BestPractices

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Ideally, wiki content should be structured in such a way that it is both intuitively organized, and easy to link to from other wiki pages. Also, people who use the wiki should be trying to keep the wiki easy for everyone else to use. Wiki etiquette is based around these two ideals, and this is a page about Wiki etiquette.

Following these guidelines may not elicit comment, but people do notice and appreciate it!

This is not a template page or a page about how to format text. TextFormattingRules should teach you the latter, and FormatStandards is an attempt to establish the former. This is basically an "advanced intro" page -- the purpose is to tell you how to behave like a good wikizen. If you still have questions after reading this, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom or go over to WikiQuestions.

Obviously, on such an anarchist institution as a wiki, there's no way anyone can make you follow these guidelines; nor would we want to. These aren't "rules", in other words. But it's nice of you to follow these. Also, it's good for you, because people are an awful lot more likely to read your content and listen to your opinions if you do.

Contents

Basic Wikispeak

  • A wikizen is a user of the wiki.
  • When you change the contents of a page, it is called an edit; you can track the changes to a page by clicking on the "View other revisions" link at the bottom. (The records of changes are cleared out by the system after a certain amount of time has passed, although it tries to keep at least one old version on file; so, on older pages, you won't see the full record of changes.)
  • When you click the "This change is a minor edit" box (located right above the "Save" button), it is called a minor edit. RecentChanges (linked at the bottom and top of every page), which tracks edits (and is therefore used by most wikizens to observe the status of the wiki), can be set by each wikizen to either log both minor edits and non-minor edits, or to only log non-minor edits. (This setting is located under the Preferences link, which is also at the bottom and top of every page.) Most wikizens set their preferences so that only non-minor edits are shown on their RecentChanges page.
  • A WikiWord is a word consisting of multiple capitalized words. WikiWords link themselves; you do not need to put double brackets ([[ ]]) around them in order to make them into links. We like them and encourage them here on ExaltedWiki. This new software does not support WikiWords like the old software did. Anything you want to be a link has to have the double brackets around it, even if it is in CamelCaps.
  • A top-level page is a page whose name (the word that appears at the end of the URL that leads to it) has no slashes ("/"). Examples of top-level pages include BestPractices, Charms, and Ikselam.
  • Most of this section is now wrong. It is possible to configure MediaWiki to work like this, but, so far, this has not been done. If the choice is made that the subpage feature will be turned on, what follows here will be true. If the choice is made that this will never be done, this item should be totally rewritten. A subpage is a page that is attached to a top-level page by means of a slash. When you put a word on a top-level page and begin it with a slash, then it becomes a subpage of that top-level page. For example,BestPractices/PastComments is a subpage of BestPractices; its full name (the way it appears at the end of the URL that leads to it) is BestPractices/PastComments. Subpages are useful because they are indelibly attached to their parent page (for one thing, the parent page is linked at the bottom and top of every one of its subpages), so when you want to have a page that is permanently associated with a given top-level page, it helps to make it a subpage of that top-level page. (Note, however, that the previous comments give the incorrect impression that subpages work like file paths and are there to solve organizational problems. They are not. For one thing, there can only be one "level" of subpages. See "How to be a good wikizen" below for more about how to use them.)

    You refer to subpages for pages different from the one you are currently on by giving the full name in double brackets; e.g., if you are not on Ikselam or any of its subpages, then to refer to Ikselam/FanFiction, you type [[Ikselam/FanFiction]]. (Note that you cannot have a subpage of a subpage. If you make a subpage on a subpage, then the new subpage will branch off from the parent subpage's parent page. So, for example, if Ikselam writes [[BestPractices/PerfectCircle]] on his subpage Ikselam/OtherCircles, then he will end up with Ikselam/PerfectCircle, not Ikselam/OtherCircles/PerfectCircle.)

Formatting Rules Referenced Here

You should also read TextFormattingRules, but here's a shortlist of the rules referred to on this page.

  • You redirect to a page by placing #REDIRECT [[NewPageName]] on the redirecting page. A redirected page goes straight from the redirecting page to the target page. For example, Lexicon is not a page in itself; it redirects to LexiconOfElderDays because the only text on Lexicon is #REDIRECT LexiconOfElderDays.
  • You prettify, or relabel, an interwiki link by putting it in square brackets with the label name after the page's name and a vertical divider in between, like so: [[LexiconOfElderDays|Lexicon Of Elder Days]] will display as Lexicon Of Elder Days.

