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  • Best Practices, Guidelines & Rules

     Created: by Dreadknux
     Edited: by Dreadknux

    Message added by Dreadknux,

    This is an evolving document, as we evolve the Sonic Database and find a house style/tone of voice that works best for the project. Please check back on this document regularly.

    This is an evolving document that aims to contain all of the rules and guidelines concerning writing, organisation and administration of the Sonic Database. Over time, Admins and Database Curators will adapt the information on this page as necessary; it is recommended that all users frequently refer to this record for the latest guidance.

    In general, the Sonic Stadium's Sonic Database aims to be both an informative, entertaining and easy-to-use resource for the Sonic community. These guidelines will help keep things organised, collaborative and engaging for the whole fanbase to get involved with.

    Writing Style & Rules

    The guidelines in this section relate specifically to organisational best practices within certain Database categories. These are in addition to the overall Sonic Database guidelines and best practice rules.

    Please adhere to the following, as well as the guidance offered in other pages in this Database category, including the Page Structure & Elements page in particular. Any questions and collaboration chat should be made in the record's Talk page, or the Sonic Stadium Discord server

    General

    • Generally speaking, we want to maintain a similar writing approach and tone to the Sonic Database as Wikipedia. To that end, please ensure your information is written in a neutral tone of voice and avoid the use of first-person pronouns.
       
    • Information should be presented without any 'editorialising' - that means, an editor's point of view or opinion on a given topic must not influence the way a record is written. Keep your views to the Forums, where you can chat about Sonic's arm colour or the pronunciation of Hydrocity all the live long day.
       
    • Most Sonic Database records come complete with a 'Talk' section where editors and Database Curators can discuss the development of the page. Do not use this area to chit-chat or engage in general discussion - we have Forums and a Discord channel for that. Stick to the record's development only.
       
    • The Sonic Database is an English-language resource, and as such editors are expected to write with a good grasp of English language spelling and grammar. If you are not confident in your ability to write well in English, it is more helpful to find other ways to help contribute - perhaps by sharing details in the Sonic Stadium Discord channel so other Database Curators may include your information.
       
    • Users who frequently offer poorly-written contributions may have their editing privileges on Sonic Database revoked. This does not affect any other level of posting or access you may have on other areas of the Sonic Stadium website or Forums.
       
    • Writing in the Sonic Stadium's established tone of voice (found in our Sonic News articles) is okay, and encouraged for our more advanced editors, but don't overdo it; ensure your content is rooted in accuracy at all times and that your information does not read to the casual reader as flippant or offensive. If in doubt, keep a neutral tone of voice at all times.
       
    • It's encouraged to create individual records for every character, item, location of significance in a game/comic/medium, rather than rely on lists of detail within a single record. Editors can offer a brief overview of each item within a single record, but should link out to each individual item's destination page too (i.e. a brief overview of each Zone in the "Sonic & Knuckles" record, with links to "Mushroom Hill Zone", "Flying Battery Zone" etc records).
       
    • Individual records focusing on different universe/continuities of the same character/item/location is allowed, as long as there is a significant volume of information available distinct to that media's particular universe. 
       
    • Make sure records are categorised correctly. Any in-universe records relating to the video games must strictly be located in the 'Game Universe' family of categories, while any variant records must be published in the 'Universe' subcategory for its related media (i.e. a "Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Character)" record must be situated in the Comics > Archie Comics Universe > Characters subcategory).
       
    • For effective disambiguation, please ensure that any record that may share a name with another (regardless of which category the other record lives in) has some kind of identifier added in parentheses as a suffix (i.e. "Sonic the Hedgehog (16-Bit)", "Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)", "Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics)", "Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Character)"). No two records should have the exact same title or URL slug.

    Games Category

    • Hero Cards for Games (and most other products) should ideally feature the box artwork for the European/UK version first and foremost. If no high quality EU/UK box art exists, feel free to use the North American packshot or a reasonable alternative.

    Comics Category

    • A general record should exist for each major comic license and series, and this should be located in the top level of the Comics category. Please organise any sub-pages (comic issues, in-universe character records) into the relevant comic license/series 'Universe' subcategory.

    Media Category

    • A general record should exist for each major TV series, web series and movie release - these should be located in the top level of the Media category. Please organise any sub-pages (TV episodes, in-universe character records) into the relevant TV/Movie series 'Universe' subcategory.

