If you want to write on the wiki, here are some basic policies you should probably be aware of. If you've found content you consider questionable, before complaining, you should read these policies and see if you can determine if it is truly objectionable. This isn't meant to be a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo, it's intended to lay down some guidelines that, if followed at least loosely, are hoped to help foster a wonderful wiki.
We try to keep this wiki organized. It becomes less useful with poor or nonexistant organization. When you write an article, you should spend a few minutes thinking about where it belongs. If you're not sure, put it in the "Uncategorized" category so an editor can place it for you. Information on how the wiki is structured, both ongoing discussion and plans, can be found at the Wiki Structuring Project. Editors use that page to plan how the wiki should be structured and to place articles new and old into the best place for the article. Authors can use that page to help them place their own articles, but editors are the ones with the last word on the subject. If you don't want to deal with the organization and you just want to write content, you can, just make sure to place your article in the Uncategorized category so that the editors can find it and place it.
As a convention, you should leave your name on talk pages when you talk on them. Just add your comment to the end, stick your name on the end of that, and then put a horizontal line after all of it so the next person to comment can start right in with their comment. You should sign your name using ~~~~. It will also timestamp the signature so others can see when you signed your name to it.
The Talk Pages aren't intended for socializing, really. They're for discussing the content, laying it out, working out what should be put on the page, and more of that sort of thing. Now, we're all people here and we'll do a fair amount of social-like things on the talk pages, they are talk pages after all. Just keep in mind that the forums at http://forums.armagetronad.net/ are there for discussing tactics, talking trash, laying out challenges, talking about development, and so forth. This wiki is for providing information to all, freely and selflessly (or not), and there is work being done here.
All pages should start with a brief introduction. We're copying Wikipedia for that, because it's so nice on Wikipedia and it looks like it's just as nice here. So every page should have a brief introduction, about a paragraph. You know, maybe 200 words or so, not huge, not an essay, but not just a one-liner either.
You should organize your page into sections with headings. Simple as that. Follow outline style. Your level 2 heading is your top level heading, so make your top-level sections level 2 headings. Next is level 3, and so forth. Just like you would for an outline in your Engrish class.
A page should contain a complete topic. There's very little sense in splitting a topic over multiple pages just because you think it might be long. Long pages are good, short pages are not. Lots of short pages that should be one long page really really suck. So don't do that, for sure. Make nice pages that contain a complete topic. If the topic branches into related subtopics, and each subtopic is a distinct topic on its own, then please go ahead and branch it into several pages. What I'm trying to avoid is having, for example, a page that says "Here's how to configure network settings on a server", another page that says "Here's how to configure game rules on a server". If you want to write a long page describing the physics used in the game, that certainly belongs on a page by itself. But if you just want to crib down some descriptions of physics settings, you can work that in with other material.
Screenshots of the game itself should have a floor grid that stretches across the whole floor, default wall textures (cycle and rim wall), and should be at least 640x480 in resolution. 800x600 is better, 1024x768 is probably best. If you happen to have a larger resolution than that, don't sweat it, take the full-screen screenshot and post it. Do not post moviepack screenshots unless the purpose of the screenshot is to show the movie. When you're trying to show someone something in-game, you should use default settings. There's room for minor variation, just keep in mind that for all of us, our common frame of reference is the default look of the game, so that should be used for screenshots.
Most importantly, a screenshot should actually show something that's in the content. So don't put a screenshot of some idiot grinding the rim wall when you're talking about how to build slingshots.
Link to all of your screenshots as thumbnails. If it makes sense to not do so, then do what makes sense. But it will make the most sense most of the time to link it as a thumbnail. MediaWiki does a wonderful job of scaling down screenshots into thumbnails, so let it do its job.
For other images, let the content determine the appropriate resolution and stuff. Still try to get high resolution pictures and link them in as thumbnails, but don't sweat it if you either don't have a high resolution pictures or you think the page wants something different.
Generally, external links should be included in a special section at the end of an article. Feel free to write into the article some text referring the reader to the special links section at the bottom, but links embedded within article text should be confined to internal wiki links.
