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Avatar Wiki:S.O.S. editing

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One of the core values upon which Wikia was built is the fact that everyone can edit a page. In theory, this seems so simple, but when putting the idea into effect, it becomes clear that editing is far more than just clicking a button. Wikia hosts over three hundred thousand wikis and they all have their own 'Manual of Style' and editing customs. With many users being part of multiple communities, it can become confusing which Manual of Style is used on which wiki, so to accommodate new - and even seasoned - editors, here is a guide with some useful tricks and advice for editors on the Avatar Wiki.

However, note that there will always be one "rule" or "guideline" that will always be at the top of the pyramid of things to note, and that is communication. When unsure about something or even completely at a loss, we have a helpful community at your disposal, consisting of hundreds of people who are eager to share their experience, ranging from regular users to rollbacks and administrators. So if you ever encounter any issues, do not hesitate to contact anyone you see, or contact an administrator on the administrator noticeboard when it is a general problem. If you encounter a difference in opinion with a specific user, drop them a message on their wall, and when stumbling on an issue that you do not know how or where to address, the War Room is at your disposal to start a new forum topic on which you can voice your concerns. If you form your argument into something civil and well presented, people will read it, and will likely be inclined to voice their opinion on the same civil and well presented manner. Know that action and reaction are a duo, so treat someone how you would like to be treated, and you will get the same response in turn.

Pre-editing notice

This wiki has been around for years and, although it has had its ups and downs with community activity, there have always been people to devote their time on the articles by creating new ones and/or expanding and correcting the existing ones. Due to that, it may seem sometimes that there is nothing else for a newcomer to do. Nothing is farther from the truth than that. Nothing is perfect, and thus the pages on this wiki are not perfect either. Do not be afraid to dive in when you see a grammar and/or spelling mistake, and certainly do not hesitate to correct something that is just downright factually incorrect.

Although there is this virtual "hierarchy" on any wiki as administrators have more technical rights than other registered users, this does not mean in any case that an administrator - or any other user for that matter - has more rights to decide something than anyone else. The hierarchy is purely technical and needed for site maintenance, but does not stretch out to having the final opinion in solving conflicts or the final vote to decide "who/what is right" in a discussion or having the final say in being able to decide what can and what cannot happen on this wiki. This community makes its decisions based on consensus, so if you find yourself in disagreement with an older user or an administrator, do not feel intimidated in the least, as your opinion is just as valuable as that of those "seasoned" editors and users. However, talk to them civilly when you disagree with them, and you will find that users here are sensible people who will explain their actions when asked to.

Main space editing

Manual of Style

Main article: Manual of Style

The Manual of Style (often abbreviated MoS or MOS) is a style guide for all Avatar Wiki articles and official documents. It establishes our house style, to assist editors produce articles with consistent, clear, and precise language, layout, and formatting. The goal is to improve the encyclopedia and ensure it is easier and more intuitive to use. Consistency in style and formatting promotes clarity and cohesion; this is especially important within an article.

When starting to edit, this really is a document everyone should read through and often check back to when in doubt on how to write something. However, being fully aware of the length of the article, know that we use the American spelling of the English language in this wiki. Bending arts are lower cased and sentence case (or sentence-style) is used for the titles. This means that the initial letter of a title is capitalized; otherwise, capital letters are used only where they would be used in a normal sentence.

E.g. Aang's staff, not Aang's Staff.

Another note-worthy point many users see corrected on their edits: the usage of spaces. After a title (== Title ==), no space is included, the text immediately begins underneath it. For a handy preview of the used code layout, view this page.

A very important point of consideration when editing a page is the "in-universe" style, as most of the pages in the wiki are meant to be written this way. In-universe is the style of writing that expresses a piece of information in a certain perspective that is internal to the Avatar World.

E.g. Aang, a male Air Nomad, was the Avatar during the century-long conflict known as the Hundred Year War and After his victory over the Phoenix King, Aang began a romantic relationship with his close friend, Katara are sentences written in an in-universe perspective. Aang is the main character of Avatar: The Last Airbender series and After the end of Book 3, Aang began a romantic relationship with his close friend, Katara are considered in an out-universe perspective as they include connections to the real world.

