Girl Genius
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Girl Genius

In which is codified all the stuff that goes into making a "good article," written in a way both pleasing and helpful to the community. This is a work in progress that is subject to the same tweaks and twiddles as anything else on this wiki. It is also intended to provide guidance rather than restrictions. The most important principle of writing articles for a wiki is: If you see a topic that needs to be covered by an article and you can write about it, write about it and let others clean up the style and formatting if necessary. So also here.

Basic principles[]

There are three basic principles to follow as you write:

  1. First and foremost, have fun, help others to have fun, and don't interfere with the fun of others (e.g. by spamming or gratuitous personal attacks).
  2. Try to write in a way that simultaneously informs and entertains.
  3. Be mindful of copyright issues and other things that could create problems for the wiki.

The first two are fairly obvious in concept, if not necessarily in practice. The third may not be. This is a "public domain" wiki and anything written here becomes public-domain when it appears. Material written by the Foglios and Airship Entertainment is not public-domain; it is copyrighted and owned by them. Copying material from the Girl Genius pages lock, stock and barrel is therefore inappropriate, although inclusion of brief quotations and segments of images "for review purposes" generally is consistent with copyright law. Absolutely do not take the entire contents of the Girl Genius Complete List of Absolutely Everybody pertaining to a character and stick it in an article here! That's awfully hard to justify as a brief quotation for review purposes, and it's disrespectful to some authors that we respect and want to work with. Be scrupulously careful with copyright issues; they're the one bit of serious trouble you can get into here.

Article construction[]

General outline[]

Some articles will be fairly simple, just a couple of paragraphs of text. As an article grows, however, it is desirable to create sections with individual headings

==Like so==

Breaking an article into sections, with as brief (and spoiler-free) an introduction as possible before the first heading, is especially desirable as short sections tend to accumulate at the bottom of an article, and when the total number reaches about five, the wikiengine will include a contents box for all sections immediately above the first section heading, and it is aesthetically displeasing to have this beneath the main content of the article.

What is this creeping horror that comes to swallow the tail of your article? First (from the bottom), there is the References section, created by the Reflist template which is (or should be considered) required for displaying footnotes created with <ref></ref> markup. Then, the Questions and Theories section with a list of links to the Forum topics discussing the unwarranted assumptions you made. (If you don't create section headings the person who excises these assumptions from your article should do so, but you are encouraged to preëmpt their perception and subsequent definition of its structure.) Above this is the infamous Possibly Relevant Outside Information section, in which some wag who is unfortunately also the wiki bureaucrat (or anyone) will free-associate with items appearing in what is known as the outside world, i.e., the real one. (Real-world history and geography are especially appropriate when confined here, but frequently these are inferred references to other fictional works, with cognizance that Kaja is a self-described otaku.) Above this are sections referring to data of increasing canonicity: The Works, the various short stories and radio plays, Othar's Twitter, and Behind the Scenes (which has been seen to contain the so-called "word of God"). Above or among these (depending on what it contains) is the See also section, which refers readers to other articles in the wiki which didn't make it into the main text. At this writing, frequently "See Also" is merely used to refer to a "Secret Blueprints" article; it may be that such a reference is an ideal item to place in a spoiler-free introduction, since the Secret Blueprints were canonical at one time but are now generally overtaken.

Articles on people (including Jägermonsters, etc.)[]

Example: Zeetha, Daughter of Chump

People are the essence of the story of Girl Genius, and it's important to get articles on people right. Note that "people" are not necessarily the same thing as "humans;" Krosp I, Emperor of All Cats, qualifies as a "people" despite definitely not being human, and so do Jägermonsters and many other Constructs. A general rule is: if it displays intelligence, free will (if you believe in such things...), and a personality, it's a people.

Naming conventions[]

An important resource for authors creating "people" articles is the Girl Genius Complete List of Absolutely Everybody!, or GGCLAE for short. This is a part of the main Studio Foglio site wherein the Professors Foglio have tried to compile brief sketches on all the characters they can think of, and it's enormously valuable to us here. The overriding general principle for all character names is: If in doubt, call the character what the Foglios call him/her/it. This will avoid confusion as readers flip back and forth between story and wiki. 90% of all character names can and should be lifted directly from the GGCLAE and made the article titles.

Remarkably enough, the GGCLAE is not a "complete" list; there are a few -- very few -- named characters that have (or will/should have) articles here but aren't mentioned in the GGCLAE. In these cases, the name of the article is something of a judgment call, but the principle is again to call 'em what the Foglios call 'em, i.e., use the names as they appear in Girl Genius itself. In the incredibly rare cases where even this general principle doesn't produce clear guidance, err on the side of the most "complete" name for the character that appears in the comic. Redirects can always be created to allow use of more terse names within the bodies of articles. There are also a very few spelling errors (horrors!) in the GGCLAE. When in doubt, the spellings in Girl Genius itself take precedence, but don't worry too much about this issue -- moves and redirects can fix most problems resulting from GGCLAE misspellings.

