Author: Charles Dickson (C3PO)
VygisStories is intended to encourage contribution. The wikia.com site was chosen to host VygisStories because it has many features that aid in this goal. First of all, you don't have to have a "login" at wikia.com to add pages to a wiki here, or even to edit pages. You can also add comments to existing pages. You do have to have a login to do certain edits, particularly deletions, and you also have to have a login to upload photos, but getting a login for the site is pretty quick and painless. So I am hoping that friends of Vygis can feel free to drop in and contribute stories without it feeling like too much work. I, your humble wiki administrator C3PO will help take care of linking your stories into the bigger organization of the site. I am also making some guide pages for people that want to do more; these other guides go into more detail about how I've organized things and the necessary style for titles, links, and photo attributions to make it all hold together, so that anybody who wants to can get their hands dirty building the site along with me. But for now, this guide can show you how to quickly make contributions to the site and some basics you'll need to know.
How to get started Edit
If you are reading this then you are here at Vygisstories already. Want to add a new story? From any page, you can just click the "Contribute" button in the upper right corner. This brings up the menu with all the most used options to add stuff. Are you on a page that you want to change or add more to? Find the "Edit" link for the page or the section. Whatever you want to add or update, just go for it; I'll be curating the wiki and can do the organizational stuff for you.Or, just leave a comment on any page; they all have comment entry at the bottom. You don't need a wikia.com login to either add pages, edit pages, or make comments, although if you have a login then it helps me to be able to see who made edits or contributions.
Read on for more detailed hints and tips:
Adding A Story PageEdit
Let's stay you wanted to add a story. Select "Add A Page" from the Contribute menu. This brings up something that says "Create New Article" and asks for the title of the page and whether to use Wikia's standard layout or a blank page. For the title, you can refer to the title style guide in the "Master Class" section of guides, or you can give your page any title you want and some robot will come by later and clean it up. As for selecting which layout to use, Wikia's standard layout is lame so I advise selecting "Blank Page" and just getting started. If you already know how to use wiki markup you can do it in the Blank Page layout for yourself, and if you don't know how to use markup then the default markup stuff that they put in the Standard Layout is confusing and inconvenient.
Anyhow, once you've entered the title and selected the layout, click "Add a Page" at the bottom right of the dialog and boom, it starts up a text editor. I think that it usually starts you off in the easier editor, the "Visual" one which gives you basic text formatting options, which is good. To go to the Source editor, there's little tabs in the upper left corner of the editing area. Now that you have the page editor going, start typing. Tell a story. On the right it gives you some buttons for adding photos, videos, and other things to your page and handles the markup for placing photos although it's not obvious at first how you put things where you want them. I'll get into that in a bit. For starters though, just tell a story. Then hit that green Publish button in the upper right corner. You have just added a page to VygisStories.
Now, it is helpful if you do "Add A Page" when you are logged in with a wikia login even though you don't have to, because wikia will track who created it. This makes it easier to follow who added what to the wiki. And of course it gives you powers of adding photos, which you will generally will want to do since a lot of stories flow from photos.
How to add photosEdit
Adding photos is a pretty central part to building Vygisstories; in fact most stories people have about Vygis start from a photo that contains cherished memories. Photos help add a visual element to story pages in the wiki, and can help make pages look more professional, more like a picture book than a wall of text. There are a couple of ways that photos can become part of Vygisstories, of which the easiest way is to just upload photos to the site. Wikia.com makes it quick to upload photos, although there are some quirks to the process that it helps to know about. The "Add a Photo" button appears on nearly every page in Wikia. If click this button and you are already logged into Wikia, it will start you off adding a photo to the album associated with whatever wiki you pushed the button on (in our case, Vygisstories.wikia.com). If you are not logged in, it will ask you to either log in or create a login, and then start you off adding a photo.
