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One of the core values upon which Fandom was built is the fact that everyone can edit a page. In theory, this seems so simple, but when putting the idea into effect, it becomes clear that editing is far more than just clicking a button. Fandom hosts over hundreds of thousands of wikis that all have their own 'Manual of Style' and editing customs. With many users being part of multiple communities, it can become confusing which Manual of Style is used on which wiki, so to accommodate new—and seasoned—editors, we have composed a guide containing some useful tricks and advice for editors of the Avatar Wiki.

However, note that there will always be one "rule" or "guideline" that will always be at the top of the pyramid of things to note, and that is communication. When unsure about something or even completely at a loss, we have a helpful community at your disposal, who is eager to share their experience. So if you ever encounter any issues, do not hesitate to contact anyone you see, or contact an administrator on the administrator noticeboard when it is a general problem. If you run into a difference in opinion with a specific user, drop them a message on their wall, or ask an administrator to mediate, and when stumbling on an issue relating to the practical working of this community, the War Room is at your disposal. If you form your argument into something civil and well presented, people are more inclined to read it and respond in kind.

Pre-editing notice

This wiki has been around for more than a decade and, although it has had its ups and downs with community activity, there have always been people to devote their time on the articles by creating new ones or expanding on or rewriting the existing content. Since nothing is perfect, the Avatar Wiki will always be a never-ending project, as each user can bring something new to the table and build on what is already there. As such, do not be afraid to dive in when you see something that needs fixing, be it a grammar or spelling mistake, a factual error, or even the lack of certain content by creating a new page altogether.

Although there is this virtual "hierarchy" on any wiki due to administrators having more technical rights than other registered users, this does not mean in that an administrator—or any other user for that matter—has more rights to decide something than anyone else. The hierarchy is purely technical and needed for site maintenance but does not stretch out to "running the wiki", as it is the community as a whole through means of open debate and consensus who decides the direction of this wiki. So if you find yourself in disagreement with another user, even if they have been granted additional rights on this wiki or Fandom in general, or if you have a suggestion to alter the workings of this wiki, do not feel intimidated in the least and just start the conversation, as your opinion is just as valuable as theirs. Open dialogue is key; civil conversation, even in the heat of the moment, is the norm; and generally just know that action and reaction are a duo, so treat someone how you would like to be treated.

Main space editing

Manual of Style

Main article: Manual of Style

The Manual of Style (often abbreviated MoS or MOS) is a style guide for all Avatar Wiki articles and official content. It establishes our house style, to assist editors produce articles with consistent, clear, and precise language, layout, and formatting. The goal is to improve the encyclopedia and ensure it is easier and more intuitive to use. Consistency in style and formatting promotes clarity and cohesion, as well as allow for easier maintenance through the use of automated bots.

The Manual of Style really is a document that everyone should read before starting to edit, as it allows you to immediately follow the preferred editing style, which omits the need for other editors to correct formatting discrepancies and avoids the frustration or intimidation one feels from having their first edits reverted or heavily altered. This goes for new editors, but also seasoned editors are invited to often revisit the Manual of Style.

Although this does in no way replace the need to read the document completely, we are aware of the daunting length of the article and will, therefore, highlight a few things:

  • American spelling should be used on all canon encyclopedia articles.
  • Unnecessary capitalization should be avoided and reserved for proper nouns only, so only use capital letters where they would be used in a normal sentence.
    • The bending arts are not considered proper nouns.
  • Article titles are sentence case (or sentence-style) and use the singular form.
  • Any canon articles of the Avatar universe are written "in-universe", meaning that the article should be written as if the Avatar world was the real world. As such, episodes should not be referred to in a sentence, and characters should not be treated as fictional constructs.
    E.g. Aang, a male Air Nomad, was the Avatar during the century-long conflict known as the Hundred Year War and After his victory over the Phoenix King, Aang began a romantic relationship with his close friend, Katara are sentences written in an in-universe perspective. Aang is the main character of Avatar: The Last Airbender series and After the end of Book 3, Aang began a romantic relationship with his close friend, Katara are considered in an out-universe perspective as they include connections to the real world.
    • These articles include all characters, locations, flora and fauna, events, etc. Trivia sections and real world articles are examples of cases when in-universe writing is not always necessary.
  • Real world articles are written from "our" perspective.
    • These includes all actors, staff, episodes, and film articles.
  • Formal use of language is mandatory on all canon encyclopedia articles. Contractions are not used for main space editing.
  • The content covered in the history sections of articles is written in the past tense.
  • Use images sparingly, the focus lies on the written word.

