Fanlore:Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Frequently Asked Questions about Fanlore

About Fanlore

Why does this wiki exist?

Fanlore's mission is to record the histories, experiences, traditions, and transformative works of a wide variety of fan communities. Fanlore is a space curated by and for fans, but it is also meant to be accessible to others like academics, journalists, or fans new to online fandom. For more information about Fanlore's purpose, refer to Fanlore:About.

Who runs the wiki? Who decides on what goes on it?

Anyone with an account is welcome to edit Fanlore and to decide what new pages or content to add. There is no "notability" requirement on Fanlore: the only requirement is that a person cares enough to create a page for a fan/work/event. If you think a story, vid, artwork, or fan deserves a page, then they do or it does!

While editors add most of the content on Fanlore, Fanlore is a project of the Organization for Transformative Works and is administered by volunteers of the OTW. Volunteers called gardeners do a lot of the day-to-day work on the wiki and participate in many of the discussions about decisions regarding making significant edits to pages. Where a dispute arises that can't be reconciled, or if a policy question has to be resolved, Policy & Admin volunteers will resolve the issue.

What content can I put on the wiki?

Any information that is relevant to Fanlore's mission, and does not contravene our policies, can be added to the wiki. Specifically, the subject must be fandom, fanworks, or fannish histories and experiences. We define "fandom" to mean all types of activities and discussions surrounding fans' interactions with all kinds of subject matter, not just fictional source materials such as books, TV, or film.

Please do not add original blog posts, meta, or fanworks to the wiki, as Fanlore is not designed to host original content (please refer to Can I host my original content on the wiki?). Also note that almost all pages can be edited by any user; articles are not likely to remain as posted. Other users are allowed, even encouraged, to add reactions and alternate viewpoints, rearrange sections for ease of understanding, add categories, and condense phrasing for clarity.

However, feel free to quote from or link to your own content if it is relevant to the subject of a page. You are also welcome to create a page that is dedicated to a blog post, piece of meta, fanwork, or similar fannish content of yours and quote from it there, as long as the page does not solely consist of the original content quoted in its entirety.

You can also quote, with attribution, from copyrighted material. In some cases, you can upload copyrighted images for illustrative purposes; refer to Fanlore:Image Policy for details.

Finally, please avoid copy-pasting content directly from other wikis (such as Wikipedia or Wikia) to Fanlore. Even if the copyright license for those wikis permits their content to be used elsewhere, Fanlore's focus is different from other wikis and therefore the content will not automatically be suitable for Fanlore.

Who gets to decide if content is appropriate or not?

If you believe that there is material on a page that is clearly inappropriate for the wiki (such as spam), we'd encourage you to let the Fanlore Committee know about it. But if you're wondering whether particular information is relevant to a given article, we suggest that you discuss your concerns on the talk page for that article.


Who can contribute to the wiki?

Anyone can! All you need is to register for a user account (it's easy and automatic, we do this mostly to protect against spam). Once logged into your account, you will find an "Edit" link at the top of existing pages. After a 4-hour wait period (also an anti-spam measure), if you search for a page about a topic and find it doesn't exist, you'll be able to create a new one. Refer to Help:Starting a new page for more on how to do this.

I have created an account but have not received a confirmation email for my registration.

There could be several reasons for this:

  • Please check your email's spam filter/spam box for emails from [email protected]. Be sure to add the email address to contacts and/or whitelist it to avoid false-positive detection of spam.
  • In rare cases, your email provider domain may be grey- or blacklisted and your registration was not completed. In this case please contact us.

What is the best way to get started with editing Fanlore?

Only registered users can edit Fanlore, so you'll first need to register for a Fanlore account.

If you want to create new articles, please check first whether an article already exists for this topic by using the search function and/or by browsing the categories that can be found in Browse Categories in the navigation bar on the left. (As a preventative measure against spam, you'll also need to wait 4 hours after creating your account before you'll be able to create new Fanlore pages.)

On the Main Page, a short list of articles that need more information can be found below "Help wanted! These articles need more info:"

More wanted pages can be found in the Wish list and Wanted pages.

