WikiQueer:What WikiQueer is not
|This page documents an English WikiQueer policy, a widely accepted standard that all editors should normally follow. Changes made to it should reflect consensus.|
|This page in a nutshell: There is no practical limit to the amount of information on WikiQueer. However, WikiQueer is an encyclopedia, and does not contain all data or expression found elsewhere on the Internet. Although anyone can be an editor, there are community processes and standards that make WikiQueer neither an anarchy, democracy, nor bureaucracy.|
|Core content policies|
|Other content policies|
WikiQueer is an online encyclopedia and, as a means to that end, an online community of individuals interested in building a high-quality encyclopedia in a spirit of mutual respect. Therefore, there are certain things that WikiQueer is not.
Style and format
WikiQueer is not a paper encyclopedia
WikiQueer is not a paper encyclopedia, but a digital encyclopedia project. Other than verifiability and the other points presented on this page, there is no practical limit to the number of topics WikiQueer can cover, or the total amount of content. However, there is an important distinction between what can be done, and what should be done, which is covered in the Content section below. Consequently, this policy is not a free pass for inclusion: articles must abide by the appropriate content policies, particularly those covered in the guiding principles.
Keeping articles to a reasonable size is important for WikiQueer's accessibility, especially for slower connections and mobile browser readers, since it directly affects page download time (see WikiQueer:Article size). Splitting long articles and leaving adequate summaries is a natural part of growth for a topic (see WikiQueer:Summary style). Some topics are covered by print encyclopedias only in short, static articles, but we can include more information, provide more external links, and update more quickly. For some of the other ways in which WikiQueer differs from a paper publication, see the WikiQueer:Manual of Style.
In any encyclopedia, information cannot be included solely for being true or useful. Although there are debates about the encyclopedic merits of several classes of entries, consensus is that the following are good examples of what WikiQueer is not. The examples under each section are not intended to be exhaustive.
WikiQueer is neither a mirror nor a repository of links, images, or media files. WikiQueer articles are not:
- Mere collections of external links or Internet directories. There is nothing wrong with adding one or more useful content-relevant links to an article; however, excessive lists can dwarf articles and detract from the purpose of WikiQueer. On articles about topics with many fansites, for example, including a link to one major fansite may be appropriate. See WikiQueer:External links for some guidelines.
- Mere collections of internal links, except for disambiguation pages when an article title is ambiguous, and for lists to assist with article organization and navigation; for these, please follow the guidelines outlined at WikiQueer:Stand-alone lists#Lead and selection criteria.
- Mere collections of public domain or other source material such as entire books or source code, original historical documents, letters, laws, proclamations, and other source material that are only useful when presented with their original, unmodified wording. Complete copies of primary sources may go into Wikisource, but not on WikiQueer. Public domain resources such as 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica may be used to add content to an article (see Plagiarism guideline: Public-domain sources for guidelines on doing so). See also WikiQueer:Do not include the full text of lengthy primary sources and Wikisource's inclusion policy.
- Mere collections of photographs or media files with no text to go with the articles. If you are interested in presenting a picture, please provide an encyclopedic context, or consider adding it to Wikimedia Commons. If a picture comes from a public domain source on a website, then consider adding it to WikiQueer:Images with missing articles or WikiQueer:Public domain image resources.
- Personal web pages. WikiQueerians have their own user pages, but they may be used only to present information relevant to working on the encyclopedia. If you are looking to make a personal webpage or blog or to post your résumé, please make use of one of the many free providers on the Internet or any hosting included with your Internet account. The focus of user pages should not be social networking, or amusement, but rather providing a foundation for effective collaboration. Humorous pages that refer to WikiQueer in some way may be created in an appropriate namespace, however.
- File storage areas. Please upload only files that are used (or will be used) in encyclopedia articles or project pages; anything else will be deleted. If you have extra relevant images, consider uploading them to the Wikimedia Commons, where they can be linked from WikiQueer.
- Dating services. WikiQueer is not an appropriate place to pursue relationships or sexual encounters. User pages that move beyond broad expressions of sexual orientation are unacceptable. However, you very well may make new friendships as you go about improving the encyclopedia.