When creating a regular article that describes a type of person, use a singular name: jägermonster, construct, spark. In the text of articles, a name of this form can easily be converted to a plural as necessary (unless it contains a prepositional phrase like "of Jove" in "Knight of Jove" or uses a plural form that requires dropping letters) simply by adding the -s or -es outside the link. That is, "[[jägermonster]]s" renders as "jägermonsters".

Infobox[]

The first thing in a "people" article should be the "infobox" that will appear at the upper right-hand corner of the finished page, giving the basics about the subject of the article. To incorporate the standard infobox into your article, copy the following text into it at the very beginning of the article:

{{Character
|title= 
|image= 
|imagecaption= 
|name= 
|age= 
|occupation= 
|residence= 
|faction= 
|debut= 
|death= 
|resurrected= 
|creator= 
|function= 
|house= 
|parents= 
|children= 
|relatives= 
|marital status= 
}}

This segment should go before any text in the article itself, even the name of the character. That'll help with organization of the article as you go on.

Once this is in place, fill in any of the entries for which you know the answer. If you don't know a particular bit of information, leave the item blank; do not remove it. The wikimarkup is smart enough that it won't display entries where nothing appears on the right-hand side of the equals sign, and by leaving the blank field in place, you make it easier to add the data if future events provide them.

Content[]

Articles on people should start by explaining briefly who the character is and why he/she/it is important to the story. Follow this with a section on the character's personal history or backstory, to the extent that it's known. Links in this section to Girl Genius episodes that illustrate key moments in the history are a very good idea; see below under "References" for how to include them. Next, include information on notable characteristics of the character, including his/her/its relationships with other characters, etc., and other such fun stuff as appears appropriate. If any of these sections run longer than a paragraph or so, delimit sections after the introductory one with section titles, e.g. ==Personal History==. (Note: please start with second-level titles, i.e., with two equals-signs on either side of the title, not one; section titles looking like =This one= should not be used.)

Strive to keep the content of these articles descriptive and neutral, but they need not be sterile; this isn't Wikipedia we're developing here. A little speculation now and then is OK as a narrative hook, but most speculation should be reserved for Forum articles rather than spots in the main part of the wiki. Avoid first-person-singular inclusions with opinions ("I think that Bangladesh DuPree is HAWT!"), but some first-person-plural colloquialisms every now and then are OK ("We've seen Bang at work doing her blood-and-gore thing at Sturmhalten"), as are similar, second-person bits of color ("you wouldn't believe how much damage Bang can do to an army when she puts her mind to it"). Just don't overdo them.

In general, use the present tense when writing Character articles. It's an ongoing story, and readers will be referring to archived episodes in real time. However, if a character has shuffled off this mortal coil, use of past tense is OK.

Articles on places[]

Most of the guidelines for articles on "People" also apply to articles on "Places." However, there is no infobox for places, so just jump right in and go through the general description, history/backstory, interesting properties of a place, and so on.

If the place is customarily referred to by its actual name, capitalize words in the article's title just as you would for any other proper name (e.g. Castle Heterodyne, Balan's Gap). It may eventually happen that places without known proper names become important enough in the story to justify articles (e.g. "Bar at the end of Wulfenbach Street"). The same principle applies: capitalize words in the proper name, but not others, except for the first one.

Real life[]

Some of the places in Girl Genius (Vienna, Paris, etc.) have clear real-world equivalents. As a general rule, minimize the content on those equivalents, although it's OK to include pointers to the relevant Wikipedia articles. In other cases there is a conjectured equivalent -- Girl Genius locale X is described as being in the same place as real-world locale Y. Pointing out these speculative equivalents isn't particularly encouraged, but neither is it forbidden; however, if you do say something about them, do it in a separate section (with a "Real Life" header), make it clear that the connection is speculative, and don't overdo it. As a general rule, articles in the wiki are of Girl Genius, about Girl Genius, and for Girl Genius. We spend plenty of time in the real world as is, without infecting our fantasy world with it!

Articles on things[]

Example: Monster Horse Beastie

As with types of people, use a singular noun as the name of an article even if many instances of the thing exist and even if the they generally congregate.

Many "things" articles should start with an infobox based on the {{Device}} template (see below). As with the "Character" infobox, you can simplify your editing by simply including the following at the beginning of the article:

{{Device
|image= 
|creator= 
|use= 
|debut= 
}}

Then follow the same general principles for populating this infobox as you do for the Character infobox.

