ConRunner:How to write a great article

From ConRunner
Jump to: navigation, search

Suppose you want to write a first-rate or even perfect ConRunner which deserves to be listed on the ConRunner front page. Here's guidance on how to do that.


Once you have decided on a topic, use Search to find out what related material we already have. That way, you get a feel for the environment and will later be able to create good links to other relevant articles.

How to get started

You may think that you know enough about your topic, but chances are that others know plenty too. Do a search of other SF and convention references, look at the first half dozen or so hits from a search engine such as Google, or even look for relevant articles or colateral references from an encyclopedia such as Wikipedia, (free), (free), or (free in most libraries).

The best articles should site the most reliable references available for the subject. Those may include books or peer reviewed journal articles.


Start your article with a concise paragraph defining the topic at hand and mentioning the most important points. The reader should be able to get a good overview by only reading this first paragraph.

Then start the article properly. See Wikipedia:How does one edit a page for the format to use to produce links, emphasize text, lists, headlines etc. Make sure to link to other relevant articles (wikify). Also, where appropriate, add links in other articles back to your article.

You cannot simply cut-and-paste from one of the external resources mentioned above. See ConRunner:Copyrights and Wikipedia:Copyrights for the details.

It's often a good idea to separate the major sections of your articles with section headlines. For many topics, a history section is very appropriate, outlining how thinking about the concept evolved over time.

If different people have different opinions about your topic, characterize that debate from a fair point of view. Acknowledge the differeneces. Provide objective evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the topic, not the persons advocating it

Try to get your spelling right. ConRunner does not contain a spell checker, but you can write and spell-check your article first in a word processor or text editor (which is a lot more comfortable than the text-box editor) and then paste it into said text-box.

Keep the article in an encyclopedic style: add etymology or provenance (when available), look for analogies and eventual comparisons to propose. Link jargon terms to the Glossary category. Be objective: avoid personal comments (or turn them into general statements, but only when they coincide), don't use personal forms (I found that...).

At the end, you should list the references you used and the best available external links about the topic.

Finishing touches

Top it all off with a nice relevant image or graphic. Please do not link to images on other servers; instead use the upload page. Be sure to preserve copyright notices, and only upload pages that are free to be legally used on ConRunner.

One way to get a good article is to get feedback from several contributors. Use the Talk pages to refine the topic, ask for their confirmations, note their doubts: it is usually interesting to discover that, perhaps from the other side of the planet, after a while, some other contributors can check other sources, or propose different interpretations.

Don't neglect the External links and References sections. The most useful and accurate material you've found by searching during your research might make good links for a reader too. And sometimes there is a standard work that is mentioned over and over in connection with your topic. Mention it, with its author and publication date. Even better, obtain a copy and use it to check the material in the article.

Later editing

Even if you don't contribute new content to an article, it's still helpful to rearrange, rephrase, condense and generally improve the readability of an article. This is especially useful where an article has become somewhat lengthy without being suitably sub-divided into sections.