LifeWiki:Policies and guidelines

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LifeWiki's goal is to create a comprehensive guide of Conway's Game of Life. Because there is no official structure that polices the quality of our site, we have had to slowly adopt various rules, procedures, and values that allow everyone to make effective contributions to the wiki.

New editors on the site are not required to read through all of these policies and guidelines; they are not a list of rules that must be understood before participating in the site. Most of them are based upon common sense. Editors who act in good faith and treat other members of the community with good faith are unlikely to encounter any problems; editors will be notified if a situation arises where a policy or guideline may be relevant.

In general, the policies have been written just in case future situations arise where they are needed. They provide a reference for editors on recommended courses of action. The policies have been written up ahead of time so that details can be worked out in a neutral atmosphere, instead of being determined after a problem has already arisen. The policies often take into account the collective experience of the many editors who have contributed to the site.

Even though editors should strive to operate under these policies and guidelines, users are encouraged to discuss these policies and suggest changes to them in the event that they disagree with a specific policy. Discussion should take place on the appropriate policy's talk page.

Writing high-quality articles

  1. Informative – Content must be informative to the reader. Content that conveys little to no information should be removed or reworded as appropriate. Think of ways you can improve content so that it is more informative.
  2. Verifiable – Every editor should be able to look at information given and verify it either through another source or via software. Editor opinions are not verifiable and should be avoided.
  3. Professional – All articles should ideally be written in a formal tone expected of an encyclopedia-quality site. Proper grammar, casing, spelling, tone, and prose are all qualities that are characteristic of a professional article.
  4. Legible – Articles should be made legible by using proper wiki syntax and other text formatting to cleanly expand an article.

Desired etiquette

These are the qualities that are desired of an editor on our project. Some of the rules listed are mandatory to anyone who would like to edit, while others are suggested rules that will allow you to be understood in the community. In any case, following all of these guidelines will prevent you from getting into trouble, and will help you slowly earn respect in the community.

  • Be bold when editing. Everyone has an edit button on the top of the screen. If you find something that can be improved, then improve it! Encourage others, even those who you don't agree with, to do the same.
  • Be nice when editing. Be civil when talking to other people, and treat them with respect and kindness. Encourage others to be nice as well, and be careful not to unintentionally present yourself as being uncivil.
  • Don't vandalize. Vandalism is defined as the addition, deletion, or alteration of any content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the wiki. Don't mess pages up on purpose. Blanking articles or sections, replacing content with jokes or other nonsense, and sneakily making articles inaccurate is considered vandalism. Any vandalizing edits should be removed and reported to an administrator.
  • Assume good faith. On the other hand, assume that others are trying to help the wiki and not harm it unless you have evidence to the contrary. Don't ignore bad actions, but try your best to assume that they are wanting to help.
  • Use informative edit summaries. Try to explain what you did and why you did it as often as possible. If you need to elaborate, simply conclude your edit summary with "see talk", and promptly explain the edit on the talk page.
  • When in doubt, discuss. Consensus, even if it is between just two people, will aid in the improvement of articles. We have all the time in the world to discuss changes, and we have plenty of places to do it. If you discuss changes before you make them, you can reach a consensus faster and people will have a better understanding about why you are making the changes.
  • Sign your comments on talk pages. How do people know what comments are yours if you don't sign them? You should add four tildes (~~~~) to the end of all of your comments on talk pages. Just make sure you don't get carried away and do the same thing on main articles.
  • Adhere to copyright. All content on the wiki should be compatible with our copyright license. You agree that all of your contributions are licensed under the license, and may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors.

Rules of thumb

  • Assume good faith. Even if an edit appears to not be helpful, assume that the editor had good intentions and try to help them improve the wiki. See Wikipedia's Assume good faith policy.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest. Do not create a page about yourself within the wiki (besides your User page). If a page about you has already been created, you may edit the page, but your edits will be heavily monitored and any self-promotion or ego-waving will be reverted. You may create pages about patterns that you construct, but they will be scrutinized more thoroughly than other patterns by the community, and will likely be deleted if they are not sufficiently notable.
  • Use common sense. See Wikipedia's Use common sense policy.

Detailed policies and guidelines

  • Deletion policy – Pages can only be deleted by an administrator, and in general should follow one of the processes approved by the deletion policy.
  • LifeWiki is not Wikipedia – Although LifeWiki shares many common traits with Wikipedia, it is important to understand how they differ.
  • Notability – Pages should only be created if they satisfy one of the notability criteria listed on this page.
  • Pattern pages – How to create pages that describe specific patterns.
  • Protection policy – Pages can be protected by administrators in various degrees and for various time periods when the need arises.
  • Style guide – There are detailed guidelines for how to write in such a way as to be consistent with existing LifeWiki articles.