Some specific types of "things" articles:

Clanks and constructs[]

Most clanks and constructs should be treated descriptively, with article titles to match, e.g. Spider Clank and Monster Horse Beastie. If you're not sure what to call the contraption, it never hurts to use the same terminology the Foglios do. The GGCLAE contains entries for some Clanks and Constructs, and the navigation bar on comic pages (directly under the comic itself) often provides tips as to what something might be called -- sometimes at odds with GGCLAE, so use your best judgment. Some Constructs (particularly Jägermonsters) and a very few Clanks have enough of a personality to be treated as "People," with the People infobox (above) leading off the article.

Use this infobox template for biological non-sapients:

{{Monster
|image= 
|creator= 
|function= 
|debut= 
}}

Abstractions[]

One of the great joys of Girl Genius is the story's development of a number of exotic abstract concepts -- the concept of the Spark, Kolee-dok-Zumil, and so on. Abstractions are absolutely fair game for wiki articles. However, they are prone to the inclusion of personal speculation on how they work, which is a problem because readers of the article may have a hard time sorting the known facts from personal viewpoints and opinions. When writing an article on an abstraction, try to stick with what's definitely known, or at least strongly supported by evidence. Use Forum:Fan Theories for speculation and conjecture, and include pointers to the Forum as you write the article. (Note: it usually isn't appropriate to use the Device template for articles of this type.)

Articles that don't fit the patterns[]

Not everything of interest in Girl Genius is a people, place or thing. Many of the outliers don't fit smoothly into a category, and for such things, the basic guidance is simply "keep it neat." A few specifics:

Lists[]

Example: List of Known Heterodyne Stories

Before creating an article composed entirely or largely of a list, ponder carefully whether it adds value. Lists that are lock-stock-and-barrel duplicative of a Category may not be worth creating. However, a list article does allow some things that a Category does not, notably commentary on list items, which can be a good thing. Create list articles thoughtfully and judiciously, but not reluctantly. (Incidentally, there is a category for lists; use this category if you write a list article.)

When creating a list, use either the standard bulleted format as in the example above, or a table (e.g. Cast - Volume I—this exact format should be used for subsequent cast lists). Do not give each list element its own heading with equals signs (that is, ===like this===). Using the equal-sign markup leads to preposterously long tables of contents that make an article difficult to read; look at some of the early edits to Master Payne's Circus of Adventure to see why that's a problem. However, sub-lists may be separated by headings if it improves readability and allows commentary.

Images[]

Images should be used sparingly; our goal here isn't to duplicate Girl Genius itself, after all, plus we want to stay away from things that invite copyright issues. However, there are a few situations where images are to the point. The primary place for an image is the infobox at the start of "People" and "Device" articles (see above), which has a field for a single image showing the person or thing who's the subject of the article. Other, less systematic opportunities to show images may come up from time to time, but no more than two images per article, please.

Images used in the infoboxes should be cropped so that they show the subject and nobody else, to the extent possible. It's OK to have small fragments of other people/places/things in the image if there's no easy way to crop them out, but make sure the emphasis is on the subject. Speech bubbles can appear as needed, but should be minimized unless they illustrate something important about the character. Infobox images should be no more than 200 pixels wide, as the Infobox template will crunch them down to this size; choose your cropping accordingly.

Chronology[]

For the Characters section, list the characters for each page in the order in which they speak. List the speaking characters (in speaking order) and then the non-speaking characters (in left to right, front to back order) from the first panel and then do the same for each successive panel, listing only characters who haven't appeared in previous panels on the page, until there are no characters on the page that haven't been listed.

Grammar, spelling and all that stuff[]

American English is the standard for this wiki (Girl Genius, after all, originates in the United States), so that "defense" is preferred to "defence", "color" to "colour", "emphasize" to "emphasise", and so on. However, conformity to a particular dialect shouldn't be a fall-on-your-sword issue. If you're more comfortable with British or Australian or (insert favorite country here) English than with American English, go ahead and write your article as you see fit; subsequent edits may rephrase the thing in American English, or there may be a shrug of the community's collective shoulders and the article will stand as written. Either way, edit wars over dialects are discouraged. Please be tolerant of others.

This said, there's always room for both accuracy and a bit of color (colour?) in your article. The article on the Klaus Defence League is properly titled, because the virtual organization that the article described is named in conformity to Commonwealth English rather than American English. And if hyu vants to write someting about a Jägermonster using dat Jägerisch dialect dat dey use, dat's OK too.


