FANDOM


Hands typing at keyboard
Hi everyone! It's been a while since I last wrote an advice blog, so I've decided to do another one. This time, I'd like to go over a topic I feel not many others have touched upon: content creation.

There are many help pages about starting a wiki here on Community Central...but, at the same time, there is no guaranteed way to create good pages and all. Given that no method of creation works perfectly for every topic, the aforementioned is not surprising, though it definitely can be frustrating.

I've been writing the pages of a lot of my own wikis for a few years now, and today I'd like to share some tips I've learned over time.

Tip #1: Don't copy

Kirigiri wiki-editing meme
It can be tempting to copy content from another site, especially when you lack proper experience with writing and/or researching. However, copying, while easy, can lead to less easy-to-handle consequences – consequences such as a DMCA takedown, the original authors being furious, and/or many others.

I, as a writer, personally despise plagiarism – it essentially is nothing more than stealing what others have worked so hard on. For reasons like that, don't copy others' work. Even if the content is licensed under a CC-BY-SA license or in the public domain, don't automatically resort to copying, as using CTRL+C will teach you nothing about being original.

Not copying will also help with SEO; in 2011, Google began to roll out an algorithm, Panda, that penalizes sites that – among other aspects – use copied content.

Tip #1.5: Paraphrase

If you absolutely have to use what others have written before, don't add it word for word to your wiki – find a way to rephrase it. This can be difficult if English isn't your first language or – for non-English sites – if you're not fluent enough in the language of the wiki, though at times it's the best way to go. When struggling or in doubt, use informative online references or ask for help from someone who you know is good at writing.

Tip #2: Say what others don't

Even Wikipedia users, along with others, may not catch/present everything about a topic, so going into detail on a topic-dedicated wiki can help. Whether it's a lesser-known fact about a topic, a small paragraph of informative background, or an entire page about an overlooked aspect of something – little details matter!

Tip #2.5: Be ethical all the same

Despite this, though, I'd recommend keeping ethics and FANDOM's Terms of Use in mind. As an example of doing so, don't fill pages with confidential info (e.g. people's addresses, phone numbers, etc.) that has not been officially given out; it can be removed, yes – but editors with even a bit of experience with wikis can easily find it in page histories.

Tip #3: Know your sources

Detective looking through magnifying glass
From where are you getting your information? It's very, very important to know the answer to that question. Adding data from unreliable sources doesn't just hurt the wiki itself – it hurts anyone who happens to read it. They may not know it's inaccurate and instead go around believing it to be the truth, or they may know it's wrong and grow furious at the wiki in general; in any case, though, knowing the reliability of your sources is key.

When in doubt, look up your sources and see what others have said about them. Have reputable individuals confirmed to be associated with them? Have other journalists and writers slammed them for libel and/or severe falsifications? Details like this can save a wiki's content from inaccuracies and also might come in handy in the real world.

Note: Wikipedia, due to its "anyone can edit" format, should only be cited as a primary fact source when absolutely necessary. As an alternative, check the references it cites and, if they're reliable, use them instead.

Anything else?

This blog doesn't cover a lot, honestly – most of the unstated varies per case and cannot simply be taught in writing. Even so, I hope you can find something useful among what I've given you. Feel free to apply these to your own editing, and let me know if you feel something is missing or could be added/fixed.

Take care, everyone!

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