Hello anyone reading this!
As the forums are archived and I have no way of knowing just how many current contributors are left, I thought it'd be a good idea to make a note of some guidelines of how the original owners and contributors decided the wiki should be run and written, so we can all be sure we are doing things the same way!
If you have any updates or suggestions on these points, please let me know! This is a community project and I want us to work together, and to make sure that everyone is editing in the same way so that we don't go around editing over each others contributions.
I'd like to know how you have been writing things, what you think the best way to write things is, and help us to come up with some set ideas of how to write and edit articles! This blog post will be updated accordingly with the decided guidelines and any other useful information.
I've also added a Wanted section below, as a temporary replacement for the main Wanted page as I can't edit that unless I'm an admin. It contains things the wiki currently is in need of, feel free to offer suggestions and I'll add them accordingly, and remove them when they're completed.
Some people write articles in a humorous tone, an Adams-esque way. While I find this enjoyable to read, the original contributors discussed this and decided to go for a more Wikipedia-esque writing style, more factual than funny.
A site admin said this in the forum: 'Due to the fact that this wiki is to document Hiker not create a new I would say we are going for some thing a little more documentary.'
I don't think there's anything wrong with a little Adams-esque contribution here and there, seeing as some descriptions and quotes are taken straight from the book/scripts and threrefore written that way. Personally, I enjoy how the image caption rules seem to be a bit more relaxed, with some of them having humorous captions, although I think it'd be a good idea to still make sure we give information as to what the image is from (e.g. 'Trillian as depicted in the TV series (1981)'). We've decided to write in a Wikipedia, factual format, although this is a relaxed rule and Adams-esque contributions are fine here and there, including for image captions.
Here is the text from the previoud discussion on tenses:
"Some people have written entires as though they are in-universe and all current tense. Others write everything past tense. It's easy to get confused, unsure which way to write things.
I think the best way to do this is to look at the source material. I think all events that have happened, from the books, radio series, TV series, film, should be written in past tense. The books are written that way, and all of these things have been released in the past, so I think past tense for describing and writing about things from these is the best bet.
Maybe everything in the books/radio/TV/film/game should be in past tense, and everything in the real world should be written accordingly i.e. the page on the first novel in present tense as it is a book that still exists in our world, but the page on a sadly deceased actor in past tense as they do not.
It's probably best to write as from our world, writing about the fiction in past tense, as the events have all happened, including the places, races and technology mentioned in them. At the end of the day, the wikia is here to provide information to people in our world about a fictional one, so writing it in-universe and saying things like 'the Vogons are' instead of 'the Vogons were' is probably less helpful.
We've decided to write real world articles in the appropriate tense, and write most other things in past tense. Tenses are hard, and with so much information to go on, it can get confusing, so there's no strict guidelines for this."
This is something for us to get to later in our overhaul of the Wiki, along with spell checks, but as a note, when in doubt, stick to past tense. This has been discussed but not documented in this blog post, I don't think.
Some pages are written in present tense, as thought this Wiki is a version of a Guide and is set in the canon of the Hitchhiker's universe. However, this conflicts with our attempts to write this in a Wiki style, so isn't the best method. Tenses and events are confusing, but, if in doubt, go for past tense. Most events have already taken place in the timeline of events, so are therefore past tense. Also, some characters are deceased, or locations (such as Earth) no longer exist (although they do come back later... this is why tenses are hard to keep structured, thanks Adams!).
Perfoming spelling and punctuation checks when editing
Just a quick note: please refrain from changing the spelling/punctuation in direct quotes. These are meant to be direct quotes from the books/scripts, so please don't perform spell checks on them. If the quote you are using has a typo (yep, even Douglas wasn't infallable) please continue to include it but, if you want, add [correction] next to it, with the correct spelling inside the brackets.
See below about changing the language style.