How to Be a Good Wikizen

  • Put your name on your pages. This may seem self-evident, but you'd be surprised how often people forget. This is especially important if the page you are creating is not a subpage of your own UserPage. If you do not have some indication of authorship on your pages, people are less likely to comment. Furthermore, people might think that the page is a CommunalProject and that they can mess around with it at will.
  • Log in before you edit anything. You can very easily do this by clicking on the Preferences link (located at the bottom and the top of every single Wiki page). You probably will only need to log in once. You can tell whether or not you are logged in when you are editing a page by looking to the right of the "Save" button. Logging in is a good thing to do, not only because it will save your username and preferences, but because it will label the edits you make using your username. If you haven't logged in, then, for example, if you edit someone else's page, they will not be able to tell who you are by looking at that page's history, and they will be sad and confused about who edited their page. Furthermore, if you don't log in and you make major edits, then the system will label your edits with your IP address instead; thus, your IP address will be splashed all over RecentChanges, which is not only annoying for those of us who use RecentChanges to track developments but will probably lead people to ignore your edits. If for some reason you can't log in, then at least note who you are in the "Summary" box.
  • Don't make large content edits to other peoples' work without permission; also, sign your comments. In other words, it's fine to correct someone else's typos -- people might even like you for it -- but don't change, say, the mote cost of one of the Charms they've invented unless you know they're okay with you doing so. If you disagree with the way someone else created something, leave a comment at the bottom of the relevant page. And when you leave comments, don't forget to sign them.
  • Save edits that are irrelevant to everyone else as "minor". Good examples of irrelevant edits include pages you are deleting (putting in a redirect will fit the bill so that you don't need everyone to know that you did it), extremely minor changes (fixing spelling errors or changing a couple of sentences on one of your own pages), adding pages to general indices (examples: adding an Artifact to the main Artifacts page, listing your name in a Contributor index), etc. It is nice to save these edits as minor, because, as previously noted, most wikizens use RecentChanges to track important content changes to ExaltedWiki, and most wikizens set their RecentChanges page to only register non-minor edits. So if you're making an edit that doesn't make the relevant page different enough to re-check or reread, then you don't need to inform people of it. In fact, it's kind of annoying if you do, because RecentChanges can get very crowded; also, it can be very irritating for wikizens to check a page that they think someone has made an important edit to, only to discover that no one made any important edits at all.
  • Conversely, some edits really shouldn't be minor. Examples of edits that probably shouldn't be minor include especially large and complex edits to other peoples' pages (people want to know when you're making major changes to their stuff, even if it is just an enormous overhaul of their grammar and spelling) and comments on pages (people want to be able to track comments when they are made).
  • This item exists because of the way UseModWiki handled WikiWord links automatically. Since this is no longer the case, this guideline may no longer be desirable. Avoid spaces and underscores in page link names. For example, IkselamTheBrave is better than Ikselam The Brave (which was written as [[Ikselam The Brave]]) or Ikselam_The_Brave (which was written as [[Ikselam_The_Brave]]). WikiWord pages -- those whose links lack spaces or underscores -- are easier to type quickly and easier for others to find (because everyone assumes that a page name will be a WikiWord -- so if it isn't, they may not be able to find it without going on a giant hunt through WikiContent).
  • Remember that you can prettify links that are WikiWords. If a WikiWord link bugs you, just relabel it so that the displayed link has spaces. For example, the markup [[FormatStandards|a page about formatting standards]] renders as: a page about formatting standards
  • When you are making a generic type of page, try to follow the FormatStandards for that type of page. The FormatStandards try to set out standards for each "type" of page. You don't have to follow the FormatStandards exactly -- for example, if you're making a page for a character, it isn't a big deal if you put the character's statistics at the end of the page rather than at the beginning, as suggested by FormatStandards. However, do be sure to include all the categories recommended by FormatStandards, and try to make it look enough like the FormatStandards that people can still recognize the page for what it is.
  • Subpages are probably not what you think they are. A common misconception is that page names work like files in a directory and, therefore, subpages are a way to organize pages. This isn't really true. Instead, think of a page name as what it is: the unique identifier for that page. The use of subpages is really used more of a way to prevent collisions of names. For example, if both Bob and Dave want to create a page called Artifacts, how do they do this without colliding with the Artifacts page that already exists? Subpages are one solution to this problem of generating unique names. See the "What should I name a new page?" section of HowDoIDoThat for advice on naming pages.
  • Many wikizens prefer to place some or all of their content on subpages of their UserPage. For example, Ikselam keeps his FanFiction on Ikselam/FanFiction. This is not necessary, but advisable. It does have the advantage of immediately associating your name with the work on the page and making it obvious that the stuff on the page is not a CommunalProject. If you decide to keep your content on a subpage of your UserPage, then please keep in mind that if it is crunch (e.g. Artifacts, Charms), then many people will seek it on subpages of the crunch pages. Thus, it is a good idea to also make a subpage of the relevant crunch page and use it to redirect to your content page. (For example, Shataina likes to keep her Artifacts on Shataina/Artifacts, but she knows that some people will look for her Artifacts at Artifacts/Shataina, so Artifacts/Shataina redirects to Shataina/Artifacts.) Again, see the "What should I name a new page?" section of HowDoIDoThat for advice on naming pages.
  • If you are placing content on a subpage of your UserPage, you can give it a top-level alias. For example, Ikselam/MadTeaParty could have a top-level page, IkselamMadTeaParty or, if you insist, MadTeaParty, which redirects to it. If you insist on having top-level names for your pages without your name in them, then it's often nice to use the top-level alias to redirect to a page that better observes BestPractices so that if anyone eventually wants that top-level alias for something communal, you can easily give it to them without having to delete or reorganize all your stuff.
  • The first time you try to create your own pages, ask for advice on naming. Almost every beginner on this wiki goes through a false start or two regarding what to name their pages. Before adding your first pages, you might want to post a comment to NamingAdvice for a "plan" on how to name them harmoniously with the rest of the wiki. Also, see the "What should I name a new page?" section of HowDoIDoThat for advice on naming pages.

Cautions

  • Be careful about creating "top level" pages. A "top level" page is one that doesn't use a subpage. Your user page, for example, is a top level page, as is a page like LexiconOfElderDays. A common assumption about top level pages (except for user pages) is that they are CommunalProjects, and that can lead to unfortunate editing behavior. See the "What should I name a new page?" section of HowDoIDoThat for advice on naming pages.
  • Subpages are not "paths"; in other words, the wiki does not organize itself through paths the way your personal computer does. See SlashLinksAreNotPaths and the "What should I name a new page?" section of HowDoIDoThat for more on this.

Comments

Past comments for this page are available at BestPractices/PastComments. (Last archived: 04.21.10 by Wordman)

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