SmashWiki:Post-Merge Cleanup

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Welcome to the Post-Merge Cleanup project! SmashWiki has been at a stalemate in terms of back end cleanup since the February merge with the Super Smash Bros. Wikia. We've obviously attracted a lot of "front end" editors who like to poke away at new Brawl pages or invent their own glitches despite an inevitable article deletion, but in terms of establishing any sort of organizational structure for this influx of new users to play in, we've gone nowhere.

For the benefit of those who don't know what I mean, I'm going to lay out a brief and idealistic example of how a wiki community should be structured and use the remainder of this project page to outline the steps we would need to start taking to make it into a reality. It is not complicated and not terribly difficult, but it is a long read.

Front End & Back End[edit]

A wiki community of this (comparatively small) size does not need a complex hierarchy of staff, we don't need multiple panels of decision-makers who all wait for everyone else's approval before actually doing anything and we don't need several different tiers of administration with different levels of responsibility. There are really only two types of contributors to this wiki: front end and back end.

Front End[edit]

Most users belong to the front end of a wiki community, and that's the way it should be. Basically, the front end refers to anything that has to do with the articles and how they appear from a reader's point of view. A wiki is founded on the principle of anyone being able to edit the content of the page and it is those editors that make up the front end. To put that in bullet form:

  • Any time you are editing an article, you are contributing to the front end.
  • Any time that you add category to an article, you are contributing to the front end.
  • Any time that you move a page, you are contributing to the front end.
  • Any time that you upload an image for use in an article, you are contributing to the front end.

Anyone can do these things with little or no experience and that's what makes a wiki editable by anyone in the web-browsing public. People can visit the website once, correct a few typos that they find and then never come back--but they're still front-end contributors. When all of these contributions flood in to a wiki, it becomes a huge mess because the editors vary wildly in level of knowledge, technical aptitude and in developing an eye for presentation.

This leaves a huge mountain of information for the back end community to clean up and make the best use and presentation of in the interest of front end readers.

Back End[edit]

The back end of a wiki community is comprised of a small number of users who make the efforts of the front end presentable for the readers. Usually, back end editors have a lot of experience writing in wiki communities and have a good understanding of how to best present information for readers. In addition to contributing to the front end, back end users also do work on more advanced wiki tools such as templates, editing the community portal, working on project pages like this one, modifying help pages and major decision-making with respect to things like site policy, main page presentation and helping out front end users with the basic knowledge it takes to constructively add to the community project.

It is the back end that is currently a complete mess. Considering that the back end is what makes the front end presentable, it's important that it gets cleaned up before any actual front end cleaning can be done. Nobody wants a janitor who doesn't know how to wash his own hands.

NOTE: The "back end," such that it is, is not the same as the administration. You don't need to be a sysop to contribute to the back end. In fact, you don't even have to be a registered user (although it really, really helps). However, all sysops have (or should have) an understanding of how the back end community works and how contributions to it affect what the reader ultimately sees when coming to the site.

The a nutshell[edit]

Basically, the difference between the front end and the back end is the same as the difference between an article and its talk page.

An article is what the reader sees.

A talk page is what the writers of the article see and use to decide what should be in the article.

That is pretty much all we need to know about a wiki community in order to get the ball rolling on cleaning up what's been flooding into the database over the last few months. Like I said, it's simple: front and back. Knowing these two terms and the difference between them will help the rest of this project page make a whole lot more sense, so let's get on it.

Post-Merge Cleanup[edit]

It seems that the quiet minority who supported reverting this merge with Wikia has been shut down by an even quieter majority of mutes. As a result, I suppose we'll just have to make do with what we have in terms of wiki software, set all of our user skins to monobook, turn off the fancy widget-gadgets and pretend it never happened. Voila!

I would like to see this wiki come to life in a way that makes it a truly reputable source for smash information to help legitimize the widespread interest in the game, and shed the light on the community that follows it. Anything related to Smash Bros. should be here and it should be searchable and it should take you right to the information you're looking for. We're not there yet, but it can be done--piece by piece.

This project as a whole comes in several loosely prioritized chunks, outlined below. I'm arranging this information by subject matter, not by game. Each game is equally important in preserving smash history and information. Brawl articles are by far the most popular at this point in time, but if there's no historical data to back any of it up, it's a little bit like serving a delicious meal to someone with a peanut allergy without knowing what's in it.