British English > American English
This has been discussed before, in reference to the best page titles, but I thought it needed a specific inclusion here. As the books and scripts were written in British English by Douglas Adams (and various other British writers for the scripts), the preferred form of words is in British English, as this is how they were written in the canon of the books and scripts for TV and radio. If in doubt, please revert to the British English version. It should be noted that Eoin Colfer is Irish, but writes in Britsh English, so the same is applicable in regards to anything concerning 'And Another Thing...'.
We've decided it'd be good to have a template of how we write out references, so they can all read a bit easier. Offering as much information as possible is the best bet, so here is the template we are using for writing references:
Chapter [Number], page [Number], [Book Title], [Author], [Year].
Episode [Number] from the TV series, [Year].
Fit [Number], Phase [Number], from the radio series, [Year].
Part [Number] from the video game, [Year].
If something isn't known, we just move to the next bit of information and fill in what we know.
For example, if page is unknown, we would just put, for example, 'Chapter 10, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Douglas Adams, 1980'. If the fit is unknown, we would just put, for example, 'Secondary Phase of the radio series, 1978.'
(For the Game Parts, I've thought it would be a good idea to go off the Parts listed on the game hints page on the BBC wesbite .)
For image captions, I think we can keep it lenient, as it already is, but be sure to put at the end 'as seen in/featured in/shown in the [Date] [Adaption]'.
For example: 'Marvin being depressed, as seen in the 1981 TV series.'
Online resources for references
Here are some things I've been using to help locate where certain quotes and information are from:
The online versions of the TV show, on archive.org (All 6 episodes can be found in the Hitchhiker's tag)
The scripts for the Primary and Secondary phases, on clivebanks.co.uk (All scripts can be found under entries with 'radio' in the title. Fit the Seventh was originally broadcast as an Xmas special, so can be found under 'radioxmas'. There are also summaries for the books and film on this website too.)
The online version of the first novel, on otostopcu.org. (It's a little haphazardly organised, and the section about the term Imperial is randomly repeated at the end of the last chapter, but it's helpful if you don't have the book on hand.)
The online game, free to play, on bbc.co.uk . (Plus helpful information on the Hints and About pages.)
Separating information for each adaption
Back in the forum, someone suggested separate categories in each article for information depending on which adaption the information is from. I've been trying to do this on some of the larger entries which have enough information from each different source to warrant separate categories.
The Ford Prefect page is a good example of this, and I'm going through the main characters to implement the same strategy.
We've decided to add these separate categories in order of when they were released.
Radio, Book, TV series, Video game, Film.
If only including a later book or radio episode, then it should be put in date order, e.g the Quintessential radio series would be put last instead of first. If it starts with the first book/first radio series, then all subsequent later series should be kept under the book/radio headers instead of separate book/radio categories added later on.
Group or singular
There were some differences in how articles for creatures were written, singular or plural. We've decided to write these in group form, including titles. For example: Dentrassis instead of Dentrassi.
This is just a quick one, but, as most Hitchhiker's stories write '42' as forty-two, I was wondering if we should consider changing the page to Forty-Two instead of 42. I was also wondering if we should implement a way to write numbers, such as whether we try to mostly use numbers or letters, although this seems a bit convoluted for such a small thing, so maybe we'll keep things as they are. Just something to consider!
Categories for Radio entries
The Radio category has been neatened up a lot, with subcategories added for each Phase. The entries are numbered, both in the category Radio Series and in their Phase sub categories.
If you add new Fit page entries to these categories, please be sure to go into the Source Editor of the page to add the categories (at the end of the code) so they can be numbered accordingly.
The easiest way to do this is to look at the source code from the previous entry and copy the categories added to that (should be two categories at the bottom of the source code page). Add these to the source code of your next entry, but increase the numbers by 1. For example, if the previous page says Category:Radio Series|Fit 23 then you would make the next one |Fit 24. The same goes for the Phase category, for example, if it said Category:Secondary Phase|Fit 5, then the next Fit page would be |Fit 6. However, if your Fit page is the first one in its Phase subcategory, then it should be Category:(New Phase category)|Fit 1 as you are starting a new order.
