Writing guidelines

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Writing guidelines are in place to give writers of SJWiki an idea of how to create an article. While we believe they are a very useful set of advice and ideas on how to plan, structure, and format an article, we understand that it is not always possible, especially on a wiki to follow these to the letter. SJWiki aims to cover topics with as much extra information and academic backing as possible. This is both to ensure the quality of the article and to help readers understand the topic. However, the spirit of these guidelines is that articles must be accessible and of a high-quality, which is more important than any single guideline set out here. This being said, following these guidelines, we believe, will help to address a lot of issues with respect to quality and accessibility.


Basic guidelines

A good article should be:

  1. Clear: The first sentence of an article should say enough to know what the main subject is.
  2. Readable: The contents must not contain unreferenced jargon, nor clunky, hard to parse, overly verbose sentences.
  3. Referenced: The references should be mostly academic and peer-reviewed.
  4. Impersonal: The article should not take a personal position, but should attempt to describe or explain the topic. This is very tricky, and we do not give platforms to problematic views.
  5. Complete: Where applicable, the article should have links to other websites, images and photographs that help explain the topic, and interwiki links to other related articles.
  6. Free from privilege bias: Articles should not claim or imply oppression, bigotry, or privilege do not exist. They should neither assert Western or Colonial values as universal instead of cultural, nor contain any other form of institutional- or privilege-based bias.
  7. Peer-reviewed: Cognitive and cultural biases are difficult to self-diagnose; especially so in one's own writing. This is partially solved by having other authors and users review articles. This does not mean scientific peer-review.


Do not plagiarize. Do not copy paste from others' writings without giving credit. Plagiarism is against the rules and will be dealt with accordingly and on a case-by-case basis.

If you need to use others' words in a quote, familiarise yourself with the appropriate templates and make sure you know how to reference. If you are worried use the sandbox namespace (which is private) instead and wait for a sysop to have a look.

Help! I'm new to everything!

I'm a complete social justice newbie!

That's fine, but please read the lexicon and lurk a bit before making any dramatic edits. You can definitely still help out with proofreading (like spotting typos) and other useful wiki edits.

As a newcomer, make sure you familiarize yourself with some basic social justice concepts, using the basic concepts category.

I'm a complete wiki newbie!

That's great! Before you write anything take a look at the source code, i.e., what an article looks like when you click "Edit" (tab on the top right). In fact if you are new, switch to the edit tab now and continue reading from there. Click on "Show preview" at the bottom of the text box, or the "Preview" tab just above the text box, so you can see what the article looks like when you take the source code and compile it (turn into a wikipage). This should make you a little more comfortable with the way wikis are written. But for a better and more well-rounded intro check out this Wikipedia tutorial, obviously ignore the stuff that's Wikipedia-specific. Also use this wiki cheat sheet to see examples of wiki formatting.

Starting a new article

If you are starting a new article, read an already written article and try to understand the structure. To actually start it, the easiest way is to search for it and (provided it doesn't exist) the wiki will allow you to create it.

The very first sentence should be a definition (it does not have to be perfect, you have a whole article in which to elaborate) of the topic at hand, with the topic name in bold.


Titles should be capitalised according to standard Wikipedia guidelines. In short, the first word in a title is capitalised and the rest (unless they are proper nouns) are in miniscule.


Make sure your article's structure conforms (copy-paste as required):

'''Topic''' is a thing about stuff.

==Sub topics==
Blah topic also is important because x, y, z.

==See also==
* [[Intersectionality]]

==External links==
* [www.externalwebsite.omg Links to external website], be careful out there!



Adding references

Try to reference any statement that you think somebody might need more evidence to be convinced of, or need more clarification to understand your point if they are new to the topic. See articles like Intersectionality or Transmisogyny to get an idea of where references are needed to be cited. A sentenced can be referenced like this <ref>Hello, I am a reference!</ref>.[1] And if the citation of the reference appears near a comma, a full stop, or almost any other punctuation, place the citations after it. To include the list of references create a heading called "References" and add {{reflist}} below.

Finding references

OK, but where do I find the references? Google Scholar is a good place to start. You might be surprised but even pay-walled non-open access journal articles are available on the authors' websites. So check there too. JSTOR is another great option if you have access.

Useful academic journals

Please add to these:


Templates are one of the quick and easy ways to carry out (semi)automatic tasks on wikis. The following templates are extremely useful in dealing with content on SJWiki that might have certain issues or problems. Make sure to familiarize yourself with how these three important templates are used.

Citation needed

See the main article on this topic: Citation needed

The citation needed template is useful as it allows people to quickly request for a reference in an article, to easily discover articles in need of references, and to easily keep track of the factual accuracy of the contents of this wiki. So if you are reading an article, or indeed writing one, and come across[citation needed] that means somebody has deemed it appropriate to find more information to direct the reader to and/or they require more evidence to believe the proposed position.

Terminology check

Similarly to above, you might notice,[terminology check] which implies that piece of terminology might need to be changed to be, e.g., in line with academic usage. So the general idea might be right, but the exact phrasing may need to be ratified by an expert.

If you want to add this use {{terminology check}} right after the word, phrase or sentence that needs to be examined. It will link back here so the authors and readers know what it means.

If you are an expert and believe it is the appropriate language to use, remove the tag, preferably making note of in on the talk page.

If you want to browse any pages that contain potentially problematic phrases browse the articles with unchecked terminology category.

Triggering content

See the main article on this topic: Trigger warning

If you write about or come across something that you think is potentially triggering (or has triggered you), please use the {{TW}}, trigger warning, template by adding it to the top of the article.

See also


  1. See?