Phase 0: Basic Rules & Guidelines[edit]

Most back end contributors have an idea about this stuff already, I'm sure, but I thought I'd clarify a few things that occasionally get missed:

  • The first sentence of every article should be describing what the article title is. The title of the article (and often the articles that redirect to it) should be in bold. (Example: An article title (or headline) is a label given to identify the contents of the attached information...).
  • All articles should have Categories at the bottom. If you're not sure what category the article belongs in, you can view Categories for a general idea of what already exists, or enter any specific category in the CategoryTree page to view how the sub-categories are structured beneath it. (Example: A tree view of Category:Smashers and the sub-categories below it can be viewed [1].)
  • Articles that are stubs do not need Category:Templates on them. Exceptions can be handled on a case-by-case basis, but generally, you want an article that has more information than the template that's stuck to it.
  • SmashWiki is not the place for personal crew banners, amateur photoshop signature images or flash-based internet hilarity like the Mario Twins.
  • If you have to move a page, be sure to check for Double Redirects that may need to be fixed as a result.
  • Also, redirects should never be categorized; remove any category tags you find in redirect articles.
  • The titles of games, movies, books and other artistic media should be italicized. This also applies to shortened forms of these titles as well (i.e. Melee).
  • ALL articles are written within the context of the Smash Bros. series. This is a Smash Bros. wiki, so it is expected that those who read it at least have some understanding of what the game is. For example, we don't have to specify that the Blue Falcon is a playable vehicle from a Nintento-produced video game for a console known as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. We're not trying to explain what it is to a bunch of old people who've never heard of video games. We're writing for people who know about video games and have or are considering investing an interest in smash. That said, we do have to specify that it is Captain Falcon's car from F-Zero and how it relates and appears in the Smash Bros. series.
  • In the same respect, we don't need an article for [[video game]], describing what that is--nor do we need an article called [[television]]. I think it's a fair assumption that anyone who is reading this wiki knows what these things are.
  • It's worthwhile to click on What links here after editing an article to ensure that the links throughout the wiki are functioning properly. (Example: If you're editing Marth and you see that his Final Smash, Critical Hit, links to the Marth article, you would actually edit the Critical Hit article to link to Marth (SSBB), as Final Smashes only appear in Brawl.)
  • Categories/Article titles are not proper nouns. A very common mistake that happens when tagging categories to articles is capitalization. For example, [[:Category:Tournament Directors]] should actually be spelled Category:Tournament directors. Unfortunately, this isn't an easy task to fix as it requires editing all the articles within that category to reflect the proper spelling. Bear in mind that most things are not capitalized and that an article like [[List Of Characters]] should re-direct to [[List of characters]], not the other way around.
  • Multiple articles with the same name (i.e. Battlefield (SSB), Battlefield (SSBM), Battlefield (SSBB) should always link between each other in a simple, intuitive manner. (Example: "This article refers to the Battlefield Stage from Super Smash Bros.; for other Battlefields, see Battlefield (disambiguation).")

Phase 1: Characters[edit]

Main articles: Character - List of characters - Category:Characters - [[:Category:Character lists]] - Background characters

Accessing Information[edit]

Any major topic like characters is going to require some intuitive redirects that point you to the main article. Most of the easiest work in the back end has already been done. For example, characters redirects to character. As of the writing of this article, fighter and fighter also redirect to character. This is the kind of basic cleanup that should occur when an article is first created, but often gets overlooked by strictly front end contributors.

Additionally, you should ensure that the article itself is doing a good job of describing itself as well! The character article at the time of this writing is very brief and although informative, could probably be expanded a little to clarify the whole bit about the hierarchy between playable/unplayable/starter/unlockable. In fact, it could probably have its own section called "Types of Characters".

In major categories, the main articles should be able to direct you to any of the articles within that category in about three clicks or less. For example, if you've never played Smash Bros. before but you really like the idea of playing as Luigi and you just got a copy of Melee. You should be able to go to the character article, see the template listing all characters in the series, click on Luigi and it gives you a general Luigi article listing all the games he has appeared, as well as a link to Luigi (SSBM) for fighter info and information on how to unlock. The flow of information has to make sense.

Additionally, you should also be able to navigate around the information in several different ways. You can go to the character article and it refers you to List of characters under "See also", which gives a more comprehensive rundown of what characters appear in what games, as well as links to their individual pages for further information. Nice and simple, right? Right.

  • Character articles are about the character not the fighter: who they are, where they came from, a brief summary of their characteristics and a reference to how they relate to Smash Bros.
  • If they are playable, the article should link to any and all of the game-specific "fighter info" pages on the wiki.
  • If they are not playable, but still play a role (like Shy Guy or Birdo), the article should first describe who they are, where they came from, a breif summary of their characteristics and their role in Smash Bros.
  • If they are not playable but appear only (or originally) in Smash Bros. (like the Master Hand or Ancient Minister), the article should immediately begin explaining who the character is and what their role is in Smash.
To-Do List - Characters (general)[edit]

Here's a list of links to the talk pages of important articles on this topic. Each talk page provides a set of guidelines on what can be done to improve the article, however you are free to contribute as much or as little as you would like! This list will be expanded as needed.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Main articles: List of characters in Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Category:Characters (SSBB)
Article Standardization[edit]

Brawl's character articles are by and large the most popular articles on the whole wiki and it's important that they look all shiny and new when a reader stumbles on them. It's also important that the information is presented in a consistent format and some things have been lingering in the "template" for too long now. Ahem...


Ever since we first started the Character Project, we've been purporting to remove pros and cons from all character pages. They offer highly subjective positive and negative connotations on character traits that are simply situational. We are not in a position to state that being a heavy character is a "pro" or that having slow attacks is a "con." It's up to the player and the game is played in so many different ways by so many different people at various skill levels, there's no concrete way to tell a reader whether a character's innate abilities are "good" or "bad" for him within the context of the game. They are the game.

