As well as help and policy pages, the Super Mario Wiki also has writing guideline pages that promote consistency in how articles are written and organized. Unlike core policy pages, writing guidelines can be written by Autoconfirmed users as well as administrators. Writing guidelines were established as a sub-category of help pages back in July 2007 but have only recently been picked up as a means to improve consistency and clarity across the wiki.
What are writing guidelines?
Writing guidelines are pages created by users and admins alike in order to educate all editors about certain subjects and establish consistency in how the wiki is written. The guidelines can be about a range of different types of subjects. They can be about specific types of sections found all across the wiki, such as "History" and "Trivia" sections, or they can explain how to write articles concerning certain types of subject matter, such as minor NPCs. They can also be about writing motifs in general, such as what tenses should be used in different situations, and how to name articles or transcribe Japanese names.
Writing guidelines are a sub-category of both help pages and MarioWiki policy pages. The main difference between regular help pages and writing guidelines is that help pages pertain to general editing tips and information while writing guidelines describe specific subjects on the Super Mario Wiki. The main difference between writing guidelines and core policy pages is that they are not as strictly enforced. Users are expected to know the basic policies outlined in the Manual of Style, but reading every last writing guideline page is by no means mandatory and users shouldn't feel pressured to memorize everything detailed within them. Admins will not scrutinize and punish every single writing guideline violation, but if a user is seen making many edits contrary to writing guidelines, anyone can correct them and direct them to the appropriate guideline page for future reference. It is simply in everyone's best interests to follow the writing guidelines as closely as possible.
What should or shouldn't be a writing guideline?
Any page regarding articles or aspects of their contents can be a writing guideline. For example, the guidelines for redirects pertain to those specific pages, and the section in the Manual of Style about navigation templates pertains to that important feature of the wiki's articles.
Pages that do not directly address mainspace content on the wiki are not considered writing guidelines. For example, the page describing Autoconfirmed users does not address articles on the wiki and therefore is not a writing guideline.
How do you create/alter a writing guideline?
The process for creating a writing guideline is fairly simple. Follow these steps:
- Create a draft on your userspace for your proposed writing guideline. Once the draft is completed and you are fairly confident that you are ready to move on, go to the next step.
- Create a proposal under the writing guidelines section of the proposals page. During the proposal, you have the right to edit your proposed writing guideline, however major changes should not be made: it is better to ask for the admins to remove the proposal, and allow you to re-propose it, as this ensures users who have already voted will not find themselves opposing/supporting something they actually do/don't agree with. It is important to note that writing guideline proposals are given two weeks as opposed to one so as to allow sufficient time to perfect the document.
- If the proposal passes you are allowed to create the page, but with no major changes from the writing guideline featured in the proposal. If it fails, you must adhere to Rule 8 and wait 28 days before bringing it up again.
To make a major change to an existing writing guideline, you must also create a proposal under the writing guidelines section of the Proposals page. You must still go through the process of creating a draft on your userspace and presenting that as the change to the existing page.