Battlestar Wiki:Be bold in updating pages

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
BSG WIKI Policy.png This page is an official policy of Battlestar Wiki.
This policy is considered by the community and its leadership to be the status quo of Battlestar Wiki and is not to be countermanded or ignored, though changes to it can be discussed on the appropriate talk page. This policy was implemented on 3 June 2005.
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This is a derivative work from Wikipedia's Be bold in updating pages, which is permissible under the GNU FDL license. All related edits will be released under this same license.

This community exhorts users to be bold in updating articles. Wikis develop faster when people fix problems, correct grammar, add facts, make sure the language is precise, and so on. It's okay. It's what everyone expects. Instead of asking, "Why aren't these pages copyedited?", you should fix the problems you see yourself. It does require some amount of politeness, but it works. You'll see.

If someone writes an inferior, merely humorous article, article stub, or outright patent nonsense, don't worry about their feelings. Correct it, add to it, and, if it's a total waste of time, replace it with brilliant prose (and relegate the deletions to Wiki Frakr or the corresponding talk page). That's the nature of a wiki.

For the most part, the instinctive desire of an author to "own" what he or she has written is counterproductive here, and it is good to shake up that emotional attachment by making sweeping changes at will when it improves the result. And of course, others here will boldly and mercilessly edit what you write.

Don't take it personally. Like all of us, they just want to make Battlestar Wiki as good as it can possibly be.

...but don't be reckless!

New users in particular are often entranced by the openness of Battlestar Wiki and dive right in. That's a good thing. But please note: be bold in updating pages does not mean that you should make deletions to long articles on complex, controversial subjects with long histories, such as Re-imagining or God (RDM). In many such cases, the text as you find it has come into being after long and arduous negotiations between Galactipedians of diverse backgrounds and points of view. An incautious edit to such an article can be akin to stirring up a hornet's nest, and other users who are involved in the page may react angrily. Even so, the editing of gross grammatical errors is welcome.

If you encounter an article on a controversial subject that you would like to edit, it's a good idea to first read the article in its entirety, read the comments on the talk page, and view the Page history to get a sense of how the article came into being and what its current status is.

If you are an experienced contributor to Wikipedia or other wikis (Memory Alpha, et al.), you will probably have a good sense of which edits will be accepted, and which should be discussed first.

If you are new to Battlestar Wiki, or unsure how others will view your contributions, and you want to change or delete anything substantial in the text, you are advised to either:

  1. Copy it to the Talk page and list your objections there, if the material in question is a sentence or more in length.
  2. List your objections on the Talk page, but leave the main article as is, should the material is substantially longer than a sentence.

Then wait a bit for responses. If no one objects, proceed, but always move large deletions to Talk and list your objections to the text so that other people will understand your changes and will be able to follow the history of the page. Also make sure to leave a descriptive edit summary succinctly detailing your change and reasoning.

Also, please show respect for the status quo. Avoid making major changes to an article if a discussion or poll about whether those changes should be made is currently in progress, especially if there is no clear consensus.

With that said, as long as your thinking is rational, as long as your changes are rational, and as long as you write thorough edit summaries (and even thorough explanations in Talk pages), be bold.

Don't let that scare you off!

But with the vast majority of articles, feel free to dive right in and make broad changes as you see fit. It's only with a few very sensitive subjects that caution is better advised, and you'll recognize those right away. And even if you don't, as long as you have an appetite for debate, being bold is generally a defensible position. You're unlikely to be the first person to have made a change to a controversial article, and you certainly won't be the last. That said, contributions that add new facts and information to an article are likely to be more welcome than contributions that just delete some of the content.

Actions and edits with wide-spread effects

Some caution is also advised if your changes affect many other pages, such as editing a template or moving a highly linked-to page. While not required, it is recommended that before making this type of major change you familiarize yourself with the relevant policy or guideline, such as Standards and Conventions if contemplating a page move. Also, it is considered polite to be willing to fix any problems created (such as broken redirects or formatting problems) in the affected articles.