This writing style applies for pages that are related to the series' plot, especially when referring to historical narrations or descriptions. Trivia sections and real world articles are examples of cases when in-universe writing is not always necessary.

Edit summary

Countless edits are made each day on this wiki and we have countless editors that devote their time on checking every one of them. In order to make this task easier on them and to better convey the meaning of an edit, always try to include a short edit summary when you have changed something on a page. A list of standard edit summaries has been included of which you can easily choose one, but you can also write a summary yourself. A summary does not need to explain everything in detail, a few concise words will suffice.

E.g. When you have rewritten something, you can either select the edit summary "rewrite" or add one yourself saying "wording" or something in that direction to convey the goal of your edit with others.

When undoing the edit of someone else, it should be a habit of always including your reasons for doing so in the summary, as this will allow the other person to understand why his/her edit was undone, and it also contributes to having a good communication and maintaining a healthy community spirit.

Changing main quote/profile image

Most pages sport a main quote at the top of the page describing the character or the article's topic in one sentence, and a larger image portraying it, usually in an infobox. However, these two things are often the subject of many undone edits. To label something as "fitting" for a character is obviously partially subjective and opinionated, and since opinions are not always the same, many discussions arise over these changes. To counter the many edits changing the quote and profile image back and forth, there is a procedure to be followed where users can request a change and, if it gathers consensus, it will be implemented. More specific instructions can be found on the respective pages:

An administrator will review the proposals and accept or reject them according to the reasons given by the proposer. When they are accepted, a link to the discussion will be provided in the community corner to alert people of the proposal. However, if no consensus is gathered or the proposal has been rejected, refrain from changing the image or the quote, as those edits will be undone immediately.


Main article: Image policy

The main focus of this wiki is the text on a page. However, an entire wall of letters without any visual aids does not encourage people to start reading - quite the opposite. Therefore, images are an essential part of an article, but they should never be the main focus, thus make sure that when you want to add a new image to a page, it is lengthy enough to host the image.

E.g. For a shorter page, a few images will suffice to make the text more attractive to start reading, whereas too many images will overpower the text and draw away attention from it.

When adding an image, we attempt to position the images as clearly as possible on a page, meaning that the images will mostly be aligned in a "left-right-left" or "right-left-right" sequence. In that regard, the correct image format on a page is [[File:filename.png|thumb|right/left|200px|Description.]]

Things to be on alert for when adding images:

  • Quality: as we strive for our articles to have the highest possible quality, our images should convey this goal as well. As such, images that are blurry, have poor lighting, or are altered to get rid of some unwanted elements are not to be uploaded and will be deleted on sight by any of the administrators.
    • If you want to upload a quality image, but are not in the position to take a screenshot of a high definition version of an episode yourself, try visiting an image site like That site hosts a wide selection of screenshots of every Avatar: The Last Airbender episode and screenshots of The Legend of Korra are currently being worked on.
  • Galleries: image galleries are usually avoided. Being this a resource used when strictly needed, galleries are used only in certain pages.
  • Gifs and logos: gifs and images sporting logos, no matter how high quality the image otherwise is, are not to be uploaded.

All uploaded images must have a license and a source. You can do this by adding an imagebox to the image page. Its proper usage is explained here. Most commonly used licenses are:

  • canon: for canon screenshots taken from the animated series or the live-action film that are used in canon articles
  • fanon: for any image used solely in a fanon page
  • canon/fanon: for canon screenshots that are used both in canon and fanon pages
  • fanon-self: for fanart based on elements from the Avatar series used on fanon pages
E.g. A fan-made image of someone bending, even if the person does not resemble a known character.
  • self: for fanart that has nothing to do with the Avatar series
E.g. A fan-made image of a tree
  • comic: for images taken from Avatar comics

If these specifications are not given for the image immediately, you will have a twenty-four hours period to be able to do so.


Categories are a tool to group pages about a similar subject together and provide an easy way to navigate between them. Avatar Wiki has an elaborate categorization tree and, in many cases, the tree already has enough branches, meaning that many a time, extra category additions will be undone because the relevant categories are already added. However, this does not mean that no new categories can be added ever. When adding a new category nonetheless, make sure that the category can contain a sufficient amount of pages and has a navigational perk to it.

