedia articles: material that lacks citations may be deleted if challenged.

But if you really want to copy stuff directly, you will need the permission of all major contributors (see Wikipedia:Copyright).

Any contributions you make to Wikipedia are released under the WP:CC-BY-SA license. However, you retain the copyright to your own work and are free to modify and redistribute it in any way you wish.

Original research is not accepted in Wikipedia[edit]

Be careful not to generate material that violates Wikipedia's No original research: "Original research" is a term used in Wikipedia to refer to unpublished facts, arguments, concepts, statements, or theories. The term also applies to any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that appears to advance a position or that would amount to a "novel narrative or historical interpretation."

Changes to make[edit]

Content needs to be converted from Indymedia markup, which varies with each local site, to wiki markup. Generally it's easiest to copy and paste the text and add markup rather than copying the indymedia markup. See the naming conventions for all the details.

Wikipedia also has many technical features that Indymedia lacks. For instance, Wikipedia allows links to external web pages, but we use them mostly in the bibliographies at the ends of articles. You can upload image files, but please check about copyright. You don't need to use <pre></pre> markup to generate tables; you can use standard HTML <table> or MediaWiki table markup instead. Though you can use HTML entity escapes for '[', ']', '<', and '>', you don't need to; Wikipedia has the <nowiki> tag to suppress interpretation of control characters as markup. In fact, Wikipedia has <code> tags that can be used to enclose a fragment of a computer program.

Wikipedia has a manual of style, while most local Indymedia collectives do not. However, if your article doesn't match that style, someone will change it so it does, so don't panic. It's easy to link something by putting it in [[square brackets]], and [[target|pipe links]] work here too, but remember that two pairs of brackets surround a link in Wikipedia. Don't forget to add links from other articles to yours, where it's appropriate; Wikipedia has no "soft link" functionality.

A difference in linking is that in Wikipedia, links should be only created around words and phrases where encyclopedic articles exist or can realistically be written, not to web sites or individual web pages. External references such as web sites or individual pages can be listed at the end of an article, or references to justify particular sentences can be listed in the text with single square brackets [].

While Indymedia collectives claim to have a social-justice bias, Wikipedia has a non-negotiable policy of neutral point of view. Be mindful of these differences when using content from Indymedia in Wikipedia articles.

Comments should be put on discussion (talk) pages, or if absolutely necessary within the text, enclosed as HTML comments. It may take you a little time to get used to the Wikipedia approach, but don't worry too much about it.

Anyone can fix your mistakes while you're getting the hang of things. But always keep in mind that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Of course, we would like to encourage you to post encyclopedic material here, and non-encyclopedic material elsewhere.

Final words[edit]

Your local Indymedia collective is usually a fun, cool group of non-virtual people who want to make the world a better place. Either contact them if they're already set up [11] or help set up local grassroots, citizens' groups to make a new, autonomous local Indymedia collective [12]. You'll probably find they're glad for your help in relating Indymedia to Wikipedia while respecting their differences.

We hope you find working on Wikipedia to be fun and rewarding. If you have questions that you can't find the answers to, drop by the Wikipedia:Village pump and ask away. Chances are a friendly Wikipedian or three will have some answers for you.

This article was originally based on an analogous Wikipedia:Guide for Everything2 noders.