The reasoning behind this is that it's easy to click on links in an article and get lost, even experienced users will do it. We should try to help people to not get lost. On the other hand, before this wiki, and for the foreseeable future, many players have collected numerous resources on personal sites spread around the internet to help other players figure out what they can do with the game. This wiki isn't intended to render those sites and the work involved obsolete, although it does have the potential. So instead of being mean about it, we should be nice about it, and if you have a page that has more information on a topic, you should consider if you want to just add the text to the wiki or provide a link in a relevant article to your page. So go ahead and add those links in a special section at the bottom of the page marked "Further reading", "External resources", or just plain "Resources", and then you can reference the resource in the page anywhere it fits with the content. The guiding philosophy is "make it useful for the reader".
Text From the Forums
If you are including text from the forums on a page please provide a link to the post from where that text was sourced. Contrary to the external link policy, you should go ahead and embed the forum link in the text where you reference the post. This only applies to the Armagetron Advanced forums. Other forums should be treated as regular external links, even when quoting and should be given a reference in parenthesis and a link in the external links section to the post.
[http://forums.armagetronad.net Heres a link to the forums!] will come up like this: Heres a link to the forums!
The language of the wiki is English. If we ever figure out how to run the wiki in multiple languages we might make more versions available. Until then, please write in English. There's no preference given to British English or American English, and both color and colour are accepted spellings here. Revising a page where the only corrections you made were to change spellings to American English from British English (or vice versa) is considered inappropriate behavior and an utter waste of your time. Taking action against such abuse is considered a waste of my time, or any administrator's time, so please be aware that if it's necessary you're in no position to ask for quarter, nor will it be given. Otherwise, try to avoid slang that is centered around a geographical area without also providing a more generalized version so those of us who live outside that area can understand what you're saying. Don't sweat it too badly, though. We're all people, right? So we realize that there are people who are not aware that the slang they use is unknown outside their hometown.
Write conversationally, but probably not as conversationally as you would in an IM client. Think more like what you'd write in a formal letter to your brother/sister/girlfriend/boyfriend. First person is ok when it makes sense within the content, but otherwise stick to third person. Try not to name names, except on talk pages. The documentation here is intended to last for some time with community revision, and names just don't last on the grid for very long. (There are exceptions, or we wouldn't be here, but you get the drift)
Try to avoid parenthetical expressions (they're hard to read). Just remember that real people will be reading this, real developers will be using it, and real players will be playing with it.
Under no circumstance should you put documentation that is intended to make someone a worse player. I'm talking about writing up a noob guide that basically says "crash into my wall". While you wouldn't think someone would be stupid enough to take something like that at face value, just don't do it anyway. If you're going to contribute, try to contribute with a good work ethic and do the best you can do.
Objectionable Material and Language
Obviously no porn pictures. Right? Now, as to linking to porn, there's generally not a good enough reason to do so. If it becomes necessary, for example if you have an adult moviepack, PM Lucifer through the forums and talk about it. I'm not saying you can't link to it, but let's make sure we do it in a way that doesn't piss everybody off. Otherwise, there isn't any kind of porn I can think of that belongs here, so don't bring it.
With graphics, and to an extent, sound, you also need to consider that this is an international community. The example I always like to give is material about Nazis. If you post here a screenshot that contains a swastika, you need to put it off on a separate page and give a warning. Why? Because that screenshot is illegal in Germany and any of our German players could be open for criminal prosecution just by reading your page. I realize the likelihood is low, and we certainly don't want to be in a position where we limit content to the lowest common denominator, so just be considerate of the needs of an international audience. As for legal liability of the server operator, the server is located in Austin, TX. So United States law applies, as well as Texas law, and obviously nothing that is illegal or copyright infringing in the US and Texas can be posted here. (If that's not acceptable, please consider donating to the "Buy Lucifer a Caribbean Island" fund)
As for swearing, I swear up a storm and generally don't care. However, there's very little reason to swear here. You should use the words that best fit the content you're writing. Occasionally a swear word here or there does, in fact, best fit the content. Go ahead and use some of the milder ones if you need to. Just keep in mind that there are people who will be reading this who are particularly sensitive to such things and we all need to be considerate of one another, so keep it toned down. I realize that many of those who are sensitive to certain words that start with f will find other words that start with f to substitute in its place and use the new word in the same way and that this is swearing just as much as if the original cussword were used, but let's try to behave. Use the language you think is best. Avoid the kinds of swear words that would get you the death sentence in the Middle East (and New Mexico).
