Editing The Wiki

This page documents an official policy on the Military Power Wiki. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus.

Perfection is not required

It is wonderful when someone adds a complete, well-written, final draft to the Wiki. This should always be encouraged.

However, one of the great advantages of the Wiki system is that incomplete or poorly written first drafts of articles can evolve into polished, presentable masterpieces through the process of collaborative editing. This gives our approach an advantage over other ways of producing similar end-products. Hence, the submission of rough drafts should also be encouraged as much as possible.

One person can start an article with, perhaps, an overview or a few random facts. Another person can add a minority opinion. Someone else can round off the article with additional perspectives. Yet another can play up an angle that has been neglected, or reword the earlier opinions to a more neutral point of view. Another person might have facts and figures or a graphic to include, and yet another might fix the spelling and grammatical errors that have crept in throughout these multiple edits.

As all this material is added, anyone may contribute and refactor to turn it into a more cohesive whole. Then, more text may be added, and it may also be rewritten… and so on.

During this process, the article might look like a first draft or worse,a random collection of notes and factoids. Rather than being horrified by this ugliness, we should rejoice in its potential, and have faith that the editing process will turn it into brilliant prose. Of course, we do not have to like it. It is most important that it is corrected, if it can be corrected. For text that is beyond hope we will remove the offending section, or, in cases in which the article obviously has no redeeming merit whatsoever, delete it outright. The decision to take the latter action should not be made lightly, however.

Editing styles

Generally, different people here have different editing "styles". Some people edit lightly and focus on contributing new content. Others prefer to improve and greatly expand existing "stubs" and articles. Some like to make relatively small copyediting (such as grammar, spelling, clarification, and syntax) changes, as well as adding new links and moving pages (so as to rename them without losing history). There is room for all of this on Military Power Wiki.

Boldness

There are also different editing styles in the sense of how bold people are willing to be. Generally, most of us think we should be bold in updating pages. Virtually no one behaves as though previous authors need to be consulted before making changes; if we thought that, we would make little progress. Quite the contrary: some people think you should not beat around the bush at all;simply change a page immediately if you see a problem, rather than waiting to discuss changes that you believe need to be made. Discussion becomes the last resort. An intermediate viewpoint accords that dialogue should be respected, but at the same time, a minor tweak should be accepted. In this view, to edit radically or not will often depend on the context which seems reasonable enough. There is a place for all of these attitudes on Military Power Wiki.

Major changes

With large proposed deletions or replacements, it may be best to suggest changes in a discussion, lest the original author be discouraged from posting again. One person's improvement is another's desecration, and nobody likes to see their work destroyed without prior notice. If you make deletions, you should try to explain why you delete their contributions in the article Discussion area. This could reduce the possibility of reverting wars and unnecessary arguments.

So, whatever you do, try to preserve information. Reasons for removing bits of an article include:

  • duplication or redundancy
  • irrelevancy
  • patent nonsense
  • inaccuracy (attempt to correct the misinformation or discuss the problems first before deletion)

Alternatives include:

  • rephrasing
  • correct the inaccuracy while keeping the content
  • moving text within an article or to another article (existing or new)
  • adding more of what you think is important to make an article more balanced
  • requesting a citation

If, in your considered judgment, a page simply needs to be rewritten or changed substantially, go ahead and do that. But preserve any old contents you think might have some discussion value, along with a comment about why you made the change. Even if you delete something that's just plain false, odds are that it got there because someone believed it was true, so preserve a comment to inform later editors that it is in fact false.

Military Power Wiki is not a discussion forum

In any event, whether you decide to edit very boldly or just minor changes, please bear in mind that the wiki is not a discussion forum. Military Power Wiki can be a very energetic place, and it is best for the project as a whole if we concentrate our energies on improving articles rather than defending our pet theories, ideologies, religions, etc. Some consideration of Etiquette would not hurt. If you do feel that you need to discuss some bit of information that keeps appearing, please do so by clicking the "discuss" button at the bottom of the page.

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