First, second, third person[]

The fundamental mode for most articles is third person—"Character X first appears here, she does this," and so on, and the use of I or you is unnecessary, with the exception that the article's author and the reader are occasionally collectively referred to as we, as in "we see Character X appearing here." However, this isn't an encyclopedia we're constructing here; it's a wiki, and it's supposed to be fun. It's OK to include the odd witticism that breaks the fourth wall—"Ognian thinks he's leading-man material, and if you believe that, you probably believe that Mel Brooks is leading-man material too." Just don't overdo it, and try to keep first-person singular out of your writing, except in talk pages (where your opinion matters, so express it as such, and sign it with four squiggles, ~~~~). Speaking of which: do not sign contributions to the articles themselves, except for Forum articles. (Although given the ease of correcting the former and neglecting the latter, it would almost be better to make signing your habit.)

Verb tense[]

Articles may use both the present and past tenses where appropriate. In general, use:

  • Present tense for current events ('Agatha is currently in Castle Heterodyne'), timeless statements ('Many monsters live in the sewers'), and discussion about the comic ('Girl Genius describes the adventures of…'; 'Character X first appears here').
  • Past tense for events that occurred in the past within the universe ('Tarsus Beetle was killed by his own bomb'), dead people ('Dr. Vg was a researcher aboard Castle Wulfenbach'), etc.

Referencing your work[]

Internal references ("wikilinks")[]

Use of wikilinks to other articles in the wiki is a Good Thing, and if you're in doubt as to whether to include a link, go ahead and include it; there's practically no downside. There's no reason why the links can't be fun. If you're writing an article that references Yeti as a big, hairy, bare-chested guy, it's OK to use the wikimarkup [[Yeti|big, hairy, bare-chested guy]] rather than the bland [[Yeti]] if it makes the article more interesting to read. However, make sure to give the article a particularly careful proofreading before saving things like this, as they're rather prone to typos that can have ... interesting ... results.

Categories[]

When linking in Categories (which is strongly encouraged), please follow these conventions:

  • For characters with common, two-part names (e.g. Lucrezia Mongfish), the categories should cite them so that they appear in alphabetical order, last name first -- that is, Lucrezia Mongfish should follow Lucifer Mongfish in the category and precede [[Ludwig Mongfish]] (if there's ever a character by that name). To achieve this, use the wikimarkup [[Category:(whatever)|(last name), (first name)]] . For example: [[Category:Villains|Mongfish, Lucrezia]].
  • Character pages with titles (nobility, medical, etc.) should be sorted by last name rather than by the title. Duke Strinbeck, for example, should have a sort like: [[Category:Villains|Strinbeck, Duke]].
  • For articles on human characters with "unusual" names, preserve the spirit of the alphabetization. For example, the article on the Baron's rescuer The Unstoppable Higgs should have categories like: [[Category:Wulfenbach minions|Higgs, The Unstoppable]].
  • Place names, names of Clanks, etc., are all handled just by calling them what they are; for example, for categories in the article on Smilin' Stev, the usual [[Category:Master Payne's Circus of Adventure]] will do; there's no reason to gild the lily with something like [[Category:Master Payne's Circus of Adventure|Stev, Smilin']]. Humans should be entitled to some additional respect here, after all!
  • Leading articles should be suppressed by the sort; for example, the Heterodyne play The Fog Merchant should be treated as "Fog Merchant, The" for categorization, so its link to the category should look like [[Category:Master Payne's Circus of Adventure|Fog Merchant, The]].

Tip: If you do create an article that will use some name other than the article name for properly alphabetizing the category entries, the DEFAULTSORT switch can save you a lot of typing. For example, in the Lucrezia Mongfish example above, if you include {{DEFAULTSORT:Mongfish, Lucrezia}} in your article right before the categories, you won't have to mess around with each individual category; the last name will be used for all categories as the alphabetical starting point. Use of this switch is encouraged unless there's some reason not to use it.

External references[]

See also: Girl Genius:Citations

Illustrate your points within an article by referring to the page that makes the point for you. For example, if you're writing about Bangladesh DuPree's broken jaw, include a pointer to the episode where it's shown wired shut (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20070718) by using our handy template. To create a link to a comic page, omit everything up to and including the date=, e.g. {{GG_link|20070718|text of link}}. This template produces links that are distinct from other links in this Wiki.

This template can either be used as an inline reference or as a footnote. Either method is acceptable, but please strive for consistency in the way you do references within a single article.

  • Inline: {{GG_link|20070718|like this}}, in which case the text that incorporates the synonym will look like this
  • Footnote: <ref>{{GG_link|20070718|Bang's broken jaw.}}</ref>, in which the outcome will look like this.[1] (You should see a reference at the bottom of the page, in the form of a footnote.) Note that if you're using this syntax, be sure to include the template {{Reflist}} at the end of the article so that the references will be listed there.

