The wiki started organically with adding-what-we-have, but it is hoped over time to increase consistency and quality across the site.
If you're adding content to a page rather than its discussion page, that means we trust you and have given you additional rights. This content, as it says on the wiki home page "gives details and advice emerging from both the Society's official position on the topic and discussion here and elsewhere" - its not definitive, but it is likely to be treated with respect (we hope), so we should be doing our best to justify that.
The styleguide is just that, a guide not a set of rules - deviate from it when doing so will make the article better (and accept that someone else may change it later anyway).
Creating pages and categories
If you're creating or editing a page or category, please bear in mind the following to help keep information easy to find:
- Don't create blank pages. If you think a page should exist, look and see if it already does, perhaps under a different name. If it doesn't, create a link to it where that link is needed, and someone who has some actual content can follow that red link and create a page with useful information rather than frustrating users with an empty page. If there's no natural place for a link, just keep a mental note of it until you find one. The page might exist by then anyway!
- A category is like a folder, with a front page for summary information; other pages are like documents within that category, or appearing in several categories. So the category page for narrow-ware tells you what narrow ware is, and below it catalogues the pages that have been tagged as belonging to category:narrow ware. There are also sub-categories - within category:narrow ware there is category:tablet weave as this is a big topic so we knew from the start there would be more information than would be comfortable in a single content page.
- A page can belong to more than one category, for example the page on swords belongs to category:higher status, category:melee weapons and category:warrior.
- Every page should belong to one or more categories.
The most important thing about page structure is that you have one. It helps users if you make it explicit, which you should do by using headings - and please tag them as such, don't just use bold. If you tag them as headings it creates a cool little contents panel as soon as there are enough of them, and indicates any hierarchy within the page. See also MediaWiki help on headings.
For a standard authenticity page on a thingy the following structure is a recommended starting point - add in other sub-headings as required, or discard ones that you don't use.
- Summary paragraph - this isn't a heading, but there should be a sentence or three at the top of the page to tell users what it is about and why a thingy is interesting. Remember the principles of writing for the web.
- Evidence - the first heading is a chance to set out why we think it's acceptable to use the thingy at all, and specifically in the form we do for the purpose we do. This doesn't need to go into vast detail, but should include the key information. You might want sub-sections such as Archaeology and Manuscripts. If you want to write a hundred page dissertation feel free to do so and send it to Benedict or +Wiglaf, but it'll be better for us to put it on the docstore and link to it for those who want the detail than for everyone else to be put off by being swamped.
- Styles - a lot of thingies come in more than one possible style swords, hangerocs etc. - if so, tell us about it.
- Constraints - if there are any limits on the use of a thingy we want to know - typically this may include Dateline, Status, Culture...
- Materials - what a thingy should be made from
- Construction - how to make a thingy, preferably as a numbered list of instructions and often also Decoration
- Check the talk page - if you think a page needs changes, take a look at the discussion page and see what other people have said about it to help guide your approach.
- Be bold - don't be backwards in improving a page that needs improvement.
- Expect others to be bold - the content belongs to everyone, so don't be surprised or offended if "your" page is changed by someone else. If you disagree with what's been done, discuss it on the discussion page.
- Give reasons for your changes - there's a summary box when you edit a page so you can say what you've changed and why.
- Don't get into "edit wars" - but remember that changes can always be rolled back, and that courtesy rules apply.
- Give credit (or don't) - if a page draws heavily on someone's work, you may want to mention it, especially if they are a society member who can't or doesn't edit. However, as the page changes over time an original credit's relevance may fade and may merit removal, or moving to the discussion page.
- Give references - where you draw on other sites, link to them. If you're referring to a printed source, or have drawn heavily on it, a clear reference will help others to follow it up. The ASNC stylesheet(.pdf) and Anglo-Saxon England stylesheet give good guidance on doing so.
- While a lot of content originates in documents written for print, don't just copy and paste - read it through and change it as needed to fit the web format.
- Write for the web!
- Don't include non-content such as "this page is under construction" or "text to follow", it doesn't add anything.