Baystation 12:Guide to Contributing to the Wiki

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We're glad you've shown interest in contributing to the wiki. Before you can edit articles on the wiki, you will need to register an account.

If you have any questions while you edit, you can leave a message on an article's talk page, ask on our IRC channel (#bs12wiki on irc.sorcery.net) or join the official Baystation 12 Discord and ask there.

Article content

New content is always being added to Baystation 12. The majority of this content is technical information, so in order to edit on the wiki, you should have a basic understanding of technical writing. It can be boiled down to the following:

  1. Be descriptive
    Don't use vague wording, such as "things," "stuff," etc. Do your best to identify, describe and explain anything that may appear.
  2. Use pictures to orient the reader
    Pictures are extremely important. They not only provide a visual description to what you are talking about, they can help break up the text and provide "way-points" for a readers eye to catch on. This makes a guide easier to read and easier to follow. Remember to add pictures and plan your article around them, if you don't add them, it's unlikely somebody else will.
  3. Minimize background info
    Keep information relevant. Use linking to help move additional information. Minimizing background info can also help to prevent readers from getting the info they otherwise wouldn't want to read, the majority of readers only want a specific piece of information, so keeping information divided and short can help them find it.
  4. Crosslink heavily
    Readers often want to visit other areas of the site or gain more information on a topic. Using the search bar can be an annoyance when they are only looking for the information you mention. You need to crosslink heavily so that readers can find that information quickly and effectively.
  5. Be simple, not loquacious
    Don't use big words, jargon or otherwise pretend that the reader is an expert on the subject.
  6. Don't overuse markup
    Overusing markup, such as bolding, italics, templates or even icons can disorient the reader. Keep markup to a minimum and use it only when necessary. This includes notes - notes are only to be used if absolutely necessary.
  7. Don't use passive voice
    "I," "Me" or anything that is done from a first-person perspective. This also helps maintain the neutrality of an article.

Always remember to follow the manual of style when editing to ensure that you are following correct procedure. This is a manual which dictates how your style of writing should be.

Editing other's work

It is often that you will find yourself needing to edit another editors work. The most common content editing and creating will be on another's article. You should always be bold, wikis develop faster when others help edit others work. Even if they disagree with you, remember that talk pages can be used to help come to a compromise. For this reason, it's important you include a summary to your edits so that editors may know your intentions and when you made the change.

Minor vs major edit

A minor edit is when you are making superficial edits, such as typo corrections, formatting and presentation changes, rearranging of text without modifying content, etc. A minor edit is a version that the editor believes requires no review and could never be the subject of a dispute. This could also be used when updating information that was changed due a recent game version.

A major edit is when you change text, modify templates or make overall changes that affect the content of the article. You should discuss with other editors before making a major edit. There are no necessary terms to which you have to agree when doing major edits, but the preceding recommendations have become best practice. If you do it your own way, the likelihood of your edits being re-edited may be higher.

When performing a large edit, it is suggested that you periodically, and before pressing "Save page", copy your edits into an external text editor (preferably one without formatting, such as Notepad). This ensures that in the case of a browser crash you will not lose your work. If you are adding substantial amounts of work, it is also a good idea to save changes in stages.

Editing philosophies

Being an editor means working with others. The wiki is created by multiple people from a variety of different backgrounds and focuses. Keeping that in mind, you need to:

  • Be assertive: Your knowledge and experiences count. Be assertive about the information you present
  • Experiment: Experiment with templates, page layouts, and new features. Don't be afraid to mess up a page or template, it can always be reverted.
  • It's OK: You don't need to create the perfect article right away. Just do whats required right now. Any information and any edit helps. Don't hide an entire page away somewhere else off the wiki until it's "finished." Feel free to do those changes right away. We need them.
  • Make the change: You have the right to edit and change any content as long as it follows our policies. Nobody has ownership of a page (except species maintainers!)

It's important to do these things, but not to be reckless! Changing styling, rules, and high-visibility templates might not go over as well as your regular article. Similarly, respect WIP templates and let the author finish a draft before inputting your own. Talk to them.

In a nutshell, don't worry about being perfect or making mistakes. If something needs to be done, do it. Jump in and make useful edits to articles.

Creating a new article

Should it be necessary to create a new guide or article, it's important to question yourself:

  1. Is my topic notable?
  2. Am I willing to finish and curate the article?
  3. Am I an expert, or willing to heavily research my article?

If you said no to any of these, you should leave the content creation to somebody else. Often times, a single editor will create a "rough draft" for an article - during this writing period, nobody else should edit the article - this can disrupt editors plan for a page. Once the draft is complete, edits are made and additional content can be added by other editors.

