NoeJeko's Guide to Guides
Now you may be thinking, why a guide on writing a guide? It should be simple – just write down what you know, give it a topic that will attract attention, and the people will love it! Right...?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
I’ve noticed quite a few potential guide stars post their first guide. You can tell they’re proud of their work and most of the time you can tell quite a bit of effort went into creating it. Then it goes downhill from there. People disagree with the topic, people disagree with the guide, people can’t read the guide, the creator gets offended, flames break out, and a potential guide star goes supernova.
So, I’ve compiled some tips in creating guides. These aren’t forum rules; they’re just my suggestions. You’re free to do with them as you see fit.
1) Topics. Make your topic as descriptive as possible. Try to avoid using “best”, “ultimate”, etc. because someone will disagree that it is the best anything. If it’s your first guide, indicate so in the topic. This tells a new player that you are new to guides and that there’s a possibility you may be mistaken on something. AvOiD tOpIcS iN aLtErNaTiNg CaPs. These are annoying and will decrease the credibility of your guide immensely. Spell “guide” properly; you’d be surprised at how many “guilds” and “guids” are in the “guide” section.
2) Spelling/Grammar. At the very least, type your guide in a word processor first. Run its spelling and grammar check functions. Proofread your work. An added bonus would be having a friend proofread it before you post it. It’s proven fact, people take documents that are written and spelled properly more seriously than if they see 20 errors in the first paragraph. While I know English isn’t everyone’s first language, that added touch of spellchecking can work wonders.
3) Formatting and Organization. Don’t just randomly throw ideas down on your guide. Organize your information and format it in a way that’s easy to follow. Tables of contents are an added bonus. One of the best tables of contents I’ve seen is in Sambo’s Quest Guide. He includes tags that you can use the browser’s search function to find quickly.
4) Credibility. If you’re making a first guide or if you’re unsure of something, say it! Don’t speak like an expert on a subject in which you are not. This not only decreases the credibility of your guide, but also decreases the credibility of any future guides you may write. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”. If you do answer “I don’t know”, make an effort to find out for your guide readers. If you notice an error in your guide after it is posted, fix it and post again stating the fix. Do your research! Check the translated jwiki and the MyMMO Wiki for information. Don’t guess at things, present your opinions based upon fact. Source and documentation add immeasurably to your guide’s credibility.
5) Plagiarism. This is covered in the forum rules so I won’t waste too much time. In short, don’t do it. Cite your sources if you pull from other guides.
6) Criticism. Don’t ask for comments if you don’t want people to disagree with you. If you do ask for comments and someone disagrees, try seeing it from their perspective. People can disagree with you guide and it still be a good guide. Don’t respond to flame attempts, let us do our job at stopping that. Criticism will make our future guides better if taken and given constructively.
I hope these tips help the potential guide star. Please remember – these are just my suggestions, you don’t have to follow them if you don’t want to (with the exception of the plagiarism rule). Happy guiding!
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