Help:Basic setup, rules and guidelines

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Read this article carefully, before you start to edit or write an article. This article explains the rules of the Coastal Wiki, how to write an article and what an excellent article looks like. For more information on editing an article, see how to edit an article.

Coastal Wiki Rules

Check this rules first, before starting editing and writing!

  1. Check if an article on the same of a very similar topic exists already (by using the search function). In that case, instead of adding your article, it might be better to complement or revise this existing article. We recommend to contact the author; you will find contact details by clicking on history. In the case of conflicting evidence use the discussion page.
  2. Make sure that your article fits the fabric of articles dealing with related topics, especially articles with a more general scope. Refer to these articles by introducing links; you should also consider re-editing related articles to introduce appropriate links to your article (but not more often than strictly necessary).
  3. Important claims or statements need to be substantiated; adding an authoritative reference (or a link to authoritative Internet source) is often better than providing proof in the paper.
  4. It is recommended to upload important background documents serving as reference material in the CoastWeb Archive (CoastWeb link on the portal).
  5. Submit your article for peer review to expert colleagues before entering it in the Coastal Wiki; we encourage Coastal Wiki authors to work in teams and to review each other’s contributions.
  6. Do not copy-and-paste any material that is subject to copyright.
  7. Coastal Wiki are well-focused and short (typically 500-1000 words); structure your article according to the instructions given in the Guidelines.


  1. Title: The title should be as short as possible. Note: If you need to change your title do it before editing; otherwise use Move Page function in the Edit box. This creates a new article, to which users are redirected.
  2. Lead: An article should start with a concise lead that summarizes the entire topic and prepares the reader for the higher level of detail in the subsequent sections. The lead section should appear before the table of contents, without a heading. So, do not type ‘introduction’ as a heading – just write the introductory paragraph at the start of article. You may include an introduction as well, but this has a different purpose than the summary.
  3. Structure of main text: an article preferably starts with an introduction, which provides a relevant context (policy, practice, science). Consider also important interactions with other components of the coastal system. After the main text enter a section “See also” with “Internal links”, “External links” and “Further reading”. Close the article with a list with cited references, credit the author and add categories to the article.
  4. Content of an article: An article should contain illustrations, boxes and tables, if they are appropriate to the subject, with succinct captions and acceptable copyright status. It is of appropriate length (between a few hundred to a few thousand words), staying focused on the main topic without going into unnecessary detail. Appropriate links are created with related articles for information on broader context or on specific details. Don’t enter into details if good references and links to detailed information are available. General tips:
    1. Separate major sections of article with section headlines and use a hierarchical heading structure
    2. Use wiki markup, see also format
    3. Define terms, in a separate, individual definition page, see definitions
    4. Add relevant images or graphics, tables with explanatory captions. Preferably an article contains 1 image for every 500 words.
    5. Use analogies and comparisons to illustrate

Excellent article

An excellent Coastal Wiki article is well written, comprehensive, factually accurate, neutral and stable.

  1. Well written means that the prose is compelling, understandable for non-experts, avoids unnecessary technical terms and unexplained abbreviations.
  2. Comprehensive means that the article provides relevant context and relationships.
  3. Factually accurate means that claims are verifiable against reliable sources and accurately present the related body of published knowledge. Claims are supported with specific evidence and external citations; this involves the provision of a "References" section in which sources are set out and, where appropriate, complemented by online citations. See also the Coastal Wiki Rules.
  4. Neutral means that the article presents views fairly and without bias; however, articles need not give minority views equal coverage.
  5. Stable means that the article is not the subject of ongoing edit wars and that its content does not change significantly from day to day.