All the photos uploaded to the wiki go into a single pool; which is to say that there is only one album per wiki in wikia.com. It is possible to make "album pages" where you arrange photos from the pool onto a gallery or make a slideshow of selected photos, but aside from that there is no way to organize the main photo pool itself. Thus assigning good file names for uploaded photos becomes more important than you might have anticipated. Relatedly, when you do a photo upload, it is helpful to put some information as to what the photo is about into a "caption" field associated with the photo. There are steps for entering the caption and other information when you upload a photo.
When it starts you off adding a photo, you get a simple dialog for browsing for a file on your local computer that looks like this:
So, you can click "Browse" and pick the photo on your computer that you want to upload, and then click the green "Upload Photo" button and be done, but I recommend taking a few moments and clicking the "More Options" link down in the lower left corner. This modifies the dialog box so that it looks like this:
With this bigger upload dialog box, you now have a way to add some more information that will be helpful for later. The first thing in this dialog is "Filename". This is the file name that will be given to the photo in the photo pool; it does not have to be the same name as the file you uploaded it from on your computer (although if you don't fill in Filename, the uploaded file will have the same name as the file you select). The Filename option provides a way to rename the photo to a name that is something unique and descriptive. If your photo name was something like "IMG_0666.jpg" then the dialog box most likely has already popped up a warning that you should rename the photo. This is all because there is only one album per wiki, so there can't be two photos with the same name. The default numerical file names assigned by most cameras are usually the same for most cameras, so the likelihood of duplicate naming with another picture is high if your photo has a file name generated by a camera. However it is also just a good idea to have a file name that is descriptive of the photo! I would suggest coming up with a filename that is short descriptive title for the photo that says something about who the photo was from and what its significance is, for instance "Rimas_winter_tour_early_days.jpg" If the photo is low resolution, like something from a web site instead of an original scan, I might add "_small" to the name to indicate that there might be a higher resolution version available.
In the caption field you can get as descriptive as you'd like, I don't think that there is any word limit to it. If possible, hold to a convention that I've started which is to have the first line give credit for the photo to its source, for instance "Photo Credit: Cora Dickson". Then you can add the caption below that. The caption can mention who is in the photo and what year it was taken, for instance.
The last line, Licensing, is actually pretty important in theory although it doesn't seem that wikia.com does any enforcement of copyright violations in uploads. Some people get pretty upset about other people using their photos, particularly if they are professional photographers. Since we are all for the most part going to be uploading photos from personal albums, we can generally select the Licensing option "I created this image myself". Copyright wonks can select "Fair Use", "Creative Commons License" or even "Public Domain" if you are sure that you know that it applies to your upload.
The last thing in the dialog is the two checkboxes at the bottom. I recommend unchecking the "Watch this file" option. What this option means is that if somebody edits the caption or other info that you entered for the photo, or deletes it, you will get an email from wikia.com. If you care a lot about your photo, you can leave this checked, but otherwise it could end up being unwanted clutter in your email inbox.
Once you've selected all your options, click the green "Upload Photo" button and the upload begins. The photo can take up to a couple of minutes after uploading to appear in the photo pool for the wiki. The info that you entered for the photo can be edited after uploading; I'll get into how to do that in the next guide page.
If you have a lot of photos to upload, there are a couple of solutions, which I'll mention but put off going into detail about until a later guide page. There is a function in wikia.com for uploading multiple images, up to 10 at a time. It is not easy to find, and it has a disadvantage in that you can't set up the photo options; thus the amout of time to upload photos can be reduced by using the multiple upload option, but if you have to go back alter and edit the captions or other info you haven't saved much time.
Another alternative to uploading photos to the site is to open a flickr album of your own. You can link photos from flickr such that they can appear on pages in this wiki. The advantage of this is that flickr allows users to create multiple albums which can help with organization, and also helps manage copyright issues. The downside is that the process for linking photos in from flickr is more complicated than just uploading them to the wiki, so it is something that you would want to consider only if you have a lot of photos or want to have the organizational benefits that flickr's system of albums gets you.