Help:Editing

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Before you take a stab at editing this site, make sure you understand how to edit. The best way to learn how to start editing is to read Wikipedia's guide. But before you start, read the guidelines on this page! Here are a few do's and don't's to start off:

Do:

  • use correct spelling and grammar: This saves administrators and conscientious users the trouble of copy-editing, and improves readability. Unless you're going to be writing the entire article in completely unreadable chatspeek, don't do it at all.
  • learn about Wikipedia style: Wikipedia has its own stylistic rules for editing, and most of them apply here; check its Manual of Style for more info. MediaWiki also has its own markup language and formatting conventions, and you should take some time to familiarize yourself with them. For instance, don't use a "==" header followed by a "====" header, since it screws up the table of contents.
  • use proper encyclopedic language: Much of the site has what might be considered a "casual reference" style. Most articles are written with a casual tone, but nonetheless are written at a reasonably sophisticated level, are written in the third person, and should retain some degree of objectivity with respect to the subject.
  • keep pictures small: This site is paid-for privately, and an overabundance of large pictures will hike up costs. Please keep image uploads to the site small (Facebook photo album sized pictures is a good general guideline).
  • treat these editing policies as rules: Just like Wikipedia, editing is half of this site's purpose (the other half is reading, but to do that wrong, you'd probably be doing something illegal). Users who blatantly ignore the editing guidelines, whether intending to do so or not, will ultimately be banned.

Don't:

  • comment on articles: There's a reason that there's a tab marked "discussion" on every page. This rule does not apply if the comment is for clarification or uncertain content.
  • write yourself into articles: While individual experiences are certainly the heart of CTY, they are not the heart of this website. RealCTY is a record of CTY culture from as objective as possible a viewpoint. There are places on the site set aside for personal anecdotes or memories; see Informal Site Areas and Shameless Egotism for more details.
  • use citations: This is not so much a "don't" as it is a "you don't need to." Information you write on the site should be true, but there is no need for verification by external sources--nor is there a method for this.
  • erase legitimate information: Only admins can get rid of pages; however, anyone can wipe them clean. Please don't do this! Most pages have a purpose; if a page has been spammed, please delete the spam only. Also, if for some reason you must erase a page, provide a reason.
  • vandalize pages: Annoying vandalization and deformatting of pages will result in bannage. Similarly, obvious spam (which tends to be enclosed in divs) results in immediate banning.


Content

The most important aspect of RealCTY is its content. RealCTY is a compendium of all information relevant and significant to CTY culture and history. If you have such information, please add it to the site. However, there are a few notable caveats.

Shameless Egotism

CTY should make you feel special. If CTY doesn't make you feel special, it's not doing its job right, or you are somehow doing your job very very wrong (the former is more likely). You should feel like all the things that you did during session were the most important things ever, and this is both good and true, in its way. However, this doesn't mean that everything you've done is significant to CTY culture and history as a whole, which means it shouldn't necessarily find its way to most of the articles on this site.

Writing yourself into contented articles (that is, "encyclopedic" articles) or creating articles about yourself is against editing policy and abuse of this rule will, in fact, result in a ban. Occasionally, some people do things so memorable that they actually become a part of CTY culture or history. In general, though, articles about individual students or halls are still not allowed unless they did something like hack the iPhone or create a Canon dance. Admins are asked to patrol articles for scope and for significance; if something seems too narrow or not significant enough to CTY history, it will be either moved (to the Memories page, usually; see below) or deleted (the choice usual varies depending on the admin in question).

Otherwise, there are spaces set aside for talking about your own experiences, and these are described below:

Userpages

Userpages are meant for the personal pages of users. If you want to make a page about yourself, always create an account and put your info on your userpage. Your userpage is your personal space and will not be edited for content or style by any admins, except in the case of obvious spam (e.g., come look at these 50 links to porn) or particularly defamatory or offensive comments. Note, however, that in general, other users are able to edit your userpage. Once again, do not make articles about yourself; talk about yourself on your userpage or any of the other spaces mentioned in this section. Furthermore, do not redirect an article with your name as the title to your userpage; just change all existing links to re-link to your userpage.

On the other hand, if you are making a page about someone else, consider two things:

  1. Is this person significant to CTY culture? Did he or she do something that CTYers remember years later? If not, please don't create a page about this particular person. Instead, ask yourself:
  2. Does this person have an account? If so, feel free to write all over said person's userpage (although this person is free to tell you not to and to delete everything you write). If not, then please do not create "fake" userpages. This is no different from making an article about the person, and is actually worse, in that it may cause problems in case someone tries to make an account under that name. This is grounds for a ban due to extreme ignorance of site policy.

If the person is not historically significant and is not a user, or if you want to write other personal experiences into a more public space, then you have a number of other options.

Memories, Halls, Course History

Several spaces have been set aside for the purpose of giving individuals and groups space to document their personal stories or experiences. These are the Memories pages, Hall pages, and Course History sections of Course pages. None of these pages are, in general, patrolled for style or content by admins except for cases of vandalism or highly offensive material.

