Wikipedia 101


New to Wikipedia? The Jewish Week spoke with Jay Walsh, head of communications for, who shed light on the rules that govern the creation of the popular online encyclopedia.

Jewish Week: Who can edit Wikipedia?

Jay Walsh: Anyone.

How do I edit Wikipedia?

Just click on the “edit this page” tab.Wikipedia encourages editors to choose usernames that are not connected to your personal identity.

Can I access past versions of Wikipedia pages?

Yes. All edits are permanently recorded and are publicly visible by clicking on the “history” tab of any Wikipedia page. You can also read up on why editors made the changes they did by clicking on the “discussion” tab.

What is an administrator?

There are close to 15,000 “administrators” on the English Wikipedia. Administrators are experienced users with a couple of more tools at their disposal. They can protect pages or delete a page if deemed unwarranted. They can also ban editors.

How do I become an administrator?

There are periods of time when elections open up and editors who have made at least 100 edits can be nominated or nominate themselves. Administrators must win a popular vote.

What actions would result in an editor being banned from Wikipedia?

Editors must make sure that content is fair and truthful and direct. Editors should not have a conflict of interest with the page they are editing. They must also maintain a neutral POV (point of view). Wikipedia is not a place where folks with a strong POV can assert their views; it’s an encyclopedia.