I don't know of many reasons to lock pages, so when I do, there will be a good reason for it. If two people get into a serious disagreement over a page and want to have a stupid little edit war over it, bring it to my attention and I'll lock it, send them to the shower and let them cool down. I won't censor anybody, in general, but you really should remain civil at all times. If you don't remain civil, then you should consider leaving civilization in favor of your natural habitat.
There are two pages that will always be locked. On a previous wiki I maintained, spambots attacked the front page, and I've seen it on several other wikis. Therefore the front page will be locked. When you view the edit page on the front page, you will find a link to a page explaining why the front page is locked. That page will also be locked. Since this page serves as something of a rulebook and will likely be quoted at some point by someone to justify their idiotic behavior, it will also likely be locked eventually. Let's all be cool so it doesn't have to happen, ok? I hate locking pages.
Conflict resolution is not a process you want to enter. Generally, if a conflict arrives, you have to take it to an admin to deal with it. If an admin sees a conflict starting, he may arbitrarily revoke privileges you have gained, protect pages in conflict, and possibly block users. It's nasty. Try to avoid it. When it's all said and done, there's no guarantee that any steps an admin takes to stop a conflict will be reversed, it's entirely up to his judgement.
On the other hand, if you have tried in good faith to resolve a conflict and the other party(ies) have not done so, then admins tend to be nice. We want to see people working out their problems together in a peaceful and happy fashion, and we really have better things to do with our time than babysit people who are nominally adults. So if we have to get involved, you don't want to be the person who failed to behave reasonably, you know, like a grown-up.
We don't even try to be fair, so don't even go there. Our decisions will be guided by what we think will best serve the community, and that may sharply disagree with what you think is the best way to serve the community.
It's really best if you try to resolve conflicts yourselves.
How to avoid conflict
The rule of thumb is to just be nice. If someone comes along and edits something you wrote, redefining what you've written, and generally undoing your hard work, the last thing you should do is go and revert all of their changes in a storm of angst. Take it to the article's discussion page, wait a day or two and see. If the person doesn't respond, don't automatically assume they're ignoring you. Many users don't watch talk pages, or even the articles they edit. Make sure you've configured yourself to watch, though, in case they come along wanting to talk. Try sending them a private message through the forums directing them to come here. But keep in mind that whatever happens in private cannot be used here as evidence of any kind, so it's best to keep discussions here where we can all see what's going on.
Edit wars and revert wars aren't pastimes we really want people engaging in here. That's a lot of time and energy wasted. I realize it's your time and energy to waste, but please don't waste it here. There are plenty of other wikis available for you to get into stupid little squabbles on. You might even get somebody's idea of justice on them.
Periodically an admin may notice that someone has left a comment on a discussion page trying to work out such a problem, and that admin might well agree and go ahead and make a reversion. If you find that you are the victim of such a reversion, don't go and revert the reversion in a storm of angst. Take a few minutes to think about why the admin did it, and look at the discussion page. It may be that the discussion will tell you everything you want to know about it. Then, instead of getting into a revert war with an admin (which you will lose), engage that admin in discussion. If you set as your guide the idea that we're trying to make this a valuable asset to the community, and you behave reasonably, then we should be able to come to a happy agreement and continue where we were going. If you only do one of these things, then you might feel like you're being treated unfairly. I don't think we'll try too hard to change that feeling. It's simple. If you don't behave reasonably, you won't be treated reasonably. And if you don't care about making this wiki a good one, then you shouldn't be writing in it.
Sure it is. But it's not oppressive. We operate here in the open and we respectfully ask others to do so. The process of peer review will determine if we are doing a good job or a bad job. And some day (hopefully soon), Lucifer will find a way to make regular backups of the database available for download. In that event, you can threaten us with a fork if we don't pass muster. If you question our decisions, fine, we'll be happy to talk about them. We will not be happy to argue about them, however. There's no requirement that you understand or agree with us. But if we intended to hurt people, or own other people's work, or <insert your favorite evil wiki thing here>, we wouldn't operate in the open.