Uncyclopedia:How To Get Started Editing

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Gorillatrans HowTo 
This article is part of Uncyclopedia's HowTo series.
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Creating articles

Uncyclopedia is a wiki, which means that anyone can add content to the site, anytime, anywhere, confident in the knowledge that it'll likely get deleted within the hour. If you think you have a really funny idea for an article (even though you probably don't), you can add the article to Uncyclopedia via this easy step-by-step process:

  • Type your article's title into the "Search" box on the top right of the page, and click "Go".
  • If your chosen title already exists in Uncyclopedia, consider contributing to that article instead of creating your own. Otherwise, try a new title in the Search box.
  • On the search results page, there should be a red link at the top (Results 1-X on Uncyclopedia for: blank). Click that link to create your page.
    Note that Uncyclopedia also contains other "namespaces", like UnNews (for news-style pages), UnTunes (for original music and musical parodies), Why? (for the deep, philosophical questions), UnPoetia (for poetry) and many, many more.
  • See the following sections for information on how to format your article properly.
  • If you create a short page that you intend to expand later, add a {{construction}} tag to it. Additionally, you can share a message with everyone to let them know you're happy for them to add their own content if they feel like it by using the following format (change the message as approproate and use the PREVIEW button to make sure it works: {{WIP|I am happy for anyone to add to this article as I've run out of ideas}} This should keep admins and other users from moving or deleting the page without your consent.

On editing existing articles

Be cautious in updating certain pages.

Some edits are more significant than others. The cabal (there is no cabal) doesn't mind a little unannounced tweaking on a random page here or there, but some edits are more significant than others.

In particular, before doing something major such as changing templates, namespace menu pages (aside from your userpage's menu page, of course), reskins, and pretty much anything else that will affect the Uncyclopedia experience of a substantial portion of the user population, please give people a heads up in the Village Dump (there's an easy to use menubar that allows you to create a new forum topic; don't forget to link to your forum from the talk page of any relevant article you may have already created so people can find it!). This will allow for feedback and keep people working together. Collaboration works better than chaos, and changes that have a heavy impact are better discussed than simply done.

Generally speaking, the more your edit changes Uncyclopedia, and the more people who are likely to see it, the more cautious you should be about making it without heading to the Village Dump first.

Don't mess with success

It's tempting to work on Featured Articles and classics: your work will be seen, and it's satisfying to feel that you've contributed to a quality article. However, the better the article, the more likely it is your edit will decrease its quality rather than increase it- even if you are a good writer. Be conservative with the good articles; if you feel like being experimental then create a new article or edit a bad one.

Think about being a surgeon. Every time you operate, you could improve things, or you could screw it up and end up with a corpse on the operating table. Doctors take this into account, and don't operate unless they think the benefits outweigh the risk. Although our work at Uncyclopedia is only occasionally so bad it actually kills, being a writer is a bit similar. Good comedy writing depends a lot on style, tone, and the "voice" of the writer being carefully balanced. A few poorly placed lines about Oprah and Zombie Jesus can kill an article's humor as quickly as slicing through a jugular vein kills the patient. Doctors operate on unhealthy people, not healthy, fit ones. Edit the bad articles to make them better, and leave the good ones alone unless you're sure you know what you're doing. Remember, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And please read How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid if you haven't already!

How to Upload Images

As for how to upload images, log in, click upload file from the left hand menu, and fill out the form that pops up. It's easy! Just be aware that if you upload a lot of stupid images that other people don't find funny, it could get you banned. Be aware that if a file you upload is for your userpage, let people know that so it will be less likely to get erased (there's a comment box to explain why you're uploading the image in the form).

Now that you've uploaded your image, you have to put it in your page, right? It's easy, just type the following code into your page [[Image:Filename.jpg|thumb|caption]]. You can also format it in different ways to get it in different sizes and different areas of the page. Look around at other articles' code to figure out how to do what you want.

Some advice about userpages, subpages, and their role in creating new content for Uncyclopedia

This is a page of useful information for new users.

Unless you have a full-blown idea for an article that's completely written and in final form, it's generally a bad idea to put it into the Uncyclopedia main space as a new article. (see below) This is because short material is generally deleted by other users for quality assurance.

If you have an idea, but don't have the time or the ideas to expand it into a full article, try adding it to an article that already exists instead of creating a new article. It is generally a lot easier to add to a new article and have your changes survive on the site than it is to create a totally new article.

