Star Army encourages members to submit ideas to be included into the setting's Canon. This guide provides instructions for staff members who are assigned to review member-submitted content.
The Setting Submission Forum has been identified as a key source of friction in the Star Army community. To ensure our success, we all must be extremely mindful of ensuring all members who submit their content to our site have a positive experience in the Setting Submissions Forum.
Reviewing submissions is vital to Star Army. Since all Star Army members share a common universe, the universe must be expanded on in ways that are helpful instead of disruptive. As a reviewer, your role is to ensure that member-submitted wiki articles fit in the universe and also to ensure that they meet the community's standards.
Non-staffers can also post questions and help with reviews, or raise concerns. If you choose to participate in a submission review thread, you are expected to follow the same rules as the staff in terms of being helpful (see the section below).
To prevent members feeling “ganged up on” only one setting submissions reviewer/moderator should conduct the review at a time. Reviewers must post the checklist at the time the review is started. If a reviewer “claims” a submission they must immediately begin the review in the same post. The reviewer should follow through promptly and finish the review within a week, posting at least every day or two until the submission is approved or rejected unless the submitter has specifically asked for extra time to work on the submission (in that case, change the thread prefix to “On Hold”). If the reviewer doesn't keep up with the review, it should be promptly assigned by the first available staff member to another active reviewer.
In general, the submission review should lean on the side of being a helper rather than a gatekeeper. Star Army members will produce submissions of various quality. Some will be almost instantly ready-to-approve, and some will require major work. As staff members, we should try to assist the submitter to make their ideas work for everyone and to bring their submission up to a very high level of quality.
There are three core principles of how to review submissions constructively, which can be remembered by the acronym ASK:
Identify the creation for what it is. Leave your preconceptions about the person's previous submissions behind; try to view each submission independently. If you have an opinion or bias towards the person submitting, the nation the submission is for, or that type of submission in general-keep it to yourself and off of the Setting Submissions forum.
Submission reviewers should also avoid being a reviewer on their stuff or reviewing things where their impartiality is likely to be called into question.
Identify any problems, if any, in a respectful manner. Give specifics, identify what areas of the submission require improvement, expansion or another type of edit. Don't point out flaws without offering some kind of suggestion of how the person can either fix the flaw or rework the submission to make it fit more into the setting. If you're willing to critique something, be prepared to step up and help the creator of the submission.
Try to find something positive to say, encourage the submitter. Avoid discouraging player creativity. If the submission has flaws, they surely should be mentioned-but try to start with something positive about the submission, such as what is cool or unique about it, or how much effort and time they put into it.
Positive feedback brings validity to the points you will make later and helps balance critique. If there are flaws, and you point them out-try to encourage the person to go back to the drawing board-rather than leaving them feeling rejected. Avoid insulting, providing nonconstructive critique; it makes the person submitting the creation feel bad and takes away from the validity of your suggestions.
Submissions should not be approved until they meet the Submission Rules. Reviewers should look at those and also use the instructions and checklist provided in this guide. It is strongly preferred that reviewers post the checklist in the actual approval thread where everyone can see it.
We ask that all setting submissions mods try to avoid “evaluating” and in-depth discussion of current submissions outside of the setting submissions forum. Official business needs to be conducted on the official forums where staff can see it, not on various private Discord servers, etc. This protects both the reviewer and the submitter.
As a submitter: if your reviewer doesn't use the checklist, you should ask for them to do that because the canon status of submissions that are approved without the checklist posted in the thread can be easily pulled for up to 3 months after approval.
The artwork is no longer required for any submission, including species, weapons, and uniforms, which previously required art. For these types of submissions where art would help immensely, attempt to coordinate a way for them to get artwork, even if it's just begging Wes to commission someone.
Articles should only contain artwork that is hosted on Star Army's wiki. Hotlinking to images on image hosts (e.g. Imgur) or other third-party websites is not allowed due to reasons of copyright, originality, and technical reasons like making sure pages are fully encrypted.
Artworks should have information about them in notes at the bottom of each wiki page they are used on. The notes should include the author of the image and how the image was sourced. For example: “Artwork commissioned by Wes from Marugo-Chi on DeviantArt.”
The content of articles should be original.
Here are some details that each article should have:
We ask that you keep articles free of:
Since at least 2011, using the common template for your submission is in the rules. It's okay to slightly modify the template to add more details but the outline of the page should be generally recognized as the standard template for the ship/character/gun/etc.
