Recently there have been several issues that have arisen in terms of canon and sitewide consistency regarding a variety of subjects. Dhalia has suggested, and I quite agree, that it might be good to develop a set of guidelines to help bring about more consistent edits and articles. So I thought I would get the process moving by making some basic proposals for what it should cover and how it should cover it.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking around the wikia community, particularly with television shows and other entertainment orientated wikis, and let me tell you the results were... underwhelming (there's not alot of well developed policies/guidelines on most of them). But I did find a few things that I think we could try to emulate (specifically the presentation and thoroughness of Memory Alpha and the community oriented system of Wookieepedia).
Here is what I propose;Edit
First I, Ellipses485, think it would be good to make the system that I propose we develop related to us, the Futurama Wiki, by naming it something along the lines of "The Central Bureaucracy" to make it unique to our wiki, yet without hindering it's effectiveness with some sort of gimick that might get in the way.
Our policies/guidelines should never be final and should always be open to discussion and change, and each should be discussed before becoming part of the overall system.
Guidelines should cover:Edit
1. Canon: what media is to be considered canon, and what order we should follow different media when they conflict (i.e. an episode commentary and a script).
2. Content: if issues over wheter or not something deserves it's own page or should be consolidated into another page arise, they should be debated and the results stated so that we can develop a system of precedence for such issues (though I think that we should probably decide these issues on a case by case basis).
3. Naming: we should have a procedure for naming characters, places, organizations, etc. (particularly when it comes to articles that either appear without being labeled or addressed in episodes/films or are alluded to during those times).
4. Copyright issues; some sort of explanation regarding our copyright policies and how they should be used.
5. Spam/Plagiarism: define it, denounce it, and declare the penalties for doing it (I think they exist, right?).
Guidelines could also cover:Edit
1. Grammatical inconsistencies; capitalization of species vs. political entities, "the" doop, that sort of things (if only a link to an achieved discussion for curious editors to peruse in the future.
2. Suggested structure for articles; a brief discussion of where a few oft used templates should be placed in an article, what the commonly used titles for sections (settle inconsistencies like using "references explained" vs. "behind the scenes") et cetera.
Guidelines should not cover:Edit
1. Specific Article Structures; while it'd be nice to have a specific way all the articles are built, that sort of thing tends to put a damper on creativity and we don’t want to scare off any potential editors by placing that in their faces right away (let's face it we have a pretty small community of regular editors at the moment).
So there you are, my proposal for the Futurama Wiki's Policy/Guideline page. It's just a proposal, but it's a place to start. Please post any questions, comments, criticisms, et cetera. Even if just for regular users, I think having something along these lines would really help keeping the site consistant and such. Ellipses485 04:59, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
- I agree with a lot of that but we I have discussed with Joey about a name change and he says that the reason we get more people on our wiki is because we have the word Futurama in our name. What are more people going to search for. Futurama of Central bureaucracy?
- I think we already have a guidelines page somewhere. Joey made it. I will try to find it. Solar Dragon (Talk) 05:23, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
- Wow, I didn't realize we had that, that's great! But it does seem a bit lacking certain areas I identified above (particularily the bit about what's canon and which medias take precedence over others) and it isn't exactly easy to find (it is only linked to by two other pages; one of which is a dead-end and the other is this page). There's definately a great manual of style and general information on the project page, but I think it could be added to and reorganized to make a better, more easily understandable policy, and, perhaps more importantly, placed someplace more visiable so that it will actually be used.
- As to the use of the name "Central Bureaucracy", I actually meant it just for the policy/guidelines section, not the whole wiki. I totally agree that the name "Futurama Wiki" is the beter choice for the whole thing, but for the section dealing with rules and guidelines seems to fit the idea of a central bureaucracy well; call it "our [the Futurama Wiki's] Central Bureaucracy." One of the things I noticed when looking around the various wikis of Wikia Entertainment is that many well-developed wikis had some sort of tie-in to their particular universe via the naming of a part of the wiki itself after something in the series or books or what-have-yous. To continue the examples used above: Memory Alpha's forum is called "Ten Forward", and Wookieepedia has Senate Hall and Knowledge Bank (and if you reading this are not as big a nerd as I am, just take my word for it that those are pretty good tie-ins). Granted most of these are forums, (ok so their all forums, but you get the idea), I think a similar concept would work well here.
