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Memory Alpha:Editing guidelines

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This page describes one of Memory Alpha's policies and guidelines

Please read through the policy below to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please post them on the talk page.

The first and primary guideline of Memory Alpha's editing policy is that perfection is not required – just enjoy the writing! It's always great when a well-written and informative final draft is submitted to the site, but this usually takes time. The process of getting to that final draft is what this policy page is about.

What makes a wiki special is the method of collaboration that it allows – anyone can post a simple, incomplete, and poorly-written draft of an article, and anyone else can pitch in and help evolve the article into that polished, complete perfect article that everyone strives for. Therefore, you are encouraged to submit rough drafts as much as possible.

One contributor might begin an article with a vague overview and a single inaccurate fact. A second contributor could come along and correct that inaccurate fact. Then a third contributor could rewrite the overview and add more concrete details and descriptions. This process goes on and on, virtually without end – because no one ever stops and says "This is the final version" and decrees that no more editing will be done. Anyone may contribute at any time.

Keep in mind the following guidelines as you edit:

Rough drafts are okay. 
Don't worry if your article looks really rough, or even if it's a stub – it's always better to have some content rather than no content.
Consider the potential of an article. 
Even worse than rough drafts are those articles which are seriously garbled. Don't look on these contributions as hindrances for Memory Alpha, but rather as opportunities for further expansion.
Avoid patent nonsense. 
Text that has no redeeming value may be deleted at the contributor's discretion. But as above, correct work that can be corrected.
Different editing styles are encouraged. 
Some people like to focus on contributing new articles, while others prefer to improve and expand on stub articles. Some would rather make small changes, proofreading articles and correcting formatting and grammar. All of these editing styles are welcome on Memory Alpha, and all of them are essential to the editing process. Although editors are granted relative freedom, some issues are more standardized, such as the order in which information is to be displayed. (For more information, see Memory Alpha:Guide to layout.)
Previous authors do not need to be consulted. 
No one "owns" any of the text as such; therefore, everyone is free to edit any text they choose at any time. Don't worry about hurting the author's ego – chances are that there's more than one author involved in an article already.
Don't take changes personally! 
By the same token, you shouldn't be offended if anyone makes changes to an article you have edited. The text doesn't "belong" to you – or to anyone else, for that matter. Everyone is free to make edits at any time.
Always try to preserve information. 
Don't just make arbitrary deletions to an article – instead, preserve the text on the talk page or on a new archive page for future reference. Alternatives include rephrasing the content, moving text to a different article, or adding more of what you think is important.
Reference deleted content on the talk page. 
If you remove something from an article, copy it to the talk page and explain the changes – because if one person added it, chances are others will too. Preserving comments helps inform later contributors.
No nitpicks. 
Don't clutter up the Background section of an article with nitpicks.
Be bold in updating pages. 
Don't worry about treading on any toes, just push on ahead and edit pages!

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