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The internet is literally a multiverse of entertainment, information, and most importantly lulz. This wiki, Encyclopedia Dramatica, seeks to catalog the history of lulz through a diverse mass of pages that, for the most part, attempt to read in an appealing manner and to bring information to the reader in the most enjoyable atmosphere possible.
But, if you are a writer for ED, you are given a daunting task. Gone are the days when anybody could just show up, slap down a few unfunny memes, and then move on, thinking that you have done something constructive. Why are those days gone? Because that old route, the route of slap-a-meme, was un-entertaining, lacked inspiration, and generally created thousands of pages that are a mess. Cluttered wiki pages read like a 3rd grader’s diary. They are full of in-jokes, things that only the writer could ever find funny, and secret spite that makes the reader realize that the page was only written for one reason: to hurt somebody’s feelings.
Hurting feelings is okay…in a larger sense of the phrase. If you are here to just pick on your ex-bff, or to take revenge upon an old girlfriend, chances are your page is going to suck. This is said in a general fashion, sometimes pages that were created out of spiteful vengeance eventually will lead to a huge drama—and that is what this wiki is about.
So how do you go about tackling the daunting task of building a page that goes beyond the normal attack pages and silly pages that describe memes? How do you carry out the task of making a page readable? How do you process all the information you undoubtedly have upon your subject? This page attempts to offer a strategy for doing all of these things…so that your page doesn’t suck.
- 1 Step Back
- 2 Seek Help
- 3 Gather Information
- 4 Start Writing
- 5 Wiki Markup
- 6 Adding Images, Video, and Piping
- 7 Finishing Touches
- 8 See Also
- 9 External Links
So you have a great idea for an Encyclopedia Dramatica page. This is a good thing. But just where in the internet multiverse does your page lie? Is it a page that describes a breaking national news story? Does it cover some new virus or hack that is drawing internet attention? Is it a page that explains a new meme? Does your page depict a website? These things all must be worked out before you even start typing. Why? Because depending upon the page you wish to write will, by default, change the way you eventually will write it. For example, let’s say you found a really interesting topic concerning a minor internet celebrity on YouTube. With a subject like that, it is probably not a good idea to launch into long paragraphs devoted to describing how bad (or good) your subject might be. Since it is a YouTube subject, you should let your subject do the talking for themselves. Link videos!
By stepping back away from the big picture and taking a minute to figure out just what it is that you want to make an article about will gain you valuable insight into how to actually write the piece.
Encyclopedia Dramatica has a reputation for being a “tough, no-nonsense, and evil place” where the denizens wander around recent changes deriding newer users and banning people for breathing wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, ED is a harsh mistress, but it is only because the average new user thinks of the place as a playground with no teachers watching…I assure you that there are teachers watching.
The new user also does not seek help in the correct fashion. 99 times out of 100, when a new user creates a new article, that page will fail—if only because the user either didn’t seek help, or took it upon themselves to ignore the help that was offered to them. By familiarizing yourself with how the massive engine that Encyclopedia Dramatica works, you can skip a lot of the harsh comments, page reverts, and ridicule that will be heaped upon you.
How do you do this?
There are several ways to do this. Sysops are all here to help you, ask one of them on their talk pages. If that isn’t to your liking, there is the #wiki channel on the EDirc server that is open 24/7 and always has somebody around to shepherd you through the process of making edits and new pages. Finally, there is the Collaboration forum on the ED Forums. The information is out there, all you have to do is ask for it.
Take a look around the wiki. See what works for pages and what doesn’t. notice word choice, word order, spelling, punctuation, and layout. Ignoring these sorts of things only makes your page look like it was designed by a retard with a fat red crayon. In addition to looking, also go into your pages wanting to make them the best possible page they can be. Say goodbye to the days where you can just toss your crap against the wall and come out thinking that you have done something. Encyclopedia Dramatica, outside of the subject matter it documents, seeks to be a professional site with professional work done on it. Just because you are writing a page about some scat video doesn’t mean that your page should be literal shit.
