E31Wiki:Guidelines

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So you've decided to contribute to E31Wiki... Thank you!

This page contains guidelines for the use of E31Wiki. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with these guidelines. E31Wiki is a community-driven effort. Although E31Wiki tries to be a very open and tolerant community, the guidelines are necessary to keep everything running smooth.

The guidelines are not meant as a help document on how to use wikis. Wiki software is easy and intuitive to use, but if you never contributed to wiki websites before it is recommended to read the MediaWiki help pages. If you have experience with other wikis like Wikipedia, you should not have any problems using E31Wiki.

Questions and remarks

If at any time you have a question regarding E31Wiki as a whole, do not agree with the guidelines for using E31Wiki as presented in this document or want to propose changes to E31Wiki, vent your thoughts in the E31Wiki talk page. Using talk pages requires registration. When you cannot register for an account or do not wish to, yet still want to get in contact with the people behind E31Wiki, contact one of the administrators via e-mail. If you have questions or remarks concerning a certain E31Wiki article, use the article's talk page. If you wish to discuss something with an author, use the author's talk page.

Please read the talk page guidelines for more information on the use of talk pages.

Registration

All content on E31Wiki is available to everyone without registration. However, to keep vandalism and spam under control, registration is required for contributions. Registration is free of costs and only a few mouse clicks away: Create an account. The registration form asks for a username, password and e-mail address. A CAPTCHA protects the E31Wiki registration form against automatic spambots.

  • Username: Your personal nickname on E31Wiki. Please choose your username wisely because it cannot be changed afterwards!
  • Password: The password must be at least six characters in length.
  • E-mail: You must provide a valid e-mail address. A confirmation mail will be sent to it. Note that your e-mail address is never visible to other users. It is only used for password retrieval in case you forgot yours.

More information about how E31Wiki protects your privacy and the copyright of your contributions can be found at following pages:

Articles

Copyrights

Please respect the E31Wiki copyright policy when contributing content to articles. Do not simply copy from copyrighted sources unless permission is granted by the author. Please note that there is no copyright on information (facts, discoveries,...). Copyrighted are the author's choice of words, presentation, comments, evaluations or anything else that may be considered "original creative work" of the author rather than mere facts. Therefore you can rewrite a copyrighted article in your own words – based on the information in the source article, and publish it without infringing copyrights.

Language and style of writing

All articles in E31Wiki must be written in English and reasonable effort must be taken to get the spelling right.

The MediaWiki software does not yet contain a spell checker, but you can write and spell-check your article first in a word processor or text editor (which is a lot more comfortable than the edit textbox anyway) and then paste it into said textbox. When using an external editor, it is best to disable certain auto-correction options to avoid the editor from applying styling to the text that is not supported by MediaWiki (e.g. converting "straight quotes" to “smart quotes”, ordinals with superscript, Internet and network paths with hyperlinks, automatic bulleted and numbered lists,...).

Write articles in a professional style: Avoid the use of personal forms. Do not write "You should remove the seats for easier access" or "I removed the seats for easier access", but use "Remove the seats for easier access" instead. The Wikipedia Manual of Style can help you with your English.

Article titles

Use short and descriptive titles for new pages. For example, do not use "How to change the oil filter" but "Oil filter change" or "Changing oil filter". Choose the title of a page wisely and double-check for spelling or typing mistakes because it cannot be changed afterwards!

Article layout

When updating an article or writing a new article, try to keep the layout similar to existing pages.

Use headers and subheaders to divide the article in sections, but avoid the use of level 2 headers close to each other because this tends to be distracting. Except for very short articles, each article should start with a short introduction – before any header. The names of an article's subject are written in bold when they are first mentioned in the article. If the article contains images, a right aligned thumbnail of a descriptive image should be in the introduction.

Don't forget to use the Show preview button prior to saving changes or submitting a new article. It's unnecessary to overflow the history and log with small rectifications that could have been avoided.

Starting a new article

The best way to start a new article is by creating an appropriate link to it in an existing article. The target page does not yet exist at that time and is displayed as a dark red link instead of the regular blue links. This is how the wiki software shows the difference between existing pages and wanted pages. Click the link to the wanted page and the new page's edit form opens.

For an overview of wanted articles, see the list of wanted pages.

Changing existing articles

Contributing does not always mean writing comprehensive new articles. Small changes to existing pages can be valuable additions. Even small corrections of spelling and typing mistakes are highly appreciated as they help to improve the overall quality of the article. If you see something that needs correction or expansion, don't hesitate to do so.

