Quality Guidelines

It is in everyone’s best interest that the articles on the Witchipedia be held to the highest quality standards. There are thousands of websites and books on the subject of Magick, Paganism and Witchcraft and while many of them are very good, many more still are simply rehashing (or cutting and pasting) the same information or misinformation over and over. The Witchipedia seeks to rise above the chaos and provide a well-organized source of high-quality information for the seeker and reference for the experienced magick user.

Neutrality

We have all heard of the modern witch wars. The witchier-than-thou arguments, my religion is older than yours, that guy is in it for the money, sex, power, etc., that person is a fluffy bunny, tools are a crutch, real witches don’t whatever and so on and so on. There’s no place for that here. Witches, Pagans, occultists come from many cultures and backgrounds and approach the subject in many different ways. It is our duty to recognize and elucidate them, even if we are uncomfortable with some of those approaches.

Every article must be written from a place of neutrality. Our job is to explain what terms mean and how they are used. If you are aware of differing community opinions on a subject, you may present them in your article as opinions that exist in certain subgroups and are strongly encouraged to also present the other side of the argument. Likewise, different communities often define certain words differently, please give these varying definitions with as much contextual information as possible, including links to other websites that present the information from different viewpoints. Do not give in to the temptation to editorialize. Your opinion on the subject is irrelevant; your knowledge is what we want.

Credibility and Veracity

The purpose of the Witchipedia is to provide information that is reliable, usable and concise. Articles of questionable accuracy are not only useless but may be detrimental to a seeker’s future education. Further, a single inaccurate article brings down the credibility of the entire site. If one article is spreading misinformation, then why should anyone believe the information on any other article? Unfortunately, there is plenty of misinformation out there to be had. There is no need to add to the pile.

Each article should be truthful to the best of the writer’s knowledge. In order to ensure the accuracy of all statements within the article, the writer is encouraged to verify the information from multiple sources and provide those sources, including links, if possible. If the writer cannot verify the truth of a statement, the writer must indicate that the statement may not be true, preferably while providing a link to the source of the statement, if possible.

Qualifying phrases may be used to indicate that there may be some doubt to the truth of a statement such as: “some say”, “there was a rumor”, “there is some debate”, “not everyone agrees”. If there are conflicting statements about the same subject, all statements should be presented with related any evidence or arguments as appropriate.

If the information was transmitted to you verbally, provided you mention its origin and preferably name the source in as specific a manner as possible.

Please try to avoid absolute words and phrases like “proof”. When discussing scientific topics in particular use phrases like “evidence suggests” and “research supports” rather than “science has proven” or “it’s just a theory”. Remember that everything is a theory and there’s no such thing as proof.

Originality

Every article must be original. If you have an article elsewhere on the web, you may not cut and paste it into the Witchipedia unless you are going to take down the other instance of the article. Simply changing a few words around does not make a new article. Use at least three sources and make the article unique.

If we find that you are posting content that is not original, it will be removed and your writing privileges will be revoked.

Attribution and Bibliography

Any source you use to gather information to write an article should be credited at the bottom of the article under “Additional Reading” (or similar). Footnotes should be used to credit specific quotes(see below) and facts and to for image credits.

Attribution is required for anything you get from any other source, even if it is in the public domain. Provide a link to the Amazon page of a printed work, or an online source if available. You may attribute “word of mouth”, including things you’ve heard from “Aunties” and mentors, provided they are identified as such. It is strongly encouraged that you seek out additional resources in these cases as well. Personal gnosis is a tricky subject, I suggest you write the article first without it, and then explore your personal gnosis in the comments section. You are also welcome to provide a link to your personal blog if you explore your personal gnosis there.

Images

Any images you use must be under a creative commons license or in the public domain and the image must be linked to its original instance on the web. A caption attached to the image should include the name of the photographer and a link to his/her webpage if applicable, the original link to the image, if applicable, the license under which the image is made available (must be a creative commons license), a link to the license, and any notes required by the license, ex. whether changes were made to the original.

You may also use the “embed” feature provided by most photo sharing websites. These often include all the necessary attribution information. Please verify that it does.

Quotes

It is permissible to include quotes from other sources within your article. These quotes should be brief and appropriately formatted and provide source information including the name of the person with whom the quote originated, the date, as accurate as you can manage, and the name of the publication from which the quote originated as well as the page number where it can be found, if possible.

Feeds

You are welcome to include feeds in your pages where appropriate. These feeds may include no more than five titles, post dates and summaries only and may not include full texts of any articles. The titles must be linked to the original page the feed came from and the full URL of the page the feed came from must be mentioned on the page. This rule applies even when you are using your own feed on your own profile.

Outside Sources

The Witchipedia is an informational resource. We provide information through articles and also through referring readers to other sources of information. Some writers have balked at the idea of linking to other sites in the mistaken idea that it will reduce our overall readership. It is the opinion of the owner of the Witchipedia that providing a useful resource is more important than the quantity of readership or advertising revenue. If there are outside sources that provide very good information about a subject, you are highly encouraged to provide it within the related article. This includes other websites, printed works, videos, podcasts and whatever other media might be useful. Our first aim is to educate, but we are a very generalized site. Sites dedicated to specific topics are likely to be more useful for those with specific interests.

Complete Articles

Please ensure that your articles are complete before saving them in our editor. If it helps to write an article in a word processor first, then do so. Your article should have at least 3 sources, listed at the bottom and as many paragraphs as you can justify exploring the who, what, when, where, why and how of the subject, as well as its history and evolution, any controversies surrounding it and its impact on the community. Single line articles and quick overviews or stubs only clutter up the site. If you would like to jot down some notes for later, you can save the article as a draft, but do not publish it to the site.

Standards of Decency

Witchipedia is a PG site. Please write articles as if they are going to be read by your boss, your mother, your in-laws, and your child. Any content that would be illegal in the United States is illegal on the Witchipedia. Any websites linked from the Witchipedia must also meet these requirements.

Your Audience

When you are writing for the Witchipedia, please assume that whoever is reading the article has no background in your topic. If you use any jargon or technical language, either explain the term in your article or link the term to its own article. Try to shoot for about an eighth-grade reading level without making things sound like a Dick and Jane book.

Spelling, Grammar, and Style

Spelling and grammar are important, but they are not nearly as important as what has already been mentioned. Simply embrace the basic rules of English, write in a semi-formal style at about an 8th-grade reading level and carry on. I do not mind doing grammar cleanup work, but I do not want to spend hours tracking down a “fact” someone got from video game lore or cleaning someone’s bias out of an article. (These last two will get your writing privileges revoked.)

Gender Neutrality

In striving to provide a resource accessible to a broadly diverse community, it is necessary to make our writing gender neutral. In school, we may have learned to use the male pronoun when not specifically referencing a female subject because “the male embraces the female”. Later, we may have learned to use both gender pronouns with the cumbersome “he or she” phrasing. Today, we are going to attempt to just avoid this gender nonsense altogether and embrace gender-neutral writing. Alternative and appropriate methods of achieving gender neutrality can be found at http://www.icyte.com/saved/www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/882380?key=ad9b0f9d6a9c629e0bf3cf8aea96e20b77875544 .

The easiest way to achieve gender neutrality in your writing is by using the pronoun “they”. If you have problems with verb agreement when using the gender-neutral singular “they”, just think of the word “you” which is also both singular and plural. For example, as you would say “You are coming with me.” whether you were speaking to a single individual or multiple individuals, likewise you would say “They are coming with me.” whether speaking of a single individual or multiple individuals.

 

I footnotes