- I guess the existing policy page changes the situation a bit, and so I'll have to look at it for awhile and come back with a revised proposal on how we could rework the existing stuff (or even whether a simple addition of policies regarding Canon and basic grammar would suffice), but I'll probably be continuing under what I origianlly proposed above for everything. So please continue to think about it and post your comments and suggestions here, if that's not too much trouble. Ellipses485 14:13, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
- I absolutely agree with everything Ellipses485 said. I am glad we have some guidelines but they need to be easier to find, I looked all over the wiki and couldn't find it. I also agree that we still have more work to do re: canon, grammar, etc etc. It is so much easier to have consistency throughout the site (BTW I personally hate "References Explained" and much prefer "Trivia"). It is nice to be able to point to established guidelines when a friendly debate comes up; also it's just plain easier to create and improve this wiki when one knows what the guidelines are. I've spent a lot of time on MemoryAlpha and I really like the guidelines there, maybe we can use that as a basis to help get started. -- Dhalia 15:01, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
- Thanks for the vote of confidence in our ability to pull it off, but I don't think taking that stance is the way to go. I agree that Memory Alpha's system is excellent and that we should try to get to something as clear and accessible as they have, but I think that we should get there in a way in which fosters a community rather than puts new members off. Certainly I will spend the next few days looking over the existing guidelines and try to figure out a better way of doing it, but I'm going to post the proposed changes here (or in some other forum) so that anyone who wants to can join in the process of developing it. Granted, I'm not expecting too many votes as we've only got, what, half a dozen regular contributors?, and of that only a few of us are likely to be want to become involved. But the process should be open to any potential users to give input, so that it doesn't seem like a small group of users are controlling the whole wiki. I'm hoping that by using this process we can at least set the precedence for community based decisions regarding changes to the system in the future, as opposed to saying "here are the new policies you're going to follow." Looking back, I can't help but feel there is probably a less wordy way of saying all this that'd be less confusing, but I hope you get what I'm trying to say anyway. Ellipses485 18:42, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Ok, so I've looked through the existing policy/guidelines and the Manual of Style pages to try and figure out the best way to reorganize and supplement it for clarity and completeness. This is my new proposal for a reworked policy page (just the outline with some notes). It'll mostly be made up from the current page as well as some new stuff and (although I said I was against doing it right away), will be modeled off of the Memory Alpha's system (which also means that hopefully there will be a bar in the navigation labeled "Central Bureaucracy" with the five main subcategories underneath it). Here it is: (After one week, until 18 July, if no major problems or concerns arise I will start changing the policy page to reflect the new changes).
I. Introduction and the Basics
- a. Welcome
- b. Move/Merge Policy
- c. Deletion Policy
- d. Other basic polices that don't appear elsewhere and that I haven't thought of yet (I'm sure there are a few).
II. Manual of Style
- a. A Link to The Manual of Style for the Futurama Wiki.
III. Copyright Policy
- a. Images guidelines
- 1. the "CN Image" template.
- b. Video guidelines
- c. Basic content citation policy (see below for suggested policy)
- a. What is considered Canon?
- 1. Canon hierarchy
- b. Preferred terminology
- a. Philosophy
- 1. Spam/Plagiarism
- i. The Protection of pages and blocking of users policies
- 1. Spam/Plagiarism
- b. The Management
- 1. What are the different levels and their powers?
- 2. Who are the Futurama Wiki’s staff?
- 3. Application for User Group Rights
Furthermore, I suggest the following policies regarding Canon and Citation
Canon, instead of saying what is or isn't canon, we should have a tiered system of levels of canon that establishes a hierarchy that should be followed when the different sources conflict.
- Primary Sources; episodes, films, comics.
- Secondary Sources; the scripts, episode commentaries, interviews, possibly other commercial materials officially released (toys, calendars, et cetera).
- Tertiary Sources; Wikipedia and other fan based communities like Futurama Madhouse or The Infosphere (plus transcripts from those places).
Formal citation should be used when dealing with secondary or tertiary sources, or information that is, has been, or may potentially be contested. In these cases footnotes should be used (see Help:Cite for details on how).
In most cases Primary sources can be cited by adding their appearance in the Appearances section (this seems to be the norm at the moment anyway)
In addition I would ask any users reading this to think about any often used templates or editing tricks that I haven't mentioned or aren't already in the current policy, and make not of them here so that they can also be included (besides the templates: stub, images, conjecture, speedy-deletion, infoboxes, and cite). Thanks Ellipses485 15:52, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
- I like what I see so far. A few things I'd like to see addressed: Memorable Quotes. I ran into a page that had something like 25 "memorable" quotes. It could have easily been just a transcript. http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Memory_Alpha:Memorable_quotes has some good guidelines, such as 6 quotes per episode page, keep it short, etc that I would like to see put in place - in manual of style I guess would be the best place?
- Also this sentence in manual of style: Article titles should have the first letter of every word capitalized, except for prepositions e.g. "of", "in". Articles for characters must not use the character's title e.g. "Captain Leela", "Pizza Boy Fry", "Robot Bender". doesn't follow wiki naming conventions, if I'm reading it correctly. If I am, this should be rewritten.