If you wish to make radical changes to an existing article, please be polite and use the article's talk page first to explain your intentions. It's not always appreciated to perform large changes to someone's article without prior notice. Perhaps the author already planned an update to the article. See the talk page guidelines for more information on talk pages. If your change does not really apply directly to the article's subject or may be of use to other articles, consider starting a new article instead of changing.

Linking

When writing or updating articles use links to other pages in the wiki where appropriate, but too many links can be distracting. This is why you should only link the first occurrence of a word. For example, if your text references "light-emitting diode" multiple times, only the first occurrence in the text should be a link to the "light-emitting diode" article. When referencing several times to the same page but each time to a different section (and thus with a different title in your text), it is permitted to use a link in each case instead of only for the first occurrence.

Make links only where they are relevant to the context. A header should never contain links. Where appropriate add links in other articles back to your article.

If you think a certain subject may need a future article, create a link. The target page does not yet exist at that moment, but once it does no or less articles will need updates. The target page is called a wanted page and the list of wanted pages gives an overview of subjects that need an article. Creating links to wanted pages also invites users to write an article about it. Try to avoid adding duplicates to the wanted list due to small spelling differences.

Sometimes a subject may already be covered into detail on another website, like Wikipedia. Feel free to add links to interwiki or external websites where helpful.

Categories

Always assign articles to one or more categories. E31Wiki has four main categories that are listed in the left navigation bar; Information for tips, tricks and general information regaring the BMW 8 Series, Repairs for repair instructions, Modifications for modifications and Reference for supporting articles. Almost every article should fit into one of these categories but you are free to add more or nested categories when necessary. Don't overdo this. There's no point in assigning nearly every article to an individual category. Categories are meant to group similar articles – not to create alternative page titles.

Redirects

Sometimes an item is known by several popular names. In that case it may be appropriate to create a page for each name. The page with the most descriptive title should contain the main article, and the other pages should be redirects to the main article.

User pages

Every registered user can create a personal user page by clicking the username in the top right navigation controls. There's no obligation at all to create a personal user page, but if you really must tell the world something about yourself, go ahead. Be careful with providing personal information! Even when you remove certain facts later on, the history of the page can still be viewed by other users. Once you publish personal information on the Internet, it is very hard to get it off again. So think twice about what you want the world to know about you.

The content of the personal user page doesn't have to focus around the BMW E31 8 Series as the rest of E31Wiki, but it should not go in against the E31Wiki policy and guidelines.

Please, do not add or change user pages other than your own. As the name already implies, it is a personal page and it is considered impolite or even rude to make changes to someone else's user page. If you have remarks regarding someone's personal user page, leave a note on its talk page. Please read the talk page guidelines for more information on the use of talk pages.

Uploading files

E31Wiki does not support embedding of files and images hosted on external web servers. To embed a file or image in an article it must be uploaded to the E31Wiki web server. Use the upload file form to upload files. To view or search previously uploaded files go to the list of uploaded files, (re)uploads are also logged in the upload log, deletions in the deletion log. For uploading of unsupported file types, please contact an E31Wiki administrator.

File copyrights

Please respect the E31Wiki copyright policy when uploading files. Do not upload copyrighted files unless permission is granted by the author.

Filenames and summary

When browsing the list of uploaded files and logs, it must be clear what content a file represents without opening and viewing it first. Therefore it is important to use descriptive filenames when uploading files. For example; DSC00031.jpg is not a good filename. Center_console_rear_covering_parts.jpg gives a much better impression of what to expect. Don't overdo this. Try to keep the filenames reasonably short. Parts_overview_of_the_rear_covering_in_the_center_console.jpg is a lot longer and contains no additional information of value for the viewer. Keep a more detailed description for the summary field.

Good practice to avoid the accidentally uploading of files with vague filenames is embedding the file in the article before uploading. This may sound illogical at first but linking to wanted pages (pages that do not yet exist) is one of the strengths of wiki software. Once the article is ready and saved, just click the red file link in the article and the upload file form opens with the right filename already filled-in.

In addition to the filename always provide a short detailed description of the file in the summary textbox. This description is indexed by the site's search engine and must be useful to users searching through the list of uploaded files. When reuploading a new revision of a file, do not repeat its description in the summary textbox but provide a short list of changes over the last version of the file.

File duplicates

Try to avoid duplicate files. Always check the list of uploaded files before uploading a new file. The file may already exist on the server or perhaps a usable alternative is available. In case the new file is better, more detailed and more descriptive than an existing file, the old file may be replaced with the new file. But when doing so, always check all pages that link to the old file to make sure the new file does not omit information these pages refer to in the old file.

