We at Star Trek Expanded Universe realize there are many people, both young and old, who (still) love Star Trek, in all of its facets and incarnations, and as such, they want a "piece of the action" -- to experience the feeling of taking part in the adventure that is Star Trek, and to add their own perspective to the saga. To this end, they may take to writing their own original fan fiction, or even making fan films. While this goal is admirable, and is certainly the grounds for Star Trek's continued survival into tomorrow as an entertainment medium, this wikipedia is not the place to pursue such goals. We are, first and foremost, an encyclopedia--no more, no less. This means we are here to catalog what other fans have done, in the pursuit of said goals. If you had an RPG, made your own little "episode", or (better yet) wrote a book (or short stories, or possibly scripts which were rejected by the studios), then we heartily welcome you to cover your material here, for others to learn about. That is why this wiki exists.
However, we prefer sources of material which can be cited. Arguably, this is not always possible, especially with regards to RPGs (or "sims" as some prefer). Websites crash or are abandoned, players scatter and disappear, and oodles of stories, representing significant investments of people's lives and time, slip through the cracks, never to be seen again. This is regrettable. You may come along, see this wiki and think "Hey, I remember this great material; it deserves to be shared". And so it should. If you decide to contribute such material here, you should do one of two things:
- Check to see if the website hosting the sim upon which you played, (or its mailing list if it was play-by-email,) is still online. In several cases websites are simply abandoned, but the material is still there. In such cases it becomes easy to save the material to your own computer or other backup device, and glean articles from it accordingly. This is especially wise if the site has been unattended for a length of time--you never know when it may suddenly disappear. If the website is not available, do you still have the stories ("posts") somewhere, possibly saved on your hard drive? If not, you might consider contacting other former members to inquire if they have it.
- If the site (original source material) is no longer online, and all material has been lost, but you think you remember enough to create an article or more based on that material, (and assuming you are willing to go to such efforts -- warning: wiki-editing is addictive!,) then we invite you to create an article for that source, which will serve as a "home page" of sorts for all subsequent articles in that medium. For example, if you were creating Star Trek: The Next Generation, then your "base" page would be an article titled "Star Trek: The Next Generation", from which you would establish articles for Picard, Data, the Enterprise-D, and so on. (This is only an example. Do not attempt to create such an article. Our focus is "fanon", not canon, and we already have articles for those characters.)
In either case, always remember to cite your source(s).
If you have not yet had the good fortune to experience the satisfaction of creating your own, original Star Trek-based fan fiction, well then, what are you waiting for? Grab your camcorder, pen or keyboard, and get started!
But, with that said, this is not the place to do it. The sooner you make your material visible elsewhere, the sooner you can start adding encyclopedia-style coverage for it here, if that is your inclination. There are many web hosting services which provide free or very cheap web hosting, if you decide to put your material online. (And, once you do, or if you already have a website featuring that material, then please provide a link to it on your article's Star Trek Expanded Universe "home" page.) If you have made a fan film or published fan fiction in another form, it would be advisable to set up a website link for it somewhere. This should not be difficult: You are already on a computer. (For fan films, one suggestion might be YouTube.)
Likewise, this is not a "playground" for inexperienced, would-be wiki editors. While we all make mistakes and are constantly learning, we expect some degree of professional-minded attitude, with regards to contributing here. Everyone should strive to hone and sharpen their skills. Writing articles in "wiki" formatting is different than coding in HTML (if you have such experience), and is not a matter of simply sitting down and writing whatever comes to mind. However, don't let that stop you! It is better to write a "rough draft" then go back and polish it (before or after saving it), than to worry about snippets of code along the way. Also, a wiki is an open-access community, available to the public, for others to come in and add to the database. Part of our role as a community is to help each other out. To this end, others will inevitably come along and help to polish and improve your articles, with the community's main interest in mind: To provide a useable database of Star Trek fanon and fan fiction. (If you didn't know that the two terms are separate, they are. See here.)
If you would like to learn or improve your wiki skills, our advice is to:
- Create a "scratch-pad" wiki of your very own. Free services are available at Scratchpad Wiki Labs. You might also use a search engine to check on the availability of other free scratch-pad wikis.
- If you have an idea for a "wiki encyclopedia" which you think is unique, request the creation of a new wiki (for which you will be responsible) at Wikia, a division of Wikicities. They will provide all the help you need and answers to questions you may have. (However, chances are, if you've thought of it, someone has already thought of it. You may check the list of available wikis on the Wikia home page.)
- You may also experiment freely in the "Sandbox" at Wikipedia, the "big" wiki. As always, ask questions of those who've had some experience. They'll get you started, and then you can experiment and learn to your heart's content, learning what works, what doesn't, and why it works, in order to become a proficient wiki editor.
Note: Learning the intricacies of writing in wiki format is not that difficult. If you have an open mind and an ability to learn, you may even learn enough to get started by participating here. Our admins and other members (most of them experienced in how we "do things" on Star Trek Expanded Universe) are here to help all new contributors to the wiki... so don't hesitate to ask questions!
- See also: Star Trek Expanded Universe: Style