If you still want to create a new article, instead of creating it in the main space, try putting the article on a subpage to your userpage. That way you can be free to complete it at your own pace without being subjected to deletion and ICU tagging of your work.

It is not necessary, but it is advisable for you to register and establish a userpage. Otherwise, you will have to use your IP address as your userpage. This is inadvisable, since other users could share an IP address with you.

If you are logged in, you can create a user page by clicking on your username at the top of any page. It's at the very top in the middle of the page next to the icon of a dismembered torso. Once there, if you're not presented with an edit box, click the "create this page" link and go at it. Tell us who you are!

Once you've created your userpage, you can type your page contents into the userpage like any other article on the site. Check out other peoples' userpages for ideas on how to organize and format your page.

(below) You can create subpages to your user page also, just type in "User:<insert name here>/MySubPage" in the search box, and create the page just like you created your user page. Make sure you remember to add a link to your subpage from your userpage by typing something like this somewhere on your user page: "here's how to get to my subpage: [[User:<insert name here>/MySubPage|MySubPage]]". You can use subpages of your user page for anything, but a great way to use them is to work on articles without worrying about them being deleted.

Having a userpage and subpages is important, because it allows you to keep track of what you're writing, and to control the pace and quality of your own work, before finalizing it and eventually putting it into the main space. Even after putting a finished article into the main space, it may be a good idea to keep an archival copy on your userpage in case it gets deleted and you want to continue working on it.

It is important not to forgot to type "user:" in front of the name you registered as, and your subpage location, since if you don't do this, your subpage won't link up correctly to your user page, and will be considered to be in the main space and may be deleted.

Creating a Menu for your Subpages

Now that you have created subpages to your userpage, you need to create a menu, or else you'll lose track of them (they will be there, but you may forget where they are, and as you make more subpages, it can be problematic to link them all to your main userpage, as it tends to take up too much space).

Using the same procedure you used to create your subpage, create a page called User:<insert name here>/Menu, and edit the page, typing something like "This is an index to my subpages" and then typing "My subpage [[User:<insert name here>/MySubpage]]. Get into the habit of updating your menu whenever you create a subpage. You can also organize the menu by type of subpage. See User:Hrodulf/menu for an example of how to do this.

Now you'll always be able to find your subpages. Be sure to put a link to your menu page on your main userpage also by typing [[User:<insert name here>/Menu]] at the top, for easier navigation. Put a link to the menu at the top of all your subpages also, for the same reason.

Give UnNews a try!

An option, if you don't have time to write a lengthier article, or just don't have that much to say, is to make an UnNews piece out of it. This is not to say that you can just write anything you want there and it won't be ICU'd or deleted, but generally UnNews pieces are allowed to be shorter than Uncyclopedia articles, so it's a great place for new users to flex their comedy muscles. Read other UnNews articles to get an idea of the style and format you should use, and remember to focus on a fractured take on current events, or a zany event that isn't actually happening, but would make the world a more interesting place if it were.

Also, see Help:How to write an UnNews article

Deletions

ObeyUncyc3

One way to think of sculpting, say, an elephant is to start with a block of rock, and then remove everything that doesn't look like an elephant. The point being that art is just as much a process of removing as a process of adding, the "creative process" can be incredibly destructive.

The upshot is: you don't have to be a good writer to contribute to Uncyclopedia. If you've got an eye for good writing, you can contribute just as much to the quality of Uncyclopedia with what you delete as what you add. If you see something of marginal quality, report it to our Vote For Deletion and its fate will be decided by a jury of its peers. If it's recently created and needs help, stick an ICU (Intensive care unit) tag on it. If it's a true, shoot-on-sight abomination, like Karl Rove, do a QVFD (Quick Vote For Deletion). Uncyclopedia has thousands of pages, so taking the time to take out our trash is much appreciated. And if you're up for doing that, I've got a bunch of trash in my garage I seriously need cleaned out as well.

A note of caution- different people have different senses of humor. As you'll see in our Featured Article discussions, one person's Featured Article is sometimes another persons Vote For Deletion. If something doesn't appeal to you but you think someone else might get it, then either leave it be or do a VFD where its fate can be hashed out by committee. Focusing on the worst articles will do the most good with the least collateral damage. Think of it as being a cop who's out to get the serial killers instead of the guy smoking a joint. Delete the worst articles, and let the marginal ones see another day.

A few words about personality conflicts

During your time at Uncyclopedia, it's possible that you may have problems with other people here. Part of life is learning to deal with other people whose ideas or goals are different than yours. Just like in real life, other people on Uncyclopedia won't always be respectful to you, or nice.

