Iron Chariots Wiki:Editing guidelines
From Iron Chariots Wiki
Revision as of 23:11, 27 August 2006 by Dcljr
Here are some do's and don'ts to get you started on creating articles here on Iron Chariots. The founders are novices at wiki editing, but these are some things we've learned.
- DO use Wikipedia as the gold standard. They've been at this a long time. When in doubt about style, try to find an entry similar to the one you're writing, and see how they do it.
- DON'T plagiarize Wikipedia... unless you really want to. In general, we should avoid making duplicate entries with Wikipedia. However, sometimes those pages have good information. So try to reword them if you have to borrow something, but it's not critical. Other good mines to plagiarize things from: dictionary.com; the official site of the subject that you're writing about.
- DO read our statement on the neutral point of view. It is not the same as Wikipedia's, but we do have standards.
Formatting and Style
- DON'T use HTML code to emphasize text unless it's absolutely necessary. If all you want to do is write bold or italic text, the wiki markup looks like this: '''bold''', ''italic'' (and, when appropriate, '''''bold italic''''').
- DO remember to check the "minor edit" box before you submit a typo fix or other small change. The rule of thumb is that if you don't change any information or organization in the article, it's a minor edit. Fixing many spelling and punctuation errors is minor. Fixing an error of fact, even a small one, is not minor.
- DO use the "Preview" and "Show changes" buttons before committing a change.
- DO make a link out of the first occurrence of every key word that has an article attached to it, or should in the future.
- DON'T link subsequent occurrences of that word. Example: "I don't hate [[God]]. God doesn't even exist." (The second time "God" is used, no link.)
- DO make redirection pages to link words that mean nearly the same thing as an existing entry. For instance: "Many [[apologists]] believe blah blah blah." Then click the apologists page, and add this text: "#REDIRECT [[apologetics]]". (This is already in place, obviously.)
- DON'T create "double redirects" (redirect pages pointing to other redirect pages). The software will not follow multiple (i.e., chained) redirects. Always check the redirect you just created to make sure it points to an actual article.
- DON'T create misleading links. It's occasionally okay to use this format: "[[evidence|standards of evidence]]". The text will show up as "standards of evidence", but the link goes to the article on "evidence", so the text differs from the link. In general, though, you should be sparing with this technique. If the words that you want to link are a subset of the words in the text, then you can reduce the link like this: "Standards of [[evidence]]". If the link is actually a synonym for the word displayed, consider setting up a #REDIRECT page so the link will happen automatically without using redirection within the text. If a redirection page doesn't make sense, maybe you don't really need to be making a link to the article you have in mind all. Or maybe you can work in a way to display the proper term elsewhere in your article, and make a regular link out of it. Remember, you only need to link a term once in each article.
- DO prefer singular page names to plural. That is, when linking a word like atheists in article text, try "[[atheist]]s" first; this links to the page called Atheist, but includes the "s" in the linked text. There are exceptions, of course, such as the "[[apologetics]]" example above ("apologetic" is something completely different).
Creating New Articles
- DO prefer to write article titles in lower case by default. It affects the way future links will work. Example: an article on "Shroud of Turin" should have an uppercase word at the end, as should "Penn Jillette", but "Argumentum ad hominem" should not. If necessary, you can always #REDIRECT pages with different capitalization.
- DO remember to add a category to new entries. Most subjects probably have a category if you think hard enough, and maybe several. (See the bottom of this article as an example.) Try to remember if there's a category that already fits the entry. If not, make one.
- DON'T create "stub" articles just because you don't like seeing red text. The red text serves as a helpful flag letting people know that an article is lacking. It is acceptable to create a stub article if you have one piece of really useful information, such as an external link or a well-written summary. It is not a good idea to create a three word phrase and call that a stub article.
- DON'T duplicate text on multiple pages if you can help it. If the information changes in some way, it is a real pain to edit the same thing in two places, and it's a maintenance nightmare if two similar articles are out of sync. Instead, figure out which page is the best place to put what you really want to say, and make sure that the link from the other page stands out. Example: the page on omnipotence used to include a discussion of the omnipotence paradox. Now, it merely mentions the paradox and links to it.
- DO feel free to edit this page and give some tips if you know something we don't. This is a community effort and we're all learning.