    Merchandise Category

    • The 'Experiences' subcategory is intended for location-based activities and events, such as theme park rides, themed experiences and indoor amusement centers. It should not include amusement machines or objects that may feature within those locations. General Sonic-themed amusement machines that generally cannot be purchased/taken home should be situated in the Games > Amusement Machines subcategory instead.

    Community Category

    • We can not include every single Sonic fan, webpage and YouTube video in our Database. Only Sonic community persons, websites, groups, platforms and projects of significance should be considered for inclusion in the Sonic Database. Sonic community 'influencers' with large audiences, or legacy community members who have been known (with citations) to contribute substantially to the online community can be considered.
       
    • Fan media teams can have their own Database record, if it is mentioned in the Record Title (i.e. 'Sonic Paradox (Group)'), but individuals within these teams must be independently significant as per the previous point in order to reasonably have a separate Database record of their own.
       
    • Only persons who have exclusively contributed to, or whose core brand/profile exclusively serves, the Sonic the Hedgehog online community can be considered for a record on the Sonic Database. General audience / broader video game-focused influencers who happen to cover the Sonic franchise (regardless of the frequency of the Sonic related content) are not eligible for a record. 'Sam Procrastinates' qualifies; 'Arin Hansen' does not.
       
    • Fan Fiction of any kind is not eligible for a record anywhere on the Sonic Database.
       
    • This is a space to celebrate the positivity of the Sonic franchise and community. Persons whose main connection/contribution to the Sonic the Hedgehog community is controversy, will not be eligible for a record on the Sonic Database. If a significant controversy befalls a person/group who is already listed in the Sonic Database, there will be an open discussion in that record's Talk page in how to deal with that existing record.
       
    • "Leakers", self-described "insiders", or members of the community that otherwise trade in rumour or speculation of any kind are not eligible for any record or mention within the Sonic Database.

    People Category

    • IMPORTANT WARNING: This category is where the use of neutral language is extremely important. Significant controversies concerning any person featured in the Sonic Database must be outlined in brief, without emotion or prejudice, and must be supported with accurate and relevant references / corroborating facts. If in doubt, leave it out.
       
    • The above rule strictly applies to the People Category; community members and groups featured in the Community category have their own rules regarding controversial figures and incidents. Please refer to the above section under 'Community Category'.
       
    • Japanese and English voice actors/performers are allowed to be recorded in the Sonic Database. For other countries/languages, this will be determined on a case-by-case basis by Database Curators. If an individual record for a country's performer is not allowed, the person/s may be noted as a credit line in other records on the Sonic Database (i.e. within a Character record).

    Moderation & User Hierarchy

    While anyone with a Sonic Stadium account in good standing (and within the 'Sonic Community' usergroup) can be invited to edit and modify records, administration and moderation of the Sonic Database is handled by a special group of users titled 'Database Curators'. These are specially-selected Sonic community members who are tasked with making sure the quality of user edits and the organisation of the Database is maintained at a respectable level.

    At present, most user edits will be screened as we launch the BETA of Sonic Database and begin to understand how the community contributes to it. If anything falls through the approval cracks and looks strange or incorrect, you can report any record in the Sonic Database via a dropdown menu either at the very top of a page, or at the bottom of a page's information tab.

    Vandalism and other acts of undermining, disrupting or degrading the Sonic Database will not be tolerated. Offending users will have editing permissions stripped. Repeat offenders, across other areas of the site - including (but not limited to) public disturbances/complaints about their infraction punishments, will see further action taken in accordance with SSMB's three-strike policy.

    Database Curators: Roles and Limitations

    The key goal of a Database Curator is to protect the Sonic Database from inaccuracies and acts of vandalism, as well as to act as a sherpa for the rest of the Database editorial community, offering and acting on the guidance outlined in these pages.

    Database Curators have no social status or privileges above any other regular Sonic Stadium user; they should not be considered on the same level as Moderators, TSS Staff or Admins. The sole benefit to being a Database Curator is additional access to editing options (limited solely to the Sonic Database and Media Gallery areas of the Sonic Stadium website) and the responsibility of managing Database editorial accuracy and disputes without prejudice. They have no authority or moderation/editorial input in any other area of the Sonic Stadium, including the SSMB Forums and Sonic News.

