|See also: Guidelines, administrators|
This page is an official policy on Outward Wiki.
This policy is considered a standard to be followed by all users.
Editing at Outward Wiki may be simple, but good editing is never simple. These are some tips to editing a good page in a way that works smoothly with other contributors. You may also want to see the see also section at the bottom of this page.
Perfection not required, or, the joy of editing
It is wonderful when someone adds a complete, well-written, final draft to Outward Wiki. This should always be encouraged.
However, one of the great advantages of the Wiki system is that incomplete or poorly written first drafts of articles can evolve into polished, presentable masterpieces through the process of collaborative editing. This gives our approach an advantage over other ways of producing similar end-products. Hence, the submission of rough drafts should also be encouraged as much as possible.
One person can start an article with, perhaps, an overview or a few random facts. Another person can add a minority opinion. Someone else can round off the article with additional perspectives. Yet another can play up an angle that has been neglected, or reword the earlier opinions to a more neutral point of view. Another person might have facts and figures or a graphic to include, and yet another might fix the spelling and grammatical errors that have crept in throughout these multiple edits.
As all this material is added, anyone may contribute and refactor to turn it into a more cohesive whole. Then, more text will be added; then, more refactoring, and the article will gradually evolve ever closer to the ultimate final draft.
During this process, the article might look like a first draft—or worse, a random collection of notes and factoids. Rather than being horrified by this ugliness, we should rejoice in its potential, and have faith that the [Outward Wiki:How to edit a page|editing process]] will turn it into brilliant prose. Of course, we don't have to like it; we may occasionally criticize really substandard work, in addition to simply correcting it. It is most important that it is corrected, if it can be corrected. For text that is beyond hope we will remove the offending article to the corresponding talk page, or, in cases in which the article obviously has no redeeming merit whatsoever, delete it outright. The latter action should not be taken lightly, however.
On editing styles
Generally, different people here have different editing "styles". Some people edit lightly and focus on contributing new content. Others prefer to improve and greatly expand existing "stubs" and articles. Some like to make relatively small copy-editing (such as grammar, spelling, clarification, and syntax) changes, as well as adding new links and moving pages (so as to rename them without losing history and talk).
These parts sum up to a much greater whole that is Outward Wiki as we know it.
There are also different editing styles in the sense of how bold people are willing to be:
- Generally, most of us think we should be bold in updating pages.
- Virtually no one behaves as though previous authors need to be consulted before making changes; if we thought that, we'd make little progress.
- Quite the contrary: some Outward Wiki editors think you should not beat around the bush at all—simply change a page immediately if you see a problem, rather than waiting to discuss changes that you believe need to be made. Discussion becomes the last resort.
- An intermediate viewpoint accords that dialogue should be respected, but at the same time a minor tweak should be accepted. In this view, to edit radically or not will often depend on the context—which seems reasonable enough.
There is a place for all of these attitudes on Outward Wiki.
With large proposed deletions or replacements, it may be best to suggest changes in a discussion, lest the original author be discouraged from posting again. One person's improvement is another's desecration, and nobody likes to see their work destroyed without warning.
So, whatever you do, try to preserve information.
Reasons for removing content
Reasons for removing bits of an article include:
- Patent nonsense
- Copyright violations
- Inaccuracy, or where the accuracy of the controversial information cannot be established due to lack of source citations
Alternatives to removing content
- Providing an accurate intro or summary while keeping the content
- Moving text within an article, perhaps to a 'Comments, 'Speculation' or 'Analysis' section
- Moving text to another article (existing or new)
- Adding more of what you think is important to make an article more balanced
How to remove text properly
If, in your considered judgment, a page simply needs to be rewritten or changed substantially, go ahead and do that. However:
- Preserve any old contents you think might have some discussion value on the Discussion page.
- Describe, on the talk page, why you made the change.
Even if you delete something that's just plain false, odds are that it got there because someone believed it was true, so preserve a comment to inform later editors that it is, in fact, false.
Note that you of course do not need to write brilliant prose to remove vandalism. Just remove it, and say "removed vandalism" in the edit comment field. See Outward Wiki:Vandalism.
Editing and refactoring talk pages
For additional guidelines on editing and refactoring talk pages, see Outward Wiki:Talk page guidelines.
Disruptive editing is a pattern of edits, which may extend over a considerable period of time or number of articles, that has the effect of
- disrupting progress toward improving an article, or
- disrupting progress toward the fundamental project of building Outward Wiki.
Disruptive editing is frowned upon and will result in remedial action, up to and including an indefinite ban from Outward Wiki.