Wikipedia Project Checklist

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As you work on your Wikipedia project, you should keep in mind the "Guidelines to Remember" section on the Cyberlaw WikiProject page or the Intellectual Property law WikiProject page.

Being aware of what the Wikipedia community expects both in terms of content and technically will help you to avoid mistakes. BE SURE TO DO THIS.


  • Use this checklist not only in the initial writing of an article, but also as a first reviewer of a classmate's contribution.

I will likely review projects with something like the following checklist in mind. This list is based in part on Wikipedia's The perfect article, which you might also want to read, although, don't worry, I'm not expecting "perfect" articles.

Some of the following will only apply to those working on entire pages. Re-interpret or disregard where you have a more narrowly-focused project. In no particular order:

  1. Does the contribution appear to be cut and paste from an existing source without appropriate citation? [Nothing will make me less pleased. Don't do this.]
  2. Does the lead section provide a stand-alone concise summary of the article? See: Lead section and for an even more thorough treatment see: Guide to writing better articles.
  3. Is field-specific jargon avoided where possible and explained where necessary? I.e., is the general lay audience of an encyclopedia adequately kept in mind?
  4. Are wikilinks, i.e., links to other Wikipedia articles, provided where appropriate?
  5. Is the page edited an orphan? See "What links here" in the Toolbox on the left margin. If so, find relevant articles elsewhere and create wikilinks to the page you are editing.
  6. Does the contribution maintain a neutral point of view, consist of verifiable statements, and avoid becoming original research/opinion?
  7. Are facts cited from reputable sources, preferably sources that are accessible and up-to-date? Are additional references for further reading provided?
  8. Is the contribution clear; written to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding, using logical structure, and plain clear prose; free of redundant language?
  9. Correct grammar, verb tenses, and spelling? Common mistake: multiple verb tenses throughout article. Most of the topics of these articles describe past events, so use past tense consistently throughout. "The plaintiff argued...The defendant responded...The court decided..." NOT The Plaintif argues...The defendant responds...The court decides..."
  10. Is the page categorized appropriately?
  11. In general are the reasons why the article topic is notable made clear, providing enough detail on important aspects, without providing too much detail on minor points?
  12. Are links provided to publicly-available versions of all primary sources, such as court opinions? Are citations done properly?
  13. Are references formatted properly? See technical guidelines on our project page where it explains: <ref name="Baker">Baker v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99 (1879).</ref> Subsequent references to the same source then just need <ref name="Baker" /> and see generally Referencing for beginners.
  14. Is there an Infobox Template that could be used on this page? Read the summary of these on our WikiProject page. For example, there are separate templates for District Court cases, Circuit Court Cases, and for various legal topics. Ask if you are unsure what sort of Infobox is most appropriate.
  15. Is the "educational assignment" template included on the article's discussion page?

  • Use the following checklist as a second reviewer of a classmate's contribution.
  1. You should expect to spend as much time on a second review as you did on writing your initial article. Do a thorough, substantive, edit. Nothing is off limits. You can do a total re-write if it's needed.
  2. Cite-check every reference in the article. That means, look at each reference and confirm that it supports the point that the article cites it for.
  3. Try to find additional relevant sources not already cited and add them to the article.
  4. Make sure that the citations are formatted in a consistent manner and that none of them are simply a bare URL.
  5. Once you are familiar with the subject matter of the article, try to think of a relevant aspect of the topic that is not covered at all or not covered enough and add that information to the article, with sources.
  6. Think carefully about whether the article makes its notability obvious and if necessary, add a discussion of critical scholarship, commentary, or reactions on the subject of the article.
  7. If some aspect of the article could be better illustrated by adding an image (cc-licensed or public domain and available from Wikimedia Commons) then add such images with suitable captions.
  8. If after thorough review and attempts to find additional sources, images, etc. you still believe that the article is essentially perfect as is and that you could not even make 10 edits to improve the article, then review the Good article criteria and the Guide for nominating good articles and then nominate the article for Good article status. Then, instead of editing this masterpiece, participate in the review of another article in the Good article nomination process within the same subject category where you listed your classmate's article.