Friday, July 15, 2011

AHWU #9

Editor's Note

So we have over 20 Facebook fans, which is cool. Not enough yet to declare that we are bigger than Jesus, but we are getting close.

Wait a second, whose "we", ke-mo sah-bee? Actually if you read this post, than you have met Alternate History Weekly Updates' first contributor: Kier Salmon. She will be reporting to us about the Sidewise Award winners, which will be announced at Renovation, and also sharing with us from time to time articles on alternate history.

In other news, we got our first readers from Benin and Sweden. Welcome!

A Trip Through Montival

Speaking about our new contributor, you should check out her LiveJournal and read about her tour of the Pacific Northwest with S. M. Stirling and his wife. It starts on May 3rd and goes on from there. The groups stops by many locations featured in the Emberverse series, along with some locales that will feature in the upcoming novel, The Tears of the Sun.

I like how Stirling takes the time to visit the places he writes about. I want to be a published author myself someday and one thing I always found difficult was to write about places where I have never been to. No matter how much research you do, nothing replaces actual physical presence.

AH Directory

You may also have noticed I have added some pages to the blog. The one that will be a constant work in progress is the AH Directory. The plan is for it to be the ultimate list of alternate history related links, but I will need your help to reach that goal. If there is some website, forum, wiki, blog, etc., that you think should be up there, then please let us know at our new email address: ahwupdate@gmail.com.

New Editors Guide to 1983: Doomsday

I was once an active contributor to 1983: Doomsday. It was a big part of my life for sometime, so I want to share something that is very important to me. If you are looking for a place where your imagination and creativity can have free reign, than 1983: Doomsday is NOT the place for you.

Sorry for the misleading sentence above, but it is the truth. 1983: Doomsday is an online collaborative alternate history timeline located at the Alternate History Wiki. Originally posted by an anonymous user in 2006, the timeline was later adopted by Sven Kunz (who went by the user name Xi'Reney) and shortly thereafter made into an open timeline, where anyone could contribute. The timeline is the largest and most active timeline on the wiki and is known across the online alternate history community.

That being said, you need to remember that the Alternate History Wiki is not Wikipedia, a place where anyone can edit. This timeline has seen the creative contributions of dozens of editors and safeguards have been put in place to protect their work. Meanwhile, long-standing collaboration among editors has created a sub-culture on the wiki. This sub-culture includes some of the most active editors on the wiki and many of them are administrators with the power to delete articles and block users. So it is generally not a good idea to annoy them.

So what can a new editor do if they wish to contribute to this timeline without annoying the established community of editors? Well if you follow these guidelines you should easily become a respected member of the community:

1. Read the timeline: Alright this seems obvious, but you would be surprised how often it appears that new editors failed to take into account how massive the 1983: Doomsday world really is. There are hundreds of articles with more being created every day. Do not feel that you are ready to dive in and start creating new articles just after reading a few of the major ones. Spend some time perusing over the articles. Not only will it be entertaining, but you will soon realize how much relevant information you will need to consider in your future articles.

2. Read and understand the rules: The timeline is governed by two sets of rules: the Editorial Guidelines and QSS and QAA. In summary, they outline what is done to prevent new information that contradicts canon or else is just implausible. Despite terms such as “guidelines” and “concepts”, both are strictly enforced as the laws of the timelines. You need to read and understand them because ignoring them will just make things more difficult for you as you try to become accepted by the community. You should also read and understand the rules of the AH wiki as a whole, since they obviously are important too.

3. Introduce yourself: By now you should have a good grasp of the story and the rules of editing. But before you edit, you should introduce yourself to the community. Why? How would you feel if some stranger walked into your home and without permission began rearranging your furniture? Now consider how it would feel if the articles you spent days building were suddenly remade by some strange new editor you never heard of? Same concept. So to prevent enraging a veteran editor, go to the main talk page and introduce yourself. Tell the community why you like this timeline and why you think you would be a good contributor. You would be surprise at how welcoming the community could be when someone acts as how they would in real life when meeting new people.

4. Ask before you edit: The greatest difference between Wikipedia and 1983: Doomsday is that the timeline does not ask you to be bold. So if you see an article that you wish to contribute to, do NOT immediately start editing it. Find out who the caretaker of the article is and ask permission to edit. Usually the caretaker is either the creator of the article or else whoever is currently updating and revising it. If you wish to help, leave a message on their talk page or else leave a message on the article talk page. Share your ideas or questions and always offer to collaborate with them. Be polite and respectful, regardless of whatever your qualification may be, even veteran editors do this.

5. Research before you create: I cannot stress this enough. Poor research means poor alternate history in general. So when the time comes to write your article make sure you do your research. There is no excuse to not do this. The Internet is a treasure trove of easily accessible information. It is also not difficult to search through the articles of 1983: Doomsday to make sure your new article does not contradict canon. Trust me, a poorly researched article will be very obvious to the veteran editors and they will be less likely to work with someone who is not putting any real effort into his contributions.

If you follow my advice your time as a “noob” will be gratefully short. Nevertheless, if you learned anything from this guide it should be this: 1983: Doomsday is a team project. You have to be willing to work as a team player, or else you are going to get kicked off the team. No one is about to trust the rookie until they can see what they can do. Remember that before you start editing.

Links to the Multiverse

Review of Blood Work by Kim Harrison - set in an alternate history where a worldwide pandemic caused by genetically modified tomatoes led to the death of a large portion of the world's human population.

An alternate history where Laika the cosmonaut dog comes home - at Big Planet Comics.

Review of The Infinites by John Banville - Greek gods continue to interact with humanity on a Earth where Alfred Russel Wallace drafted the discredited theory of evolution; Goethe is a forgotten poet; Mary, Queen of Scots, ascended to the throne of England and beheaded Elizabeth I; and Europe is in danger from an expansionist Sweden.

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