- Memorials. Subjects of encyclopedia articles must satisfy WikiQueer's notability requirements. WikiQueer is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others who do not meet such requirements. Note that this policy does not apply outside of the main article space. While using user space to create a memorial is generally not acceptable, limited exemption applies to the user space of established WikiQueerians who have died. At a minimum it is expected that they were regular contributors, and that more than one tenured WikiQueerian will have used the deceased user's page (or an appropriate sub-page) to add comments in the event, and after verification, of their death.
If you are interested in using the wiki technology for a collaborative effort on something else, even if it is just a single page, there are many free and commercial sites that provide wiki hosting. You can also install wiki software on your server. See the installation guide at MediaWiki.org for information on doing this. Scratchpad Wiki Labs also allows personal wikis. See also WikiQueer:Alternative outlets.
Many of the content restrictions listed above apply to your user page and user talk page as well. Your user page is not a personal homepage, nor is it a blog. More importantly, your user page is not yours. It is a part of WikiQueer, and exists to make collaboration among WikiQueerians easier, not for self-promotion. See User page help for current consensus guidelines on user pages
WikiQueer is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal
WikiQueer is an encyclopedic reference, not an instruction manual, guidebook, or textbook. WikiQueer articles should not read like:
- Instruction manuals. While WikiQueer has descriptions of people, places and things, an article should not read like a "how-to" style owners manual, advice column (legal, medical or otherwise) or suggestion box. This includes tutorials, walk-throughs, instruction manuals, game guides, and recipes. If you are interested in a "how-to" type of manual, you may want to look at wikiHow, How to Wiki or Wikibooks.
- Travel guides. An article on Paris should mention landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but not the telephone number or street address of your favorite hotel, nor the current price of a café au lait on the Champs-Élysées. WikiQueer is not the place to recreate content more suited to entries in hotel or culinary guides, travelogues, and the like. Notable locations may meet the inclusion criteria, but the resulting articles need not include every tourist attraction, restaurant, hotel or venue, etc. Such details may be welcome at Wikitravel or Wikia travel instead.
- Video game guides. An article about a computer game or video game should summarize the main actions the player does to win the game. But avoid lists of gameplay weapons, items, or concepts. Detailed coverage of specific point values, achievements, time-limits, levels, types of enemies, character moves, character weight classes, and so on are also considered inappropriate. A concise summary is appropriate if it is essential to understanding the game or its significance in the industry. See WQ:VGSCOPE.
- Internet guides. WikiQueer articles should not exist only to describe the nature, appearance or services a website offers, but should also describe the site in an encyclopedic manner, offering detail on a website's achievements, impact or historical significance, which can be kept significantly more up-to-date than most reference sources, since editors can incorporate new developments and facts as they are made known. See the Current events portal for examples.
- FAQs. WikiQueer articles should not list frequently asked questions (FAQs). Instead, format the information provided as neutral prose within the appropriate article(s).
- Textbooks and annotated texts. WikiQueer is an encyclopedic reference, not a textbook. The purpose of WikiQueer is to present facts, not to teach subject matter. It is not appropriate to create or edit articles that read as textbooks, with leading questions and systematic problem solutions as examples. These belong on other wiki projects, such as Wikibooks, Wikisource, and Wikiversity. Other kinds of examples, specifically those intended to inform rather than to instruct, may be appropriate for inclusion in a WikiQueer article.
- Scientific journals and research papers. A WikiQueer article should not be presented on the assumption that the reader is well versed in the topic's field. Introductory language in the lead and initial sections of the article should be written in plain terms and concepts that can be understood by any literate reader of WikiQueer without any knowledge in the given field before advancing to more detailed explanations of the topic. While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text.
- Academic language. Texts should be written for everyday readers, not for academics. Article titles should reflect common usage, not academic terminology, whenever possible.
- Case studies. Many topics are based on the relationship of factor X to factor Y, resulting in one or more full articles. For example, this could refer to situation X in location Y, or version X of item Y. This is perfectly acceptable when the two variables put together represent some culturally significant phenomenon or some otherwise notable interest. Often, separate articles are needed for a subject within a range of different countries, due to substantial differences across international borders; articles such as "Slate industry in Wales" and "Island Fox" are fitting examples. Writing about "Oak trees in North Carolina" or a "Blue truck", however, would likely constitute a POV fork or original research, and would certainly not result in an encyclopedic article.