Another note-worthy point many users see corrected on their edits: the usage of spaces. After a title (== Title ==), no space is included, the text immediately begins underneath it. For a handy preview of the used code layout, view this page.

Edit summary

Several edits are made each day on this wiki, and to help the users devoting their time on checking every one of them, you should always leave a short edit summary before publishing your change. For your convenience, a list of standard edit summaries has been provided in a drop-down menu from which you can choose if you do not want to write one yourself. The summary does not need to explain everything in detail, a few concise words will suffice, as the goal is to better convey the intention of the edit and thus avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

E.g. When you have rewritten something, you can either select the standard edit summary "rewrite" or add one yourself to provide more detail, like "rewrite for fluency" or "rewrite to remove subjective statement", to convey the goal of your edit.

The same practice is to be used when undoing an edit: by including a reason in your edit summary rather than leaving the standard "Undid revision X from user Y", the original editor instantly knows why their edit was undone, which fosters good communication and a healthy community spirit. It allows users to learn from mistakes, or if their edit was undone for a reason they do not agree with, opens the door for civil conversation about it with the user who undid the edit.

When you notice that a user keeps making the same errors in their editing, it is also beneficial to contact them directly on their wall to discuss the matter in more detail than the edit summary will allow. Additionally, if two users had a lengthy discussion about something and came to a compromise, the edit summary of the contribution reflecting the consensus should contain a link to the discussion, so others may know why something was rewritten a certain way and thus avoid an ongoing "edit-war" (i.e. editors in disagreement repeatedly overriding each other's contributions).

Changing main quote/profile image

Most pages sport a colorful quote at the top of the page describing the character or the article's topic in one sentence, and a larger image portraying it, usually in an infobox. Since the criterium "best representation" is inherent subjective, which can naturally give rise to a difference in opinion, it is the community who decides which quote and which image is to be used. If there is no quote and/or image on the page yet, you are free to add one with the "best representation" criterium in mind, though if you wish to change an existing quote/image, there is a procedure to follow where you can request a change that will be implemented if it gathers consensus. If it does not, the users voting against your suggestion will have left a reasoning from which you can learn.

More specific instructions can be found on the respective pages:

Images

Main article: Image policy

As you may have gathered from the extensive Manual of Style and comprehensive layout guide, the Avatar Wiki places its primary focus on the written word rather than visual aids. However, an entire block of text does nothing for the aesthetics of a page, nor does it encourage people to start reading it. Therefore, images are an essential part of an article but never the main focus; their job is to support the information provided by the text and provide an attractive whole to draw people in. As such, be mindful of the page's length when you want to add another image and make sure the visual addition does not appear to clutter the page, lest it be removed again.

E.g. For a shorter page, a few images will suffice to make the text more attractive to start reading, whereas too many images will overpower the text and draw away attention from it.

Tying in with the images purpose of increasing a page's aesthetic, we attempt to position the images as clearly as possible, meaning that the images will mostly be aligned in a "left-right-left" or "right-left-right" sequence, and they are all given the same size, i.e. 200px. In that regard, the correct image format on a page is [[File:filename.png|thumb|right/left|200px|Description.]]

Things to be on alert for when adding images:

  • Quality: as we strive for our articles to have the highest possible quality, our images are held to the same standard. As such, images that are blurry, have poor lighting, or feature a logo are not to be uploaded and will be deleted on sight by an administrators.
  • Galleries: image galleries are to be avoided, their usage restricted to certain pages where they are indispensable to convey the information correctly and completely.
  • Gifs and logos: gifs and images sporting logos, no matter how high the quality, are not to be uploaded.
  • Images are also not to be uploaded when they are solely used on a user profile, blog post, or conversation thread.

All uploaded images must have a license and a source. You can do this by adding an imagebox to the image page itself. Its proper usage is explained here.

Most commonly used licenses are:

  • canon: for canon screenshots taken from the animated series or the live-action film that are used in canon articles
  • fanon: for any canon image used solely in a fanon page
  • canon/fanon: for canon screenshots that are used both in canon and fanon pages
  • fanon-self: for fanart based on elements from the Avatar series used on fanon pages
E.g. A fan-made image of someone bending, even if the person does not resemble a known character.
  • self: for fanart that has nothing to do with the Avatar series
E.g. A fan-made image of a tree
  • comic: for images taken from Avatar comics

If these specifications are not given for the image, the image will be deleted again, this to avoid copyright violations.

