User:Ian.thomson/Howto

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If you're going to write an article about anyone or anything that is not you or something you are connected to, here are the steps you should follow:

1) Choose a topic whose notability is attested by discussions of it in several reliable independent sources.
2) Gather as many professionally-published mainstream academic or journalistic sources you can find. Google Books is a good resource for this. Also, while search engine results are not sources, they are where you can find sources. Just remember that they need to be professionally-published mainstream academic or journalistic sources.
3) Focus on just the ones that are not dependent upon or affiliated with the subject, but still specifically about the subject and providing in-depth coverage (not passing mentions). If you do not have at least three such sources, the subject is not yet notable and trying to write an article at this point will only fail.
4) Summarize those sources left after step 3, adding citations at the end of them. You'll want to do this in a program with little/no formatting, like Microsoft Notepad or Notepad++, and not in something like Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer. Make sure this summary is just bare statement of facts, phrased in a way that even someone who hates the subject can agree with.
5) Combine overlapping summaries (without arriving at new statements that no individual source supports) where possible, repeating citations as needed.
6) Paraphrase the whole thing just to be extra sure you've avoided any copyright violations or plagiarism.
7) Use the Article wizard to post this draft and wait for approval.
8) Expand the article using sources you put aside in step 3 (but make sure they don't make up more than half the sources for the article, and make sure that affiliated sources don't make up more than half of that).

Doing something besides those steps typically results in the article not being approved, or even in its deletion.

If you are writing about yourself, or someone or something you are connected with (such as a friend, family member, or your business), the following steps are different:

1) If the subject really was notable, you wouldn't need to write the article. Remember that articles are owned by the Wikipedia community as a whole, not the article subject or the article author. If you do not want other people to write about you, then starting an article about yourself is a bad idea.
8a) If the article is accepted, never edit it again. Instead, make edit requests on the article's talk page.
8b) If the article is rejected, there will be a reason given. Read it carefully and closely. If there are links in the reason, open them and read those pages.