Battlestar Wiki:Guide to improving articles
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Battlestar Wiki's articles are like living things: they are born into stubhood and (ideally) grow up into well-written, comprehensive articles. Unlike other living things, articles have an infinite life expectancy (excepting inappropriate articles that get deleted).
This page details the different stages in an article's life, and lists the various ways you can help articles grow into the next stage. Note that skipping stages is allowed — in fact, it's a very good thing if you can accomplish this! Also, there is no hard line in-between stages. These are rough categories to help you get an idea of how articles typically grow on Battlestar Wiki.
Please note that this life cycle does not concern itself with candidates for deletion, merging, splitting, templates, images, categories, or any of the other issues and organizational techniques that will crop up from time to time.
Every article starts with an idea in the mind of a contributor. You should create articles about whatever you are interested in, so long as they belong in Battlestar Wiki. If you see a red link that strikes your fancy, create an article! For more suggestions on how to think of subjects to contribute on, see how.
Before you begin, it's helpful to read the guidelines and tutorials on creating new articles to get an idea of what you should consider (article scope, lead, organization, internal and external links, references, NPOV, etc.)
Good ways to find articles to create:
If you do not have the time to write a full article, consider writing a "stub" after reading how to create the perfect stub article. Stubs are very short articles, generally of one paragraph or less. These are the "ugly ducklings" of Battlestar Wiki. With effort, they can grow into swans, of course.
Good ways to find and grow stubs:
Once a stub has some real content, it's a real article. The vast majority of articles fall into this category. They may have mistakes, but you are encouraged to copyedit and correct them.
Good ways to find and improve developing articles:
Occasionally a developing article (or even a good or great article) will get sick: two or more editors disagree with each other and have trouble reaching a compromise. These articles need extra "tender loving care" from mediators who are willing to help all parties come to a consensus.
If you find yourself involved as one of the editors, don't panic. Re-read the three pages linked in the previous paragraph, and follow their advice. If a bitter revert war is in progress, submit a request for page protection to any members of the Battlestar Wiki administration. Ask some neutral Galactipedians to come mediate the dispute.
Good ways to find and heal disputed articles:
- Wikipedia:Harmonious editing club
- Wikipedia:Requests for comment
- Wikipedia:NPOV dispute
- Wikipedia:Accuracy dispute
- Wikipedia:Disputed statement
A good article has one or more contributors dedicated to improving the article's quality. The article at least tries to be comprehensive. Many Wikipedians "sponsor" or "adopt" a small number of articles, which they add to their watchlists and update whenever they can. Please note that once an article has been "adopted" by one Wikipedian, there's no reason that you shouldn't "adopt" it too, if it strikes your fancy. With two editors collaborating on the same article, it will often improve three times as fast.
After thorough peer review, with lots of people working together to smooth out the rough edges, a good article can become great. You'll know a great article when you see it. It's steadily approaching perfection. Polish it up as best you can, maybe give it another round in peer review.
How to get great articles up to featured-quality:
Featured articles are well-polished, but there are almost always small improvements that can be made. Don't ever be afraid to correct mistakes when you see them; no article is perfect, though perfection will always remain our goal.
Without a doubt, though, our featured articles are excellent, so why not show them off? There are a number of ways you can showcase our best work to people who might not know about Battlestar Wiki. This is an excellent way to recruit new Wikipedians and gain donations, both of which help Battlestar Wiki immensely.