The Memories pages are separated by site and are listed at Memories; each site's Memories page has the title Memories:???, where ??? is the three-letter site code. Memories pages are pages for, essentially, anything that anybody wants to write related to CTY, however tangentially or indirectly so. Hall pages have a similar format, and are a place for individual halls to write about in-hall traditions or rituals; "student groups" that are not prominent on campus, or which do not survive more than a year or two, are also documented here. The article Hall is, however, also a contented article, which links to the subpages (titled Hall:???) at the end. Course History pages are a bit different from the other two, having no overarching article structure. Each course page has its own "Course History" section, which serve as places for CTYers to write about specific class memories or traditions under any given course title.

Personal anecdotes or information written into encyclopedic articles, if they are reasonably substantial in length (over a paragraph, say), are sometimes moved to the Memories page by an admin, if the site to which the story belongs can be determined. Please try to make the distinction between notable, encyclopedic information and interesting but narrow-in-scope personal experience yourself. This saves admins less trouble, and also saves us from feeling bad about deleting your stories because we can't tell what site you're from, or about banning you for ignoring site rules.

Staff, Halls of Fame and Shame

Finally, we have the Staff pages, the Hall of Fame, and the Hall of Shame. We consider the latter two first. Like Memories and Halls, these two articles are simply lists of subpages, which are divided by site and have the title Hall of {F,Sh}ame:???, where ??? is a three-letter site code. These pages serve as an intermediate between the site's encyclopedic content and the free range of the Memories, Halls, and Class History pages/sections. The Halls of {F,Sh}ame are a place to record fairly notable, large-scale events or individual/group acts which were memorable to, or which affected, a large number of people attending a particular site and session in a given year, but which did not necessarily persist into future years. Entries that are less notable should go in Memories.

The Staff pages, like the Hall page, is a contented page in itself, but also branches by site in the Staff:??? fashion. These page serve to document the actions of and stories about well-known, beloved, or widely-despised staff members at various sites. Staff members who make their way into the Staff pages generally are those who made an impact on multiple years of students and who themselves had relatively long tenures at CTY. Just as the HoF and HoS pages correspond to Memories, Staff corresponds to Hall. Most staff pages are about RAs, and those RAs who are not well-known outside their halls or sibling halls should be listed in the appropriate Hall page. Site administration should generally be listed in Staff pages, and instructional staff only known to their class should be written about in Class History sections.

As an intermediate space, the Halls of {F,Sh}ame and Staff pages are governed by attenuated versions of the rules governing the site at large. In general, one should try to avoid creating a Hall of {F,Sh}ame entry about oneself or a Staff page about one's own RA. This is considered bad form and puts the fame/notoriety of the event or act into question. However, if the event or act seems widespread, and if the community seems to agree that it was memorable (or if the staff is agreed to be widely-recognized), there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this. The bottom line is this: please try not to up-play your own part in Hall of {F,Sh}ame entries or an RA only known to your Hall. As the Hall of Fame page itself states, don't just add something just to try to look cool or to become a legend. The Hall of {F,Sh}ame and Staff pages are patrolled for notability, but generally by those who attended the particular session, or by those who know such people. Users, and admins, are asked to keep the Staff and Hall of {F,Sh}ame pages well-formatted, well-written, and readable, but style is less important for these pages (consider, for instance, Hall of Fame:LAN#THEO vs. ETYM, which is perfectly acceptable because of its circumstances).

The Hall of Fame:LAN page is a good guideline for what is "notable" enough for an HoF page; compare with Memories:LAN. Similarly, compare Staff:LAN and Hall:LAN. In general, a HoF-worthy entry either:

  1. had a lasting effect that made it known to a sizable portion of session and memorable for years to come; or
  2. was a large-scale and positive rules protest, change, or breakage.

Meanwhile, staff members listed in Staff pages should be those who have worked for CTY for a substantial length of time (generally four or more years), or should be site administration (who have nowhere else to be listed).

Article Creation

Stubs

Stubs are articles that are so short that, even if the subject of the article is noteworthy, the article itself is effectively useless. Please do not create stub articles; if you have a short spiel about something CTY-related, put it under the correct category in the Lexicon, unless the page is already on the Special:Wantedpages list (and even if it is, oftentimes it might be better in the Lexicon). Sometimes, a bunch of stubs can be merged into a single page. A prime example is the Cucumber Cult section of the Hall:CAR page, where many individual games were merged into the page about the student group in which they were most commonly played (the page was then moved to the Hall page where it now resides).

Moreover, please do not link to pages without the intention of starting them, and please do not make "placeholder" pages that read something like "This is a page about blah!" In contrast, do feel free to take things from the Lexicon and expand on them in full-fledged pages, if there is enough to say about them.

