Help:Introductory guide

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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, you need to create an account to be able to edit this wiki. 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 Norsk Data systems - all the information here should be about Norsk Data systems, and all information on Norsk Data systems should be here. Keep contributions relevant, and contribute everything relevant that you know and we don't. That way, we can create the ultimate Norsk Data 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.

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 NDWiki: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 - 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:

Links

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).

In general, huge articles should be avoided on the Wiki - keep articles short and focussed. 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.

Categories

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.

Collaboration

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 Norsk Data systems. 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!

The Community Here at NDWiki

The people here are friendly, helpful, and absolutely want you to join us! If you would like to join here, contribute, and help maintain the Wiki, then you'll get along just fine. If you just want to learn something, that's OK too! It is, after all, what we are here for. But we encourage everyone to sign up, to create a User Page, and to check out the Recent Changes - to see what's happening! Add your opinion to discussions, make some articles better, and have a good time - that's what this Wiki is about.

User Pages

Have a look at your User Page - write something in it! It's great for experimenting with Wiki syntax, and for telling us all a little about yourself. People may also leave you messages in your User Talk page - this is a great way to ask about other people, to ask questions of some of our very experienced modders, or to thank someone for making a great contribution to the Wiki!

Talk Pages

Talk pages are where all the behind-the-scenes stuff happens in a Wiki. Sometimes you think something should be changed in an article, but aren't sure how - ask in the Talk page, and see what people think!

Always sign your contributions to discussions - it makes it very difficult to Talk if you don't know who you are talking to. Sign your post with ~~~~, which will insert your name (as a link to your user page), and the date and time you made the edit.

Also, when responding to someone, use :'s at the beginning of each paragraph to indent the paragraph, so it's easier to see who said what. Take a look at a few Talk pages, and this will make sense.

Namespaces

Page titles in are composed of two parts: an optional namespace name, and the remainder of the title. For example, this page has the title Help:Introductory guide, so it is in the Help namespace. A title without a colon, for example Norsk Data, is in the main namespace. For a full description of the NDWiki namespaces, see Help:Namespaces.

Style Do's

Be consistent
An overriding principle is that style and formatting should be consistent within a NDWiki article. Being consistent within an article promotes clarity and cohesion.
Prefer singular nouns
Article titles are generally singular in form. Exceptions include nouns that are always in a plural form in English (like scissors or trousers), and names of classes of objects that require a plural.
Use the same terms and structure as in the ND-documentation
This makes it easier to use this Wiki together with the documentation. It also make it easier to keep the cohesion when transferring knowledge from documentation to the wiki.
Do things the Wikipedia way
Readers of Wikipedia should feel familiar with the look and navigation of NDWiki. This way we keep the threshold low for newcomers who probably used Wikipedia before visiting this wiki.
Prefer spelled-out phrases to abbreviations
Avoid the use of abbreviations, including acronyms, in page naming unless the term you are naming is almost exclusively known by its abbreviation.

Style Don'ts

Some specific rules on style (how to write articles):

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 in articles
Don't be chatty. Don't talk about "I" or "you". Just present the info straightforward.
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".)

Conclusion

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!



(This text is initially a (partial) copy from Baron's Bazaar Diablopedia Help:Wiki Editing Style Guide)