Help:Policies and guidelines
Cacheopedia is a collaborative project and its founders and contributors have a common goal:
- Our goal with Cacheopedia is to create an online encyclopedia / reference / survival guide for the sport of geocaching. As this site grows, its maintainers hope to see it into a definitive and mature source for geocaching FAQ's, articles, definitions, guides, and a whole lot more.
Cacheopedia has some policies and guidelines that help us to work toward that common goal. Some of these policies are still evolving.
While our policies continue to evolve, many Cacheopedians feel that written rules are inherently inadequate to cover every possible variation of disruptive or malevolent behavior. For example, a user who acts against the spirit of our written policies might be reprimanded even if the letter of the rules has not been violated. Those who edit in good faith, show civility, seek consensus, and work towards the goal of creating an impartial Wikipedia:encyclopedia, should find a welcoming environment.
You don't need to read every Cacheopedia policy before you contribute. The following policies, however, are key to a productive Cacheopedia experience, and the sooner you get to grips with them, the better.
- Avoid bias. Articles should be written from a neutral point of view, representing differing views on a subject fairly and sympathetically.
- Don't infringe copyrights. Cacheopedia is a free encyclopedia licensed under the terms of the Attribution-ShareAlike license. Submitting work which infringes copyrights threatens our objective to build a truly free encyclopedia that anyone can redistribute, and could lead to legal problems. See Wikipedia copyrights for more information.
- Cacheopedia is an encyclopedia. Its goals go no further. See What Cacheopedia is not for more info.
- Respect other contributors. Cacheopedia contributors come from many different perspectives, and even other countries besides the USA. Everyone will have widely different views. Treating others with respect is key to collaborating effectively in building an encyclopedia.
How are policies decided?
Cacheopedia policy is formulated for the most part by consensus. This consensus may be reached through open debate over difficult questions, or it may simply develop as a result of established practice. In many cases, accepted standards are not formally written down right away. Hence, the statements on this and other pages about Cacheopedia policy are intended to describe existing community norms that have developed over time.
The central place to discuss policies is Village pump (policy). Policy issues may also be formulated and debated on talk pages. If a policy may be controversial, it should always be discussed before being claimed as official. Consider the guidelines in Cacheopedia:How to create policy. Votes are sometimes useful, but should only be held based on previous discussion and with a view to achieving consensus.
In general, there are three ways in which a policy becomes official:
- It is pronounced official by Cacheopedia Administrators.
- It receives a Wikipedia:supermajority in a poll.
- The idea of making it official has been prominently advertised on the Village pump, mailing list, and on related talk pages, and after a reasonable length of time all objections have been dealt with. (Or the more common, but less prefered, method of marking something as official and waiting to see if anyone reverts you.)
Traditions that result from established practice are sometimes hard to identify. If there is no objection to the practice, it may be difficult to sustain community attention long enough for a formal process of adopting it as policy. In this situation, the best solution may be to document existing practice on an appropriate page. This then provides a location to discuss the practice and possible changes to the policy, and it also allows people to cite a source for the policy if necessary.
How are policies enforced?
You are a Cacheopedia editor. Cacheopedia lacks an editor-in-chief or a central, top-down mechanism whereby the day-to-day progress on the encyclopedia is monitored and approved. Instead, active participants make copyedits and corrections to the content and format problems they see. So the participants are both writers and editors.
Most policies and guidelines are thus enforced by individual users editing pages, and discussing matters with each other. Some policies are also enforced by temporary blocks (notably as a mechanism for dealing with vandalism) by admins.
Types of policies
Links to various policies can be found in the following categories:
- Category:Wikipedia official policy - policies that are widely accepted and that everyone generally follows
- Category:Wikipedia semi-policy - policy ideas that are not as widely accepted by consensus, but still have some degree of support in the community
- Category:Wikipedia guidelines - suggested policies that one should follow but don't have to and people should keep in mind while at the Wikipedia
By following these we are able to produce a more consistent and more usable encyclopedia:
- Editing policy (How to edit articles)
- Naming conventions (How to title articles)
- Disambiguation (How to resolve title conflicts)
- Image use policy (Handling uploads)
- Deletion policy (how to nominate pages for deletion and, (restricted) how to perform the deletion)
Some features of the software which could potentially be misused, such as deleting pages and locking pages from editing, are restricted to Administrators, who are experienced and trusted members of the community. Policies particularly relevant to administrators include:
- Protection policy (When and why to protect a page)
- Blocking policy (Blocking users to deal with vandalism or to enforce decisions of the arbitration committee)
Types of guidelines
- Contribute what you know or are willing to learn about
- Be bold in updating pages
- Make omissions explicit
- Build the web
- Avoid using bots
- Provide an edit summary
These are some additional specific guidelines that have been suggested by various participants. For other useful tips, see avoiding common mistakes.
- Sign your posts on talk pages
- Avoid profanity
- No personal attacks (and move personal debates to email)
- No legal threats
- Log in before making drastic changes to existing articles
- No offensive usernames
- Please do not bite the newcomers
- Don't create articles about yourself
- Always explain your reverts
- Three revert rule (Revert wars considered harmful)
- Dealing with administration issues
- Use your user pages appropriately
- Help:Guide to writing better articles
- Explain jargon
- Deal appropriately with patent nonsense
- State the obvious
- Cite sources: point the reader to authoritative references (and list them properly)
- Verifiability: ensure information cited is verifiable if needed (this does not mean it is "official", rather it refers to others' ability to confirm it exists and is as stated)
- Avoid statements that will date quickly
- Stay on topic
- Warn readers about spoilers
- Make articles useful for readers (and consider the audience in writing)
- Check your facts
- Summarize discussion (after a while)
- Avoid self-references
- Avoid POV phrases
- Avoid "Spoon feeding"
- Manual of style
- Don't include copies of primary sources
- Always fill summary field
- Follow highlighting conventions
- Use subheads sparingly
- Use short sentences and lists
- Don't use line breaks
- Avoid one-sentence paragraphs
- Do not use subpages
Other essays and discussions about Cacheopedia
- Creating how-to articles in Wikipedia.