E.g. Fire Lords as it is relevant and has the navigational perk of providing an easy link to all known Fire Lords. Tahn's family is not necessary as it are all pages with few visitors and the navigational perk arising from that is very limited.

When unsure whether or not a category is needed, inquiring on the opinion of an experienced user about it is always useful.

Providing links

Having many articles is indeed a splendid thing, but if no one can find them, all that hard work has been for nothing. Thus, in order to create an easy navigational segue between several relevant pages, a page contains many links to these other pages. To add a link in a text, surround the word with "[[ ]]". Note, however, that the surrounded word must be exactly the same as the title of the page you want to link to, if not, that link will turn up red, indicating that it is faulty.

E.g. [[Aang]], not [[Avatar Aang]]

If you do want to link to a page, but have the shown text show up different than the actual name of the page, a "pipe-link" is to be created.

E.g. [[Aang|Avatar Aang]], not [[Avatar Aang]]

Adding references

Main article: Verifiability

Content that is posted on Avatar Wiki canon articles must be verifiable. In other words, all information treated as fact on this site must be able to be supported by a reliable, published source.

When you expand a page with information coming from a certain episode, add <ref name=Episode abbreviation>{{Cite episode|<series number>|<season and episode number>}}</ref> after the new bit of information.

E.g. To cite information coming from the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, "The Boy in the Iceberg", add <ref name=BI>{{Cite episode|1|101}}</ref>.
E.g. To cite information coming from the first episode of The Legend of Korra, "Welcome to Republic City", add <ref name=WRC>{{Cite episode|2|101}}</ref>.

A full list of all the used episode abbreviations can be found here.

Now what is the use of those abbreviations? By providing a name for the reference, we are able to shorten the reference when it is used multiple times in the same article. The first time a reference is used in a text, it is written in full, and the second time, it can be shortened to simply <ref name=Episode abbreviation />

E.g. <ref name=WRC>{{Cite episode|2|101}}</ref> is shortened on second usage to <ref name=WRC />

When adding references to a page that previously did not contain any references, include the following title at the bottom of the page:

== References ==

Page layout

Main article: Layout guide

Article layout is to a large extent standardized on Avatar Wiki. Sections and their headings should largely be consistent across broadly similar categories of articles. In addition, all articles should have lead sections that summarize the subject of an article, unless otherwise stated, and the applicable infobox template if one exists.

What can I still do?

This seems to be the question of many users, and the answer is pretty simple: plenty, although it may not always seem like that. The goal of this wiki is to be the most accurate and objective encyclopedia about everything Avatar related. What we currently have has literally taken years to build, and will likely take many more years to be perfected. Everyone can still help out by rewriting existing articles to be of a higher standard, expand them, factually correct them, add transcripts, find images of higher quality, etc.

Do not be hesitant to rewrite an article if you believe it is poorly written or even when it is written just fine. If you think you can do better, rewrite it to a higher standard, than you are perfectly within your right to do so. All the articles here have been built to the quality they are now by many users working together and adding, removing, and rewriting what others have stated before them. By constantly working on something, all the users together have created something better than any of those users could create individually. So do not hesitate to add to or rewrite an article, but do not take it personal either if someone removes or rewrites what you have done; that is just the flow of the wiki.

However, what is that elusive "high standard"? A high standard article is an article that has all the needed information about the subject it is about without trailing off too much to the side to talk about relating subjects. It is an article that has sufficient, but not too many images on it, and has proper wording without falling too much into repetition.

Things to look for

  • Word variation: avoid falling into a repetition of the same word over and over again. Sites providing synonyms are a true help when it comes to editing, so when you find that a certain word has been overused, try using a synonym.
E.g. Aang was an airbender. He lived at the Southern Air Temple instead of Aang was an airbender. Aang lived at the Southern Air Temple.
  • Fluency: merging sentences together into one larger sentence can sometimes be beneficial for the flow of the article.
E.g. Aang was an airbender who resided at the Southern Air Temple instead of Aang was an airbender. He lived at the Southern Air Temple

However, the use of connectors and punctuation to separate ideas can also be beneficial in certain cases.

