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Wowpedia:Be bold in updating pages
|See also: policies, administrators|
This page is considered a guideline on Wowpedia.
It illustrates standards of conduct, which many editors agree with in principle. However, it is not policy.
How many times have you read something and thought, "Why aren't these pages copy-edited?" Wikis not only allow but want you to add, revise, and edit the article yourself.
The wiki community exhorts users to be bold in updating pages. Wikis develop faster when people fix problems, correct grammar, add facts, make sure the language is precise, and so on. Expect everyone to be bold. It's okay. It's what everyone expects. It does require some amount of politeness, but it works. You'll see.
The concept is as old as the day. The Romans already said "Sapere aude". These two words are a Latin phrase meaning "Dare to know" or "Dare to be wise". Most famously, it is found in Immanuel Kant's essay, What is Enlightenment? The original use seems to be in Epistle II of Horace's Epistularum liber primus line 40:
- Dimidium facti qui coepit habet: sapere aude – "He who has begun is half done: dare to know!"
On Wowpedia, it has the connotations of knowing what you are doing before you do it. We encourage all editors and even readers to be bold in editing Wowpedia articles, however the best contributions can be made by those who know what they are doing! We encourage you to read the policy articles and the help contents before making your edits! Dare to know. That's the Wowpedia motto (well not really, but it's a good one!).
If someone writes an inferior article, a merely humorous article, an article stub, or outright patent nonsense, don't worry about his/her feelings. Well, be nice about it, but absolutely correct it, add to it, and, if it's a total waste of time, replace it with brilliant prose. That's the nature of a Wiki.
And, of course, others here will boldly and mercilessly edit what you write. Don't take it personally. They, like all of us, just want to make Wowpedia as good as it can possibly be.
...but don't be reckless!
New users in particular are often entranced by the openness of Wowpedia and dive right in. That's a good thing. But please note: be bold in updating pages does not mean that you should make large changes or deletions to long articles on complex, controversial subjects with long histories.
In many such cases, the text as you find it has come into being after long and arduous negotiations between contributors of diverse backgrounds and points of view. An incautious edit to such an article can be likened to stirring up a hornet's nest, and other users who are involved in the page may react angrily. Of course, the editing of glaring grammatical errors is welcome.
If you encounter an article on a controversial subject that you would like to edit, it's a good idea first to read the article in its entirety, read the comments on the talk page, and view the page history to get a sense of how the article came into being and what its current status is.
If you are unsure how others will view your contributions, and you want to change or delete anything substantial in the text, it's a good idea to either:
- Copy it to the Talk page and list your objections there (if the material in question is a sentence or so in length)
- List your objections on the Talk page, but leave the main article as is (if the material is substantially longer than a sentence)
Then, wait a bit for responses. If no one objects, proceed, but always move large deletions to the Talk page and list your objections to the text so that other people will understand your changes and will be able to follow the history of the page. Also be sure to leave a descriptive edit summary detailing your change and reasoning.
Don't let that scare you off!
With the vast majority of articles, feel free to dive right in and make broad changes as you see fit. It's only with a few very sensitive subjects that caution is better advised, and you'll recognize those right away. And even if you don't, as long as you have an appetite for debate, being bold is generally a defensible position. You're unlikely to be the first person to have made a change to a controversial article, and you won't be the last. That said, contributions that add new facts and information to an article are likely to be more welcome than contributions that just delete some of the content.
Actions and edits with widespread effects
Some caution is also advised if your changes affect many other pages, such as editing a template or moving a highly linked-to page. While not required, it is recommended that before making this type of major change you familiarize yourself with the relevant policy or guideline (such as Wowpedia:Naming policy if contemplating a page move). Also, it is considered polite to be willing to fix any problems created (such as broken redirects or formatting problems) in the affected articles.