Images

Special care must be taken for image files. Images in E31Wiki articles are meant to clarify what the text describes. They don't need to be art pieces, but vague and blurry pictures taken with a cell phone camera obviously don't support the article. It's not hard to make good pictures, so please take the effort. Pay attention to focus, lighting and use a camera support where necessary to avoid shaken pictures. The best way to avoid camera noise and shaken pictures is providing plenty of light to illuminate the scene.

Example of how to and how not to make photographs

Sometimes it may be necessary to pump the brightness or contrast of a photograph or to remove a color haze due to incorrect white balance. If you do not have photo edit software installed, here are some freeware recommendations:

  • GIMP (Microsoft Windows, MacOS X and Linux)
  • Paint.NET (Microsoft Windows)

If you think you are really bad with graphics, ask another member to help you or process and upload the images for you. Do not upload images that do not meet the guidelines presented here.

Image types

E31Wiki supports following image types only: JPG/JPEG, PNG and GIF. PNG and GIF are very similar in use, but PNG is more recent and recommended over GIF. Both JPEG and PNG/GIF have their own fields of application. PNG and GIF are suited very well for simple graphics, line drawings and lettering, but fail on complex and photographic content due to the limited amount of available colors. JPEG on the other hand is an excellent choice for photographic content, but fails on line drawings due to the artifacts produced by the compression algorithm. When a type is used in its field of application it will deliver better quality at a smaller file size than the other type. Therefore it is important to choose the right type for each image. The picture below shows the differences and what goes wrong outside the type's field of application.

JPEG vs. PNG/GIF: Fields of application

Image resizing

Do not upload large photographs directly from the camera. The amount of detail provided by a photograph of several megapixels is rarely, if ever needed for screen use and only wastes disk space on the E31Wiki web server. Always resize photographs to screen-friendly resolutions. To maintain a similar layout on all pages it is recommended to use only following dimensions:

  • Landscape and square images: 600 pixels width and up to 600 pixels height. In other words, the height is free to choose as long as the width is 600 pixels. The most common camera aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3 what translates to 600 x 400 pixels and 600 x 450 pixels respectively.
  • Portrait images: Try to avoid the use of portrait photographs. At 600 pixels width they are too large to display in one piece on smaller screen resolutions. If you really must use portrait images restrict yourself to 400 x 600 and 450 x 600 pixels.
  • Small images: For very small images 600 pixels width may be way too much. In that case use a 240 x 160 pixels resolution and embed the image as thumbnail in the article. E31Wiki automatically generates a 240 x 160 pixels thumbnail for each larger uploaded image. This way small images have the same dimensions as thumbnails which helps to maintain a consistent layout throughout the whole site.

Sometimes it's just impossible to keep all necessary detail in an image at only 600 pixels width. E31Wiki does not prevent the uploading of images larger than 600 x 600 pixels. Larger images are not embedded full-size in articles but as a thumbnail rendition instead. Some effort to keep the file sizes small is highly appreciated.

Image unsharp masking

When resizing a photograph all details become smaller. It would appear smaller details mean a sharper image, but depending on the resizing algorithm the resized image may become somewhat soft. There is a loss of sharpness. A technique called unsharp masking (USM) can regain much of the lost sharpness. Most photo editors feature a function that provides unsharp masking. It is recommended to apply unsharp masking to resized photographs. The effect may sometimes only be subtle, but resized photographs almost always look better after USM is applied.

Image compression quality

Once the image is edited conform to the E31Wiki guidelines, it must be saved as JPEG, PNG or GIF depending on its content. See image types for more information about which type to choose. JPEG, PNG and GIF all offer compression to keep the file sizes small. The higher the compression ratio, the smaller the files but also the more quality is lost. The largest decrease in file size does not come from the compression, however, but from resizing the multi-megapixel camera photographs. Therefore it is fine to use the best possible compression quality (lowest compression ratio). The small increase in file size this causes does not weigh up to the massive decrease from the resizing. Recommended settings:

  • JPEG: Compression with maximum quality. Format options as baseline optimized or progressive have no effect on the quality.
  • PNG/GIF: PNG-8 or GIF compression, with selective color palette, 256 colors, 100% diffusion dithering and no transparency.

Try to keep the files below 250 kB.

Talk pages

Each article in E31Wiki has a discussion page – the so-called talk page. A talk page is linked to the article and it can be used by users to post comments regarding the article without making edits to the article itself. Open the talk page by clicking the discussion link in the top page controls.