You have to decide for yourself how to deal with this, but keep in mind that if you let a few people you don't get along with get to you, you're going to find it difficult to deal with many real life situations involving people not related to you.

Remembering a few simple rules will help avoid major personality conflicts:

  1. If you're really mad, just turn the computer off for awhile. Don't type mad. Remember, you might not be mad forever, but whatever words you save here will be here forever.
  2. Remember that this is a comedy site, a parody of Wikipedia. It isn't the most important thing in the world. Try to keep things in perspective.
  3. If you're still upset, take it to the village dump and get other people's perspective on your problem. This may help you understand the other person's point of view, and defuse any major problems you have with other people here.
  4. Don't make it personal. Chances are you don't know the people here, and they don't know you. What's the point of getting mad at people you don't even know?
  5. If despite all of the above, you've stumbled into an argument, about anything, and there's no chance of ever convincing the other person to accept your way of seeing whatever you're arguing about, just acknowledge that you have a difference of opinion, if it comes to that, and that this is normal and totally acceptable, and that whatever the issue you were arguing about will probably work itself out in time anyway. Hard to keep an argument going after someone says that.

If you get ICU'd

If despite everything, you still get ICU'd, try contacting the person who placed the ICU, and find out why if you can. If you can't, you have to decide whether to try to improve what you wrote, or let it be huffed.

If you decide to improve it, put it on a subpage of your userpage as noted above and try to fix it. Otherwise, let nature take its course and just wait for some admin to huff it.

However, if you are planning to improve the article within the course of the seven days, you can replace the {{ICU}} with {{construction}}, saving it from deletion at the end of seven days, unless the article is not edited for seven days straight in which case it will still be deleted.

How to improve articles that have been ICU'd

Length

The major ICU issue for most users is length. If an article is only a few lines long, it really just isn't an article, it's an idea. Try to elaborate your idea if you can, if you can't, chances are it really wasn't such a worthwhile idea in the first place. Move on to something else that you can write more about.

Style

This is trickier, but some users dislike childish or stupid humor. While it may bother you to have to change what you think is funny, to a certain extent, everyone on Uncyclopedia, regardless of their unique sense of humor, has to conform, to at least some degree, in return for the privilege of being allowed to edit here. You may think something like, say, putting goatse all over your article is hilarious (for the record, it is). However, most of Uncyclopedia (the part that isn't me) would probably disagree.

Developing ideas

One way to develop ideas is to get a piece of paper, and write your idea in the middle. Then, in circles around it, write other ideas, and how they are connected to your main idea. This is called free-association, and can be a great way to develop a structure or content for your article. You can also do this using index cards, but you may want to try on one piece of paper first. It's simpler that way.

Satire is key

Not all the humor on Uncyclopedia has to be satire, but satire is a great way to develop ideas. We all have experienced things in life that are ridiculous, for instance, advertisements on television or radio that make a product of suspicious or in fact, little actual value, seem desirable and worthwhile. Or the greed and corruption of all too many of the powerful and influential in this world of ours. Or the stubborn refusal of many people to abandon beliefs that are obviously nonsensical and/or destructive, be they political, economic, religious, ethical, et cetera. You get the idea. Have a pet peeve? Think some aspect of your everyday life is the stupidest thing imaginable? Hate the fact that you're twenty years old and some insurance lobbyist convinced the government decades ago that, for the sake of all that is holy and good on planet earth, it should be illegal for you to drink a beer? Write about it in a satirical way! You won't change a thing, but we'll all have a laugh.

Research can spur your creativity

I'm not proposing that you plagarize or use actual facts. What I am proposing is that you get information from somewhere, and use it as a "diving board" into creating your own ideas. For instance, if you're writing an article about, say, lions, look up lions on the internet, and find some text about them. By learning about real lions, and what they actually do, you may be able to do a better job writing an article about fake lions, and what they don't do.

Don't be afraid to give up and start over

While writing requires effort and a lot of revision, that doesn't mean that every idea you have can or should be developed into an article. If you've been working on the same idea for awhile and haven't had much progress, it's probably time to move on to something else. You can always save what you did and revisit it later, or find some other way to use the same or a similar idea in a new way. Avoid getting into a rut and always working on the same material; that isn't conducive to creativity.

Adding links

Good articles always link to other articles. This is to make sure you're conforming to the site continuity, as well as allowing people to browse articles more easily. The easiest way to add links is to print your article out, and with a hi-lighter, or colored pen, circle the words you think you can link.