Articles that need general expansion can be found in the Stubs and Pages that need expansion categories.

Articles that need more examples (such as in the Canon, Fandom or Fanworks sections of the page) can be found in the Examples wanted category.

Orphaned pages (which are not linked from or transcluded into other pages in Fanlore) can be found in the Orphaned Pages list.

I'm not a great writer. I'm worried I'll mess up someone's nicely written page.

Don't let that stop you! Wikis like Fanlore depend on multiple people adding their thoughts and experiences to existing articles and we understand that people have different writing styles. It doesn't have to be a perfectly smooth insertion. Keep in mind, too, that there are people out there who contribute to the wiki just by copyediting, so don't worry about the page being uneven or about typos -- someone else will enjoy fixing those.

If you're really not comfortable adding content directly to Fanlore pages, you can also contribute by adding relevant links, information, or your own memories on Talk pages, so that future editors can polish them and add them to the article.

May I create stubs?

Absolutely! Unlike Wikipedia, Fanlore encourages the creation of so-called stubs: articles that only contain one or two lines on a topic, or the outline of a page. Fanlore welcomes new pages of all lengths because creating a new page, even if it is very short, makes it easier for other editors to add content to that page in the future. When making a very short and incomplete page, just add {{Stub}} to the top of the page so that other editors can find it later and add more details.

No fannish topic is deemed "too irrelevant" or "too controversial" for Fanlore. Please remember: Fanlore is fan-driven and as a fan you can drive the discussion. If you feel it's important enough for a Fanlore page, feel free to create it.

How do I decide whether something belongs on Fanlore?

Fanlore aims to create a historical record of fandom: rather than documenting the objects of fannish attention (the books, TV shows, podcasts and so on), we're interested in how fans have organized ourselves, how we talk, play, create, and consume! As an example, an article about James T. Kirk exists not to chronicle the minutiae of Captain Kirk's canonical appearances, but to discuss how fans have reacted to, responded to, and talked about Kirk.

Fanlore will take a stance on whether or not a topic is relevant to fandom, but we prefer to leave the relevance of topics within fandom up to the members of that fandom and individual editors.

For example, Fanlore is willing to determine, hypothetically, that olives are not of great importance to fandom in general, and do not require an article. However, we would prefer not to make a determination on Character X's cat. The Fanlore Committee is not as familiar with your fandom as you are, and you and your fandom know the things that are important within that fandom.

Every memory, link, fact or description you add, no matter how large or small, helps to build a better picture of a fannish experience. You can add a detail or an example: e.g. adding a story to a list of notable Snape/Draco stories, or adding your recollections of a panel to a page about a con. You can even add your experience as a quote, like: YOUR_NAME remembers it this way: "[Your experience in your own words here!]"

How do I format my contributions using wiki markup?

One of the most useful pages for a quick reference is the Editing Cheatsheet, which has simple directions on how to format pages using wiki coding. Many people keep this page open in another tab/window while they write. But again, it's more important that you make your contribution than you edit perfectly. Other editors are more than willing to help add infoboxes, internal links, formatting, and other bells and whistles!

Can I host my original content on the wiki?

The short answer is no. Fanlore is a space to collectively record the history and experiences of fandom and fannish communities, not a personal website or a repository for individual fanworks, meta essays, interviews, blog posts, or other personal projects. The wiki is collective and collaborative in nature, and other editors are encouraged to add to and modify any pages that you may create with additional information or perspectives.

However, you are welcome to link to fanworks, essays, and other original content on Fanlore on pages where they are relevant. For example, if you have written extensively about the inherent misogyny of the Supernatural canon, you can certainly make a short statement about this on the page for the show/fandom and then link to or reference your writing (or others' writing) on the topic.

Will my work be attributed?

Any edit you make will be recorded on the page's edit history with your username attached. However, Fanlore articles are edited collaboratively and are not signed.

What if I don't want anyone to edit my work?

Then you probably should not contribute to Fanlore. Contributing to the wiki hinges on understanding and accepting that your work will become integrated into a collective body of work.

