This page, Help:Contents, gives guidance on how to use the UK LGBT History Wiki, and also how to create new articles and improve existing ones.
To find information about a particular person, place or other subject, type the subject in question in the search box at the top right and click "search". Alternatively you could click "Random page" at the left to see an article chosen at random, or "Recent changes" to see which articles have been added or updated most recently.
You can also navigate between one article and another. Almost all articles have links to other articles. Links are shown like this - normally in blue, depending on your individual settings. If you click on a link it will take you to another article with more information about the subject in question. Links that look like this (normally red) point to articles that haven't been written yet: it's one of the aims of the project to turn all the red links blue by creating new articles!
Every article is also linked to one or more Categories. So for example if you're looking at a page about a particular painter, you'll probably see Category:Painters in a box at the bottom of the page. If you click on this it will take you to a list of articles about other painters. All the categories are arranged in a hierarchy below Category:Main categories which thus gives an overview of all the classes of information within this Wiki.
Becoming an editor
In principle, anyone at all should be able to create and edit articles on this Wiki. In practice we had problems with people who were creating spam articls unrelated to LGBT History. If you would like to contribute to the Wiki, you'll need to become a registered user. E-mail email@example.com with your name, email address, and a chosen "Username" for this site and you'll be set up as a user.
Starting to edit the Wiki
Once you've been signed up as a registered user, it's probably best to spend some time looking at articles and improving them before you create an article of your own. If you find something wrong in an article, perhaps a spelling mistake, or something you know is factually wrong, click the "Edit" tab at the top of the page. This will show you the page in its markup form. Notice how this relates to the article as it's normally displayed. If you feel confident, just make the changes. To show what you've been doing, put a few words in the "Summary:" box at the bottom, to tell other editors why you made the changes. Once you're happy, click the "Show preview" box at the bottom of the screen and make sure that the article looks as you expect. If all is well, click "Save page" and the new version will be saved in the encyclopaedia.
Creating a new article
Once you've had some practice editing articles, you may want to create a new article from scratch. Maybe there's a person, place, club, pub, group, or event, that you know about that has an LGBT UK connection and is not yet included. Maybe it's one of the "redlinked" subjects listed at Special:WantedPages, or maybe it's something we haven't even heard of.
Before creating an article you should search to check that there is no suitable article that already exists. If an article on the topic you want to create is there, but you think people are likely to look for it under some different name or spelling, learn how to add a redirect with that name; adding needed redirects is a good way to help improve this Wiki.
Consider adding your information to existing articles that might include information about the subject of the article you propose. For example, if you want to write an article about a band member, you might search for the band and then add information to that broader article about that band member. This is the best thing to do if the subject of the proposed article has only limited depth.
If no suitable articles already exist, then you need to start a new article.
In the search box near the top right of a page, type the title of the new article, then click Go. If the Search page reports "There were no results matching the query. Create the page "xxx" on this wiki!" (where xxx is the name of your subject in red) then you can click the red article name to start editing the article.
To start a new page, write a first sentence introducing the subject. This should normally start with the subject title (in bold) and state what sort of person, thing etc the subject is, for instance:
Somerset Lesbian Network (SLN) is a group for lesbian, bisexual and questioning women in Somerset.
In the case of a person, always include the dates of birth and death (if known), and what the person is noted for, for instance:
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874–1965) was a British writer and statesman, who led Britain to victory in the Second World War.
The other thing you should always include in a new article is a list of the source(s) for the information in it. For now, just enter them like this (and they will automatically turn into links)
Later, you'll learn how to format them to appear as footnotes (and see Help:Editing for guidance on how to use the Wiki markup).
When you are done, press "Show preview" to take a look at how the page will appear. Try to fix any formatting errors, then click "Save page" at the bottom. Your article is now part of the Wiki and may be edited by anyone.
What subjects are suitable for the Wiki
In general, the Wiki covers any subjects related to LGBT life in the UK from the earliest times to the present day: remember today's current events are tomorrow's history. Each article should make it clear how it fits in: for instance if writing about a person, make it clear whether they are an LGBT person themselves (and provide references for this, we're not in the business of "outing" people!) or whether they're involved in some other way (for instance by speaking for aor against gay equality) and what their connection is to the UK. In general every article should refer to a source of information, a book, newspaper or magazine article, or external website, that can back up the details you've provided.
Use your own words
Write the article in your own words. Do not copy more than a couple of sentences from a published source, and even then give a reference, as otherwise you are likely to be infringing someone's copyright.