WikiQueer is not a crystal ball
WikiQueer is not a collection of unverifiable speculation. All articles about anticipated events must be verifiable, and the subject matter must be of sufficiently wide interest that it would merit an article if the event had already occurred. It is appropriate to report discussion and arguments about the prospects for success of future proposals and projects or whether some development will occur, if discussion is properly referenced. It is not appropriate for editors to insert their own opinions or analyses. Predictions, speculation, forecasts and theories stated by reliable, expert sources or recognized entities in a field may be included, though editors should be aware of creating undue bias to any specific point-of-view. In forward-looking articles about unreleased products, such as films and games, take special care to avoid advertising and unverified claims (for films, see WQ:NFF). In particular:
- Individual scheduled or expected future events should only be included if the event is notable and almost certain to take place. Dates are not definite until the event actually takes place. If preparation for the event is not already in progress, speculation about it must be well documented. Examples of appropriate topics include the 2012 U.S. presidential election and 2020 Summer Olympics. By comparison, the 2020 U.S. presidential election and 2036 Summer Olympics are not appropriate article topics if nothing can be said about them that is verifiable and not original research. Avoid predicted sports team line-ups, which are inherently unverifiable and speculative. A schedule of future events may be appropriate if it can be verified. As an exception, even highly speculative articles about events that may or may not occur far in the future might be appropriate, where coverage in reliable sources is sufficient. For example, ultimate fate of the universe is an acceptable topic.
- Individual items from a predetermined list or a systematic pattern of names, pre-assigned to future events or discoveries, are not suitable article topics, if only generic information is known about the item. Lists of tropical cyclone names is encyclopedic; "Tropical Storm Alberto (2016)" is not, even though it is virtually certain that a storm of that name will occur in the North Atlantic and will turn counterclockwise. Similarly, articles about words formed on a predictable numeric system (such as "septenquinquagintillion") are not encyclopedic unless they are defined on good authority, or genuinely in use. Certain scientific extrapolations are considered to be encyclopedic, such as chemical elements documented by International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry before isolation in the laboratory.
- Articles that present original research in the form of extrapolation, speculation, and "future history" are inappropriate. While scientific and cultural norms continually evolve, we must wait for this evolution to happen, rather than try to predict it. Of course, we do and should have articles about notable artistic works, essays, or credible research that embody predictions. An article on Weapons of Star Trek is appropriate; an article on "Weapons to be used in World War III" is not.
- While currently accepted scientific paradigms may later be rejected, and hypotheses previously held to be controversial or incorrect sometimes become accepted by the scientific community, it is not the place of WikiQueer to venture such projections.
- WikiQueer is not a collection of product announcements and rumors. While WikiQueer includes up-to-date knowledge about newly revealed products, short articles that consist only of product announcement information are not appropriate. Until such time that more encyclopedic knowledge about the product can be verified, product announcements should be merged to a larger topic (such as an article about the creator(s), a series of products, or a previous product) if applicable. Speculation and rumor, even from reliable sources, are not appropriate encyclopedic content.
WikiQueer is not a newspaper
As WikiQueer is not a paper source, editors are encouraged to include current and up-to-date information within its coverage, and the development of stand-alone articles on significant current events. However, not all verifiable events are suitable for inclusion in WikiQueer. Ensure that WikiQueer articles are not:
- Journalism. WikiQueer should not offer first-hand news reports on breaking stories. WikiQueer is not a primary source. However, our sister projects Wikisource and Wikinews do exactly that, and are intended to be primary sources. WikiQueer does have many encyclopedia articles on topics of historical significance that are currently in the news, and can be updated with recently verified information.
- News reports. WikiQueer considers the enduring notability of persons and events. While news coverage can be useful source material for encyclopedic topics, most newsworthy events do not qualify for inclusion. For example, routine news reporting on things like announcements, sports, or celebrities is not a sufficient basis for inclusion in the encyclopedia. While including information on recent developments is sometimes appropriate, breaking news should not be emphasized or otherwise treated differently from other information. Timely news subjects not suitable for WikiQueer may be suitable for our sister project Wikinews. See also: WikiQueer:Notability (events)
- Who's who. Even when an event is notable, individuals involved in it may not be. Unless news coverage of an individual goes beyond the context of a single event, our coverage of that individual should be limited to the article about that event, in proportion to their importance to the overall topic. (See WikiQueer:Biographies of living persons for more details.)