Remember that although you may have written an article (even if the article is about you), nobody “owns” a wiki article. By contributing to the wiki, you agree to let other users edit your work. We hope that each edit will improve, amend, correct, or just diversify the viewpoints on a particular subject, which again, will help to build a better picture of a fannish experience.

Why is this wiki only in English? Can I contribute edits in other languages?

Fandom is international, and we welcome contributions from fans all over the world. At this time, Fanlore is an English-language resource, although editors are absolutely encouraged to document fandoms, fanworks, and fan communities where a language other than English is the primary language. For more guidance on documenting these fandoms and communities, please check out our Help page for Non-English Language Content on Fanlore! If you would like any further advice on or assistance with documenting aspects of non-English-language fandoms, or are interested in working with Fanlore to improve the international scope of the wiki, please do get in touch.

Editing Policies & Practices

Some of the information I've seen on the wiki is incorrect/incomplete. Can I correct it?

Anyone with an account is welcome to edit any of the pages on Fanlore to more fully represent fandom and fannish history. If you know more information about a topic that is discussed on Fanlore, please feel free to add to its page!

There are some bare facts associated with any event (names, dates, etc.), and if you notice that any of these facts are missing or have been misreported, you're welcome to correct them. However, if you disagree with a previous editor's representation of an event, please add your own opinion alongside it rather than replacing the existing page content with your own interpretation.

Representing differing views of an event side-by-side rather than trying to represent one neutral or "correct" perspective is in keeping with Fanlore's Plural Point of View policy. The Plural Point of View policy contends that all the interpretations or experiences are of interest and should be recorded. When you're writing your article for the wiki, avoid making sweeping generalizations (“All Voltron fans believe…”), and use qualifiers and non-judgmental language. For example, “To some fans, X event made their community proud,” leaves open the opportunity for other fans to come in and offer a dissenting opinion in a non-judgmental way, such as, "To other fans, X event was an embarrassment."

What practices are not permitted on Fanlore?

"Outing" another fan is not permitted on Fanlore. We know that many fans are careful to keep their pseudonymous fan identities separate from their real names, and we want to respect that. If you can point to a statement made by that fan, on an account that they control, where they've publicly expressed that they're fine with linking their identities, then you can link those identities on a wiki page. However, our general assumption is that identity exposure is unwanted, and if we discover that someone's identity has been exposed without public proof that they're comfortable with it, then the page will be reverted and the history removed, and we reserve the right to ban anyone who deliberately outs another fan. For more information, refer to Fanlore's our Identity Protection policy.

Additional disallowed practices include:

  • Hostile editing
  • Sockpuppetry, or one user creating multiple Fanlore accounts
  • Personal attacks against others
  • Vandalism, or additions made in an attempt to damage the wiki
  • Spam, or advertising which invades our fannish space
  • Quoting people out of context
  • Undermining protected (private) content
  • Writing articles from one point of view (i.e., framing a single perspective as facts)

Full explanations of each of these terms can be found on Fanlore:Deceptive Practices.

A new editor is changing things or making contributions that aren't helpful, how do I handle this?

Fanlore is open to everybody, and everybody must start somewhere! This means less experienced editors unfamiliar with Fanlore's best practices may make changes or contributions which feel unhelpful, redundant, or focus too much on one aspect of an article. This does not mean these edits are hostile or malicious. You can see examples of what hostile editing is and is not by visiting our Hostile Editing Policy page.

More experienced editors, including gardeners and Policy & Admin volunteers, should first take a moment to remember what it was like when they were new to the wiki. Being accused of making contributions that are hostile, unhelpful, or unneeded can be discouraging or upsetting for anyone, but may be especially upsetting for a new editor.

You should approach the situation with empathy and the goal of helping the new editor rather than scolding them. You should reach out to thank them for their efforts, while also politely letting them know a better way to contribute.

If you have concerns that their changes may indeed be purposefully hostile or violating one of Fanlore's deceptive practices policies, you can contact Fanlore using the Contact button in the left-hand sidebar.

Can I re-use/duplicate the content on the wiki elsewhere?

Under certain circumstances, you can. Check the license on our Copyright page to learn more.

