Guide for Contributors

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This is the guide for contributors to the HSD Wiki. Please read it before editing any page. We're pretty relaxed around here, but there are a few guidelines to follow that will help keep everything neat and tidy.


General guidelines

This is not Wikipedia. We don't have any real requirements for notability; if you think a page would be useful to NCFCA/Stoa debaters, go ahead and create it. Even "vanity" pages about specific debaters are fine (although they shouldn't be put on the List of Notable People unless they actually have a genuine claim to national-level notability.)

We also generally don't require sources. The HSD Wiki is a source - if you think something is incorrect, discuss it with fellow editors and fix it. On Wikipedia, accuracy is ensured by requiring sources; here, accuracy is ensured by debate and consensus. If you want to add specific quotes or verifiable facts, however, a source is recommended. (For example, if a page stated that Shipsey/McPeak won the NCFCA National Championship in 2010, it would be best to link to the relevant NCFCA Hall of Fame page to back this fact up.) If no source exists, however, that's fine.

Be bold! Do strive to write quality content, but remember: if you mess up, it's easy to fix. A more experienced editor can always come in afterwards and clean things up, so adding more information is very rarely a bad thing. (Removing information, on the other hand, should be done with caution - you may upset other editors who thought it was important. Unless material is completely irrelevant, try to improve it, rather than just deleting it.)

Writing style

Material should be encyclopedic in style. Encyclopedic material is factual, not opinionated; avoid making direct value judgements like "Parametrics is wrong". Instead, explain why some people believe parametrics is wrong, in a neutral way that lets readers evaluate the arguments for themselves. For example, this is encyclopedic:

The Big Book of Evidence & Stuff (BBEaS) was an NCFCA Team Policy sourcebook published during the 2009-2010 season. According to BBEaS's official website, it focused on Negative briefs against alternative-energy cases, but also included an Affirmative case involving groundhogs (which later became moderately popular at tournaments.) The main volume cost $33.33 and was delivered by email.

...and this is not:

The Big Book of Evidence & Stuff was the BEST SOURCEBOOK EVER! It helped me a lot last year. You could buy it for about thirty dollars, which was $33.33, and when I bought it it got sent to me in an email and took awhile. The authors went with the material and Josey said he a lot of research on the it, which was why it lost a lot of rounds.

This has a lot of problems: By what objective standard was the BBEaS the "best sourcebook ever"? Who does "I" refer to? What year was "last year" when this was written? The third sentence is awkwardly written, and the fourth sentence is just incoherent. The first example is much better: it consists of simple, clear sentences that convey strictly factual information.

Formatting and organization

See also the Formatting and Style Guide, for specifics on formatting codes and recommended writing conventions.

When in doubt, keep it simple. Avoid excessive italics, bolds, and underlines. Plain text is usually best. Longer pages should be divided up into sections to make organization clearer.

The lead is critical. The core concept of a page needs to be explained immediately, in the first one or two sentences - before any other sections. If the page is about a particular sourcebook, the first few sentences should clearly indicate that it is a sourcebook. If the page is about a particular theory topic, the first few sentences should clearly indicate that it is a theory topic, and attempt to summarize what it concerns in some way. Et cetera.

The most important organization structures are the hub pages, which are listed on the home page. "Core" topics like speech rules and major theory topics should be added to the hub page lists. Minor topics, like particular debaters who aren't notable enough to appear on the List of Notable People, don't need to be listed on the hub pages; readers can search for them or follow links from another page.

This wiki covers both the NCFCA and Stoa. Since so much material applies to both leagues, they are not separated into different sections. Instead, individual articles should indicate when they are discussing a topic specific to one league.

Controversial material

Some material on the HSD Wiki, particularly theory topics, is highly controversial. Where there is controversy, the solution is almost always to add more information. Explain both sides of the issue. If you don't agree with someone else's point, don't just remove it; add a counterpoint instead.

The goal is not to decide which side is right, but to accurately present the arguments on both sides. If you disagree with someone, let them say what they want to say - and then say what you want to say. If you really are right, your arguments should win out in the minds of the readers.

Copyright and privacy

Respect copyright law. Direct quotes are fine, as long as you indicate the source and they're reasonably brief, but avoid copying-and-pasting large chunks of text. In particular, event rules should not be copied directly from the original; paraphrase them and then provide a link to the official wording.

Respect the privacy of other debaters. It's fine to create pages about specific debaters, but include only information that is actually related to their debate career and is a matter of public record (such as tournament placings, public forum posts, etc.) Exceptions may be granted if the debater in question explicitly grants permission.

Interacting with editors

If you're uncertain about what to do, or want to communicate with another editor, use the talk pages on articles and user pages. You may also want to visit the HSD forums, especially if you want to chat with other editors or debate theory topics at length.

If you have a dispute, be respectful! Remember, everyone else is trying to improve the wiki, too. Disputes should be settled by finding common ground, not by name-calling and accusation. If you have a genuine problem with a troll, a vandal, or an uncooperative edit-warring editor, contact an administrator.

Above all, have fun!

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