Lexicon

Keep things alphabetical and brief. Do not simply copy an article into the Lexicon; however, if an article is an important part of the CTY vocabulary, please do summarize it with a Lexicon entry. Especially refrain from doing the opposite, however, and copying Lexicon stubs into full-fledged article pages; this is unnecessary and becomes a hassle to editors.

Redirects

Please create redirects with good judgment. If you really think that someone is going to spell "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" or "Istanbul" as "Istenbil," you probably don't belong here. In other words, please create useful redirects (e.g., "Egyptian Rat Screw" or "Egyptian rat screw" or "ERS") while avoiding useless ones (e.g., "Egyptian rat Screw" or "Egyptian Rat Stew" or "Eflipcork batface").

Style

In general, Wikipedia's Manual of Style serves as a good guideline for editing RealCTY. Make sure you understand wiki markup before doing any heavy editing; wiki markup (using '''text''' for bold and ''text'' for italics is preferred to using HTML tags. Also, note that "br" tags are unnecessary when making a new paragraph, but they are for a single line break. Please place "br" tags at the ends of lines, rather than at the beginnings of lines. Also, close your tags ("br /").

Some of the stylistic idiosyncrasies that have popped up at RealCTY, and which perhaps differ from Wikipedia style, are detailed below.

Titles

Wikipedia's Manual of Style explains how titles should be formatted in general. To summarize some of the info most pertinent to RealCTY:

  • Titles should be spelled correctly.
  • Page names should, in general, be in title case, meaning that first letters of important words are capitalized. This is not really a fundamental part of RealCTY style, but rather occurs because most page names tend to take the form of proper noun phrases.
  • Page names should not usually contain quotes; however, in the case of pages about books, films, songs, or other such publications, references to the page or to the published work in the article should be quoted or italicized accordingly.

One notable difference between RealCTY titles and Wikipedia titles concerns the bolding of the title at the start of a page. The content of every regular article should begin with the article's title, or some variation of it, and should be bolded. However, whereas Wikipedia accomplishes this with bold markup (three single-quotes on either side, i.e., '''Title'''), here at RealCTY, we instead use link notation (two square brackets flanking the target text, i.e., [[Title]]). We do this because this is what I decided to do a long time ago, and so now it is law, apparently. Please keep titles formatted in this manner; if the first word is a slight variant of the title, use piped links or other formatting shorthand (e.g., [[Title|Title variation]] or [[Title]]s).

Subpages

Some Wikipedia pages branch out into subpages, the titles of which typically take the form of Title/subtitle (where Title is the superpage). This construct is rarely of use here at RealCTY (for what I think is the sole example, see RealCTY:Alumni_Association/archive). Instead, due to some vestigial remains of a long-forgotten era of the site, we do have several pages which seem to have a related branch structure. These take the form of "fake prefixes" (real prefixes include RealCTY:, Talk:, Usertalk:, User:, Help:, etc.). These "prefixes" include Hall of Fame:, Hall of Shame:, Memories:, and Hall:. Each of them is followed by a three-letter site code. Former fake prefixes included Course:, Site:, and Song:.

There is little more to say about this style issue than to identify it. Wikipedians should avoid changing this format, and users should make sure to allocate information to the correct "subpage" (notably, all of the pages mentioned above constitute Informal Site Areas).

Links

Unlike Wikipedia, this site is relatively small, so linking is not absolutely necessary--it is, however, encouraged. However, if you like adding links (which is great), keep it to only one link to each page in any one article (e.g., if Lancaster is mentioned twice, only link to the site page once, preferably in the first or most important instance).

Categories

If ever you create a new page, please categorize it properly. If the article is about some feature of only a few sites, categorize it under those sites (see Special:Categories for a list of categories). Categorize it as a Game, an Activity, a Student Group, a Traditions, etc. Things that don't fall into any category go under "General."

Please keep the categories at the bottom of the page to keep things organized. In particular, if you are adding to the end of a page, do so above the category tags.

Informal Site Areas

For the most part, RealCTY is intended to be encyclopedic, or at least psuedoencyclopedic, in nature. RealCTY functions as a record of CTY culture throughout the many years of its existence. But CTY is, of course, more than just a compilation of cultural gems or traditions. To reflect this, there is space on the site that is not meant to be encyclopedic. These pages need not be edited for style and need not follow stylistic conventions to the letter, but please do your best to follow grammatical conventions to assist readability, as well as to use correct formatting. These "informal site areas" include:

  • Memories pages
  • Hall pages (with the exception of the page Hall itself)
  • Hall of Fame pages
  • Hall of Shame pages
  • Class History sections of Course pages
  • Staff pages (with the exception of the page Staff itself; also, try to keep these appropriate, unless everybody really, really hates the staff member)

Note that these are just about the same pages described in the section Shameless Egotism. In addition, however, a few sections of other pages exist that are decidedly "informal." Among these include parts of the Blammo and Rina pages, and other similar designated areas.