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Wetiquette: Wiki Etiquette

When editing pages, some basic rules of etiquette are needed to help make sure everyone is playing nice.

General Rules

Be nice – don't be rude or offensive.

  • Material that is rude, offensive, blatantly solicitous, can be deleted without question.
  • BUT if you're not sure, insert one of the two tags {{tag>PossiblyInappropriate}} or {{tag>inappropriate}} so that the contributor or an editor or an administrator can deal with the situation.

Avoid categorical statements.

  • Categoricals can be regarded as incendiary and confrontational by some people.
  • Don't write: Apples are good.
  • Do write: Many people think apples are good.
  • Categoricals are fine if you are reporting scientific facts, etc. and within the scope of scientific accuracy.
  • But be clear about the difference between fact and opinion. Do not write your opinion as if it were fact.

Accept the opposite point of view.

  • Don't delete content that goes against your perspective (unless you are clearly an “editor”).
  • People will disagree with you. Fine. That's how good discussions start.
  • You can disagree with them too, but just do so politely.
  • A better approach: insert comments indicating that the content is “wrong” – with good justification – and ask the author who added the suspect content to fix it.

Write in a way that is easy to understand.

  • Avoid local slang or phrases. Many of those who will read your text may not have English as their first language.

Don't delete other people's contributions (unless you know what you are doing – cf. refactoring)

Avoid the “click here” phrase!!

  • Don't write: “More info about etiquette can be found here….”
  • Do write: “See wetiquette for more information about etiquette.”

Contribute only original stuff.

  • Don't just cut-and-paste content from other sites.
  • Do put in a link to the other site with a brief explanation of the site and why you're linking it in.

Feel free to correct the spelling and grammar of other contributors. This actually is a big help.

Don't create empty topics.

  • If a topic is missing, don't just create an empty topic for it.
  • This wiki understands about missing topics, but it doesn't distinguish between empty topics and non-empty ones.

About Attribution

Always attribute the work of others.

  • Not doing so is a form of plagiarism and will not be tolerated.

Beware copyrighted material.

  • Don't cut-and-paste wholesale from copyrighted materials; that's illegal.
  • Rewrite/summarize such material in your own words – and make sure you link back to where you found the original material.
  • You may contribute anonymously.
  • But it is preferred that you sign your comments with your name (or handle).
  • Use the signature button in the edit toolbar to add your signature.

Think before you comment.

  • A wiki is not a high-speed conversation board or a news server.
  • What you say could stay here forever (yeah, we do take backups) for everyone to see and comment.

Creating Topic Titles

A good topic title is short and descriptive.

  • If the name is logical and easy many more people will link to it.
  • Although you can take a whole sentence and crunch it up to make a good title, it is better style to limit it to at most 5 words.

A good topic title is generally:

  • in the singular unless the plural means something different.
    • Example: Prefer functional requirement to functional requirements.
    • Example: Prefer Text formatting rules to Text formatting rule, because the list of all rules is a meaningful whole that is distinct from any one rule.
  • a noun phrase (e.g. Text formatting rules),
    or a gerund phrase (Xiki editing),
    or an imperative verb phrase (Refactor by summarising).

It may help to think of topic titles like you would use as chapter titles in a book.

Double-check your topic titles for typos – otherwise you'll create a misnamed page!

  • Misnamed pages are bad, since linking to them requires more effort than to a logical, correct topic title.

Keep a tidy wiki

Orphans and undefined pages

An orphan is a page that isn't mentioned by any other page. Orphans will be visited only rarely because the primary navigation mechanism in a wiki is the cross-linking between pages.

An undefined page is something like this. Sometimes undefined pages are really placeholders for content to be developed eventually. Other times, they're mistakes.

Going to the page orphaned and wanted pages will display a list of all orphans and undefined pages.

Refactoring pages

Refactoring is the process where you sum up a page, shortening it, making it more accessible. Anyone who feels up to it may go ahead, but we suggest that you leave it up to frequent (experienced) visitors.

  • Be objective – both pros and cons should be represented correctly.
  • Be careful with signed contributions – don't change their meaning.
  • Give credit where credit is due.
  • Use 3rd person or plural instead of 1st person singular in your summary.
  • Avoid categorical statements.

Read more about refactoring.

See Also


wiki/wetiquette.txt · Last modified: 2020.03.12 13:30 (external edit)