Infogalactic:Editors' guidelines

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This page contains a set of guidelines for Editors of Infogalactic articles. It covers the following topics:

  • The dos and don'ts of being an editor
  • What editors should be doing
  • Tips and tricks on editing

It will be expanded over time as needed.

Note! You can only edit articles when you are logged in. To apply for an account, go to the Special:RequestAccount page.

Also, if you find a problem in any article that makes the article display incorrectly or is otherwise messed up (but not spelling etc issues) please check the bug list and consider filing a bug if the problem you are seeing is not listed there.

Dos and don'ts

Do read the Seven Canons

Please familiarize yourself with the Seven Canons, as they provide important guidance for Infogalactic editors. You should also read the sections on notability, reliability and relativity.

Do not engage in editing wars

This is the most important don't of these guidelines. Do not engage in editing wars, which is the practice of reverting or modifying someone else's changes over and over again.

You will be removed as an editor for engaging in editing wars.

If you think that a change is warranted, suggest the changes in the Talk: page for that article. Sign your suggestions with four tildes (as mentioned in Help:Wiki_markup#Signing_comments).

Do not make perfect the enemy of good

It is acceptable to create a stub article if you are pressed for time or you have a number of articles to write. By the same token, it is fine to leave sections incomplete or without any text. Such sections can be filled in by others who come across the page.

However, please take a moment to review the Infogalactic policy on notability when considering creating new pages.

Do include a criticism section where appropriate

For many topics it will be appropriate to include a section on criticism of the person or subject of your article. However, you must not use this as an opportunity to defend the subject. Instead, you should cite only substantive, sourced criticism of the subject of your topic. It is not the editor's responsibility to determine whether the criticism is correct or not, but merely to acknowledge that it exists. Criticism references should always be brief, specific, and credited to a specific individual or organization. Criticism should not be included on any page without a link to the specified source or a media report accurately describing the criticism and identifying the critic.


Good Example: In 2015, reporter Michael Rapoport described Day in The Wall Street Journal as "the most despised man in science fiction".[61] Jeet Heer of New Republic referred to Day as "noxious", and "vile", and said that Day "makes no pretense to moderation."[62]

Bad Example: A fellow contributor at The Huffington Post, R. J. Eskow, has written a number of columns commenting on Harris’s statements. In one column, Eskow characterized Harris as espousing a "brand of evangelical atheism," and questioned whether it was a creed of "intolerance."[36] Harris states that he advocates a benign, noncoercive, corrective form of intolerance, distinguishing it from historic religious persecution. He promotes a conversational intolerance, in which personal convictions are scaled against evidence, and where intellectual honesty is demanded equally in religious views and non-religious view. In response to some of the most frequent criticisms of his work—many of which he says are unfair and which misunderstand or distort his true positions—Harris maintains a long and frequently updated post on his personal website where he addresses each claim.[37]

Don't spread the criticism around the article as if you are refuting it point by point

When it is appropriate to include criticism in an article, do so by adding a new section towards the bottom of the article that includes criticism. Here you should focus on criticism that you can cite, not your objections to the subject of the article.

Don't turn the criticism section in an article into a section criticizing that article

If you are adding a criticism section to an article and all you are doing on the article about X is listing all the reasons why X is wrong, then you should consider creating a separate article, if there is valid information out there claiming that X is wrong.

Examples:

  • Adding a criticism section the the article on Plate Tectonics that lists all the reasons it is wrong is inappropriate. However, if there are credible arguments that it is wrong, especially if credible alternative mechanisms or explanations have been then create a separate article on the alternatives and refer to the article on Plate Tectonics in the new article.
  • The "September 11 attacks" article according to official accounts would feature a "Criticisms" or "Alternative accounts" section with a short summary paragraph or two with links to the expanded "9/11 conspiracy theories" and "9/11 Truth movement" articles which would also feature similarly short summary "Criticisms" sections with links back to the official accounts article.