Then surround those words in your article with square brackets ([[]]) like this: [[linked words]]. And if you want to use words other than the name of the article you're linking to to create your link, surround the phrase with brackets, but put a pipe between the name of the article you're linking to, and the text you want to appear on the screen as the link. For example, [[phrase 1|phrase 2]] will appear as "phrase 2" in your article text, but link to an article with a name corresponding exactly to the text contained in "phrase 1." It's important to get the capitalization, spelling, and punctuation of the article you're trying to link to exactly right, otherwise the link won't work.

Remember to be careful and make sure the articles you're linking to actually exist! Otherwise, the links won't work and you may get a "remove the redlinks" notice.

Collaboration

If you get into a situation where someone else contributes to an idea you originated in an article, it may be a good idea to put a note on the talk page of the article, or on your userpage, acknowledging the contribution, and giving credit for the contributor. This will not only acknowledge their work, but may encourage more people to contribute to your articles.

If you end up working with one or more people jointly on an article, you may find the creation process is easier, since everyone can come up with their own ideas, and play off each others' ideas, coming up with concepts that they may not have thought of had they been working alone. To a certain extent, this is one of the reasons the wiki-format is powerful; it's a way for hundreds or even thousands of stangers to collaborate in ways that would never have been possible otherwise. If, in your time at Uncyclopedia, you have the opportunity to actively collaborate with one or more other users in creating or improving an article, I suggest that you do it; it's a great opportunity to learn how to work with other people, and the results can often be better than they would be if you were working alone, if for no other reason than that ideas that are only funny to you will be shot down by your co-authors.

Remember, if while working together with others, you get into a significant disagreement, read "A few words about personality conflicts" above and keep in mind that you have to make a decision about what's more important to you in this situation: being "right," or getting something accomplished. Working with others means that your ideas won't always be what gets used. And that's ok. If you have an idea that isn't used, you can always save it on your userpage and use it for something else later, so try to realize that it's not that big a deal if the other people you're working with don't agree with your sense of humor, or see the subject of the article the same way you see it.

If (when) your work gets edited

This is a user-edited web site, the nature of which is that its content will be, you guessed it, edited. By users. It has its plusses and minuses. Yes, somebody may ruin the timing of your joke or add some unfunny nonsense. But your fellow Uncyclopedians may also help make a marginal article into a feature-worthy gem. When it works, it can work beautifully, sort of like a potluck meal: one person supplies the premise, other people add some jokes, others do some editing, rewriting and formatting, somebody else photoshops an image. It's a bit hard to let go of your article sometimes, but remember, once you put it up here, it's a community article. Try to think more in terms of the Uncyclopedia community, and less in terms of your individuality. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

As you're getting started, you should probably ignore edits to your article, for several reasons:

  1. If you change it back, you can start a pointless and energy/time consuming revert war.
  2. Maybe you're wrong and it's really better the new way.
  3. It's more constructive to start a new article than to obsess over guarding an old one against any changes, and
  4. If everybody reverted everything they wrote back whenever someone else changed it, there'd be virtually no progress in the quality of the articles here.

In other words, it's my personal belief that allowing things to be changed is more likely to produce good results than reverting back to old versions.

I practice what I preach. Compare my last edit of skeletor with the current version. I think the new version, which I did not write, is better. Perhaps you agree with me.

Also, compare UnNews:Al Qaeda's number Two Operative in Iraq Flees Moon, Captured in Iraq with the previous version that I wrote: (earlier version). In this case I felt my prior edit was better, but decided that reverting it back would not be constructive and just lead to an edit war. So instead, I just added a link to my previous version of the article to my userpage, and went on to write a new (and in my opinion, better) article on UnNews.

This isn't a hard and fast rule, it's just a guideline; a lot of issues between people here would probably resolve themselves if more people followed it and generally tried not to be too possessive about their writing generally.

If you get banned

  1. If you get banned, and it isn't for an extended period, try to figure out why you were banned (if there was a reason) and avoid doing whatever you did in the future after the ban expires. While it's understandable that most Uncyclopedians, being prone to see the lighter side of life, may have an innate distrust and/or disrespect for authority, on Uncyclopedia, the admins are the authority, and just like in real life, like it or not, they have the power, and most of you don't. Act accordingly, or you'll find that what happens to you in real life if you flout authority will happen to you here also.

