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Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia that aims for as neutral a presentation as possible of the verified facts about a subject. Articles on Wikipedia are very different from most papers students have written before they get to college, with the closest analog being a literature review.

Over the years, the Wikipedia community has assembled a list of "What Wikipedia is NOT". You don't need to read the whole page but the short intro at the top explains the goals of the encyclopedia and how your writing should fit into those goals. Articles or content which are outside the scope of what you might see in a general encyclopedia may be deleted or heavily edited by other volunteer editors.

Common errors include:

  • Writing with the intent to persuade your audience about the subject, either positively or negatively.
  • Adding guides on how to perform a particular procedure or use a particular product.
  • Adding exhaustive information about a subject (e.g. a full list of employees or board members for an organization)