VDR Wiki:Second steps
Where to begin?
If you have motivation to contribute to VDR Wiki, the big question is where and how. The german VDR Wiki has grown quite big, and most important topics already have lots of good articles. So, when you know german, just translate an article, create a knew one, or correct an existing one.
We would like to encourage our newcomers to start out slow. Look for a topic you are interested in, and read the articles that already exist. Click along. Sooner or later you will find a page you can add some information to. Off you go! Click "edit" and edit away! Save it! On to the next article.
By reading articles and source code (which is the text form of articles that appears in the edit window) and editing that source code you will learn pretty quickly how a VDR Wiki article should look.
A little note: the source code of some articles looks pretty complicated at first. The reason for that is that it contains tables, and the method for writing tables is, well, advanced. Don't let that stop you! Just scroll down a little more in the edit area. After the table comes the actual article text, which is much easier to read and edit.
After that, create new content
On the other hand, everyone wants to contribute new content. One of the most common mistake for beginners is starting after two minutes in the sandbox and create five or ten new articles with only 2 or three word each in rapid succession. It is a big letdown to see these pages deleted in cold blood.
A new article should have some quality: A few lines are necessary, two or three are enough. One of the most important thing is to always(!) write complete sentences. Ideally, the first sentence should contain the term that is explained. Articles like "VDR Wiki: Its a online manual" don't help much, and copying your thesis is also not a good idea in most cases: Joe Average should be able to make sense of the articles. But don't be too shy: We don't expect your articles to be perfect.
That is why we recommend reading and editing first, so you get a feeling for our style, before you start on new articles. Have a look on the lower half of the new pages page to get an impression of how new pages should look.
Now, if you want to start writing new articles: On the Main Page there are some topics for which articles are requested (remember: Really intend on writing a (short) article, not only three words!). And a whole buch of missing articles is on the request page.
Please experiment only in the Sandbox. Test masquerading as "normal" articles are deleted immediately. That means, you can't see if your test was successfull, because an admin already deleted it. Furthermore, the admin had to spend some time and resources to delete that article. And because admins are friends, not food, you have to be nice to them and don't cause them additional work.
Lists and placeholders
Creating lots of placeholders (articles that don't actually contain information) is another mistake common among newcomers. Also, often articles are created that contain only lots of links to sub-articles, which presumably is intended as some kind of subdivision without some general information besides the links. However, content should, if possible, always be joined and not splitted over many small articles. So, if you have something to say on a topic, only create one article first. If it gets to big, you can always split it later.
Before you start
Before you start, please have a look at the VDR Wiki:Conventions page to get familiar with our formatting standards and naming schemes. It is also a good idea to have a short look at the other help pages as well.
If you want to start a new article, look expecially at the VDR Wiki:Templates help page, as we have templates with the basic stucture for some types of articles ready to use.
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