Categories

Main article: Categorization policy

Categories are a powerful tool to group pages about a similar subject together and provide an easy way to navigate between them. Avatar Wiki has an elaborate categorization tree that, generally speaking, already has enough branches, meaning that many a time, extra category additions will be undone because the relevant categories are already added. However, this does not mean that no new categories can be added ever, but they should only be created when they can encompass a significant number of relevant articles. To prevent the wild grow of new categories and avoid the subjectivity that comes from the "significant number" criterium, new ideas for a category should be brought to the Avatar Wiki:War Room, where the community will decide whether or not the potential new category meets the necessary standards.

Providing links

Main article: Links

To be the ultimate and complete encyclopedia for everything Avatar related is that goal. Having many articles is thus a splendid thing, but if no one can find them or notice how everything in the Avatar world is connected, all our hard work has been for nothing. Thus, in order to create an easy navigational segue between our pages, a page should contain links to the other pages on this wiki when relevant, though overlinking is to be avoided; there is no need to link every instance of "Avatar" on Aang's page.

To add a link, surround the word with brackets. Note, however, that the surrounded word must be exactly the same as the title of the page you want to link to lest the link will appear red and lead to an empty page instead.

E.g. [[Aang]], not [[Avatar Aang]]

If you do want to link to a page but have the shown text appear different than the actual name of the page, a "pipe-link" is to be created.

E.g. [[Aang|the last surviving Air Nomad]]

Adding references

Main article: Verifiability

Content that is posted on Avatar Wiki canon articles must be verifiable. In other words, all information treated as fact on this site must be able to be supported by a reliable, published source or it will be removed.

When you add information coming from a certain episode or comic, add <ref name="Episode abbreviation">{{Cite episode|series number|season and episode number}}</ref> or {<ref name="Comic abbreviation">{{Cite comic|comic shortcut}} after the added information.

E.g. To cite information coming from the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, "The Boy in the Iceberg", add <ref name="BI">{{Cite episode|1|101}}</ref>.
E.g. To cite information coming from the first episode of The Legend of Korra, "Welcome to Republic City", add <ref name="WRC">{{Cite episode|2|101}}</ref>.
E.g. To cite information coming from Turf Wars Part One, add <ref name="TW1">{{Cite comic|TW1}}</ref>.

A full list of abbreviations for all the episodes can be found here and for the comics here.

Now what is the use of those abbreviations? By providing a name for the reference, we are able to shorten the reference when it is used multiple times in the same article. The first time a reference is used in a text, it is written in full, and the second time, it can be shortened to simply <ref name="Episode abbreviation" />

E.g. <ref name="WRC">{{Cite episode|2|101}}</ref> is shortened on second usage to <ref name="WRC" />

When adding references to a page that previously did not contain any references, include the following title at the bottom of the page:

== References ==
{{Reflist}}

Page layout

Main article: Layout guide

Article layout is to a large extent standardized on Avatar Wiki. Sections and their headings should largely be consistent across broadly similar categories of articles. In addition, all articles should have lead sections that summarize the subject of an article, unless otherwise stated, and the applicable infobox template if one exists.

What can I still do?

This seems to be the question of many users, and the answer is pretty simple: plenty, although it may not always seem like that. The goal of this wiki is to be the most accurate, objective, and complete encyclopedia about everything Avatar related. What we currently have has literally taken years to build and will take many more to be perfected, if that is even ever possible, especially since there is still new content being released through the means of comics, graphic novels, and books. As such, everyone can still help out by rewriting existing articles to be of a higher standard, expand them by adding any missing information, weed out any and all factual errors you can find, complete the transcripts by adding scene descriptions and missing dialogues, etc.

Do not be hesitant to rewrite an article if you believe it is poorly written or even when it is written just fine. If you believe you can improve a page's sentence flow, clarify information, correct grammar/syntax/spelling, by all means, please do so. Content is constantly evolving due to many people with different perspectives working together by building on what others created before them. We strongly encourage everyone to take part in this synergy. A community is stronger than any individual, so do not hesitate to contribute in any way you can, but also do not take it personal if someone removes or rewrites what you have done; that is just the natural flow of the wiki.