Articles should follow the Style Guide. The most common thing we see that goes against the style guide is that each header, especially the title header, should be followed by some sort of regular prose (text that is not in a table or a list). Other common issues are the unnecessary use of forced line breaks.
In order to maintain the technology level and status quo of the established setting, there are some limitations on what technologies can be introduced into the setting:
Star Army will politely turn down articles about:
Links should go to working pages only. Links to non-existent pages (“red links”) or 404s should not be present. In general, approved canonical articles should try to avoid linking to WIP pages. Nothing in SARP should exist in a vacuum and each page should have several outgoing links as well as several incoming links (backlinks) once it is approved. Pages without any links to them are considered “orphan pages” and may be pruned by the staff.
Wiki articles should be “wikified” by linking to other articles as appropriate. For example, the first time a named character is mentioned their character biography article should be linked. All articles should link “upward” to their “parent” article if one exists. For example:
For instructions on making wiki links, see Formatting Syntax.
The OOC notes should contain information about:
Articles should fit with Star Army's universe and theme. They should be useful and relevant to the setting in some way. They should connect to the rest of the setting instead of being inaccessible to other players.
Reviewers should correct any spelling and grammar mistakes they find instead of pointing them out. This is the job of the submitter and the reviewer and whoever finds a problem first should fix it then and there. It is okay for the reviewer to say they fixed some mistakes of a certain type but they should avoid listing all those mistakes like they're an English teacher grading an assignment (it's embarrassing to the submitter).
Articles should use “it is” instead it the contraction “it's” because contractions are not encyclopedic in tone. The possessive word “its” is fine to use and they should not be confused. See It's vs. Its.
Submissions should stay in the WIP: namespace until they are approved. However, if a submission is not in the WIP namespace at the time of submission, it is not necessary to move it into the WIP as long as the submission is expected to be approved promptly (no need for extra work).
In general, only the article author may edit WIP articles until the article is submitted, except for technical fixes like spelling, grammar, and fixing broken links. This is to protect authors from unwanted interference, as some authors are sensitive to other people touching their unfinished articles. Please don't alter other people's works-in-progress unless you get their permission first.
If the submission contains images that are in the WIP namespace, the reviewer and/or the submitter need to send a PM to Wes to move the images into their permanent location after the article is approved. Guests are unable to see images in the WIP: namespace. Also, the WIP namespace is occasionally cleaned out which could result in loss of images for articles with images still in the WIP namespace.
When a submission meets the standards, the submission reviewer should post “Approved” in the thread.
It is customary to give the members of Star Army at least 3 full days to post their comments on a submission thread. If the submission seems ready for approval before then, the submission reviewer can post a “3-day approval timer” as a pre-approval. After the 3 days have passed without objections, the submission should be marked as approved.
This section contains checklists for reviewers to help them remember to look for the following:
This checklist can be used at the time of the review and/or approval.
Hello! Let's see if this submission meets the requirements for inclusion in Star Army's lore... [ ✅ ] 1. The destination URL should be a page in the appropriate namespace and titled lower_case_with_underscores [ ❌ ] 2. The article is in the appropriate format and article template [ ❌ ] 3. The article follows our wiki-style guidelines, including No forced line breaks, text after each section header, etc. [ ✅ ] 4. The article is easily read and free of errors in spelling and grammar [ ✅ ] 5. Links to other wiki articles are present as appropriate and are not broken [ ✅ ] 6. The article fits into the Star Army universe's space opera theme and technology levels [ ✅ ] 7. Images in the article are hosted on Star Army's wiki and sourced responsibly (contact Wes privately if there's a concern) [ ✅ ] 8. The article is original and doesn't contain copy-pasted content from other articles. [ ✅ ] 9. The article complies with Star Army's rules in terms of damage ratings, speed limits, etc. [ ✅ ] 10. The Faction Manager(s), if applicable, have posted approval for this article in this thread. Here are some fixes this article still needs: 1. When these fixes are made, please post a reply here so I can re-check the article. Thank you!
This checklist contains the necessary steps for just-approved articles.
Thanks again for submitting an article to the wiki! Time for some final steps for the reviewer... [ ] 1. State clearly that the article is approved in the submission thread [ ] 2. Move the wiki article to its permanent (destination) location on the wiki [ ] 3. Move the submission thread to the Approved Submissions subforum or get a moderator to [ ] 4. Edit the article to add a link to the approval thread in the OOC Notes section [ ] 5. Remind the submitter to link to the newly-approved page wherever it makes sense to do so.