As the Uplift Wiki grows and hopefully gains new members, it will be important for us to adhere to a set of guidelines regarding how our articles are to be written. While we obviously have plenty of time before we get to the point where these rules need to be set in stone, I thought that it might be beneficial if I put down my thoughts on the matter now.
In general, the style guidelines I follow are similar to those followed on Memory Alpha and Wookieepedia, the Star Trek and Star Wars Wikis with which I have the most experience. The stylistic elements I pulled from those Wikis are as follows:
- Bolding the subject of the article in the article's first sentence, and any other names by which it may go. (i.e. "Galaxy Two, known to pre-Contact Humans as the Milky Way Galaxy...") Wikipedia itself does the same thing.
- Writing articles about characters, locations, and other in-universe subjects from an in-universe perspective (i.e. "Kault was the Thennanin ambassador to Garth" rather than "Kault is a character from David Brin's novel The Uplift War...") In the future, having a small banner at the top of pages that are written from a real-world perspective (which would include articles on the novels/stories/reference books, on David Brin and others involved with Uplift, and possibly real-world concepts) may be ideal.
- Sourcing all of my information from the official Uplift works.
- Eliminating any fan fiction elements or unwarranted speculation. The List of planets article is a good example of both: it included a planet, Shokodo, which does not seem to be referenced in any Brin-approved work, and includes unsourced speculation on the origins of planet names which also have no basis in the canon. Images are a grey area in this regard, but they are a bridge which we will eventually need to cross, considering the lack of images for many aspects of the Uplift canon.
- Including important real-world elements in in-universe articles in a "Behind the scenes" section.
- As far as categories go, once we've really expanded the Wiki, I would be interested in being as comprehensive with them as is reasonably possible; for example, Kault might go in Thennanin, Ambassadors, Males, Galactics, and perhaps even a broader Characters category. I'm not fully set on this, since there are significantly fewer characters in Uplift than in Star Trek or Star Wars, and we could run the risk of having dozens of categories with only 2-3 characters in each.
- Avoiding links to outside websites in the main text of in-universe articles. Real-world articles and sections would probably be exempt from this rule.
There are a couple of things that I've done differently than Memory Alpha and Wookieepedia:
- I have been writing articles in the present tense, or at least from a frame of reference set around 2492 C.E., with the end of Heaven's Reach. Memory Alpha and Wookieepedia always write their articles in the past tense, and honestly that might be both easier and cleaner to do here, too.
- Memory Alpha sources their information with in-text parenthetical citations (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before") and Wookieepedia sources their information simply by naming the book in a references section at the bottom of the page. I have been trying to include page numbers along with book titles...college papers really drilled into my head how important it is to let readers know exactly where you got the information. I did stop short of full-on Chicago-style citations.
EDIT: Here is one other stylistic concern that goes along with this list:
- So far, I have been capitalizing every instance of a species name (Human, Neo-Dolphin, Thennanin, Jophur, etc.). This follows along with Memory Alpha and Wookieepedia, where the concern is mainly human vs. Human, when all other species are universally capitalized. The question is trickier for Uplift, because other species names are not always capitalized. However, David Brin is not necessarily consistent on capitalization from book to book: in Sundiver and Startide Rising and possibly The Uplift War, almost all species names are capitalized; in the Uplift Storm trilogy, virtually none of them are. My initial assumption was that the familiarity of the Six Races of Jijo with each other was the difference, but in Heaven's Reach almost all species names remain uncapitalized, as well. We know we can have both hoon and Hoon and urs and Urs, but can we have thennanin and Thennanin? Or, for that matter, capitalize Traeki? It's a tough question that will have to be answered.