Now what is that elusive "high standard" we speak of? A high standard article is an article that checks off the following points:

  • academic language: although the Avatar franchise is geared to all ages, the Avatar Wiki aims to be an objective encyclopedia, which requires a business-professional approach.
  • comprehensive: the article contains all information relevant to its topic.
  • credibility and verifiability: the article has ample references to back up any and all statements made.
  • focused: the information presented on the article is written with a clear focus on the subject without trailing off too much about relating subjects.
  • original and varied writing: do not simply copy writing from somewhere else and make use of word variation to keep your writing interesting and fresh.
  • proper spelling and grammar
  • properly structured: avoid entire blocks of text and create and appealing aesthetic through the use of carefully selected images

Things to look for

  • Word variation: avoid repetition of the same word over and over again. Sites providing synonyms are a true help when it comes to editing, so when you find that a certain word has been overused, try using a synonym.
E.g. Aang was an airbender. He lived at the Southern Air Temple instead of Aang was an airbender. Aang lived at the Southern Air Temple.
  • Fluency: merging sentences together into one larger sentence can sometimes be beneficial for the flow of the article.
E.g. Aang was an airbender who resided at the Southern Air Temple instead of Aang was an airbender. He lived at the Southern Air Temple

However, the use of connectors and punctuation to separate ideas can also be beneficial in certain cases.

E.g. Aang approached his soon-to-be pet sky bison Appa and offered him an apple, which Appa accepted, thus marking the start of their friendship instead of Aang approached his soon-to-be pet sky bison Appa offered him an apple which Appa accepted marking the start of their friendship
  • Encyclopedism: remember this wiki is an Avatar encyclopedia, so its content must be written encyclopedically. This means pages should always be written in a neutral point of view, avoiding subject value judgments and personal opinions.
  • Clarity: having a high-standard sentence with big words is great and all, but if people do not understand it, we have missed our point. There is a difference between using big words for the sake of being eloquent, and using big words to use big words, so that no one really knows what is being said. Avoid over-complication of a sentence.
  • Relevancy: a page about something is meant to convey information about a given character or object or location. However, "conveying information" does not mean that every little known detail about the subject of the page should be included. The same principle applies to the creation of articles: new pages should be about relevant characters, locations, objects, etc. Otherwise, its deletion may be proposed and discussed.
  • Factual correction: little mistakes sometimes find their way into the articles. When you spot something that has no canonical evidence to back it up, edit it out.
  • Speculation: this is an objective and encyclopedic wiki, which means that we will only host things on our pages that are confirmed by an official source. In that light, everything that is not known or has a clear opinion-based theory that has wormed its way into the articles should be removed.
E.g. The tower's appearance is a reference to the real-world Eiffel Tower. This has never been confirmed, though the resemblance is uncanny. Therefore the trivia in itself can remain, but should be written without the speculative statement that it is in fact a reference to the Eiffel Tower: The tower bears a distinct resemblance to the real-world Eiffel Tower
  • American English spelling: on this wiki, we employ the American spelling of the English language, so even though the British and American spelling styles are nowadays often interchangeable, the American style is the preferred one.
  • Images: are the used images up-to-date? Do they convey the best possible message? If not, change them. If there are too many images, remove the most irrelevant ones.
  • "Needs help" pages: some pages are tagged with a {{Needshelp}} (found here), {{UC}} (found here), or {{Images}} template (found here), indicating that the page could use expansion, is still under construction, or needs images to be added, respectively. Take a look at those page to see whether or not you can be of assistance.

Fanon portal editing

Main article: Creating a fanon

For those editors willing to create a new fanon but do not know how, make sure to check out the fanon editing guide.

For those editors willing to edit someone else's fanon, a few words of caution. In general, you are allowed to edit some else's fanon articles when it comes to grammar and spelling errors. However, know that while the main space articles follow the American English style of spelling, the same does not go for the fanon portal, where authors are free to use British/Australian/... or English spelling as well.

When editing the article of someone else, do not alter any of the content beyond the correction of grammar and spelling unless you have the author's permission.

Images

Main article: Images on fanon

All canon images are allowed to be used in fanon pages without a quantity limit, however, non-canon ones, such as fanart or from another series, can be added with a limit of three per page. If you think your page needs even more than three of these images, you can hotlink them by using the {{Hotlink}} template.

Linking

Linking to a fanon page is similar to linking to a main space page. However, note that since the fanon portal is a separate portal on the Avatar Wiki, the exact name of a fanon page always includes the prefix "Fanon". Since this is often unwanted to be shown in the link, a pipe link must be created to get rid of it.

E.g. [[Fanon:Cake (Scarf)]] shows up as Fanon:Cake (Scarf)
E.g. [[Fanon:Cake (Scarf)|Cake]] shows up as Cake

To avoid having to type the prefix "Fanon" over and over again and "piping" every link, a shorter way of linking is possible.

E.g. {{F|Cake (Scarf)}} shows up as Cake (Scarf)
E.g. {{F|Cake (Scarf)|Cake}} shows up as Cake

Film portal editing

Linking

To link to a film page is done almost in an identical fashion as linking to a fanon page. The film portal is a separate portal as well on the Avatar Wiki and, as such, the exact name of a film page always includes the prefix "Film". Since this is unwanted to be shown in the link, a pipe link must be created to get rid of it.

