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Advice for New Contributors

There are many mountains yet to pile, and each contributor carries but a mere shovel. Sadly, while I'm very happy for your help, I currently haven't the time to provide detailed one-on-one advice or guidance. You can however check out some key tutorial pages at Mediawiki:

Sometimes the easiest way to get started with a page is to look at an existing page like the one you intend to create (especially if you're working on part of a series, like a research page).

Don't worry about formatting and presentation so much--I (the site admin and curator) won't mind making adjustments during my routine checkups. In fact that's pretty much my domain, especially where changes are soon coming. Attention to spelling and grammar is appreciated, however. Please refrain from uploading new graphics for the time being--much original work is in progress, and graphical contributions are likely to be redundant. Also, existing graphics that are small enough to use inline with text (i.e. in the middle of a paragraph) are not intended for such use--plain text and text links are just fine and more readable and appropriate. At this stage, I would prefer contributors avoid using graphics altogether--that will come later.

Where to Contribute

See Arcanum Illyria:Current events for more information.

General Standards for Contents

New Pages

Whenever creating a new (content*) page, please put {{Stub}} at the top. This will look like:

This article is a stub. Improve it by adding information or re-organizing it to match the structure and contents of related mature pages.

Please do not remove {{Stub}} from any page, even if you feel the page is finished. Senior editors have convenient access to listings of edited stub pages for regular review and cleanup, and will remove the template when they are satisfied with the article's maturity, accuracy, and completeness. Incomplete pages will not be removed or criticized (at least not for that reason alone), but this review process will be more efficient than reviewing whole pages for the sake of individual edits.

It is also important that new contributors are able to distinguish between stubs and the mature pages they are supposed to be able to use as a guide. Therefore it is preferable that a mature page be mislabeled as a stub than vice-versa.

  • Pages that only ever include content from elsewhere--like categories which only contain {{Category}}--are exempt.
  • User talk pages, discussion pages, and any sub-pages under a user page are exempt. Editors can play with whatever content they like in their own personal area and shouldn't get outside scrutiny and corrections/contributions by this means unless the explicitly request it.

Incomplete Pages

Any page with missing information (such as incomplete charts or tables, details missing from sidebars, or empty standard sections) should be started with {{Incomplete}}. This will look like:

This article is missing standard information or has factual errors.
You can help improve it by filling in the missing details and verifying any data points available to you.

A page can (and often will) be both a stub and incomplete. The most useful way a casual contributor can help is by filling in those missing details from his or her own in-game experiences and available in-game information.

Any page considered incomplete but not a stub will have all the appropriate sections, tables, sidebars, etc. (even if empty), as well as all existing content in compliance with the wiki guidelines and quality standards.

Linking Pages


The macro {{PAGENAME}} will automatically input the name of the current page. It is preferable to use this whenever no changes to the output are required (such as removing title case or a parenthesized clarification from the end). Also, the first time a page references itself (whether exactly or using a modified form of the title), that text should be made into a self referential link--for example:

 [[{{FULLPAGENAME}}|Help Page]] which produces Help Page

In this case, the macro {{FULLPAGENAME}} had to be used to include the Help: namespace, but showing the namespace in the link text is generally undesirable.

General Linking

Text that references other pages which do or should exist should be made into links the first time the reference appears within a major section (or one of its subsections). Such linking is highly desirable so that readers can find related content or deeper background information, but repeated links to the same resource aren't helpful and may be distracting. Subsequent links to the same resource should only occur when using different link text and/or after breaking to a new major section in a large page.

All text that references another article, whether made a link or not, should only use title case if the label is also a proper noun (such as specific technologies or units). Other more general names should be entirely lower case (like names of resources, buildings, or unit types).

Link Modification

Making large quantities of "piped" links for the sake of lower-casing the link text (or removing a disambiguation component) can be a pain and hurt readability of the wiki-text. Template:lcLink can be used as an alternative—it will automatically lowercase all the words, and also remove a trailing statement enclosed in parentheses.


 {{lcLink|Siege (stratagem)}}

Produces: siege

If you need the first letter kept in uppercase, such as for links including the first word of a sentence, use {{lcLink|The Page Title|skipfirst}} (you can actually put anything in place of "skipfirst").