That said, the information found in many of the Pros & Cons sections is actually quite valuable and shouldn't be purged completely, but rather worked into paragraph form under a heading called "In-Game Attributes" or something.

In general, a Brawl character article should have the following sections:

Introduction - Not an actual "section" per se, but every article has an un-sectioned opening that should explain very clearly what the article is about. In the case of a fighter info page, you should explain briefly who the character is, mention that he/she's a playable character and mention the game in which he/she is playable.

  • Attributes - The result of merging Pros and Cons together! This should be a meatier explanation of who the character is in that particular game, summarized into words for the curious mind who is more interested in how a character behaves than what their moves are. For instance, a good example start might be: "In addition to being the largest character sprite in the game, Bowser is also the heaviest playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, making him difficult to KO, yet an easier target to hit. His recovery is aimed at catering to his weight, allowing for considerable horizontal recovery distance, but very little height. As with other large characters, Bowser's strengths lie in KO ability and not speed, sporting a wide variety of powerful attacks both in the air and on the ground. For example, Bowser's forward smash is a high-priority KO move that has such high knockback that it is able to eat through the super armor frames on Snake's recovery..."
    • Moveset - This should be a sub-category of "Attributes"; organizing your sections is a way of keeping the information structured so that readers know what they're reading about and if the subject interests them, more details are available within that section. In this case, someone who wanted to know who the character is could just read the beginning of the article. If they want a more detailed explanation, they'd head to the Attributes section. If they want even more specific info, Attributes is broken out into detailed breakdowns of the character's moveset/actions, etc.
      • Ground Attacks
        • Normal - Basic non-special moves, including tilts, non-special combos and dash attacks.
        • Smash - Forward, Up, Down. Easy as pie.
        • Other - Typically ledge attacks (both <100% and >100%), get-up attacks and any other miscellaneous ground damage not found under the above two categories.
      • Aerial Attacks - A simple list of neutral, forward, backward, upward and downward aerials.
      • Grabs/Throws - This should include information about the pummeling attack once grabbed, as well as information on the throws in any given direction. If the character is able to "grab" in mid-air (like Link or Samus, it would be worth mentioning that here as well to indicate damage dealt and such.
      • Special Moves - Thankfully, Shroobario has been kind enough to provide us with a heavily-edited-since-creation template known as Template:Specialmoves.
      • Taunts - A brief description and D-pad orientation for the character's taunts.
    • Changes from Melee to Brawl - If applicable, include a section that goes over the changes from Melee as a sub-section of Attributes. This section should also be in paragraph form and not bullet points, however that's a soft rule that will no doubt have a few exceptions depending on what attributes you're talking about. You may also use this section to reference how the character has evolved from 64 as well, but keep 64 references to a minimum in Brawl articles; the way the character models differ from the original and the third game over ten years is less important than how they have changed from the most recent incarnation of smash.
  • Role in the Subspace Emissary - Most articles already have these.
    • Exclusive Stickers - Character-specific stickers should be a sub-category of Subspace Emissary information as well, given that that's the only context in which it applies. Again, referencing the proper flow of information, if someone wants to read about how a character plays, they'll read the Attributes section. If they're die-hard 1-P Mode Subspace enthusiasts, they'll read the Subspace section and find all the information pertinent to their character and their chosen mode of play right at the tips of their fingers.
  • Costume Gallery - This section should be comprised entirely of pictures, using the <gallery> tags (a good example of gallery tag use can be seen at GSC). This will place a clean pallette of thumbnails in the article for a quick visual overview of all colour changes.
  • Trivia
  • See also
  • External links

Categories - Category tags should be placed at the end of an article for consistency and ease of editing in the future.

  • References to Brawl-specific traits should link to the character's Brawl page, not the character alone. (Example: "Zelda's Final Smash is blah blah blah.")
  • In the same respect, mentioning a character's appearance in another game (or the differences between the character models) should also link to the character's fighter info page for that game and not the game itself. (Example: Bowser's special moves have changed only slightly from Melee.)
To-Do List - SSBB Characters[edit]
  • Introductions - Some character articles for SSBB fighter info don't seem to mention much about the game at all (like Bowser) and some don't mention anything about the character at all (like Captain Falcon). What we want is a hybrid of these two (like King Dedede).
  • REMOVE PROS & CONS - Re-work them into paragraph form, per the above.
  • Remove Snake's Codec Messages - Some SSBB character pages have Snake's codec message from Shadow Moses Island embedded in them. They should all be removed from the character pages, as they are already compiled on the Snake's Codec Messages page, and it really has no place on the fighter info.
  • Costume Gallery - Photos of all characters in all costumes need to be captured and uploaded. Section titles on the Color changes article should link to "Character#Costume_Gallery". (i.e. ===[[Samus (SSBB)#Costume_Gallery|Samus]]===).

Here's a list of links to the talk pages of important articles on this topic. Each talk page provides a set of guidelines on what can be done to improve the article, however you are free to contribute as much or as little as you would like! This list will be expanded as needed.

Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

Super Smash Bros. (64)[edit]