E.g. [[Film:Aang]] shows up as Film:Aang
E.g. [[Film:Aang|Avatar Aang]] shows up as Avatar Aang

To avoid having to "pipe-link" every link, a shorter way of linking is possible.

E.g. {{Film|Aang}} shows up as Aang
E.g. {{Film:Aang|Avatar Aang}} shows up as Avatar Aang

Transcript editing

The main difficulty of editing transcripts is the code that is being used to create the table the words are in. Although looking complicated, the codes being used are rather simple and user friendly.

Things to note:

  • Scene elaborations: when they stand alone, they are to be written in italics. To do that, add '' at the start and at the end of the paragraph describing a scene, including terminal punctuation.
  • When adding some scene elaboration within the lines of someone, the text is to be included between [ ], also written in italics.
E.g. [''Slightly amused.''] What is that contraption?
  • When no speaker is indicated in the first column, it is to remain a lighter yellow.
E.g.
Korra [Slightly amused.] What is that contraption?
The scene switches to a back shot of the three children as Korra and Tenzin pull up. Korra gazes in awe at the airbending tool.
Tenzin A time-honored tool that teaches the most fundamental aspect of airbending. Jinora, would you like to explain this exercise?
The previous bit of transcript is made with the following "codes":
!Korra
|[''Slightly amused.''] What is ''that'' contraption?
|-
|
|''The scene switches to a back shot of the three children as Korra and Tenzin pull up. Korra gazes in awe at the airbending tool.''
|-
!Tenzin
|A time-honored tool that teaches the most fundamental aspect of airbending. Jinora, would you like to explain this exercise?

User page editing

Main article: User page policy

Many people want to have a fancy looking user page. In order to easily create this, certain user and infoboxes have been created for that.

  • To add a fancy infobox like so many users sport on their user page that holds their personal information, copy and paste the code of the following infobox to your own userpage: {{user infobox}}.
    • Note that if you do not want to fill in a certain bit of information, you just leave the parameter blank and it will not show up.
    • To alter the color of the box, add "fire", "air", "water", "earth", "spirit", "URN", or "neutral" behind the parameter "nation", exactly as given. If entered differently, the code will not work and the infobox will remain the standard brown.
  • Boxes indicating you (do not) support or (do not) like a character, can be found here. Copy and paste the code to your own page and fill in according to your own wishes.

A few things to note though. In order to somewhat regulate the inflow of images to the wiki, it is not allowed to upload images and/or gifs to solely be used on your user page. Those images will always be deleted. However, to show them off anyway, you can always link to them from an image-hosting site through means of the {{hotlink}} template.

Things to avoid

Badge-editing

Main article: Assume good faith

Badge-editing is the practice where a user edits for the sole goal to obtain badges and gather points. Usually, these edits are quick and unconstructive edits, like quickly adding several categories that do not apply to a certain page, adding random images, or making random edits that are often incorrect. Badge-editing is a blockable offense on this wiki.

However, a note of caution, something may be seen as badge-editing when it is not. In order to avoid your edits being seen as badge-editing, make the inclusion of an edit summary a habit, so a reasonable and fundamental short explanation of your edit is given.

Edit warring

Main article: Edit warring policy

An "edit war" is the situation where someone adds something to a page, that edit is undone, then immediately undone again, and again, and again. Needless to say, situations like this are unproductive and result to nothing.

It is normal that users disagree from time to time about something, but when this happens, there are a few key elements to remember:

  1. A disagreement of opinions does not mean that one opinion is worthier than the other. The opinion of an administrator is not worthier than that of an anonymous user; the opinion of a rollback is not worthier than that of a registered user. All opinions are equal, so present them civilly and with good arguments.
  2. A disagreement of opinions does not mean that one user is "out to get" the other user and is "gunning" for him/her, just for the sake of being antagonistic.
  3. A disagreement of opinions is just that, a disagreement of opinions. It is not a disagreement with the user as a whole, nor disrespecting them in any way. Two users can be the best of friends, but disagree on certain elements, but still remain respectful to each other.

When you find your edit being undone, take a step back and look – was the edit correct? Were they correct to undo what you wrote? If you still feel you were right, you can undo their edit one more time and provide extra reasoning for why you feel that your edit was correct. If you find your edit being undone again, do not undo the edit again, but start a conversation with that user and tell him/her civilly why you feel otherwise about a certain point. By creating a dialogue, you can work together to create something better than before. Two minds think better than one.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.