E.g. Aang approached his soon-to-be pet sky bison Appa and offered him an apple, which Appa accepted, thus marking the start of their friendship instead of Aang approached his soon-to-be pet sky bison Appa offered him an apple which Appa accepted marking the start of their friendship
  • Encyclopedism: remember this wiki is an Avatar encyclopedia, thus its content must be written encyclopedically. This means pages should always be written in a neutral point of view, avoiding subject value judgments and personal opinions.
  • Clarity: having a high-standard sentence with big words is great and all, but if people do not understand it, we have missed our point. There is a difference between using big words for the sake of being eloquent, and using big words to use big words, so that no one really knows what is being said. Avoid over-complication of a sentence.
  • Relevancy: a page about something is meant to convey information about a given character or object or location. However, "conveying information" does not mean that every little known detail about the subject of the page should be included. The same principle applies to the creation of articles: new pages should be about relevant characters, locations, objects, etc. Otherwise, its deletion may be proposed and discussed.
  • Factual correction: Sometimes, little mistakes find their way into the articles. When you spot something that has no canonical evidence to back it up, edit it out.
  • Speculation: this is an objective and encyclopedic wiki, which means that we will only host things on our pages that are confirmed by an official source. In that light, everything that is not known or has a clear opinion-based theory that has wormed its way into the articles should be removed.
E.g. The tower's appearance is a reference to the real-world Eiffel Tower. This has never been confirmed, though the resemblance is uncanny. Therefore the trivia in itself can remain, but should be written without the speculative statement that it is in fact a reference to the Eiffel Tower: The tower bears a distinct resemblance to the real-world Eiffel Tower
  • American English spelling: on this wiki, we employ the American spelling of the English language, so even though the British and American spelling styles are nowadays often interchangeable, the American style is the preferred one.
  • Images: are the used images up-to-date? Do they convey the best possible message? If not, change them. If there are too many images, remove the most irrelevant ones.
  • "Needs help" pages: some pages are tagged with a {{Needshelp}} (found here), {{UC}} (found here), or {{Images}} template (found here), indicating that the page could use expansion, is still under construction, or needs images to be added, respectively. Take a look at those page to see whether or not you can be of assistance.

Fanon portal editing

Main article: Creating a fanon

For those editors willing to create a new fanon but do not know how, make sure to check out the fanon editing guide.

For those editors willing to edit someone else's fanon, a few words of caution. In general, you are allowed to edit some else's fanon articles when it comes to grammar and spelling errors. However, know that while the main space articles follow the American English style of spelling, the same does not go for the fanon portal, where authors are free to use British/Australian/... or English spelling as well.

When editing the article of someone else, do not alter any of the content beyond the correction of grammar and spelling unless you have the author's permission.


Main article: Images on fanon

All canon images are allowed to be used in fanon pages without a quantity limit, however, non-canon ones, such as fanart or from another series, can be added with a limit of three per page. If you think your page needs even more than three of these images, you can hotlink them by using the {{Hotlink}} template.


Linking to a fanon page is similar to linking to a main space page. However, note that since the fanon portal is a separate portal on the Avatar Wiki, the exact name of a fanon page always includes the prefix "Fanon". Since this is often unwanted to be shown in the link, a pipe link must be created to get rid of it.

E.g. [[Fanon:Cake (Scarf)]] shows up as Fanon:Cake (Scarf)
E.g. [[Fanon:Cake (Scarf)|Cake]] shows up as Cake

To avoid having to type the prefix "Fanon" over and over again and "piping" every link, a shorter way of linking is possible.

E.g. {{F|Cake (Scarf)}} shows up as Cake (Scarf)
E.g. {{F|Cake (Scarf)|Cake}} shows up as Cake

Film portal editing


To link to a film page is done almost in an identical fashion as linking to a fanon page. The film portal is a separate portal as well on the Avatar Wiki and, as such, the exact name of a film page always includes the prefix "Film". Since this is unwanted to be shown in the link, a pipe link must be created to get rid of it.

E.g. [[Film:Aang]] shows up as Film:Aang
E.g. [[Film:Aang|Avatar Aang]] shows up as Avatar Aang

To avoid having to "pipe-link" every link, a shorter way of linking is possible.

