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Wikipedia:Expert help

Many Wikipedians/articles require the help of an expert on a specific subject area. This page documents how such help can be requested, found and offered.

Background

Experts are people with a significantly high level of knowledge or expertise. They aren't necessarily professionals. The specific subject area of their expertise may range from topics in philosophy or economics to programming languages or any kind of inner workings of Wikipedia.

Professors might assign their students to edit Wikipedia for course credit in a well-managed fashion, and others could abstain from advocacy to fulfill Wikipedia's mission.

Articles in need of expert help

A similar list of images is at c:Category:Disputed diagrams

There are also several lists of fully missing articles, organised by topic at WP:Requested articles and

Requesting expert help

The need for expert help can be noted for a specific articles using the {{Expert needed}} template.

Experts on Wikipedia

Many Wikipedians have already implicitly or explicitly declared their area of expertise. They can be found by the following categories:

Relevant editors may also be found by:

Experts not yet on Wikipedia

Identifying experts of the specific subject area

The most straight-forward way to finding experts on a specific subject area would be to search the Web for them. While the most prolific experts on a specific subject usually have less time it is also useful to ask the help of less prolific people engaged in the specific subject area. There are many ways such people may be found. This ranges from academic publications to Internet posts and publicized lists of members of organizations.

Asking for help

There are two main possible routes to take:

  1. To ask them to edit the page directly
  2. To ask them to provide feedback on the talkpage

Typically the best way to ask for help by individuals is by email, clarifying:

Some Wikipedians think professors should become Wikipedians before they start assigning Wikipedia; see Wikipedia:Assignments for student editors.[relevant?]

Public requests on external websites

It is also possible to post a public request for expert on relevant websites. Websites well suited for such requests are the most relevant subpages on reddit, so called "subreddits", for the specific subject area or Internet forums with own categories for the subject area. Before posting such a request please make sure that the website in question allows such to be posted (which is usually the case) and that it won't result in canvassing.

Offering expert help

Experts can offer their help implicitly by adding relevant categories to their userpages so that people who look for help using the categories listed in #Experts on Wikipedia may find them. Or explicitly by responding to requests they get notified about by joining WikiProjects, by monitoring articles within the scope of their area of expertise or by browsing or monitoring additions to the category/ies of their expertise within Category:Articles needing expert attention.

Ways to improve the help requester<->expert interface

  • Implement subcategories for Category:Wikipedia requests for comment
  • Make this page better known to editors who might need such help and who have already requested such
  • Get more people to set and make use of user-categories that declare their area of expertise
  • Implement ways of contacting multiple Wikipedians who implicitly or explicitly declared their area of expertise at once
  • Make it easier for experts to contribute
  • Provide more incentives for experts to contribute such as offering certifications for useful contributions
  • Get more experts to use Category:Articles needing expert attention
  • Implement a way for monitoring additions to just a specific category or a specific set of categories (especially useful for subcategories of Category:Articles needing expert attention)
  • Consider asking experts for their input to a peer review via email that they are willing to release under CC-BY or CC-BY-SA before the article becomes a featured article candidate.
  • Some Wikipedians are working on getting articles published in journals, to address this concern.

See also