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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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").
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.
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).
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).
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).
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.