The following pages offer guidance on the style and content of Wikipedia articles, and explain the Wikipedia community and important policies and conventions. This is a basic tutorial, not an extensive manual or interactive learning environment. For more details on any information in the tutorial, you can click on the links to other resource pages as you read, opening them in a separate browser window or tab.
A short video about that "Edit" button and what it can do when you are bold!
As a new contributor, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of this site. No new user can understand everything at first, and it's acceptable to use common sense as you go about your editing. Wikipedia not only allows you to create, revise, and edit articles—it wants you to do so (see be bold)! You just need to remember that while there are many protocols, perfection is not required, since Wikipedia is a work in progress. Collaborative editing means that incomplete or poorly written first drafts can evolve over time into excellent articles.
The goal of a Wikipedia article is to create a comprehensive and neutrally written summary of existing mainstream knowledge about a topic: Wikipedia does not publish original research. An encyclopedia is, by its nature, a tertiary source that provides a survey of information already published in the wider world. So we require that information be verifiable in reliable external sources. Ideally, all information should refer to reliable outside sources, using citations. When adding content and creating new articles, an encyclopedic style with a formal tone is important. Instead of essay-like, argumentative, or opinionated writing, Wikipedia articles should have a straightforward, just-the-facts style.
Wikipedia does not have many hard-and-fast rules; but policies, guidelines, and formatting norms are developed by the community to describe best practices, clarify principles, resolve conflicts, and otherwise further our goals. All editors are expected to follow general social norms. The Wikipedia community comprises people from many countries and cultures, with different views, perspectives, opinions, and backgrounds; in some cases these vary widely. Editors should treat each other respectfully, work together collegially, and avoid behaviour that is regarded as unacceptable, disruptive, controversially one-sided, or cheating the system.
Note: To view this information in an article style format, see contributing to Wikipedia. Wikipedia also has "topic specific tutorials"; and The Wikipedia Adventure a comprehensive and fun 7-mission interactive guided tour, which covers all the essentials about editing and the expectations and norms of the Wikipedia community.