  2. If you get banned, and it is for an extended period, either plead for mercy in #uncyclopedia at server irc.freenode.net (thereby probably tripling the length of your ban), or just find something to do other than editing Uncyclopedia. Stamp collecting is very nice, and nobody has ever been banned from it . . . yet. If you don't know what IRC or mIRC is, look it up online.
  3. Log out and edit.
  4. Then go throw some feces on your computer screen. It activates the Uncyclopedia web page

Before you get infinitely banned, read this

  1. Life is full of "meaningful downturns." Consider why you were banned, and try to change, before it becomes infinite. Part of living in human society is learning how to accept that certain restrictions on our liberties as individuals are necessary for our freedom to be preserved and society to work; this applies to Uncyclopedia (or any other wiki) no less (and possibly a lot more, actually) than it does in any community.
  2. There's a reason why Libertarianism isn't that popular in most countries; power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Similarly, Uncyclopedia is absolutely powerful.
  3. It's worth spending time learning what works in this community, and what doesn't, and directing your efforts and creative energies towards what works, instead of crashing and burning as an infinitely banned user, which, in the end, accomplishes nothing for anybody, least of all yourself.
  4. If you've already been infinitely banned, please refer to point two of "if you get banned" above. If you don't like stamps, there's always the little stickers that come on fruit at the supermarket. Nobody's been banned from collecting those yet, either. My favorite one had a picture of the planet Saturn on it. Cool!

How to make your own userpage userbox templates

First, don't actually create them in the "Template:" namespace! They will get erased!

You have to understand that any code at all can be a template. You can insert any code from any page onto any other page just by putting the name of the page between double brackets. For instance, {{User:Hrodulf/ExampleTemplate}} will copy this "dummy" example template anywhere you want it, like this:



Testpattern This is a test











See, it's that easy!

And you don't have to do it with userboxes, images, and text: any code from any page you put in between double brackets will be put anywhere you place the double bracketed pagename. Not that you should go around doing that willy-nilly, that's vandalism and will get you banned, but it can be useful for things like creating userbox templates for your userpage. Here's how to do it:

Type in User:<insert name here>/MyTemplate into the Uncyclopedia search box

Click search, and click on the red link at the top of the page that says User:<insert name here>/MyTemplate.

Now you can edit the code for the page. I recommend you cut and paste the example template code for now. Cut and paste the following into your new page:

<div style="float: left; border:solid black 10px; margin: 1px;">
{| cellspacing="0" style="width: 338px; background: orange; font-size: 26px; font-family: impact"
| [[Image:Testpattern.jpg|200px]]
| This is a test
|}</div>


Now you can edit the code! Change the image from Testpattern.jpg to whatever you want, change the image size (200px means 200 pixels) to whatever you want, change the background color from orange to whatever you want (experiment and look at other pages' codes to figure out the details), change the border from solid black to another color, or make it invisible by making it white instead, or change the font codes (the text doesn't doesn't have to be large and bold, again, look at other articles to get ideas about how to format your text). If you can't figure out how to do something, ask for help in the village dump, or look around until you find something you like, and copy and paste the code for it.

Click save to save your template.

Now anytime you code {{User:<insert name here>/MyTemplate}} into a page, your template will appear.

Another way to use templates

Want to invoke a template code, but don't want a link from the template page to the page you're editing? Invoke the template this way: {{Subst:User:<insert name here>/MyTemplate}}. It will have the same effect, only instead of linking the template page to the page you're editing, it will actually insert the template page code natively onto the page you're editing. This can be useful if you want to change part of the template every time you use it, for instance, if it is a signature template, and you want to change the time and date every time you make use of it. That reminds me, I forgot all about . . . .

Signature templates

Notice how some users have lots of cool colors and pictures when they sign on talk pages and in the village dump? Well, you can have that too, if you want! First, just create this page. In that space, put your code for your signature template. (If you need to, check out other users' signature templates for ideas on colors and formatting. (Don't swipe sig templates wholesale, but if you're clueless about coding and need some code, you can take the base code from someone else and modify by changing colors, text and images)).

Once you have your sig template made up, head up to your preferences (very top of the page) and add {{Subst:Nosubst|User:<insert name here>/sig}} to the Signature field. Check "I want to use wikitext in my signature" and you're good to go. Now when you click the signature button or type four tildes your sig will automagically show up.

Keep in mind that there are a few restrictions on signatures. We're trying to keep things somewhat legible and uniform around here. Be as creative as you want, but please stay inside those boundaries.

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