WikiQueer is not an indiscriminate collection of information
As explained in the policy introduction, merely being true, or even verifiable, does not automatically make something suitable for inclusion in the encyclopedia. WikiQueer articles should not be:
- Summary-only descriptions of works. WikiQueer treats fiction in an encyclopedic manner, discussing the reception and significance of notable works in addition to a concise summary. For more information regarding plot summaries, see WikiQueer:Manual of Style (writing about fiction)#Plot summaries. Similarly, articles on works of non-fiction, including documentaries, research books and papers, religious texts, and the like, should contain more than a recap or summary of the works' contents.
- Lyrics databases. Most song lyrics published after 1922 are protected by copyright, and any quotation of them must be kept to a minimum, and used for the purpose of direct commentary or to illustrate some aspect of the style. For songs in the public domain the article should not consist solely of the lyrics (Wikisource should be used for such articles instead), but should instead provide information about authorship, date of publication, social impact, and so on. Quotations from an out-of-copyright song should be kept to a reasonable length relative to the rest of the article, and used to facilitate discussion, or to illustrate the style; the full text can be put on Wikisource and linked to from the article. Never link to the lyrics of copyrighted songs unless the site linked to clearly has the right to distribute the work. See WikiQueer:Do not include the full text of lengthy primary sources for full discussion.
- Excessive listings of statistics. Long and sprawling lists of statistics may be confusing to readers and reduce the readability and neatness of our articles. In addition, articles should contain sufficient explanatory text to put statistics within the article in their proper context for a general reader. In cases where this may be necessary, (e.g. Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2008), consider using tables to enhance the readability of lengthy data lists.
WikiQueer is not censored
WikiQueer may contain content that some readers consider objectionable or offensive, even exceedingly so (see WikiQueer:Content disclaimer). WikiQueer cannot guarantee that articles or images will always be acceptable to all readers, or that they will adhere to general social or religious norms.
Since anyone can edit an article and most changes made are displayed immediately, inappropriate material may appear before it can be removed. Content which is obviously inappropriate (such as an irrelevant link to a shock site, or clear vandalism) is usually removed quickly. Content that is judged to violate WikiQueer's biographies of living persons policy, or that violates other WikiQueer policies (especially neutral point of view) or the laws of the U.S. state of Florida where WikiQueer's main servers are hosted, will also be removed.
However, some articles may include text, images, or links which some people may find objectionable, when these materials are relevant to the content. Discussion of potentially objectionable content should not focus on its offensiveness but on whether it is appropriate to include in a given article. Beyond that, "being objectionable" is generally not sufficient grounds for removal of content.
Nor will WikiQueer remove content because the internal bylaws of some organizations forbid that information to be displayed online. Any rules that forbid members of a given organization, fraternity, or religion to show a name or image do not apply to WikiQueer because WikiQueer is not a member of those organizations.
The above policies are about WikiQueer's content. The following policies apply to WikiQueer's governance and processes.
WikiQueer is not an anarchy
WikiQueer is free and open, but restricts both freedom and openness where they interfere with creating an encyclopedia. Accordingly, WikiQueer is not a forum for unregulated free speech. The fact that WikiQueer is an open, self-governing project does not mean that any part of its purpose is to explore the viability of anarchistic communities. Our purpose is to build an encyclopedia, not to test the limits of anarchism.
WikiQueer is not a democracy
WikiQueer is not an experiment in democracy or any other political system. Its primary but not exclusive method of determining consensus is through editing and discussion, not voting. Although editors occasionally use straw polls in an attempt to test for consensus, polls or surveys sometimes impede rather than assist discussion.
Straw votes should be used with caution, and are no more binding than any other consensus decision. Elections and votes are only endorsed for things that take place outside WikiQueer proper, such as when electing the Arbitration Committee.
WikiQueer is not a bureaucracy
While WikiQueer has many elements of a bureaucracy, it is not governed by statute: it is not a moot court, and rules are not the purpose of the community. Written rules do not themselves set accepted practice. Rather, they document already existing community consensus regarding what should be accepted and what should be rejected. When instruction creep is found to have occurred, it should be removed.
