Fanlore:Intro to Fanlore FAQ

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Policy: Intro to Fanlore FAQ
In summary: A summary of some existing policies that allows new editors to quickly get a sense of how Fanlore works.
Related Policies:


What is this Fanlore thing all about?

Fanlore is a wiki with a mission -- to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations -- WAIT, we'll come in again!

Our mission is to record the histories, experiences, traditions, and transformative works of a wide variety of fan communities. *Anyone* can contribute. This and our other FAQs will (we hope) answer some of the questions that may arise as you read around the wiki and ponder what you want to add to it.

Who can make or edit a new Fanlore page?

Anyone can do it! \o/ All you need is to register for an account (it's easy and automatic, we do this mostly to protect against spam), and then you will see "Edit" links on existing pages, and if you search for a page about a topic and find it doesn't exist, you'll be invited to create a new one.

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. And keep in mind, too, that there are people out there who just enjoy copy editing, and that's a way to contribute to the wiki too (so don't worry about the page being uneven or about typos -- someone else will enjoy fixing those.)

But I don't have time to write and format an entire dissertation on X event!

You don't have to write a formal paper of any kind in order to add to the wiki. 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!]"

I want to tell a story about something that happened at the con I went to, but I don't want to write an entire article about the whole con. Is that worth posting?

If you think it's worth remembering, then it's worth posting! Again, you don't have to write any more than you are comfortable with. Remember that someone else can come along and add their own experiences as well.

Do I have to write only about well known stories/vids/artworks?

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 the story/vid/artwork/fan deserves a page, then she does or it does!

I don't code. Coding scares the kittens out of me.

You're not alone! One of the most useful pages for a quick reference is the editing cheatsheet help page, which has simple directions on how to do headers and links and such using the wiki coding. Many people keep this page open in another window while they write. But again, it's more important that you make your contribution than you make your contribution, edited perfectly. We can always clean up and format the page later.

Hey! I posted an article on that thing that happened and someone's gone and changed what I wrote.

Remember that although you wrote the 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. However, if a later editor has changed what you wrote and made it inaccurate, you can edit it again to present both points of view. A good formulation is, "Some fans say..." "But other fans say..."

There's an article on Fanlore that says X happened because of Y and that's totally not how I saw it at the time. What makes them the authority?

If someone has posted an article on Fanlore that you believe is inaccurate, incomplete, or one-sided, we encourage you to add to the article and help it to reflect a Plural Point of View.

What do you mean by Plural Point of View?

While there are some bare facts associated with any event (names, dates, etc.) we believe that the history of fandom is a collection of personal experiences and interpretations, many of them passed along as part of an oral tradition.

In a nutshell, the Plural Point of View policy contends that all the interpretations or experiences are of interest and should be recorded, so when you're writing your article for the wiki, avoid making sweeping generalizations (“All fans believe…”) and use qualifiers and non-judgmental language. For example, “To some fans, X event was the best thing ever,” leaves open the opportunity for other fans to come in and explain that they didn't think it was the best thing ever. But in a non-judgmental way. “Fan group A, who thought this was the best thing ever, are clearly crazy-cakes,” does not allow for a plural point of view.

I just discovered that there’s something about me on Fanlore and I feel ambivalent about it. Help?

First of all, we want you to know that everything on Fanlore is there because someone thought it was awesome, interesting, and 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 an article has your legal name or something else that outs you or puts you into any danger, let us know immediately and we’ll fix it.

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.

There’s an article about me (or something I participated in) on Fanlore and it’s wrong! / biased! / incomplete! Can I delete it?

You can’t delete it, but you can edit it. Wikis improve through collaboration, so the way to deal with an inaccurate or incomplete entry is to add more details and perspectives to it.

If the information is just factually wrong—e.g. someone said you started writing Highlander in 1997 and it was actually 1998—you can go in and fix it. (Let us know if you need help creating an account on Fanlore; 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!)

If the information seems biased or written from a perspective you don’t agree with, you can add a countering viewpoint. Bracket 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.

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.

And remember, too, that if an article outs you or puts you in any danger, you can let us know and we’ll take care of it right away.

I've got the real scoop on X event from a friend's journal, but she locked it, so not everyone got to see it. It's all totally true, though. Can I post that?

If the post has always been locked, then you can't post or link to it. However, if it was unlocked (ie public) at some point (and is now locked) then you can quote from it or link to a saved screencap of it.

What is fair use?

Fair use is a provision of U.S. copyright law that says that 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.

It sounds kind of like anything goes around here. What is just plain not okay on the wiki?

Sockpuppets (each user may have only one account on the wiki). Also vandalism (any additions made in an attempt to damage the wiki) and spam (advertising which invades our fannish space). These are not a few of our favorite things, and we will delete them with abandon.

The other thing that's not permitted is "outing" another fan. 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 we discover that someone's identity has been exposed, the page will be reverted and the history removed, and we reserve the right to ban anyone who outs another fan.

But what if someone's comfortable linking their two identities?

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 two identities, then you can link those identities on a wiki page.

But our general assumption is that identity exposure is unwanted. Please respect your fellow fans.

What if I disagree with another user's assertion about something?

You can always edit a page to include more points of view. If you disagree with someone's edits, you can use that article's Talk page to chat with the page's other editors. If you can't come to an agreement that way, you can contact a Gardener or Administrator for help.

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. Contact the gardeners. Contact the Fanlore committee.