Whichever method you prefer, please make the linked text meaningful. In particular, do not use the word "here" or other generic terms for the clickable link text. Be specific and be clear. You may cite volume and page numbers if you wish, but please note that there are sometimes differences in page numbering between online and print versions. Make a note of which source you've used.

Please take care with references to the world beyond, e.g. Wikipedia or Wiktionary. Readers know that there's life beyond Girl Genius, and you don't really have to point it out to them. All references to the world outside the comic should be clearly marked. If you quote from a Wikipedia article at length (for example in the Transylvania article), Wikipedia's "Copyleft" agreement requires that you cite the Wikipedia article as the source. The same is true of other wikis bearing free-access source material; check the source for their requirements on citations, and follow them.

Categories[]

Most elements of style relevant to the usual "subject" articles also apply to Category articles. However, because it's awkward to do redirects among Categories, it's a good idea to take time before creating a new Category and verify that it's necessary. If in any doubt, check the Special:Categories list and see if there's a Category that covers the area that you intend.

Names[]

In contrast to those of regular articles (where convenience would dictate nouns in the singular), category names are almost always plural nouns. However, some category names may be collective nouns (e.g., "circus", "army") or adjectives (e.g., "mad"); words like "Members of" or "Things that are" (respectively) can and should be elided from the beginning. Finally, some unique entities (e.g., "Agatha Heterodyne"), or gerunds (e.g. "sparking"), could conceivably be significant enough (probably corresponding to "important and distinctive" below) that the words "Articles about" would be implied.

Content[]

A limited amount of information on the topic of the Category can and should be incorporated into the Category article itself. However, if the topic is important and distinctive, a stand-alone article should be written with most of the information on it, and linked into the Category as a member of that Category. If you write such an article, insert a null "name" for the article in its Category listing for sorting purposes, so that the article will be the first to appear in the list of articles falling within the Category. For example, Master Payne's Circus of Adventure is both an article (because the Circus is interesting in its own right) and a Category (because it's interesting to see what all characters, clanks, etc., have been in the Circus). Accordingly, the end of the article should (and does) contain this Category listing: [[Category:Master Payne's Circus of Adventure | ]]. To see how this works out, look at the Category article, Category:Master Payne's Circus of Adventure, and you'll see that the article is the first entry on the list of articles. Writing separate articles this way is preferable to populating the Category article with too much stuff, as the neophyte user of the wiki may have a hard time finding the information in the Category article unless cumbersome redirects are used.

Every category should link to one (or more) more general categories, creating a hierarchy of concepts. (Technically known as an "ontology" -- what being one thing means you also are.) This creates subcategory entries in the linked-to category; Category:Characters is particularly popular parent. Regular articles should generally fall somewhere under Category:Main Content; if you have a new category of ordinary articles -- articles about stuff in Girl Genius -- that doesn't seem to go elsewhere, this is the parent of last resort. For irregular and extraordinary entities (which would be saying something), Category:Meta may be more appropriate. ("Meta" usually implies "stuff about the stuff" as opposed to "the stuff itself"... e.g., "theories about what Agatha Heterodyne would think of this wiki" is fairly meta.)

Don't try to add your article to every possible category it could fall under. If you're adding a new Wild Jäger, for instance - the Wild Jägers category is a subcategory of Jägermonsters, which falls under Heterodyne Minions and Constructs both; Heterodyne minions are Minions which are Characters. Being a Character is inherited from the parent categories, and adding more than Wild Jägers in this particular category branch would be redundant. Try to find a similar entry as a model, and use the Category Tree or the The Utterly Complete Quickly Outdated Exploded Page of ALL Categories as guidance.

Some useful resources[]

Templates[]

Some useful templates that have been developed to help you write articles are:

  • {{Character}} -- to include the infobox giving concise information on characters; see "Articles on people" above, the transclusion there is lifted from the Character template.
  • {{Device}} -- serves a similar function for things that are created.
  • {{Disamb}} -- to identify a "Disambiguation" page. Disambiguation is not nearly as much of an issue here as in many wikis, and this one should be used very rarely.
  • {{stub}} -- to post a caution that an article is seriously incomplete and needs work. If you're just writing the bare bones of an article and know that much more needs to be done, place this template at the top of your article or within the subsection in need of work. It will cause Category:Stubs to be included among the article's categories, so that others can come along later and add content.

How others do it[]

Conflict resolution[]

(to be added)

In the interim, see these examples .

References[]

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