Use care when considering articles on joint topics

A recent and now blocked editor created an article on Atheism and Bestiality seemingly on the basis that one prominent Atheist indicated limited support for bestiality on utilitarian grounds. There seemed to be little support for the contention that atheists in general engage in bestiality and there seem to be sufficient claims that people from certain parts of the world engage in it.

While there can be no general prohibition against joint topics, make sure that there is good support for you claims that the two topics are related.

Do not use 'weasel' words

Make direct and correct statements. Do not use words that suggest that you, the author, do not believe the claims. If there are counter claims, state them with sources.

What not to write:

Note, however, that it can be appropriate when reporting sources to use words like claimed or alleged. For example: Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for allegedly "inciting abuse" against Leslie Jones.

Do be objective and relevant

Report the facts and do not let your feeling color what you write.

Also, think carefully about whether or not what you want to write belongs in the article you want to modify. For example, recent revelations about who spread rumors during the 2008 presidential campaign probably do not belong in pages relating to the candidates at that time. If they are relevant to arguments made during the current presidential campaign then they probably belong to that article.

Avoid signalling your disapproval of the topic

  • Some Wikipedia editors label some views as conspiracy theories. An example is the previous version of the William S. Lind article which referred to Cultural Marxism as a conspiracy theory. Doing so is usually a dishonest technique to bias the reader against the subject of the article or the topic being discussed. Note, there are valid uses of the term conspiracy theory, just not everywhere someone's views are being discussed.
  • It is more correct to say that "It is claimed that Lind is the author." Further, until Lind says publicly that he is the author of the book, or the publisher reveals that Lind is the author, it is not correct to assert that Lind is the author. However, it is a fact that Paul Gottfried claims that Lind wrote the book.

What editors should be doing

Improving existing articles

Editors should take every opportunity to correct and enhance existing pages. This can include:

  1. Expanding existing sections with information that has been left out. Try to include references to articles outside Infogalactic if you can, but as a first pass just get the information in.
  2. Add new sections where relevant, especially if an important aspect of the subject has been left out. However, if you are adding new sections make sure you place them at an appropriate level, especially if they look like they should be subsections of an existing section.
  3. Fill in sections others have added but not completed.

You can always edit a page by clicking on the Edit button on the top of each page. That is also a good way to become familiar with the Help:Wiki_markup language used. When you have made a new edit, please be sure to describe what the new edit is about; this will save other editors a lot of time. You can describe your edit in the Summary box located just underneath the Edit window. If it is a minor edit, please check the box for that just underneath the Summary window.

Check the Recent changes page to see what has been added or changed that might need improving. Notice that the descriptions of the edits show up in gray italics in Recent Changes. This is the information that was added, during the edit, in the Summary window.

Creating new articles

Creating entirely new articles is something we hope you will do as well.

Note! You should prepare new articles in your sandbox (see here for creating your own User sandbox) or use the Infogalactic:Sandbox page. This prevents others from seeing your intermediate results. Once the page looks the way you want it you can copy its content to the new page you want to create.

Here are the steps:

Search-Infogalactic-2.png

  1. Enter an appropriate search term into the search bar that exists on the top right-hand side of each existing page/article as shown above.
  2. Check whether or not the article or one like it already exists. If so, then you should plan to improve that article.
  3. If no such article exists, then click on the red link as shown above to create a new article. However, keep the following in mind:
    1. The Infogalactic Notability guidelines should be observed at all times, and
    2. The name you choose for your article should be the most appropriate name, although your article can be moved to a new name, if necessary.

To help new editors create new articles we are starting a series of templates which you can copy and revise to suit. Instructions are in the templates. They are:

People

Places

Things

Events

Media

Citing

New editors seem unfamiliar with the template available for citing other works, especially on the Web.

Review the documentation at the Template:Citation documentation for how to construct citations.

Tips and tricks

See Help:Cheatsheet and Help:Wiki_markup for guides on the details of marking up pages. Template:Quicktemplates is a copy-and-paste list of commonly used markups for things like images, tables, and citations.