Battlestar Wiki:Concision

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Battlestar Wiki strives for concision: The ability to give a lot of information in as few words as possible. Concision is important to prevent lengthy articles where useful data is hard to glean due to excessive prose.

Battlestar Wiki is designed to warn editors if an article is of excessive length (greater than 32Kb) when you are in editing mode in your browser. In most cases, you can take that warning as a need to concise an article.

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The art of brevity in articles

There are several ways to aid in making concise articles.

  • Avoid topic repetition.
The episode summary articles detail the specifics of what happened to many characters due to other characters and events. As the episode summary should state the specifics of an episode, it's unnecessary to repeat (in whole or in part) the same information in a supporting article on the episode's people, places and things.
Instead of:
"Kara Thrace, a character believed to have died in the episode, "Maelstrom", greets Lee Adama, son of Admiral William Adama, shortly after the Fleet arrived at the Ionian nebula, where Gaeta determined was the next step in the path to Earth (Crossroads, Part II)."
"Kara Thrace, believed-dead, greets Apollo as he flies to defend Galactica in the Ionian nebula (Crossroads, Part II).
The concised version uses links to articles that further elaborate with a minimum of extra content. Links point to episode summaries, and the use of callsigns for character names when they are piloting a fighter further shortens the passage.
  • Avoid excessive descriptions.
Similar to avoiding topic repetition, avoid re-describing the nature of a person, place or thing. That information should already appear in the subject's article.

Examples of excessive description can often be found in a character biography, like the one for Laura Roslin. Contributors usually write a biography chronologically, often telling an episode's story all over again. Concised biographies should give the leanest information on the effects of an event caused by or directed at a character. Lean on links to episode summaries or other articles to explain the "big picture" of the event, rather than repeating the same narration.

Repetition also includes unnecessary use of quotations from characters in the article. Battlestar Wiki is not intended as a quotes source, for one reason. Such notable quotes are often found in the episode guide in which the character spoke, for another reason.

  • Write in an active voice.
Battlestar Wiki prefers that you write most articles describing characters, places and events as if it were going on right now. This is known as an "active voice." The verb tense gives the article a "state of life." When you pick up a book and read, or watch Battlestar, the events are always new to the characters at the moment of time. Writing in active voice isn't natural, but it "feels right" with practice.
Instead of:
"Crashdown was shot in the back by Gaius Baltar when Crashdown threatened Cally Henderson."
"To defend Cally Henderson, Gaius Baltar shoots Crashdown."

No time for chat in talk pages

Talk pages of an article are intended for simple questions and answers to perfecting the article it is connected to. Don't get into lengthy discussions on theories or debates, or else administrators may have to ask a discussion to cease. Battlestar Wiki is not a chat forum. Simple questions, simple answers.

If you want to join or create an extended discussion on a topic, drop in on the Battlestar Forum and chat to your heart's content.

The Concision Fairy

The Concision Fairy is a virtual patron of Battlestar Wiki that visits verbose articles with a hatchet, wings, and a message: Don't take it personally.

When an article requires extensive cleanup due to excessive length, the {{Concision Fairy}} template is placed at the top of the article. This template marks the article for cleanup (and is lumped in with other articles marked for cleanup).

Major concisions can be brutal to contributors who take the editing as a personal affront. Remember: It's more than just the article's length or subject matter, but the content can be better phrased or has been said elsewhere.

Many contributors may not feel up to writing very concisely in their excitement about revelations in the show or in general. That's OK. Creating or expanding an article with any relevant and sourced information is just as important as concising it, later.

Some contributors may be better at concision than others and will be happy to take any contribution you add and perfect it by distilling it to its core point.

The effects of concision are best explained when contributors look at the article to see the result.