Iron Chariots Wiki:Editing guidelines

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Revision as of 17:31, 28 February 2007 by Dcljr (Talk | contribs)
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Here are some DOs and DON'Ts to get you started on editing articles here on Iron Chariots.


General guidelines

  • DO use Wikipedia as the gold standard.
    They've been at this a long time. When in doubt about style, check out how they do it and, if necessary, adapt it to this wiki.
  • DON'T plagiarize Wikipedia... unless you have to.
    We recognize that Wikipedia articles are sometimes the best source for information about certain topics, but our copyright policy is different from theirs, so don't just cut-and-paste an entire article to this wiki (even with attribution, this is just not good editing style). Try to reword, summarize, edit, and generally adapt the information to meet our goals here at Iron Chariots.
  • DO check out other sources of information.
    See our Interwiki map for some particularly useful sites.
  • DO read our statement on the neutral point of view.
    Our version is not the same as Wikipedia's, but we do have standards.

Editing tips

  • DON'T use HTML code unless it's absolutely necessary.
    If all you want to do is write italic or bold text, the wiki markup looks like this:
    • ''italic'' (double-apostrophes in front and behind)
    • '''bold''' (triple)
    • '''''bold italic''''' (5 apostrophes — use sparingly)
  • DO link to other articles and external sources.
    Link to another article here at Iron Chariots by using "double-brackets" wiki markup:
    Link to external websites by using "single-brackets":
    For other examples of wiki markup, see WikimediaMeta:Help:Wikitext examples.
  • DO mark minor edits.
    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 actual information in the article, or the way it's organized, then it's a minor edit. Most changes to spelling and punctuation would be minor. Changing any fact/assertion in the article, even a small one, is not minor.
  • DO use the "preview" feature.
    Sometimes the first attempt to change an article doesn't come out the way you expected. To avoid having to edit a page multiple times, use the "Show preview" and "Show changes" buttons before committing to your changes (by choosing "Save page").


  • DO [[link]] the first occurrence of each key word or phrase.
    Please do this even if the article doesn't exist yet, as long as it should in the future (see also the article naming conventions below).
  • DON'T link subsequent occurrences, unless not doing so would significantly inconvenience the reader.
    A second, or even third, link may be warranted if the they are well separated on the page and the subsequent instances would seem to require a link more than the previous one(s). In other words, don't make people go searching for the "missing link" (no pun intended) when they come across a significant word or phrase they might want to look up. Just don't overdo the linking.
  • DO make redirection pages, as needed.
    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".
    These are redirect pages that point 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 start new articles by linking from other articles (see how below).
    Although there are other ways to do it, creating an article by linking (see below) a word in an existing aricle is the best way to avoid "orphaned" 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. For example:
    If necessary, you can always #REDIRECT pages with different capitalization to a canonical version.
  • DO use "sentence style" capitalization on section headers, too.
    That is, use a header like "Content guidelines", not "Content Guidelines".
  • DO remember to add a category to new articles.
    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.
    This is a community effort and we're all learning. If you'd rather post your suggestion on the "talk" page, you can do that instead.
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