    Database Curators are also not allowed to make decisions based on emotion or opinion (i.e. preferring a particular editorial direction based on a personal preference, or any positive or negative feelings towards a user). They are there only to uphold the rule of law as outlined in this section - or in the absence of any written guidance, decide on a best practice based on reasonable interpretation of the current guidelines.

    Please respect the Database Curators! They work hard to maintain the Sonic Database and help keep the peace. Usually, their word on a database editorial matter is final, but if there are any widespread (not individual) concerns about a Curator(s) decision or their overall conduct, Sonic Stadium users can escalate to an SSMB Moderator or Admin. Please only involve the moderation and admin teams if there is a serious issue or infraction; do not bother them with trivial issues or simple disagreements.

    From time to time, major issues and new situations will arise that may require the creation of additional Sonic Database guidance (or an amendment to existing guidance). If this occurs, the matter will be discussed between the whole community via the Talk pages of a given Database record - with final decisions on any points of action made by a further collaborative Database Curators and TSS Staff/Admins discussion.

    Sourcing Material

    It is very important that records within the Sonic Database are sourced and referenced correctly. Unless it is so obvious that it can be gleaned from a user actually consuming the media itself (i.e. playing a game, reading a comic, watching a movie), references must be cited for the information in a record to be considered accurate.

    What is a Reference?

    The definition of a reference in the context of the Sonic Database is: a confirmed and publicly-established quote / published article / official media or source, authored by / involving, a company / person of authority and/or significance within the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. This includes published interviews with SEGA developers in print or online media, as well as official press releases and showcases.

    • IMPORTANT: Information found on anonymous-user platforms or provided by self-described 'leakers' or industry 'insiders' are not reliable and can not be seen as creditable or accurate. They cannot be used as citations, references or sources, and must not be used to support a Sonic Database record in any way. Any such citations or mentions must be removed.

    What Needs Referencing?

    Most information, that is not obvious to the user when consuming the media itself, needs a reference. For example, the fact there are six Zones in Sonic the Hedgehog for the Mega Drive / Genesis does not need a citation. However, if an editor wishes to note that the six Zones in the game (instead of seven) was an intentional design choice, they will need a citation in order to support that claim.

    Referencing Sources Using Footnotes

    sonicdb-faq-footnotes-editor.png

    Adding references in the Sonic Database is simple; an additional button can be found in the post editor within this section of the site, allowing users to insert a Footnote[1]. Clicking this button will generate a pop-up dialog box where a user will be able to insert a valid reference. Only include the title of the source (i.e. an article headline), the author (if available), the source name (i.e. website name) and a URL to the reference.

    sonicdb-faq-footnotes-popup.png

    Upon clicking OK, a new H2 header will dynamically be created at the bottom of the post editor with the user's footnote, and a superscript link will appear at the user's chosen insertion point. An editor can choose to re-use existing footnotes when adding new ones.

    Plagiarism and Copying Content From Other Sources

    Plagiarism - the copying of content from an external source, word for word, and publishing it as your own original work - is strictly forbidden on the Sonic Database. Users found to be engaging in this practice will face instant bans from the Database, and their content scrubbed from the records. Users are encouraged to report any activity suspected to relate to plagiarism to the moderation team using the reporting system found on a Database record page, where that content will be investigated.

    Content can not simply be copied from other sources - be they wikis, websites, news articles, videos or any other media. Any user contributing to the Sonic Database must write and articulate any contributing information with their own original words.

    Some external third-party sources, such as Wikipedia, allow for the public re-use and distribution of their information on other websites and platforms (as permissable under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike content license - aka CC BY-SA - and other similar licenses), as long as appropriate attribution is given and such content is worded in either an original fashion or is used to create a derivative work (aka 'remixing' content).

    Information and knowledge found on another source, that is not exclusive to that source (i.e. common knowledge) may therefore be used to help contribute to and build the Sonic Database, as long as such knowledge is written in original language and no plagiarism is engaged.

    However, any information that originates from, or is otherwise broadly known and understood to be exclusive to, an external source (i.e. interview on a news website, discovering on a retro gaming forum) should have appropriate sourcing attached to the Sonic Database text in the form of references and footnotes (see subsections above).

    Footnotes

    1. ^ Best Practices, Guidelines & Rules, Sonic Stadium: https://board.sonicstadium.org/database/guidance/best-practices-guidelines-rules-r14

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