Help:Making good wiki articles

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Like a good map, a good wiki article is made up of many different components. These components come together to communicate a message in a way that is easily understood, engaging, and informative. It can take a lot of work to create a good article and most articles go through many revisions before reaching this stage. Since the mapping of most OGF territories is ongoing, it will also be a long time before many articles are finally complete.

Is my territory ready for wiki articles?

On OpenGeofiction, the wiki is a source of global collaboration and offers an encyclopedia to help make your territory come alive. Generally, territories that already have a significant amount of mapping are good candidates for wiki articles. If a territory has little mapping done in it, articles generally are discouraged. This is because the site discourages "overwikification": when a place is the subject of numerous or overly detailed wiki articles, despite having little or no significant mapping. Remember that this site is primarily a mapping project; the wiki is a secondary project that exists as a way to bring the mapping to life, to enhance it, to support it, to express it on another level. This site is not for people who only want to write wiki articles about an imaginary country; there are other places on the internet for that. So, make sure you've spent a fair amount of time working on your mapping first.

A few basics

All mainspace articles on the wiki are written from an in-universe perspective, as if the wiki was a major encyclopedia in the OGF world. (Notably, index pages are the only other ones to contain in-universe information—albeit with some collapsed real-world annotations to facilitate global collaboration). Any article that is created should follow the wiki policy. Articles that do not follow the policy will be deleted. Also keep in mind that even if you do not have active neighbors on the map, your territory is not isolated from world affairs. Work together will regional partners and figure out creative ways to work your territory into the shared OGF history. All articles form part of this larger narrative. Link into other articles; refer to the wider geographic areas and various world organizations. No good wiki articles are orphan pages or dead-end pages.

Features of good wiki articles

Good wiki articles are a powerful way to let your mapping come alive. There are some common threads to consider to ensure good quality:

  • The visible map is the center of everything. The best articles constantly refer to and link back to the map. Continuously reference visible elements of the map in your writing. Templates like {{node}}, {{way}}, {{relation}}, and {{coord}} allow you to do inline linking right back to map features. You can even embed the OGF map in the article!
  • It is well-written and engaging. Use clear and concise language as much as possible in your writing. Good articles do not belabor points and go through a large narrative quickly. It is okay to simplify things down on your main wiki article to keep things engaging. Remember that readers are there to learn about the place as if it were real and do not want to get bored.
  • The territory feels real. Treat your territory as if it were a real place, with its ups and downs. Do not be afraid to show the "good and bad" of history. No one wants to read about an unrealistic utopia with the biggest and best of everything. Additionally, talk about how your territory fits into the world. Show international engagements and intrigue and highlight how it played a role in major regional events.
  • Articles have an encyclopedic tone. Be balanced in how you write to avoid biased language. Keep in mind that mores and norms change over time. Readers want to know what happened and form their own assessment, not hear yours. In particular, avoid intentionally inflammatory language against real-world religious or political beliefs, and do not metaphorically roleplay real-world geopolitical scenarios.
  • Structure makes it easier to understand. Organize your articles. There are a number of easy-to-use templates that can be used to help organize your article. Start with an introduction in the {{infocard}} and proceed from there. The numerous infoboxes allow for a lot of information to be communicated in a short, compact way. Likewise, tables can be effective if not overused.
  • "A picture is worth a thousand words." Articles that tastefully insert a few pictures can make an article come to life. Do not overcrowd or clutter a page with images. Be sure that any image you upload conforms to the image policy, or it will be deleted. Alternatively, you can use Wikimedia Commons images on the site just like regular images.
  • Focus on quality, not quantity. You cannot make good articles if you are trying to write a lot in a short amount of time. Take your time and focus on quality. It is okay if your wiki article is simply an infocard at first. Get things started, work on the map more, and revisit the wiki later. The wiki thrives when quality is prioritized, and it reflects better on your creative prowess than a lot of low-quality work.
  • Emulate others and get feedback. Many other users on the site have developed creative ways to express information or to show things on the map. It is good to emulate what these others do. It is also wise to get feedback on your article. Are things clear? Does something look cluttered? Ask other users on the site for help.

Beyond wiki articles

Keep in mind that your territory may have other mentions on the wiki, by neighbors and on index pages. It is important to be consistent throughout the wiki. Work together with your fellow mappers to keep information accurate and updated. If you have information contained on index pages, it is your responsibility to keep them updated. Outdated information may simply be removed as part of regular maintenance. If your territory is withdrawn, your wiki content will be deleted to ensure the most up-to-date information is publicly visible.