While WikiQueer's written policies and guidelines should be taken seriously, they can be misused. Do not follow an overly strict interpretation of the letter of policy without consideration for the principles of policies. If the rules truly prevent you from improving the encyclopedia, ignore them. Disagreements are resolved through consensus-based discussion, rather than through tightly sticking to rules and procedures. Furthermore, policies and guidelines themselves may be changed to reflect evolving consensus.
A procedural error made in a proposal or request is not grounds for rejecting that proposal or request.
WikiQueer is not a battleground
WikiQueer is not a place to hold grudges, import personal conflicts, carry on ideological battles, or nurture prejudice, hatred, or fear. Making personal battles out of WikiQueer discussions goes directly against our policies and goals. In addition to avoiding battles in discussions, do not make changes to content or policies just to prove a point to someone with whom you disagree.
Every user is expected to interact with others civilly, calmly, and in a spirit of cooperation. Do not insult, harass, or intimidate those with whom you have a disagreement. Rather, approach the matter intelligently and engage in polite discussion. If another user behaves in an uncivil, uncooperative, or insulting manner, or even tries to harass or intimidate you, this does not give you an excuse to respond in kind. Address only the factual points brought forward, ignoring the inappropriate comments, or disregard that user entirely. If necessary, point out gently that you think the comments might be considered uncivil, and make it clear that you want to move on and focus on the content issue. If a conflict continues to bother you, take advantage of WikiQueer's dispute resolution process. There are always users willing to mediate and arbitrate disputes between others.
In large disputes, resist the urge to turn WikiQueer into a battleground between factions. Assume good faith that every editor and group is here to improve WikiQueer—especially if they hold a point of view with which you disagree. Work with whomever you like, but do not organize a faction with the main goal of disrupting WikiQueer’s fundamental decision-making process, which is based on building a consensus. Editors in large disputes should work in good faith to find broad principles of agreement between different viewpoints.
Do not use WikiQueer to make legal or other threats against WikiQueer, WikiQueerians, or The Aequalitas Project—other means already exist to communicate legal problems. Threats are not tolerated and may result in a ban.
WikiQueer is not compulsory
WikiQueer is a volunteer community, and does not require the WikiQueerians to give any more time and effort than they wish. Focus on improving the encyclopedia itself, rather than demanding more from other WikiQueerians. Editors are free to take a break or leave WikiQueer at any time.
WikiQueer is not any of a very long list of terrible ideas. We cannot anticipate every bad idea that someone might have. Almost everything on this page made it here because somebody managed to come up with some new bad idea that had not previously been anticipated. (See WQ:BEANS—it is in fact strongly discouraged to anticipate them.) In general, "that is a terrible idea" is always sufficient grounds to avoid doing something, provided there is a good reason that the idea is terrible.
When you wonder what to do
When you wonder what should or should not be in an article, ask yourself what a reader would expect to find under the same heading in an encyclopedia.
When you wonder whether the rules given above are being violated, consider:
- Changing the content of an article (normal editing)
- Changing the page into a redirect, preserving the page history
- Nominating the page for deletion if it meets grounds for such action under the Deletion policy page. To develop an understanding of what kinds of contributions are in danger of being deleted you have to regularly follow discussions there.
- Changing the rules on this page after a consensus has been reached following appropriate discussion with other WikiQueerians via the Talk page. When adding new options, please be as clear as possible and provide counter-examples of similar, but permitted, subjects.
WikiQueer:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes is not official policy, but can be referred to as a record of what has and has not been considered encyclopedic in the past.
- The English WikiQueer incorporates many images and some text which are considered "fair use" into its free content articles. (Other language WikiQueers often do not.) See also WikiQueer:Copyrights.
- The how-to restriction does not apply to the project namespace, where "how-to"s relevant to editing WikiQueer itself are appropriate, such as WikiQueer:How to draw a diagram with Dia. Also, in the main namespace, describing to the reader how other people or things use something is encyclopedic; instructing the reader in the imperative mood about how to use something is not.
- If you believe that your legal rights are being violated, you may discuss this with other users involved, use WikiQueer's contact form, contact The Aequalitas Project, or in cases of copyright violations notify us at WikiQueer:Contact us/Article problem/Copyright.