Missing Pages

As Arcanum Illyria is still quite young in terms of content completeness, editors will often encounter situations where a certain page should exist according to some convention or established pattern. For example, every resource is supposed to have a page under its own name (including all the new herbs/minerals/etc.) which gets categorized into Category:Resources and its various subcategories. First off, this is ok! Second, follow these guidelines when dealing with links concerning such pages:

  • Do link to the page anyway, if the context is directly referencing the actual thing in question
  • Do not try to find some alternate thing to link to (like a subsection in some general page). This confuses conventions and hides the lack of content when we should be making it obvious to encourage new contributors.
  • Do not create a redirect page making some other content stand in as a temporary salve. In addition to hiding the lack of content and breaking content placement conventions, it creates the illusion of other faulty content placement conventions, destroys navigational consistency, and promotes greater confusion in both readers and inexperienced contributors.
  • Do not create a stub page unless you are at the very least establishing the content's conventional page template and providing at least one or two of the template's requisite details.

Remember, red links are good! Well, not really, but they are better than every alternative short of providing the actual content that's missing.


When pages fit into certain categories, those categories are listed at the bottom of the page, in order from most specific to most general (for example, trade quests before quests). If some categories are "out of sequence," place them at the end but just before the most general category. Order the "out of sequence" by relevance and category size, as seems appropriate. Examples:

  • Thief Units, then Diplomatic Units, then Elven Units, then Basic Units, then Units
  • Ranged Units, then Military Units, then Elven Units, then Advanced Units, then Units
  • Trade Quests, then Quests for Wood, then Multi-Part Quests, then Quests

The category pages themselves should contain any content relevant to the group as a whole, and be included in more general category pages (for example, the trade quests category should be listed in the quests category).

Non-category pages corresponding to category pages should always exist, with no content except the template {{Category}}. This will cause the non-category page to include the content stored in the category page as well as a header template showing that this page represents a category and contains so many articles and subcategories. If the corresponding page for a category is actually a disambiguated page, the proper corresponding page needs to specify the matching category title like so: {{Category|name=Real Title}}. Example: Diplomacy (system).

Related Articles

It may be prudent in some sections to directly provide a brief overview of something that is more thoroughly covered in another article. In those cases, that summarized content should be exclusively contained in a single section and start with the template {{Main|Article Name}} to indicate where users can go for further reading.

In other cases, an article will exist describing one of two or more very closely related concepts. For example, Ward of Destruction describes both a research item and a spell. When this occurs, each article should start with the template {{Related|Article Name One|Article Name Two|...}} to aid navigation between them. (Do not include a self-referencing name in the list.)

Example: Ward of Destruction (spell)

And in other cases still, there may be some content which briefly addresses or summarizes several related concepts more deeply covered in several other articles. When these relations are quite weak but still merit special note, end the section with a line break and "See also: (list of links to articles)" (separate the links by commas and do not end with a period).

Disambiguation Pages

When two or more items identify themselves by the same title, they will need alternate titles that describe them uniquely, and the base title must be a disambiguation page. Following the standard convention at Wikipedia, the disambiguation page simply states that that name can refer to one of two or more things and lists those things. For only a couple items, you may just explain the difference in a sentence containing links (in bold text) to each. if there are four or more, use a list describing each one individually. For the unique titles, simply use a clarification in parentheses...again, just like Wikipedia does. Example: Sovereignty (system)

Disambiguation pages should only contain enough information do help the reader decide which article he's seeking. More detailed information belongs in the article itself. Every disambiguation page should start with {{Disambiguation}} so that MediaWiki can treat it as one (which aids site maintenance).

Pages that link to related content should not point to disambiguation pages, but to the specific content page most appropriate within the context that the link is presented.

Common Misspellings

If an item's title is likely to be misspelled in a certain way, it is appropriate to redirect the user to desired content and also add it to Category:Common_Mislabeling_pages. Like any other redirect, the mis-labeled page never be directly linked.


Pages covering any of the following contents have a corresponding unique infobar template that should always be used: military units, diplomatic units, research items, spells, quests, and resources. Other pages that will eventually have their own templates are: buildings, tile types, terrain types. All templates are listed in the Category:databox templates category, and are sufficiently documented that their use should be relatively straightforward. Each template also has a documentation subpage demonstrating the basic use of the template. The templates themselves are not editable by regular users, but the documentation subpage can be edited with any usage notes or more specific details users feel are needed.