E.g. {{Film|Aang}} shows up as Aang
E.g. {{Film:Aang|Avatar Aang}} shows up as Avatar Aang

Transcript editing

The main difficulty of editing transcripts is the code that is being used to create the table the words are in. Although looking complicated, the codes being used are rather simple and user friendly.

Things to note:

  • Scene elaborations: when they stand alone, they are to be written in italics. To do that, add '' at the start and at the end of the paragraph describing a scene, including terminal punctuation.
  • When adding some scene elaboration within the lines of someone, the text is to be included between [ ], also written in italics.
E.g. [''Slightly amused.''] What is that contraption?
  • When no speaker is indicated in the first column, it is to remain a lighter yellow.
Korra [Slightly amused.] What is that contraption?
The scene switches to a back shot of the three children as Korra and Tenzin pull up. Korra gazes in awe at the airbending tool.
Tenzin A time-honored tool that teaches the most fundamental aspect of airbending. Jinora, would you like to explain this exercise?
The previous bit of transcript is made with the following "codes":
|[''Slightly amused.''] What is ''that'' contraption?
|''The scene switches to a back shot of the three children as Korra and Tenzin pull up. Korra gazes in awe at the airbending tool.''
|A time-honored tool that teaches the most fundamental aspect of airbending. Jinora, would you like to explain this exercise?

User page editing

Main article: User page policy

Many people want to have a fancy looking user page. In order to easily create this, certain user and infoboxes have been created for that.

  • To add a fancy infobox like so many users sport on their user page that holds their personal information, copy and paste the code of the following infobox to your own userpage: {{user infobox}}.
    • Note that if you do not want to fill in a certain bit of information, you just leave the parameter blank and it will not show up.
    • To alter the color of the box, add "fire", "air", "water", "earth", "spirit", "URN", or "neutral" behind the parameter "nation", exactly as given. If entered differently, the code will not work and the infobox will remain the standard brown.
  • Boxes indicating you (do not) support or (do not) like a character, can be found here. Copy and paste the code to your own page and fill in according to your own wishes.

A few things to note though. In order to somewhat regulate the inflow of images to the wiki, it is not allowed to upload images and/or gifs to solely be used on your user page. Those images will always be deleted. However, to show them off anyway, you can always link to them from an image-hosting site through means of the {{hotlink}} template.

Things to avoid


Main article: Assume good faith

Badge-editing is the practice where a user edits for the sole goal to obtain badges and gather points. Usually, these edits are quick and unconstructive edits, like quickly adding several categories that do not apply to a certain page, adding random images, or making random edits that are often incorrect. Badge-editing is a blockable offense on this wiki.

However, a note of caution, something may be seen as badge-editing when it is not. In order to avoid your edits being seen as badge-editing, make the inclusion of an edit summary a habit, so a reasonable and fundamental short explanation of your edit is given.

Edit warring

Main article: Edit warring policy

An "edit war" is the situation where someone adds something to a page, that edit is undone, then immediately undone again, and again, and again. Needless to say, situations like this are unproductive and result to nothing.

It is normal that users disagree from time to time about something, but when this happens, there are a few key elements to remember:

  1. A disagreement of opinions does not mean that one opinion is worthier than the other. The opinion of an administrator is not worthier than that of an anonymous user; the opinion of a rollback is not worthier than that of a registered user. All opinions are equal, so present them civilly and with good arguments.
  2. A disagreement of opinions does not mean that one user is "out to get" the other user and is "gunning" for him/her, just for the sake of being antagonistic.
  3. A disagreement of opinions is just that, a disagreement of opinions. It is not a disagreement with the user as a whole, nor disrespecting them in any way. Two users can be the best of friends, but disagree on certain elements, but still remain respectful to each other.

When you find your edit being undone, take a step back and look – was the edit correct? Were they correct to undo what you wrote? If you still feel you were right, you can undo their edit one more time and provide extra reasoning for why you feel that your edit was correct. If you find your edit being undone again, do not undo the edit again, but start a conversation with that user and tell him/her civilly why you feel otherwise about a certain point. By creating a dialogue, you can work together to create something better than before. Two minds think better than one.

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