There's a particular issue with Wikipedia - some of the articles in this Wiki rely heavily on Wikpedia articles, and a few are direct copies (which is permitted under the CC BY-SA licence used by both Wikipedia and this Wiki, provided it's acnowledged). But ideally this is something to be avoided. as the balance of the article will probably be totally wrong. For instance the article on Winston Churchill on Wikipedia is over 166,000 bytes long and still growing, but doesn't make any mention of any LGBT issues. The article about him on this Wiki is less than 3,000 bytes long and has only the briefest summary of his life, but mentions a number of points of LGBT interest.
Use a neutral point of view
Write all articles in the third person: don't say "I", "we" or "you" except in direct quotations (help pages like this are an exception). Each page should read like an encyclopaedia page, not an advertisement. Don't give people's ages - say when they were born (their age will be different next year), and don't use expressions such as "this year", or "last year".
Gather sources to the information for your article. To be worth including in the encyclopedia a subject must be sufficiently notable and that notability must be verifiable through references to reliable sources.
These sources should be reliable; that is, they should be sources that exercise some form of editorial control. Print sources (and web-based versions of those sources) tend to be the most reliable, though many web-only sources are also reliable. Some examples include (but are not limited to): books published by major publishing houses, newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, websites of any of the above, and other websites that meet the same basic requirements as any print-based source.
In general, sources with NO editorial control are not generally reliable. These include (but are also not limited to): books published by vanity presses, self-published zines, blogs, web forums, usenet discussions, BBSes, fan sites, and the like. Basically, if anyone at all can post information without anyone else checking that information, it is probably not reliable.
To put it simply, if there are reliable sources with enough information to write about a subject, then that subject is notable and those sources can verify the information in the Wiki article. If you cannot find reliable sources (such as newspapers, journals, or books) that provide information for an article, then the subject is not notable or verifiable and almost certainly will be deleted. So your first job is to find references.
Once you have references for your article, you can learn to place the references into the article. But do not worry too much about formatting them properly. It would be great if you do that, but the main thing is to get references into the article even if they are not well formatted.
Things to avoid
Advertising Please do not try to promote your product or business. Please do not insert external links to your commercial website unless a neutral party would judge that the link truly belongs in the article; if you are writing about a product or business be sure you write from a neutral point of view, that you have no conflict of interest, and that you are able to find references in reliable sources that are independent from the subject you are writing about.
Personal essays or original research This Wiki surveys existing human knowledge; it is not a place to publish new work. Do not write articles that present your own original theories, opinions, or insights, even if you can support them by reference to accepted work.
A single sentence or only a website link Articles need to have real content of their own.
And be careful about...
Copying things. Do not violate copyrights To be safe, do not quote more than a couple of sentences of text from anywhere, and document any references you do use. You can copy material that you are sure is in the public domain, but even for public domain material you should still document your source. Also note that most web pages are not in the public domain and most song lyrics are not either.
Good research and citing your sources Articles written out of thin air are better than nothing, but they are hard to verify, which is an important part of building a trusted reference work. Please research with the best sources available and cite them properly. Doing this, along with not copying large amounts of the text, will help avoid any possibility of plagiarism.
Advocacy and controversial material Please do not write articles that advocate one particular viewpoint on politics, religion, or anything else. Understand what we mean by a neutral point of view before tackling this sort of topic.
Extremely short articles that are just definitions Try to write a good short paragraph that says something about the subject. We welcome good short articles, called "stubs", that can serve as launching pads from which others can take off. If you do not have enough material to write a good stub, you probably should not create the article. At the end of a stub, you should include a "stub template". Stubs help track articles that need expansion.
Another option if you plan to take time to construct a page is to start creating the new article in a subpage of your user page. This allows you to take as long as you need to complete a presentable article. When you feel it is good enough to not be deleted, you can then move it to the main article space.
And then what?
Now that you have created the page, there are still several things you can do. Keep making improvements
Generally, an article is nowhere near being completed the moment it is created. There is a long way to go. In fact, it may take you several edits just to get it started.
If you have so much interest in the article you just created, you may learn much more about it in the future, and therefore, have more to add. This may be later today, tomorrow, or several months from now. Anytime, go ahead.
Make sure there are incoming links to the new article from other articles (click "What links here" in the toolbox) and that the new article is included in at least one appropriate category (see help:category). Otherwise it will be difficult for readers to find the article.
Remember that others can freely contribute to the article when it has been saved. The creator does not have special rights to control the later content.