What if I disagree with or want to remove content from the wiki?

In general, you shouldn't remove or change content from the wiki just because you disagree with it. However, if you think an article is inappropriate for Fanlore or has serious issues, you're welcome to raise this on the Talk page to get input from other editors. If the article is outing a fan, please contact the Fanlore Committee to resolve this (select "Identity Protection" from the subject menu) - do not attempt to resolve it yourself.

Otherwise, if you think that a page could benefit from additional perspectives or information, please add them! Fanlore has a Plural Point of View policy, and we welcome viewpoints and recollections from fans of all kinds.

What is the difference between a user's User page and a normal wiki page about the same person?

Structurally and functionally, your user page on Fanlore is like a personal Profile Page. It's yours to do with as you please, and cannot be edited by other users unless they are site administrators. (This is different from your User Talk page, which anyone can edit to leave messages for you). Fanlore's Plural Point of View policy does not apply to User pages, but harassment, spam, and other deceptive practices are still not allowed on user pages. User pages should not be added to categories other than the Fanlore Contributors category.

For more on user pages, refer to Help:User page.

Regular wiki pages about fans belong in the People category, and/or one of its subcategories (e.g. Fans, Academia. These should be written in the third person, and are not that fan's personal space - anyone can edit them, and they should abide by Fanlore's PPOV policy, although these pages must not be used to harass or personally attack other editors. You can’t delete a general Fanlore page about you, but you can add to it.

Refer to Help:People pages for more on creating pages about real people on Fanlore. For fictional characters, refer to Help:Character pages.

Remember, most people create pages on Fanlore about people and works they think are interesting and important. If you or your work show up, it’s typically a compliment.

How much control do I have over what is said about me on Fanlore outside of my User Page?

If an article has your legal name or something else that outs you or puts you into any danger, let us know immediately (select "Identity Protection" as your message subject) and we’ll fix it.

If your People page or another article on Fanlore represents you in a way that you disagree with, and the information is factually wrong—e.g. someone said you started writing Highlander in 1997 and it was actually 1998—you can go in and fix it. (If you don't have an account yet, you can create an account here. Once you have an account, you can edit the page in question, and you’re welcome to also add other material to the wiki as well! The Help:Tutorial page will help you get started.)

If the information is not factually inaccurate, but seems biased or written from a perspective you don't agree with, you shouldn't just delete the content (which would be considered hostile editing), but you can add a countering viewpoint. Introduce the information you don’t agree with with a phrase like, “Some fans say,” and then add something like, “But others say,” or “But MY_NAME argues,” and make your own point or add a different perspective.

What can I do if there's something about me on Fanlore that I feel uncomfortable with?

First of all, we want you to know that everything on Fanlore is there because someone thought it was awesome, interesting, or worth mentioning. If someone wrote something about you, or about something you participated in, that’s generally a compliment.

It may feel strange to see your fannish name or your fannish history chronicled in this way. Many of us first came to fandom in an era when it was customary to “fly under the radar” — we’re used to a certain presumption of invisibility. But on today’s internet, fandom is no longer invisible. The history of fandom is already being written — often by outsiders to our communities. Our goal is to make sure that our version of our history is preserved. We believe that telling our story together is the best way to celebrate who we are and the awesome things we’ve created.

If you’d like to talk about any of this, drop us a line — we’re happy to chat with anyone about this any time, and we hope we can help you feel more at ease. We’re here to serve both the fans who passionately want to preserve our history, and also the fans who may be startled by the idea of creating this multi-authored fannish history in a publicly-visible way.

Can I quote copyrighted material or add images that I don't own to a Fanlore page?

Yes! You can quote copyrighted material with attribution and insert copyrighted images in accordance with our Image Policy. Under fair use, a provision of U.S. copyright law, we can use copyrighted material without permission in appropriate circumstances. Fair use favors commentary, quotation, and critical analysis, as well as preservation of the historical record. Images, for example, can be part of an article to illustrate a point in the article.

I have a specific concern that isn't addressed here.

Please contact us! Our goal is to make Fanlore a fantastic resource and fun to use and contribute to, and we want to help if you are having issues.