New templates

If you need a new template to help better organize your information, consider reading other articles and finding a similar template. Use this template to create an offshoot of the template that fits your information. If not, then either find somebody who is capable of make one yourself. You should use new templates when the information is specific, yet long.

Lists & long pages

For the record - It is okay for a page to be long if it is a list or collection of lists. Any paragraphs and information need to be nested within said lists.

You don't own the page

Remember, the wiki is a collaborative editing project. Just because you made the article doesn't mean you own it. You can put a WIP template while you are doing heavy edits, but once it's off your article is game for anybody. That means they can make any edit and change content any time they want. If they want to make major changes to a lore article they will need to go through the lore manager, but still, not you. If your article gets changes, don't revert or get angry. Consider their position. If you disagree with the change, talk to them first.

That being said, other editors should respect your WIP tag while it's still in place.

Tagging

When you create a page, other editors "tag" it. Tags are what help us organize pages so we know where they are and what needs work. Tags always go at the top of the page unless otherwise specified.

WIP tag

The WIP tag is used to tell other editors that the page is a work in progress and shouldn't be tagged with maintenance tags. You can use this at the start of a new page. Unless you have a major rework planned for an article, using it for an existing article is generally frowned upon.

Be careful, WIP tags expire after 1-2 months and will be removed at any other editors discretion after that time. If your page is unfinished, it may be given a rewrite tag.

Clean up tag

You may find an article has a "clean up" tag. This is the most common tag and means the article may have;

  • Improperly formatted paragraphs
  • Spelling errors
  • Inconsistent layout
  • General quality issues

This doesn't mean your article is bad, it just needs to be cleaned up - looking at other pages can help determine whats wrong, or using the articles talk page to ask the tagger. If you can look at your article, and it looks like other articles, you are probably okay. Most taggers are looking for "good enough", not perfection.

Rewrite tag

This is applied to pages that are of poor quality. This means the page doesn't follow the manual of style, writing quality is poor and is considered not worth the effort to clean up. Generally, it is reserved for unfinished draft articles that have been abandoned. In some extreme cases, it may be applied to an article that has been written in such a manner that is completely different from the rest of the wiki, odds are the editor is new and has not read any of the editing guides.

Maintenance tags

There are other tags, Good article and Patrolled - these are maintenance tags. These tags determine how much work a page needs. If an article has a "good article" tag, it may not need as much editing as a page with the "patrolled" tag.

Why don't editors fix the mistakes themselves?

The wiki has 8,389 pages and 301 articles, many editors do not have the time to edit large amounts of mistakes on a single article (something that can take upwards to an hour per page.) Furthermore, they often do not want to intrude on the author of the pages. Tagging helps them determine what articles need work for later. Do not take personal offense to them! They are just there to categorize the page.

Lore

Lore is given different rules from the gameplay side of the wiki. While you may freely edit the gameplay side as you see fit, the lore side has special rules as detailed in the Manual of Style most importantly - you shouldn't be adding content without the permission of somebody in charge. Feel free to add or change a layout, but do not add content without permission!

The other important rule is species pages are only for species maintainers and deputies, you cannot touch these except for minor edits. They can still be regularly tagged.

Common mistakes

Here are a few mistakes new editors tend to make:

  • Double return: This means to put more than 1 space between your paragraphs. The MediaWiki editor is literal, this means it will include that large space between your paragraphs.
  • Minor vs major edit: As per the Manual of Style, a minor edit is when you make a very basic change that nobody can dispute. This means grammar or link fixing. Anything else is not a minor edit. So don't mark everything you do as a "minor" edit - if this were the case, editors could circumvent patrols by making only slight changes to articles per edit and marking them as minor.
  • Incorrect emphasis: Bolding, ALL CAPITALS and other methods to emphasize a point are not allowed. There are plenty of technical reasons you are not allowed to do this (even if it may seem silly to you!) Italics are O.K if used appropriately.
  • Drafting a new page: Some people will draft a new page... and never finish them. This would be okay if they were a stub, but often times they leave a WIP template and half-completed sentences, structures, tables, etc - leaving clean-up work for wiki editors in the future. If you are making a new page, be sure to finish it, or at least some of it.
  • Talk page indenting: Talk pages are used so that notes can be left on a page and discussed in a leveled format. Most editors will forget to indent when commenting - use : before your sentence to indent (use more if indenting further down) and ~~~~ to sign the comment.
  • Incorrect layout: It's not about how you lay out your article, it's about how other articles do it. We always want to remain consistent in how we make articles so they are ultimately easier to read as a whole. Read other, similar articles and see how they lay it out before you make your own.

See also