Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/How to

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How to copy editEdit

Copy editing is the process of making improvements to an article to make it clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent; make it say what it means, and mean what it says. In Wikipedia, we follow the guidelines in the Manual of Style (MoS).[1]

The MoS comprises numerous pages that deal with important elements of Wikipedia's style. For example, Manual of Style (dates and numbers) (MOSNUM) sets out the ways to use numbers and dates in Wikipedia articles. National varieties of English (ENGVAR) describes the ways alternate varieties of English are dealt with.

The table below lists various guides, tutorials, and exercises to help improve your copy editing skills.

Wikipedia advice on copy editing

Useful tagsEdit

While we try as far as possible to copy edit articles, this is not always achievable where the text is confusing or in need of content expertise. We are then forced to use a tag to attract such help for the article. Some useful tags are:

{{off-topic}} ~ {{Expert-subject}} ~ {{contradict}} ~ {{confusing}} ~ {{refimprove}} ~ {{nofootnotes}} ~ {{notability}} ~ {{original research}} ~ {{crystal}} ~ {{POV}} ~ {{unreferenced}} ~ {{expand acronym}} ~ {{Out of date}}

See WP:TC for a full list of cleanup template messages.

GOCEreviewed tagEdit

There are occasions when you will encounter an article in the backlog that is unfit for a major copy edit due to other issues; for example, it may need a {{cleanup}} tag with an explanatory reason, or it may need more sources before copy editing is appropriate. In those cases, it may be advisable that you place the {{GOCEreviewed}} tag at the top of the article's talk page. The purpose is two-fold:

  1. To inform other GOCE members immediately that an editor has already reviewed the article, possibly even attempted to start the copy edit, and determined that a major copy edit could not be sufficiently completed at that time.
  2. To inform other Wikipedia users that the article previously tagged with {{copy edit}} has not been neglected; rather, it will be addressed after other cleanup measures have been taken.

The tag {{copy edit}} should be removed from the article in this case, or commented out with a note that once the necessary cleanup is performed, the copy edit tag can be uncommented (i.e. reactivated).

{{GOCEreviewed}} should be placed only on the talk pages of articles that had been in the monthly copyedit categories, not on articles for which requests have been made on the GOCE Requests page. In the latter case, if we propose to decline a request because the article is not suitable for copy editing, we should discuss it at the Requests talk page.

Removal of copy edit tagEdit

After you have completed a major copy edit on an article marked with the {{copy edit}} tag, you are welcome to remove the tag under one of the following conditions:

  • You are confident in your skills and abilities to make this decision on your own.
  • You have asked other GOCE members on the project's talk page to double-check your work and they are satisfied with the results.

If you have conducted a series of edits and determined other clean-up is required before you can finish the process, please consider using the {{GOCEreviewed}} tag and applying other useful clean-up tags as described above. Please consider adding the {{GOCE}} tag to the article's talk page when you have successfully removed the {{copy edit}} tag. You can remove the copyedit tag to avoid edit conflicts while copyediting an article as part of a GOCE blitz or drive.