Stay on-topic

Talk pages must not be confused with discussion boards or chats – they are not! Talk should always concern the article; its content or its layout. Use talk pages to propose changes to an article. Always be polite in talk pages, even when you do not agree with an article or parts from it, or even think it is all plain wrong. Perhaps it is just a misconception. Write constructive criticism and avoid personal attacks at all costs.

If the comment applies more to the author than the article, please use the author's personal talk page instead. Praise to the author of an article is often with the best intentions, but avoid classic +1 or me too forum threads. If you have nothing of value to add to other user's words, don't add anything at all.

If the question, comment or idea applies to E31Wiki as a whole, use the E31Wiki talk page.

Talk sections

For each new subject, start a new section by clicking new section in the top page controls. Always look through the list of talk subjects – perhaps the question was already asked and answered. When an apposite talk section exists, add your talk to this section instead of starting a new section.

Always provide a descriptive and neutral title for a new section.

Layout of talk pages

To maintain good readability always write new text below old text and respect the indentation. Good Indentation makes prolonged discussions easier to read and understand. Otherwise talk pages rapidly grow into an incomprehensible mess. Example:

The indentation is made with colons. The source of the example above would look like:

Editing talk

It is not necessary to bring talk pages to publishing standards, so there is no need to correct typing/spelling errors, grammar,... It tends to irritate the users whose comments you are correcting. Do not delete the comments of other editors without their permission.

Never edit someone's words to change their meaning, even on your own personal talk page. It is even best to avoid changing your own comments. Other users may have already quoted you with a diff or have otherwise responded to your statement. Therefore, use "Show preview" and think about how your amended statement may look to others before you save it.

In a few cases it is permitted to change your own and even other user's talk:

  • To fix the layout when you or another user accidentally caused havoc to it.
  • To split a section when its talk has deviated too much from the original subject.
  • To remove content that is in violation with this site's policy.
  • On your own personal talk page you may remove any talk at will.

Signing and dating talk

Last but not least, always sign and date your posts in talk pages by typing four tildes ( ~~~~ ) at the end of your post or by clicking the signature button in the toolbar above the edit textbox. The four tildes are automatically replaced by a dated signature when saving. Signing is just like indentation of great importance to keep talk pages readable and to understand who said what to who. Signatures should never be omitted! Example:

gives:

Commercial information

E31Wiki is not some sort of market place. If you have or know a person who has a car or parts for sale, don't post it on E31Wiki. The same goes for a person who is looking for a car or certain parts. By the time someone reads the page, the car or parts may have sold a long time ago. The information on E31Wiki is meant to be long-term. Short-term selling information has no place on E31Wiki.

There are some exceptions though. If you provide or know a long-term commercial service that is directly targeted to and in the direct benefit of the E31 community, you may post a link to its website – or even add an appropriate article with a description of the offered services. Do not add individual items or services for sale. Leave that to the seller's website. For example, if you sell a single car as a whole or even as parts you, do not post it on E31Wiki but use the classifieds sections in the various E31 communities because you cannot guarantee long-term availability. If, on the other hand, you provide a breaking service with new E31s coming in every once in a while and thus have a more or less continuous supply of parts, the service is considered long-term and of value to the E31 community. This policy is not to allow only a small elite group to post commercial information while the rest may not, but wiki software is simply not suited very well for this kind of short-term activities. Once a page is created in a wiki, it cannot be completely removed. Its history will always be visible and short-term information may render the search functionality useless.

It's not difficult to distinguish between both kinds of commercial services, so use common sense. In case of doubt, contact one of the administrators. Any commercial message not meeting this policy may be considered spam. Repeatedly ignoring the policy on commercial postings may lead to a suspension of your user account.

Vandalism, trolling and spam

When a user is intentionally vandalizing articles or trolling, immediately contact one of the E31Wiki administrators. In case of commercial messages, first read the policy on commercial information. Some long-term commercial information is permitted, provided the wiki is not spammed with it.

Wikitext

Formatting wiki articles is a bit different from writing on a standard word processor. Instead of a strict ("what you see is what you get") approach, wiki uses text codes to create particular elements of the page (e.g. headings). This "language" is known as Wikitext (or Wiki-markup) and is designed for ease of editing. Below are a few examples of popular wikitext usage. For more and more advanced examples, refer to the MediaWiki help pages. If you don't know the wikitext to perform a certain formatting, just look at the source of a page where it is used.

The toolbar buttons on top of the edit textbox provide quick access to common wikitext. Please keep the formatting on talk pages to a minimum.