You are given unlimited user space on the wiki. Why not use it to your best advantage? Make more than one version of your page to see what works. Use your space to create test pages and ask others for their opinion about them. Despite what you may think ED users are not going to say something sucks unless it really does truly suck.
Many new pages fail because they are written as opinion pieces that do not support the theme of the article. If you wish to tell your readers that a certain deviantART user is a furry, gather all the available information upon your subject and use it to support your claims.
There are unlimited tools you can use to gather your intelligence.
It would be silly to not mention Google here. Google is probably your best friend when you are gathering information if your subject is to be found on the internet. About the only place that a person could cause drama without being cataloged by Google are chat programs, and if you aren't logging your chats, you are missing out on a wonderful tool to demonstrate the attributes of your articles subject matter. Use Google to find quotes, links to pages, images, and just about everything you can think of to prove the stance your article takes upon your chosen subject. A page that is missing external links does not support itself and the reader may construe that your piece is just conjecture on the writer’s part and not factual.
Social Networking Sites
For some odd reason, people believe they are insulated from the ravages of the world wide web when they post opinions and journal entries to their social sites. Blogs, tweets, and picture galleries are huge sources of information that can support your article. When you are researching your article ideas always make sure to check for:
- Facebook accounts
- MySpace accounts
- Twitter accounts
- Ning sites
- Youtube pages
- Dreamwidth sites
- Blogger entries
If you are really dedicated to finding out every iota of information concerning your subject, you may find yourself making sock puppet accounts in order to “friend” your quarry. You may also seek help in finding ways around the normal security protocols that many of these sites have.
Image Hosting Sites
Just like social networking sites, people generally want to share with the world just how beautiful they are. What better way to do this than to host a bunch of silly pictures of themselves on the internet! Though they may be similar, there are about a million more image hosting sites than there are popular social networks. This is because an image can be hot linked just about anywhere while a social site actually requires somebody to go there and read/look at what you are doing.
This huge number of social image hosts should not deter you from task. Using Google’s image search and using the search functions of many image hosts such as flikr should yield you unexpectedly large amounts of images.
Yes, there seems to be a bitter rivalry between Encyclopedia Dramatica and TOW, but did you know that many of our best sysops and writers work for both sites? Wikipedia, while often a place to scoff at, is also a great place to find information on your subject. They also footnote all of their entries where that is applicable, so you will often find more informative links to use to bolster your article.
When you have exhausted all other tools for information, it is often a good idea to check forums, news reporting sites, or bulletin board sites that may contain information about your subject. While they are often like trying to find a needle in a haystack, they also usually reveal surprisingly enlightening chunks of fodder for your article.
Yet another tool you may consider using is the plain old dictionary. Not only will using this marvelous instrument help your article look and read in a professional manner, some of the entries in dictionaries will contain information about your subject already for you to gather. This also extends to the use of Thesauruses and Writing Style guides.
Screen capping, a time honored tradition and an excellent way to record journals,posts and the like which may get deleted in the future. A screen capture, or a screen cap, is at its core, taking a picture of a webpage with your computer. To do so on a Windows computer, simply hit the button labeled print screen AKA prnt scn.
This is what that little button is for. It captures what your monitor is displaying and puts it on your clipboard. Go into MS Paint or Word, hit Ctrl V and you got a screen capture. From there on its simple. Just crop out/black out stuff that isn't needed (Your username on a site, your browser, etc), save it as a .jpg file and viola! A screen cap ready for uploading.
Contrary to popular belief, writing is but a small part of article building on Encyclopedia Dramatica. Good writers here take time to set up their pages after their own fashion, but that doesn’t mean they just slam down a wall of text and then add images and piping. After they have set up what they wish to say, they then say it. They also say it by being as succinct as possible and by delivering the most information as they can in the funniest manner possible. Wit, sarcasm, hate, humor, simile and metaphor are all your tools here. Use these things to deliver your information in both a funny, mocking, and understandable manner.
But how to write? I am no good at writing!
