Owl of Wisdom
(or is it the owl of humor?)
Wikinfo policy is based in large part on the culture built at Wikipedia. These policies have mostly developed by habit and consensus, with a few changes here which attempt to improve upon their practice. Procedures for resolution of issues on Wikipedia are generally incorporated into Wikinfo practice, but editorial policy is quite different. Wikinfo is a collaborative, international project to create a useful free encyclopedia, a reliable resource of diverse points of view and creative expression.
This is primarily an encyclopedia rather than community, and thus we include material from the past and from opposing sides of many questions. We have material which may be offensive to some modern enlightened sensibilities, but no explicit or immoral content. We feel it is important to avoid bias in matters of substance, allowing all groups and perspectives to have full substantive coverage which (at least in the main articles) sets forth their story from a sympathetic point of view. Editors should make a good faith effort to use language which is acceptable from the perspective of persons affected, but full fledged political correctness and neutral point of view is discouraged.
- Take a positive, affirmative viewpoint about the subject in the main article. Articles should be written from a sympathetic point of view, and differing views can be presented in supplementary articles in the form "Critical views of Wikipedia," for example.
- Don't infringe copyrights. Submitting work without the copyright holder's permission could lead to legal liability for the project. See the copyrights page for more information.
- Wikinfo is an encyclopedia. The site should primarily be used for developing the encyclopedia. In particular, discussions on talk pages should be directed at improving articles.
- Respect other contributors. This is neither Wikipedia nor Meatball, so we don't "bite" newcomers and force them to conform. By treating others with respect we are able to cooperate effectively in building an encyclopedia. For some guidelines, see below, "things to consider."
- Follow conventions. By following these conventions we are able to produce a more consistent and usable encyclopedia. See the editing page set for more.
- Start out with topics that interest you, rather than those that make you boil over.
- Use the "Go" and "Search" buttons to find content you want to edit, or navigate by following links, or click the "what links here" on pages you visit, or click "random page".
- Please, make improvements to articles that already exist, and fill in the gaps, or red links, by creating new articles, or importing them, on aspects of the topic that have not been covered yet. You need not worry if there will be enough material for a whole article.
- When writing about controversial subjects, please write from your point of view. Don't try to avoid a viewpoint, but also try to link to other articles with different viewpoints on the same topic.
- Please, trust that the wiki process will eventually produce someone who will ensure a balanced treatment, even if your SPOV is too controversial. Editors with different beliefs can work together productively.
- Wikinfo is supported by advertising and donations.
Suggestions to Start
- Pick your favorite city and build and expand pages about its best attractions. Find a big topic, like World War II or Chinese history, Philosophy or sports, subjects that you enjoy, and add more content to flesh it out. Write summaries of your favorite books. Pick your favorite actor and write articles for all of his or her movies.
- Go to the pump and watch other talk pages to find articles already identified as needing help. Many of them just need to be "wikified", which means to add links to important words, create headings, apply a style guide (like the CMS). Sometimes, sets of imported articles from Wikipedia need quite a lot of attention.
- Write about something you don't already know about. Use this as an excuse to research a new topic. As you learn about it, write what you are learning here on Wikinfo. This is actually a good study aid because it forces you to take notes, to organize information, and to put what you've learned into your own words. Think about how you can write a great article.
- Find something from the public domain, update it, add links to it, and put it here, but make sure it really isn't copyright protected work!
- You don't have to start new pages or make additions to contribute. You can edit pages for spelling and grammatical errors, usually called "Wikimaintenance". You can remove nonsense when you see it, correct false or misleading claims, and Wikify words (turn them into links). You can find pages containing basically the same information and combine them into one, and even ask questions on talk pages which can contribute to making articles better. There are also lots of maintenance tasks that need carrying out on a regular basis. Trust us!
- Finally, don't be surprised if other people edit "your" pages to steer them toward a sympathetic view, or add links to them, format them, or otherwise play with them. It's okay to learn as you go along, and it's okay for us to show each other how to make better content and better looking articles.
Things to Consider
All contributors are also editors. Editors monitor recent changes and make copyedits and corrections to the content and format problems they find. Some editors may become administrators (developers, sysops, or admins) through their consistent and fair discussions and editing behaviours...
- Contribute what you know or are willing to learn about
- Be bold in updating pages and make omissions explicit
- Sign your posts on talk and requested protected pages
- Follow the formatting given on a page, or use conventions
- Avoid blanket statements, excessive profanity, flames and libel
- Avoid personal attacks, and move such baggage to private email
- Avoid inappropriate usernames, as they may be edited or removed
- Jargon is welcome, but establish context where necessary
- Integrate changes instead of appending your thoughts to the end of pages
- Put your true thoughts into the articles, not the edit summaries
- Cite your sources and use proper references, warning for spoilers
- Check your facts and logic, your fiction and emotion
- External links are encouraged but try to adequately describe them
- Avoid excessive links to non-existent articles, or titles similar to existing, articles
- Observe generally accepted wiki style and editing guidelines
- Build the wiki and make articles useful
- Wikinfo is a fork of Wikipedia content, not of the Mediawiki software or of Wikipedia templates. Re-invent the wheel is here.
All matters should be addressed to the administrators, either on talk pages or through email. Make your best efforts to explain the issue and allow time for its resolution. Wikinfo has high security standards for its open content, rather than rely on the measures taken by sysops of MediaWiki-based wikis to revert articles and discover "sock puppet" accounts. Because of the problems involved with allowing non-registered users to edit Wikinfo blocks non-account editing and uploads by default, as well as new account creation from blocked IP addresses or ranges.
As noted above, if you write articles on Wikinfo you are also an editor. Editors regularly monitor recent changes and make copyedits and corrections to the content and formatting problems they may see. In extreme and unusual cases, admins (sysops) can step in to ban a user who has proven to be unusually disruptive. Editors must conduct themselves in a responsible, supportive way in relations with other editors, and for administrators, this is doubly so.
All of us were newcomers to wikis once. New editors should be treated with kindness and patience. Some may have lots of wiki experience, others may not know anything about how wikis work.
- Empowering editors is how we improve the diversity of knowledge, opinions and discussion.
- When newcomers forget to format things to our liking, or forget to add wiki-links to useful phrases, try to correct the mistake, and politely point things out on their talk page: Leave a "hello" to let them know they are welcome here.
- Newcomers are often hesitant to make changes, especially major ones, such as adding point of view, due to the fear of getting yelled at. Show them they can be bold.
- Assume good faith on the part of any newcomer. They most probably really want to help out with our wiki. Give them a chance!
- By being forgiving, instructive, and respectful, you come away with much more dignity, and you reflect well on us all.
In general, articles should not be deleted if they have any value at all; outdated articles from Wikipedia should be replaced by the current article if time is not available to manually update them; however, original contributions by Wikinfo editors should usually be preserved.
Wikinfo has suffered database errors in updating that has resulted in distorted text and titles such as "2008â€“09 UEFA Champions League." All such titles and text are subject to deletion, the only exception being original work which the original author corrects within a reasonable period of time.
Consideration may be given to permanent removal of deleted material from the database if needed to free up needed disc space.
- Originally adapted from the Wikipedia article, "Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines", and others, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines, 12 July 2003.