Whenever used, Infobars should be the first content after any header templates. Regular page content will flow around the sidebar to the right, but space can be cleared to the end of the sidebar using the template {{clear}}, if such is necessary to prevent unrelated contents from overlapping.

Title Case

All page names should use Title Case; all words are capitalized except articles, prepositions and conjunctions of fewer than five letters, except the first and last word of the title which are always capitalized. (Note that disambiguation suffixes should also be in small caps, i.e. "Article Name (disambiguation detail)"). Mediawiki enforces capitalization of the first word of a title, and matches titles as case sensitive, so correct capitalization is important. This means many links that would otherwise be fine must also specify label text other than the link (i.e. [[Thief Units|thieves]] instead of thief units, which would not properly link to the article). Recall that the lcLink template introduced above can handle these modifications more conveniently.

Title Plurality

Canonical item names should generally be singular, but the convention does change in some contexts. References to resources should always name the plural form (whether linking pages or calling templates) as the singular only very infrequently makes any grammatical sense in context. Titles that are inherently plural in content (for example, names for groups of things, like Military Stratagems) should of course remain plural. For unit pages and others as appropriate, the plural form of a name should be reserved and set as a redirect to the singular-titled article. Of course, not every singular title has a grammatically-correct plural variant, but it is still acceptable to maintain the redirect for plural variants that are commonly used anyway (for example, the game itself pluralizes Elven Trueshot as Elven Trueshots despite the apparent oddity of doing so).

Specific Conventions

Multi-Part Quests

Multi-part quests should only have a single page, with a top-level section and infobar for each part (with the following part's content kept below the sidebar using {{clear}}). The sidebar template itself will automatically label each part according to its order in the full set. Each sidebar should be placed in the page just before the top-level header introducing its respective section

Spells and Research

Every spell has a name identical to that of the research item that enables it. Rather than make the base title a disambiguation page and have users constantly clicking through them from perfect search matches, instead use the {{Related|Article1|Article2|...}} template at the top of both articles to move between the two. And where we would have a disambiguation page, we'll instead transclude the content of the spell article (since that's what people are probably seeking).

Remember that links should still always point to the actual disambiguated page, so for maintenance purposes, we'll also add [[Category:Disambiguation pages]] to the bottom. In some places the Infobox Research and/or Infobox Spell templates enforce this behavior by automatically generating links with the title suffix added. Be sure you check to ensure that the templates are used correctly and you are not duplicating their effects.

See Ward of Destruction for a full example.

Other research also often shares a name with some broader concept within the game (such as Sovereignty). Editors creating research pages should always check whether this is the case and if so, create their page at 'research name' (research), ensure that the appropriate disambiguation page exists, and use the related template as appropriate.

Research Prerequisite lists

Research articles should describe any research requirements in the form of an ordered chain delimited by → ( → ). Some pages may still use a hyphen and angle bracked ( -> ) but that method is outdated and should be corrected wherever found.

Example: To research Item D, you must first research Item AItem BItem C.

Special Characters

It is appropriate to use html entities for obscure or non-typical characters (like the copyright symbol: © = © or a right-arrow: → = →). Specifically, article text should always use the html entity for dashes (— = —), since the hyphen is an inadequate substitute. Directly pasting or entering the actual dash character should be avoided, since there are actually 3 different dash characters and they can be very hard (or even impossible, depending upon the font) to distinguish.

Display of Numbers and Time Spans

  • Numbers should be displayed in American format (digits grouped into threes and delimited by commas, fractional digits separated by a period). Decimal numbers less than one should start with a zero and period. Examples: 3,539.214, 0.25
  • Time span format should be either in ordinal format ([[hhh:]mm:]ss) or component format ([Ad] [Bh] [Cm] [Ds]) depending on the application.
    • Whenever brevity and readability are the highest concerns, such as stating a time span in a sentence or an information sidebar, use component format. Exclude zero-valued components. Examples: 5d 12h, 5h 30m 45s, 25m
    • Whenever multiple times are listed and comparability is a factor or players will want to estimate sums of multiple time spans, use ordinal format. Exclude any leading zero-valued ordinals or leading zeroes in any leading, not-last ordinal. For clarity's sake, never exclude the seconds portion. And for large spans (>= 1 day), use the {{tooltip|base|tip}} template with component format as the tip. Examples:
      19d 12h 1m
      234:01:00 (234 hours and 1 minute), 05 (5 seconds), 5:40 (5 minutes and 40 seconds)