Using Wikibooks/Correcting Errors

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Errors[edit]

You may be here to read, but you also have the power to help if you want to. Writers aren't perfect, and sometimes when a page is written it will contain small spelling and grammar errors. You can always alert other people about the error if you want to, but it's usually easier to fix it yourself. If you find yourself fixing errors frequently, perhaps you need to progress to the section The Wikibooks Editor to learn how to fix things more efficiently.

Wikis aren't static and unchangable like ordinary printed books are: They are interactive and dynamic. Anybody can change them at any time, even you. This concept may be very new to many people, so this chapter will serve as a gradual introduction to it.

Fixing Errors[edit]

To fix an error that you find, click the "edit this page" tab at the top of your screen, find the error, correct it, and click Save page. It's an easy process, but there are a lot of complicated things that you can do on a page that aren't all self-evident. We'll save discussion about most of the complicated features for The Wikibooks Editor. Here are some tips to getting started:

  1. Click the "[edit]" link next to a heading to edit only that section. The "edit this page" tab at the top allows you to edit the whole page at once. If the page is very large, finding a single mistake in the wikitext can be difficult. If you edit only one section, however, there is less to look through and individual words or sentences will be easier to find.
  2. Start small! You don't need to post a whole chapter or essay to be a valuable helper here, every single little fix counts. Fix one misspelled word, or one misplaced comma.
  3. Click the Show preview to view your changes before you save them, to make sure you are editing the right place.
  4. Ignore formatting. There are lots of symbols in wikitext that might be confusing: { = # * ; :. Don't bother with these for now. Focus on the words around these symbols.

Every error that you fix improves the quality of the book, both for yourself, and also for our other readers.

Reviewing Pages[edit]

Read a lot of books or pages here on Wikibooks? You might be interested in our facility to review pages. To become a reviewer, post a message (see details about this below) at WB:RFA asking to become an "editor". Then, you will be able to review pages. The next chapter will discuss reviewing pages.

Getting Help[edit]

Sometimes a page will have complicated formatting, and you will find yourself in over your head. Don't worry, it happens! If you feel like you do need help from an experienced editor, ask for help at The Reading Room. Don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it - there are many volunteers around who are happy to help, and happy to teach you how to help out more as well.

If you want to raise an issue about a page, and try to start a discussion about a possible way forward, or if you see something that needs to be changed but you don't know how to do it yourself, there are two possible options:

  1. Leave a note on the page's discussion page. Create a header that says, in short, what the problem is, and then describe the problem and possible solutions (if any). Other users will see this discussion and will discuss it to find a solution.
  2. Post a note about it at the Reading Room. This option should be used for big problems, or problems which affect many pages in a book or even many books. The Reading Rooms should not be used to discuss every small problem from every page, but can be used to alert the community to larger or more wide-spread problems. Also, this can be a useful alternative to (1) when editors of a book disagree about the proper way to fix a problem, and community input on the issue is desired.

Messages and Communication[edit]

There are lots of reasons why you might want to get in touch with another Wikibookian: To commend them for their hard work, to ask for help or guidance, to leave helpful suggestions, to discuss ideas about a book or a page, or just to say hello. Getting in touch with other wikibookians is easy, and there are several places to do it:

  1. User talk pages. Every user has a user talk page. If a users's screenname is "JoeWikibookian", his user talk page is at "User talk:JoeWikibookian". User talk pages are great places to talk to an individual user.
  2. Discussion pages. Every page has a discussion page. At the top of the page, click the "Discussion" tab. This is where you can talk about an individual page.
  3. Community Pages. The Reading Rooms are a series of pages where the community can talk about wide-spread issues. If you want to get some general input about a topic, or want to make some kind of announcement, do it there.

Leaving a message or a note on one of these pages is easy. You can click "edit this page", find the appropriate place (usually at the bottom of the page), and then click Save page. Or, you can click the "+" tab at the top, enter a title and a message, and then click Save page. It's up to you how you want to do it, but you should explore both methods.

When you write a message on a talk or discussion page, you should always sign it with --~~~~. This posts your personal signature (so people know who to respond to) and also a timestamp (so people know when the message was left).

Vandalism[edit]

Sometimes a vandal will add inappropriate material to a page, or remove all the content from a page. It can be hard work to fix this, so if you find vandalism, report it at Administrative Assistance. Our team of volunteers and administrators will fix the problem for you. If you want to learn how they do this, you may be interested in reading The Wikibooks Editor or The Wikibooks Administrator.

Becoming an Editor or Author[edit]

Wikibookians are all volunteers, and they get to choose their roles and their level of involvement. Wikibookians who find themselves fixing errors, or adding new material are taking the first few steps to becoming an editor or an author here. It is important that you find the tasks that you want to work on, and that you do things in a way that you enjoy. If you have decided that you want to be a more active participant here at Wikibooks, there are many possible paths for you to follow.

For more tips on how to become an editor, and make Wikibooks a better place, read the section on How To Edit A Wikibook.

For more tips on how to become an author and create new books and new book content, see Contributing To An Existing Wikibook and Starting A New Wikibook.

Notice that this is not an exclusive decision, you can easily become an author and an editor, or you could find a role that is neither of the two. The important part is that you find something that you enjoy doing.