- I see that we already have a sentence about punctuation, but it mentions nothing of grammar. I was thinking about a list of "commonly misspelled/misused words", but possibly that's something I can just put on my user page. I'm curious; does everyone have a spellcheck when they are editing this wiki? I know I do, if a word is misspelled it is underlined red. If this is something you need to select as an option maybe we should let users know how to do it. I thought everyone could use a spellcheck but was told that everyone didn't have it.
- This sentence, There should only be one space after periods in any sentence. is not what I was taught in journalism school. I was taught two spaces. Maybe it's changed since then?
- Under images, it says Put up a gallery of image options (at least 4) this seems a little excessive to me. What if I just have one image that looks better than the one currently used? I have to find 3 more?
- Featured Article: I would like to see one a week instead of one a month. I think the "one a month" was created back when the wiki was less busy but it's picked up as of late and with new episodes coming out I would like to change this to one a week.
- I'd like to see some emphasis on the "preview" button. It's already mentioned that one should be careful to make one edit, but it doesn't mention the preview button. I know I'm bad at this at times as well, but I'm going to work on it and I'd like to see it emphasized a bit.
- I'd like to see a bit in the manual of style about the use of words like "colour" or "honour". While they are perfectly acceptable, Futurama is an American television show created in America, and we should conform to American English.
- Would it be possible to create a template page to show all users what the site wide standard is? Of course, we have to agree on an agreeable standard first! ;)
- Sorry for the bunch of random thoughts. I'm excited to get a standard set up! -- Dhalia 19:54, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
- Well, I have a spellcheck button. It works really well. Well, the members I trust a lot, you know who you are (Dhalia and Ellipses485), you may feel free to edit the subsections of the main page. Just go here: Futurama Wiki/Featured Article and you may feel free to edit it yourself. Same goes for any other subsections except User of the Month. Solar Dragon (Talk) 16:37, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I don't have a spell-checker built in to my web browser (I guess it's a bit outdated) but for edits that don't look right or I'm unsure of, I try to copy and past it into a word processor that allows me to check; yet typos do get through. I'm going to try and address the random thoughts above, ah, let's see...
- I'm pretty sure that the single space after period convention has become the standard on wikipedia. Firstly, among the academic community the single space has become the more common system. Although the double space is generally accepted, the main thing is keeping consistancy. But more important to a web databases, like wikipedia, is the fact that adding that by removing that space saves a large amount of characters and thus server space.
- The "preview" button is mentioned in the existing policy, but it's under the Userspace Policy subheading, it should certainly be more prominent in the new policy.
- I agree that the American spelling should be favored over the British variety (I'll put a note about that on the new policy). But I'm less sure about including issues regarding commonly misspelled words and such on the main section of the policy, because that can make it seem like we're overly strict about this stuff (maybe as a side page that links to the guideline page though).
- Similarly I don't know if we want to get too specific regarding the names of sections or place too strict of restrictions on what can and can't be on a page. I think the better way to deal with this is to find or develop pages that we can point to as examples of what kind of article we want. For example, the episodes; we find one that has all the elements that could come up, then we can just point to that episode as the way all episodes should be built. That way we will have a standard for the types of articles (obviously we'd also have a few characters, locations, inventions, et cetera) without having to have a list of critera on everything. (we can still have a list, but only the big and/or important stuff).
- And the featured articles; I don't know about a featured article every week, (that'd burn through the articles really quickly) but maybe a new article every fortnight (two weeks), then we'd double the number of articles featured without going though them too quickly. This might be a good way to find the articles we can use to feature as ideal articles. Ellipses485 00:22, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
- Well, just to say, I can't use my preview button. Use it and the computer crashes. I don't know why. Anyway, featured article should be nominated I think. I don't know how we would do this though. Solar Dragon (Talk) 19:41, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
- Well my husband is a computer tech, I'll see if he can find a reason why preview would crash your computer. As to the featured articles, this wiki has a system already set up, I'm just not sure if it's been used. From the policy pages it states:
- Featured Articles
- An article deserves to be featured if it is has enough information and is written correctly as per rules above. If you think an article deserves this status, nominate with Template:Nominated, and start a section on Project:Featured Articles/Voting.
- Featured articles will be decided by a monthly ballot.
- However I do suggest we do bimonthly. I think with over 800 pages and more coming every day, we will have enough good pages to support this for awhile at least.
- Also I seem to have come done with a nasty flu, so I'll be a bit absent for a few days. -- Dhalia 19:56, 13 July 2009 (UTC)