Help:Wiki Editing Style Guide
This is an introductory guide to contributing to the Wiki. It will describe what should be Wiki'd, how to do so, and what a good Wiki article should contain. This is a very important thing to read, if you aren't familiar with the Wiki concept. Also of note is the Wiki Editing Syntax Guide, which is all about how you do different things in a Wiki.
First of all, know that you are very strongly encouraged to contribute to the Wiki - this resource is only as useful as we make it! There is no reason for anyone to be shy about editing a page and sharing some insights - this is very helpful to us all.
Never worry about "breaking" the Wiki - there's nothing you can do that can't easily be fixed. There are several people who check the Recent Changes page regularly, and they'll fix any mistakes you've made.
That said, never expect anything you write on the Wiki to remain as you wrote it - it completely defeats the purpose of the Wiki if there is anything that can't be rewritten, expanded upon, and improved. By the same token, you should feel free to edit anything you see here.
Always remember that this Wiki is about modding Fallout 3 - all the information here should be about helping us all make better mods, and all information on making better mods should be here. Keep contributions relevant, and contribute everything relevant that you know and we don't. That way, we can create the ultimate Fallout 3 modding resource possible!
Wiki Etiquette & Style
This is a public place, and so we all have to get along here. There are several ways to help that happen.
Keeping Things Civil
The most important thing is to never take things personally. Your contributions will be edited, changed, perhaps even removed - it's all for the sake of making this guide as useful as possible, none of it is ever meant personally.
That doesn't mean that you always have to agree with an edit someone else has made. Every page in this Wiki has a Talk page for this purpose - it's a convenient place to discuss possible changes to the page in question. If you think an edit was made that shouldn't have been, bring it up in the Talk page. If you make a particularly large change to an article, start a discussion of it in the Talk page, explaining why you've made the changes you did. Communication makes a community, and if we all discuss things civilised, we'll always be on good terms here.
Making a Professional Looking Guide
One of the most important things about this Wiki is that it should look professional - this is the manual to modding, and we want it to look slick and serious. Grammar and spelling are important, and so is accuracy. People invest a lot of time and effort into modding - incorrect information here can cause many people a lot of headaches. Please, keep your contributions neat, accurate, and avoid posting your own opinion - this is a guide to explaining how to do things, not an editorial on a given tool or an advertisement for a particular mod.
This also means not signing articles. This is a group effort, and we're working to teach others, not to gain credit for how much effort we put in or to show off how much we know.
On the other hand, it is very important to sign discussions, be they in Talk pages or general discussion pages (such as the Community Portal. This allows everyone to know who is saying what and makes conversations flow much more smoothly.
The Summary Bar, Minor & Major Edits
When you edit a page, you will be given a box in which to type a summary - please make use of it! These summaries appear on the Recent Changes page, and allow us to know what you edited.
Under this, there is a checkbox for a Minor edit - Minor edits are typo fixes, formatting changes, and spelling corrections - any and all additions or changes to the content of a page should never be marked Minor. If in doubt, leave it unchecked - it's better for someone to check a Minor edit than for someone to miss a Major edit!
The Greatness of a Wiki
The Wiki format is absolutely perfect for this endeavor! There are three things about Wikis that make them incredibly useful when utilized properly:
Wiki articles should be full of links. This is the Internet - nothing should be isolated. Wikis are designed to allow and encourage the use of internal links - an article should link to many other relevant articles. Every time you use a term which has further info on it - link to the article (it is not necessary to link to the same article over and over, of course). An article on setting up a quest will undoubtedly talk about NPCs at some point - and at that point, it should link to an article about how you make your own NPCs.
In general, huge, scratch-to-finish guides should be avoided on the Wiki - keep articles short and focussed, and if it is a part of a process, link to the next step. This allows people to find information far more quickly, without having to scrounge through a long article. It also makes it easier to link to a given piece of information if it's not part of a huge mega-article.
All pages on the Wiki should be in one or more Categories - it makes them much easier to find. Remember, you don't just want users to find your article - you want them to be able to find all the information they need, and the easiest way for them to do that is if things are categorized together neatly. This is another reason why articles should be short and focused - Categories show the title of an article, and if you have a large article that covers a lot of topics, it's impossible to write a succinct title that will let users know everything you have in that article. If you split up the article into separate articles for each topic, users will be able to find exactly what they are looking for just by reading the titles.
Finally, the single most important aspect of a Wiki is that it brings together the knowledge of all so that everyone can learn everything about modding. Without contributions from everyone, the Wiki cannot be all it could be - this is your official invitation to contribute to the Wiki in every way you can!
- If you want to indicate that one article is a subpage of another article, then use a slash like so. "Big Article/Sub Article". Ordinarily this will result in a special backlink being posted on the subpage.
Some specific rules on style (how to write pages):
- Don't use colons in page titles.
- Colons are used in wiki to designate namespaces (e.g. User:, Template:, etc.). While the article will generally behave correctly, it's best not to tempt fate.
- Don't Repeat the Page Title
- The page title is automatically displayed at the top of the page (effectively as a level one header). Hence the title should not be repeated at the beginning of the page text.
- Don't use First or Second Person
- Don't be chatty. Don't talk about "I" or "you". Just present the info in straightforward, concise fashion from the third person. Does this make it hard to write tutorials? Yes. Don't write tutorials. We already have enough.
- Don't Submit Useless Information
- Keep in mind that the point of the wiki is to communicate information that is likely to be useful to readers of the wiki. (Note the "likely".) I.e. don't describe some clever script that your wrote at length -- unless doing will likely be instructive to a good number of readers. If it will be useful, then trim it down to the bare bones that illustrates the information that you're trying to communicate.
Now you have a pretty good idea what the Wiki is all about, and you're ready to start contributing yourself!
But if you don't know Wiki syntax, that can be a pretty daunting task. For that reason, we also have the Wiki Editing Syntax Guide! Check that out if you have any questions!