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.

Don't 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 add content even if it is incomplete

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 "Criticisms" section in an article into a section criticizing that article

When creating or adding to a "Criticisms" section in an article about "X" but you're only listing all the reasons why "X" is wrong, then consider creating a section or a separate article on "Opposing view" or "Alternative perspectives", if there is information and citations supporting assertions that "X" is wrong.


  • 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.

Don't 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 articles. 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 which will put the wikitext for the page or section into an Edit windows. 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 field located just underneath the Edit window. If it is a minor edit, please check the box for that just underneath the Summary field.

Finding articles to improve

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.

You can also check pages that have been marked as needing improvement: Stubs lists pages that have very little content, and articles to be expanded lists pages that are longer than stubs but still need to be expanded.

Discussing changes

You should also be aware that there is a Discussion page associated with each article. You can edit the discussion page to:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Make suggestions
  3. Object to changes, etc.

You use the same wikitext markup language in talk pages.

In Tips and tricks you can find some information on how to create new sections and get other effects.

More guidance about using talk pages can be found at Help:Using_talk_pages#Talk_page_use.

Creating new articles

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

The first page you should create is your own user page. You can find your user page by entering the string User:<your-login-name> into the search field on the top right hand side of the screen. For example, entering User:Crew will find Crew's user page.

You can enter a short description, or no description in this page. However, you should also use it to create new pages:

  1. Somewhere on your user page, place the following text [[User:<your-login-name>/Important New Topic|Most important topic in the world]]. Note, please replace the text "Important New Topic" with the title you want your article to have and replace the description text if appropriate. Don't worry if you get the title wrong because you can edit it later even after you create the new article (although it is a little more complicated to do so.) Note also, that your new article will appear in the User namespace until you move it. You can see an example at User:Crew.
  2. Save your user page and check that it did what you wanted. You can also click on Show preview rather than save to preview your changes.
  3. Once you save your user page, you will see a new red link in your user page which indicates that the article does not exist. If you hover over the red link you will see a popup telling you that the page does not exist.
  4. Click the new link and it will put you into the editor for that new article/page.
  5. Enter the text that you want.
  6. Once you have finished editing your article and are happy with it, you can move it to the main namespace using the More button next to the search field. It has a Move menu item in it that will appear when your hover over the More button.

You can also create a differently-biased version of an existing page. For the page title, you can use the topic name with parenthetic indication of the bias, i.e. "Topic name (viewpoint name)". To help users find the different versions, you can link them using the hatnote template. For an example of a topic which has different-biased versions, see Homosexuality.

In Tips and tricks you can find some information on how to create new sections and get other effects.

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







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

To insert a new section, go to the place in the edit window where you want the new section, and add ==New section==. Remember to replace New section with the section name you want. The number of spaces before and after your section text does not matter.

The number of equal signs (=) you use specifies the level, so three will give you a level three header. The following shows, side-by-side what to use and what it looks like.

Markup Renders as
== Section ==
=== Subsection ===
==== Sub-subsection ====

To highlight text, follow the following guidelines:

What you type What appears
To ''italicize text'', put two consecutive apostrophes on each side of it. To italicize text, put two consecutive apostrophes on each side of it.
Three apostrophes each side will '''bold the text'''. Three apostrophes each side will bold the text.
Five consecutive apostrophes on each side (two for italics plus three for bold) produces '''''bold italics'''''. Five consecutive apostrophes on each

side (two for italics plus three for bold) produces bold italics.

See Help:Cheatsheet and Help:Wiki_markup for more detailed guides on the details of marking up pages. The Cheatsheet is particularly useful.

You can try out wikitext on the Sandbox page.