More information on numbering categories:
Category:Radio Series|Fit (Number) - This number will be whatever is the next number after the Fit entry before it. For example, for Fit the Fifteenth it says Category:Radio Series|Fit 22. So the next one will be |Fit 23. This is because simply labelling them Fit 10, Fit 11, Fit 12 etc would not work as the 10, 11, 12 entries would come after Fit 1 instead of after Fit 9. Please follow this to keep them listed numerically under the F section in the Radio Series category.
Category:(Phase) Phase|Fit (Number) - This number is whatever number of Fit it is in that phase. For example, Fit the Ninth is the 3rd fit in the Seconday Phase, so would be |Fit 3. This will look the same as the entries in the Radio Series category, with them all listed numerically under the 'F'. As said above, if this is the first Fit entry in this Phase category, start off with |Fit 1.
As with all links, these category entries require a double [ before them and a double ] after them in order to link. The ( and ) around the Number and Phase are not to be entered. Hopefully this has been explained well for those unfamiliar with using source code/html!
This isn't much of an issue, but I think it'd be a good idea to have a template of contents to add for the larger entries that require such categories. These templates can be assigned to any article, adding in whichever contents are needed, in the order of the template, omitting ones that aren't necessary or cannot be included due to lack of information or relevance.
Here is the template for characters that we are trying to follow. For a good example, see the Ford Prefect page.
Personality and traits*
-Abilities and skills
- Phase (if known)
- Episode(s) (if known)
- Book name (if known)
- Chapter(s) (if known)
- Episode(s) (if known)
-LP album adaptions
Behind the scenes
Notes and references
(This is the basic template I've seen used for characters on other wikias, with Hitchhiker's specific additions)
Areas marked with a * are the ones that are most necessary/required.
Text in the template that is slightly larger e.g.: Biography is to be a main header aka use Heading size.
Text in the template that has a - before it e.g.: -Abilities and skills is to be a sub-header aka use Sub-Heading 1 size.
Text in the template that has a bullet point before it e.g.: Phase (if known) is to be regular text aka Paragraph size.
However, if it becomes a sub-heading, e.g. the Phase and then Episodes in the phase being listed, then that text is changed to Sub-Heading 2 and the text following it is paragraph sized, and usually bullet pointed in a list. If the phase is known but not the episodes, and if the book is known but not the chapters, then it stays Paragraph size.
A good example of this is in the Trillian page, in the appearance section there!
For the Appearances section, the idea of also adding links to the headers e.g Radio, Book, TV, was mentioned. However, this brought up the confusion of whether this category should be linked if already mentioned in the page, and whether the Page for it should be linked e.g. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (radio series), OR if the Category should be linked e.g. Category:Radio series. This seems too time consuming and introducing too many factors for the reader, so these category headers are not to be made into links.
For pages on real people, follow the setup used on the existing pages for real people.
Short intro, their occupation, their relevance to Hitchhiker's
More info on their other pursuits, what they are known for
Behind the scenes section (if needed)
External links (link to pages where people can read more about them e.g. Wikipedia, IMDB.)
Notes and references (if needed)
Do not add an entire filmography, people can go to the links in Further Reading for that and we really ought to keep pages relevant to Hitchhiker's!
The templates have had a reshuffle, and the ones used for real people are:
Nothhu - a header template added to the top of any page concerning real people or real world events
RealPersonBorn - gives main info needed for real people
RealPersonDied - adds in a 'Died:' section for those who are sadly deceased, use this instead of RLPersonmain
For images, please keep them at 160px. This can be done by using the format |160px when inserting an image into the infobox.
There are a few issues that need to be looked at regarding the wiki.
- The logo being hard to see against the royal blue background. Wiki colour being changed to a lighter blue may be helpful.