Bold and italics

The most commonly used wiki tags are bold and italics:

You type You get
''italic'' italic
'''bold''' bold
'''''bold italic''''' bold italic

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings are an easy way to improve the organization of an article. If you can see two or more distinct topics being discussed, you can break up the article by inserting a heading for each section. Headings can be created like this:

You type You get
== Heading (level 2) == Heading (level 2)

=== Heading (level 3) === Heading (level 3)
==== Heading (level 4) ==== Heading (level 4)

A level 1 header also exists, but you should never use it. It's reserved to the wiki software for the page title.

Lists

To create bulleted, numbered or indented lists, use following wikitext:

You type You get
* Bulleted item 1
* Bulleted item 2
** Bulleted subitem 1
* Bulleted item 3
  • Bulleted item 1
  • Bulleted item 2
    • Bulleted subitem 1
  • Bulleted item 3
# Numbered item 1
# Numbered item 2
## Numbered subitem 1
# Numbered item 3
  1. Numbered item 1
  2. Numbered item 2
    1. Numbered subitem 1
  3. Numbered item 3
: Indented item 1
: Indented item 2
:: Indented subitem 1
: Indented item 3
Indented item 1
Indented item 2
Indented subitem 1
Indented item 3

Internal links

To make a link to another E31Wiki page (called a wiki link), put it in double square brackets:

You type You get
[[One-touch turn signal module]] One-touch turn signal module
[[One-touch turn signal module|comfort blinker]] comfort blinker
[[One-touch turn signal module#Time diagram|comfort blinker time diagram]] comfort blinker time diagram

Interwiki links

To make a link to a page on another wiki website like Wikipedia (called an interwiki link), put it in double square brackets with the appropriate interwiki namespace:

You type You get
[[wikipedia:Manual of Style]] wikipedia:Manual of Style
[[wikipedia:Manual of Style|style reference]] style reference

External links

To make a link to an external website, put it in square brackets:

You type You get
[http://www.8coupe.com/ BMW 8 Series Registry] BMW 8 Series Registry

Files and images

Images are important to clarify what the text describes. Following wikitext markup is most commonly used to embed or link to images in text. Please, always provide a caption when embedding images in text. In the first example, the surrounding text would wrap around the image on top and bottom. The second example is a right aligned thumbnail with the text flowing left from the image. The two last examples show how to link directly to a file or to its file page. Use this for files that cannot be embedded (non image formats) or images that have little relevance to the text.

You type You get
[[File:Illuminated CD box installed.jpg|Caption text|frame|center]]
Caption text
[[File:Illuminated CD box installed.jpg|Caption text|thumb|right]]
Caption text
[[:File:Illuminated CD box installed.jpg|Link to image page]] Link to image page
[[Media:Illuminated CD box installed.jpg|Direct link to image]] Direct link to image

Tables

Tables may seem confusing at first, but the tables wikitext is actually very simple and easy to use. The wikitable class is best suited for true tabular data, but when using a table for a simple list the softtable generates a less dense layout.

You type You get
{| class="wikitable"
|+ Caption text
|-
! header 1
! header 2
! header 3
|-
| row 1, cell 1
| row 1, cell 2
| row 1, cell 3
|-
| row 2, cell 1
| row 2, cell 2
| row 2, cell 3
|}
Caption text
header 1 header 2 header 3
row 1, cell 1 row 1, cell 2 row 1, cell 3
row 2, cell 1 row 2, cell 2 row 2, cell 3

Message boxes

A message box can be useful to highlight important information or warnings. The appearance and style of the messagebox can be set with a few parameters:

  • type (optional): Supported settings; info and warning. If omitted, info is used.
  • style (optional): Supported settings; small (small centered) and thumb (small right aligned).
  • text (required): The text to display in the message box.
You type You get
{{ambox|text=
This is an '''information''' message box!
}}
{{ambox|type=warning|text=
This is a '''warning''' message box!
}}
{{ambox|type=none|text=
This is a generic message box!
}}

Nowiki

The wikitext markup language uses characters like [, ], { and } to instruct the wikitext processor to apply formatting to text. These characters are normally rarely used in texts, but when they are required the wikitext parser can prevent you from posting the correct information. Put text between nowiki tags to prevent parsing by the wikitext processor.

You type You get
[[Link]] and <nowiki>[[No link]]<\nowiki> Link and [[No link]]

Hidden comments

Sometimes it can be useful to add comments to text with information for further revisions or other editors, but which should not be visible to readers. Put text between the HTML comment delimiters <!-- and --> to make it invisible.

You type You get
Hello <!-- beautiful --> world! Hello world!