Iron Chariots Wiki:Editing guidelines

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Revision as of 04:46, 30 September 2006 by Dcljr (Talk | contribs)
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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:; 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 "Show 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 follow the apologists link to edit that page and add this text: "#REDIRECT [[apologetics]]" (leave off the quotation marks). Of course, in this case the redirect is already in place.
  • DON'T create "double redirects" (redirect pages pointing to other redirect pages). The MediaWiki 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, when appropriate. 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 "sentence style" capitalization for multiple-word article titles. Capitalize only words that would need it if the phrase were used in an ordinary sentence. The purpose of this guideline is, of course, to facilitate linking in running text (i.e., ordinary sentences). For example, the articles on the "Shroud of Turin" and "Penn Jillette" are capitalized as they are because they're proper names, but "argumentum ad hominem" should be all lowercase (the first character of a title is always case-insensitive, so a link to "Argumentum ad hominem" leads to the exact same article). If necessary, you can always #REDIRECT pages with different capitalization.
  • DO remember to add a category to new entries. This is accomplished by adding a special link of the form [[Category:Category name]] to the bottom of the article (although technically it doesn't matter where it appears in the wikitext). Most subjects have a category if you think hard enough, and maybe several (multiple categories each require their own separate "Category:" link). You can check the list of categories to see if one is relevant, or just try a few general ones (e.g., Category:Atheism, Category:People, Category:Arguments) and navigate down from there to the most specific, relevant category you can find (obviously, this method will be easier once the category structure has been fleshed out a bit more).
  • DO create new categories if they don't already exist. If no existing category seems to fit for an article, create a new one by simply using it in an article (see previous "DO"). The link will indicate that the category is missing (a "redlink" for most users) until you actually create the category page itself; do this the same way you create an article, by following the link and adding some text. Most categories don't really require any explanation, but every category should be a member of another, parent category (except for the top-most, "root" category, of course). Thus, all you need for most category pages is a "Category:" link to an appropriate parent category.
  • 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 genuinely 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.

This page

  • 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.
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