There is no easy way to state this. To write, you just have to sit down and write. There is no magical pill that will allow you to become a writer. You just have to sit down and plug away at it until you are finished and happy with what you have done. A fantastic way to check your work is to ask for opinions from users and sysops about your writing. They will give you help.
Use the proper grammar. You can only manufacture good sentence structure by practice. You can only build those sentences into paragraphs with practice. And finally, you can only construct your final article by using good paragraphs to execute your point. A muddled, confused article only looks like unreadable crap and reflects badly on both you and Encyclopedia Dramatica.
Do yourself a huge favor and try out several ways to state what you want to say. Find what suits your subject and your writing style best. Do not rush things. Since the wiki is a community driven content system, your work can be added at any time to any article, and there are no brownie points for getting articles done faster. In fact, articles that are thrown together over a quick span of time are often the largest offenders when it comes to jumbled messes. This only makes the sysops lock the page until they can get a better handle on what information is streaming in.
Use quotes, extended phrases, and images to highlight what you intend to say. If a subject likes to parade around dressed as a video game character, they will often contribute to their own demise by posting funny quotes, pictures, or extended diatribes about their lust for this activity. So, with that in mind, say what you are going to say about it, then use their own words and images against them. Try not to use slang or in-jokes that will render your article obsolete within a few months or will be funny to a small group of people. You are documenting the internet for the internet…and that means somebody who doesn’t know you may read your work five years from now. Make your work reflect this idea.
There are several great resources where you can find the correct way to utilize wiki markup to better your page. Use the markup to convey your points more clearly and to demonstrate professionalism within Encyclopedia Dramatica.
Adding Images, Video, and Piping
While it is not written in stone that you should have images on your page, the best pages use thumbnails and galleries to help illustrate their point. In fact, some pages would be literally nothing without their images. Use these just as you would use sentences and sections: to drive your point home in a funny, informative manner.
Video clips added to pages can make or break your article. If your subject is a YouTuber, you may feel the need to link every last thing they have ever done to your article…and this may work if the videos do not take away from the information the article seeks to deliver. Videos that last for more than 3-4 minutes generally will bore the audience to tears and make them wish to go someplace else. This is a general statement though, there are several clips found on the wiki that go above and beyond the normal funny stuff that people use to illustrate their pages. You just have to know when to put it in, and when to cut it out. If you do not know, just ask.
At times, there seems to be an ongoing argument concerning piping within articles. Using them is a great idea to keep your reader informed as to what you wish to inform them upon, but using them in such a way as to overwhelm them is not a good idea.
Don’t forget to categorize your article, add the proper series templates, and also to provide useful links at the bottom for users who wish to study the phenomena further. Also, by adding your page to a category will help readers find information on broader subjects. This is good because the wiki seeks to be the final opinion upon internet documentation.
Using the “Show Preview” function rather than the “Save Page” function when you are editing is also a courtesy you should extend to the sysops and other users who watch recent changes. By using “Show Preview” you can get an idea what your page will look like when it is a finished product and you won’t be spamming up the recent changes page with all of your tiny edits. Save everybody some time and stay away from “Save Page” until you are fully finished with your page.
Because I have said this concerning the “Save Page” and the “Show Preview” functions, it is probably a good idea to write your articles in a word processing program and then transferring your information over to the wiki. While this may seem like a bad idea at first because you are not familiar with wiki markup, you can either remember some of the more common codes yourself or add them later when you have transferred your information to the wiki itself.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica:Basic Rules - This page should be your first stop before you do anything on this site.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica:About - A general idea of what is going on.
- Help:Contents - Everything you really need to know.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica:Templates/All - Some things to work with.
- Sandbox - A thing to work in.
- Categories - Narrow down your subject.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica:Collapsing Objects - Help streamline your page.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica:Morphing Objects - Further streamlining.
- HTML - A good working knowledge of HTML is a great help.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica:Formatting - the funky shit.
|Strategy Guide is part of a series on Language & Communication|
|Featured article March 29, 2010|
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