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This page, Help:Contents, gives guidance on how to use the UK LGBT Archive Wiki, and also how to create new articles and improve existing ones.

For generic help on editing Mediawiki pages, see

Finding information

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". Note that the earch facility only finds whole words. To search for parts of words, use Google and include "site:" in the search box.

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 articles unrelated to LGBT History. If you would like to contribute to the Wiki, you'll need to become a registered user. E-mail 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.

See also: LGBT Archive:Writing for this Wiki.

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 the sources for the information in it.You should provide a source for any statement that might be contested. Add the reference immediately after the sentence, surrounded by <ref> and </ref>, for instance:
<ref>"Obituary: Sir Paul Latham", The Times, 26 July 1955, page 11.</ref>

The references will appear as numbered footnotes at the end of the article.

Later, you'll learn how to improve the formatting (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 or 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 acknowledged). 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 4,000 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".

Gathering references

Gather sources to the information for your article. To be worth including in the encyclopedia a subject must be sufficiently notable and its notability must be verifiable through references to reliable sources. These principles are identical to those used in Wikipedia. However in practice, in this Wiki we aim to be comprehensive, and we're prepared to be a little less picky than Wikipedia would be. We won't normally reject an article as "not notable", provided that it relates in some way to British LGBT life, and that there is some information about the subject in a published source. A large proportion of our articles would not be considered notable enough for Wikipedia.

The ideal is always to use reliable sources; that is sources that exercise some form of editorial control. Examples of reliable sources include 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, for instance 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, but may be quoted if there is nothing better.

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. You should mark the article with the "stub template" by including {{stub}} towards the end of the article. Stubs help track articles that need expansion.

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.

Improve formatting

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.