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Requirements for a Good Article

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Forum Index > Unsorted > Requirements for a Good Article
Posted by 452 on 2011-04-12 22:16:32

Note: This blog post is the basis for the new Article Rating system and template.

I've haven't been editing many pages recently, as I've been trying to sort through all the images I have. I have over 2000 images to upload, and still a bunch more unsorted images. Wow. And that isn't even counting the maps.

To help others, here are some elements which I think are required to make a good article, starting with minimum requirements of the most basic article, all the way through to advanced elements which not many articles have.

I would like input on other things which can be added to this list, as it is just my own personal opinion, and is just what I already do with articles, so I may be slightly biased. I also could be completely forgetting something which seems obvious to me, but which might not seem obvious to others, or completely forgetting about something else which I haven't been adding to articles. :)

Bronze Class ArticleEdit

Star bronze
  • Stating the subject of the article
  • Article title in Bold
  • At least one Category
  • Links to other articles
  • Links from other articles

Silver Class ArticleEdit

Star silver
Star silver
  • Image showing, or representing, the subject of article
  • At least one section heading
  • A short summary, followed by a longer description section
  • Article text arranged into meaningful paragraphs, instead of a single block of text
  • Article text arranged in sentences, rather than an unconnected list of points
  • Cross-linking with multiple relevant articles

Gold Class ArticleEdit

(These are mostly optional, and do not apply to all articles.)
Star gold
Star gold
Star gold
  • Full write-up about the subject. Including detailed descriptions of the subject, all appearances in the game. For missions: full descriptions of what happens in cutscenes, and a list of missions objectives.
  • Trivia. There is always Trivia about everything, whether it be a comparison to a real-life subject, or an inconsequential observation about the in-game subject.
  • Links to wikipedia regarding real life subjects. (These links should almost always be in the trivia section)
  • References, sources, citations. Or at the very least, stating how something is known.
  • Multiple images relevant to each section, additional images or videos in a gallery, and captions on all images.
    • Where videos are included, all things demonstrated should also be written in the article.
  • 10 or more links to other articles.
  • Quotes. Either from a character, or about the subject of the article.
  • Audio files. Such as a quote, or the noise made by a weapon or vehicle.
  • Tables with additional data, if applicable.
  • Infobox, when one exists.

No Star ArticleEdit

A page which does not meet any Bronze criteria - as in no bold title, no categories, no links to or from the article - is a No Star article. While No Star articles do not necessarily deserve deletion, they make this wiki look very unprofessional, and they should be tagged for cleanup and upgraded immediately.

Things to avoidEdit

While this post is intended as a positive Things you can do to help! article, rather than a this is wrong! article, it should be noted that there are some common problems which should be avoided.
There are a number of minor details which can cause even a Gold class article to look unprofessional. Most of these are covered in the wikia help pages, and in various Manuals Of Style.
  • confusing links - different links should not be next to each other in a sentence - a sentence should be reworded so that there is a normal word between links. (Example: Downtown Chop Shop should be changed to Chop Shop in the Downtown District)
  • Links in headings - The wikia and related Style Guides say that putting links in headings is wrong. I think it is permissible in level 3 and 4 headings, as they are not as noticeable.
  • Punctuation in headings and lists - Generally no. Full-stops/periods should only be used in lists if the list item is longer than a sentence. (For reference, note the lack of stops in the Brone and silver class, but their inclusion in the Gold class list.)
  • Spelling, grammar, punctuation - these are very minor things which can have a large impact.
  • Cluttered images, videos - an article should not have too many images or videos close together, that's what Galleries are for. Galleries are usually placed as the last thing in an article, and since people are used to seeing that, when a gallery is needed in the middle of an article, it should be a slideshow so that the reader can see it is not the end of the article. I personally use a lot of slideshows, because images in slideshows can be seen easier than a thumbnail gallery without opening them n a new page.
  • Too many blocks of text - A text-heavy article can be greatly improved by the judicious use of whitespace, which can be as simple as splitting things into paragraphs. It was the right thing to do in high-school essays, and it's still the right in to do here.



NotesEdit

These are all the things I can think of right now, if anyone else has any suggestions, let me know and I'll add them to this list.
Obviously things like grammar and spelling can't really be quantified, although they are important in any article.
The reason I have used the stars from the in-game Diversion stars system is that I think it would be a good idea to implement an article rating system, so anyone can easily see how much more work an article needs, without needing to remember everything in this list. It also informs visitors that we know when an article is of poor quality, and that we are working on improving it. The trouble with wikis is that they're always "live" even when they're very much a work-in-progress. While putting up an "under construction" sign is overkill, announcing that we regard an article as unfinished helps assure visitors that we do want poor quality articles to be improved.
I've deliberately put at least 3 things into each section, so that it is possible to use multiple stars in each section, just as in the game. Since you would need at least one item from a category to quality for it, you would nee to have 5 Bronze stars before progressing to Silver class. (I doubt that it will really ever be necessary to mark an article in this way, as anyone going to the effort of "marking" an article could also just as easily improve the article)
I should probably also mention that adding an element from a higher class would not automatically bring the article to that class. For instance, a 1-star Silver article with a Trivia section would be a 2-star Silver, and wouldn't ever be a Gold article without meeting all silver requirements first.
Whether or not this rating system is ever implemented, I believe this is still a good list to reference, and editors should always try to make sure that new articles at least fulfill all 5 Bronze requirements.
I believe that articles that do not meet all the criteria in the Silver category should be tagged for cleanup. (These things being missing is already why I tag articles for cleanup)
There are many optional points in the Gold category, but I've arranged these points in a way that all articles can become at least 1-star Gold articles. For example, I have just created the article Sea Roses, about an enterable building which isn't ever used in the game, but I have still managed to make it a 3-Star Gold article. (See Talk:Sea Roses)
If I can get 3 Gold Stars out of this article, then it can be done with any article. :)
edit: the most recent thing I have added to the list is: "*Stating the subject of the article."
While you may think: "Well, duh", people actually do create articles without actually saying what the article is about. I don't want to point fingers, but there are still character articles which do not specify where the character appears, or even which game they are in. There have also been articles about activities that do not specify that the article is about an activity, and simply launch straight into trivia about it.
You should always assume that the reader has never played a Saints Row game, and does not know anything about the subject of the article.
I have not listed videos as a separate item. I don't regard videos very highly, because they are usually of poor quality. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but youtube videos are a different matter entirely.
But I'll accept that videos can be counted in place of images, and have added "or videos" to "Additional images in a gallery."
However, anything shown in a video should really be explained in text form also.

452, 2011-04-12T22:16:32Z (last edited: 452, 2015-04-28T18:51:52Z)

However, anything shown in a video should really be explained in text form also.
— User452 - 14 April, 2011

While my opinion has changed slightly since then, my intention has not.
452, 2013-09-04T23:05:41Z

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