- Making it more clear on the main page that this is a page about Douglas Adams' creation, not about general hitch-hiking as we've had people in the discussion post looking for information on that and... they've come to the wrong place (lmao). (Maybe we could look at, in future, seeing if we can change it to hitchhikersguide.wikia.com or h2g2.wikia.com as those are currently inactive wikis and it'd make our topic a lot clearer!)
- Adding Marvin in the 'characters' section under 'top content' as he isn't featured in either 'characters' or 'minor characters' which is unfair to him, and the people looking for him here. Also, Oolon Colluphid is featured in both 'characters' and 'minor characters', so needs to be removed from 'characters' and replaced with Marvin there.
- 'And Another Thing...' needs to be added to Books on our header of categories.
- Several pages are either irrelevant or repeats which need to be deleted.
- Issues with categorising the books under both 'books by Douglas Adams' and 'Series books'. Also the 'Series books' category might be better as 'Book series'. There is also a third category 'Books' which needs deleting.
- The first two pages for the first two TV episodes are orderly, informative and helpful. However, they go a bit downhill after that, and there isn't even a page for Episode 4. These need to get sorted out at some point .
- Several of the categories added to the page for Betelgeuse are a load of nonsense, frankly, and confuse the system. I don't know why we have a category for 'Justin', or who Justin is, maybe this was some vandalism....
If you've noticed any other issues with the wiki as a whole that need editing or changing, please let me know and I'll add them to this to-do list. I'm going to wait to see if any admins resurface and if not, apply for an admin position to be able to sort out these changes myself.
We've got our work cut out for us with having up to four different storylines, which makes the biography sections potentially full of repeating information.
I suppose if we start with the radio biography, then continue with book, tv, film, etc, adding in information that wasn't given in the previous stories, mentioning the differences, we can give somewhat a clear idea of each different story? For example, for the book writing things like 'the storyline begins much the same, except...' and 'after this are the same events as in the radio series, except...' or 'in the film, the storyline diverts here, and instead...', referencing the already written story/biography instead of repeating it for each entry for each different form of media.
The characters are the main pages that require these categories, but we could also do them for major places, events, etc.
For some things, there really isn't enough information, or it is only mentioned in one version of the story, so all that information could just be put in one, with sources saying where the information is from.
Organising this wiki is a work in progress, and I think it always will be, that's the fun thing about it! It's always changing growing and expanding, as more people watch, listen and read the story. I hope others agree that having some guidelines to keep our articles more organised and easier to follow, following the same patterns, could be helpful!
If I've somehow missed a page of set guidelines to follow for this wiki specificlally, please let me know as that's what I've been looking for, and have only found random forum articles. If there isn't one, then hopefully this could suffice, or we could add a page to the wikia.
Of course, there are guidelines for entries anyway, such as not repeating links, sourcing material, etc, but with something as complex as writing out information for a series with various storylines and structures for each adaption, I think our own guidelines could be useful.
Here are the only pages on advice and guidlines I could find that are useful:
So, as you can see, I think a page of Hitchhikers wiki specific guidelines that tackle our specific categories, adaptions and writing styles etc is needed.
Any suggestions and comments welcome!
Here is where wanted pages, edits, changes, sources etc can be found, oustanding jobs that need doing that can be done by anyone. Let me know in the comments of this post if you've done them, and I'll remove them from the list.
- On the Gag Halfrunt page, the episode(s) and fit(s) in which he appears are wanted for the Appearances section to make it more specific. The information of who portrayed him in the radio series and subsequent adaptions is also needed, and a picture of him from the film would be nice. See the page Trillian or Ford Prefect or Arthur Dent for how Appearance sections should be organised.
- On the Viltvodle VI page, information is needed on the section of information which says "The Infinite Improbability Drive sent Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian Astra, Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and Marvin to Viltvodle VI. Zaphod decided to land to settle a score with Gag Halfrunt, an inhabitant of the planet." Information on which versions of Hitchhiker's this event occurs in need to be added.
For other things that are needed, check out the Insights page.