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I thought this
was supposed to be

RationalMedia Foundation (RMF)

RationalWiki has no (well not many (well not a lot of (alright! absolutely loads of))) rules. There is, however, a definite etiquette when it comes to editing existing articles. Basically, following this saves a whole lot of time and frustration.


  • Minor edit (spelling, grammar, adding refs/cats etc.):
Checking the minor edit box signifies that the current and previous versions differ only superficially (typographical corrections, etc.), in a way that no editor would be expected to regard as disputable.
Any edit that changes the meaning of an article is not a minor edit, even if the edit concerns a single word, and it is improper to mark such an edit as minor.[1]
If it's an idiomatic difference (American vs. Real English, say) then pass by on the other side and ignore it. No one really cares that the yanks don't like silent letters/brits are afraid to use "...ize".
If it's intended to be humorous as it stands - respect others' warped minds and ignore it (unless you think that you can improve the comic intent or it really, really detracts from the factual content).
If you still want to edit then go ahead.
Don't forget to check "This is a minor edit" and explain ("sp"," typo","ref", etc.) in the "Summary" box. This helps those sad individuals who feel the need to watch recent changes like hawks.
  • Non-controversial edit (explanatory sentence or paragraph or clarification of ambiguity):
If your amendment doesn't materially alter the tone, meaning or direction of the article then do it.
Leave "This is a minor edit" unchecked - minor edits are really about altering one or two characters, e.g., a spelling correction.
Give a short explanation in the "Summary" box. This makes it useful if you need to justify your addition and will save people questioning why you did something (even if it isn't controversial, some people are just like that).
  • Controversial edit:
Explain your point in the article's "talk" page first. Wait for replies. Then go with the flow.
In the case of an article where one person did most of the work (check in "History"), contact them by commenting in their "talk" page. Again wait for reply and discuss on the article's "talk" page.
If you get no responses in what you think is a reasonable amount of time, a day or so, you can flag it up at the saloon bar. Again, wait for replies. The controversial aspects of RW articles are always may be thrashed out on talk pages first, since edit wars are unproductive and usually piss people off far more than discussion.
If you cannot agree on an amendment it might be that alternate points should be made elsewhere in the article, or perhaps in a new article cross-referenced with the current one. If you can back a point up well, then there will always be some place where it can be placed.
Don't start an "edit war", it's ugly, time wasting and counterproductive (although sometimes amusing to third parties).
  • Undoing previous edit:
Only use "rollback" to remove blatant vandalism, or any other self-explanatory reversion (such as when someone blanks a page, or adds "4 HOT SEX, see THIS LINK!!!123" to a page). This sort of rollback can also apply to talk pages.
When reverting a good faith edit, use "undo" and state your reason(s) in the "Summary" box, such as "that was an intentional misspelling".
Often a good faith edit that doesn't resonate well can still hold information that is interesting. If it's just the style or wording that you think is wrong, then improve it yourself, stating reasons in the summary page. Do not just go straight to a user's talk page and tell them they're useless.
When reverting substantial edits, discuss your reasons on the talk page - a summary of "see talk" is usually sufficient. Copy the material that has been changed and place it on the talk page so everyone can see at a glance what the problems are. A difflink is generally considered okay for this purpose.

Don't be afraid of ridicule: you're as entitled to your stupid brilliant opinion as anyone else.

Don't crowd other editors[edit]

If you see someone else making a lot of edits to one article in a short time, it might be that they're trying out something; let them finish before jumping in with your edits or comments. There are two methods you can use to help avoid edit conflicts in articles that you're developing:

Use a sandbox[edit]

If you're working on a new article or making extensive modifications to an existing one then it may be a good idea to work in a sandbox created in your userspace. Editors will normally avoid editing articles in userspace that doesn't belong to them, so you'll have more freedom to develop your article free of conflicting edits and criticism. A sandbox is created like any other page, but you must follow the format "User:Yourname/Name of your sandbox" (where Yourname is your username or IP address, and Name of your sandbox is entirely up to you). Here's an example:

User:anonymous user/sandbox

This page probably won't be found, so you'll see an option to create a new page. This'll give you a private page that can be used for your edits. Once you're happy with the article, either relocate the page to the article name of your choice, or just copy and paste the code from it. You can create multiple sandboxes, and the naming is entirely up to you. For example:

User:anonymous user/super sandbox for my really cool article

As advised in our Help:Namespace article, you should not edit articles in the namespace of another user, but you can use talk pages to offer suggestions and solicit feedback.

Tip: Be careful when adding categories to articles in your userspace, since your articles will then appear in category pages. Ideally you should add categories when you're ready to move your article in to its new home.

Add a "Work in progress" template[edit]

Template:WiP can be used to alert editors to your ongoing work, thus reducing the chance that someone will sneak in to modify something. Note that this template is only intended to be present in articles for specific periods of time (normally measured in hours). The template contains a warning to this effect.

Making edits easier to find[edit]

As shown here.

On long pages, especially long "talk" pages, your edit will be easier for others to find if you use the section "edit" link. Not only does this reduce the chance of edits conflicts (another person editing one section while you edit another will not cause an edit conflict), but the "arrow" link that shows up on "recent changes" and "watchlists" will go directly to that section.

See also[edit]

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about Etiquette.


  1. The two above comments are from WPWikipedia