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General metaFAQ (read before posting)

#1AbsoluteStevePosted 10/16/2012 12:05:04 PMmessage detail(edited)
Welcome to the FAQ Contributors Board (in short, the FCB)! On this board, fellow FAQ writers discuss their FAQ progress and projects, and it also functions to ask questions regarding specific FAQs of your own. Topics on personal matters are best posted on the Social FCB, although it's definitely allowed to post some more private things in already existing topics such as the ongoing FAQ progress topic. Since the division of the boards might be subject to change in the future, it's best to have a look at the hub of all contributor boards that can be found here:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/4-gamefaqs-contributors

This metaFAQ is an FAQ about FAQs and goes over several frequently asked questions or issues that have been brought up over the years. It's intended to replace the previous seven-year-old 'General FAQ' topic (written by Kirby021591) with up-to-date information, but borrows some information from that topic where still applicable. Redundant answers to nonexistent questions have obviously been removed entirely.

Table of Contents (ToC):

General questions
Useful links
Good/Bad hosting sites
Credits
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#2AbsoluteSteve(Topic Creator)Posted 10/16/2012 11:56:38 AMmessage detail
General questions:

What's a good text editor for text-based FAQs?
The standard Notepad text editor is a good tool to work on simple FAQs, but only has basic functionality. Two text editors with more features are Metapad and Textpad (see links above). These have functions such as automatic linebreaks and block text selection, allowing vertical selection of pre-formatted table rows or indented paragraphs. This can speed up the creation of more advanced text-formatted tables and boxed headers. Textpad also includes a spellcheck feature that automatically allows you to correct all misspelled words in the entire file.

For Mac users, TextEdit is the standard text editor. TextWrangler is recommended by most authors to be the best editor for the Mac.

What's the maximum character width for FAQs?
On GameFAQs, the absolute maximum is 80 characters. It used to be 79 characters, and it's still preferred that you manage with 79. The extra character might be implemented to automatically allow for any accidental single trailing spaces. You’ll find the extra character useful with particularly large, complex tables, but pay extra attention you don't go over the limit.

What should/shouldn't be in FAQs?
There's a general consensus that excessive swearing in FAQs is unnecessary and not allowed. The same applies to taking a clear stance on political issues. Keep your FAQ to the point and try to create a clear, light layout that doesn't clutter empty spaces too much. It’s a good idea to use humor, but with moderation. It's allowed to write introductory sections that do not directly involve the game you're writing for, but try to keep this within boundaries and use common sense.

Do FAQs still get plagiarized, and what should I do in such a case?
Unfortunately, plagiarism is still of this day, and it comes in several forms:

1. Copying information from uncredited sources is not allowed. Do you think this has happened to one of your guides? PM some of the regulars on this board first to ask for help. After consulting them you can decide to make a topic on this board about the problem.

2. Mostly in the past now, but some websites used to steal FAQs by hosting them without permission. This rarely happens these days, and if it does, it's usually a very small website that doesn't get much - if anything - out of it anyway. Should it happen, simply create a topic on this board to discuss the problem.

3. Unfortunately, FAQs have recently been plagiarized on a massive scale by someone who sold guides on amazon.com without permission of the original authors. Be sure to check sites hosting eBooks every once in a while to see if they're not hosting illegal FAQ content. This type of plagiarism greatly harms certain writers who sell their official version of their guides in the form of eBooks, so please make a topic about it on the FCB immediately whenever you see this type of piracy. The same applies to app stores for smartphones (Apple/Android).
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#3AbsoluteSteve(Topic Creator)Posted 10/16/2012 11:57:27 AMmessage detail
I think someone plagiarized my guide! What should I do?
Long story short, submit a contribution problem report via this link:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/contribute/report_problem.php

Make sure you specify what sections have been plagiarized and what proof you have that this is indeed the case. Remain calm and allow some time to pass for a response. If that doesn't work, either PM some regulars on this board or make a topic about it.

If someone outside of GameFAQs has plagiarized your work, send them an email in which you kindly ask them to remove your guide from their website. Here’s an example of a letter you could write (an adaptation of BB_Buttface’s letter) to a host of your plagiarized work (such as amazon.com):

''To <website host>

It has come to my attention that one of your clients, <client website name>, is hosting an unauthorized copy of my copyrighted work, located at this URL:

<link to your work on website server>

I hereby state under penalty of perjury that I am the legally recognized author of this file, and that everything written in this message is the truth. I have not granted your client permission to use my work in this manner. This is a violation of copyright, as well as my right to control my own creative property. I hereby politely request immediate removal of my work from your servers.
The original version of my work can be found here: <link to GameFAQs version>

I hereby hope to have sufficiently informed you,

Kind regards,
<your name>''


Can I use information from other FAQs and Strategy Guides?
You may, but give credits. It's definitely recommended to ask for permission if you want to use information from someone else's guide, and it's frowned upon if you don't.

There are already several complete FAQs available for a game. Can I write for it?
Preferably not. Your guide might be accepted if it's complete, but if there are already various full guides for a given game, you'll seriously need to ask yourself the question whether or not you can add something to the tables or not. There are many games out there that don't have any FAQs for them, and surely you'll help a lot more people by writing for one of those.

What's a version number?
A version number helps both authors and readers to keep track of updates. There used to be 10 characters available for version numbers, but this has been slimmed down to 5 to prevent non-useful inputs such as 'ULTI-MATE'. A version number looks like this: 1.24. In this example, the '1' means that the guide is complete (it contains for example a full walkthrough of the game plus perhaps some subsections). The '2' refers to the second large update since the completion of the guide. A section rewrite would justify talking about a 'large update'. The '4' refers in this case to a more minor update since the previous version. Some people prefer to use an additional number to refer to even smaller updates: 1.246 for example, with '6' referring to typo fixes or very minor edits. It’s not required to use version numbers, although it’s recommended.

What are circles and stars in front of FAQ/Walkthroughs?
Empty circle = Skeleton FAQ (rarely posted these days)
Half circle = Incomplete FAQ/Walkthrough
Full circle = Complete FAQ/Walkthrough
Star = Complete FAQ/Walkthrough that has received quite some recommendations, OR has won FotM at some point. Winning a bounty does not grant a star.

How many recommendations do I need to get a star?
You might currently need several hundred recommendations, although that’s a rough estimate.
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#4AbsoluteSteve(Topic Creator)Posted 10/16/2012 12:04:08 PMmessage detail
What does FotM mean?
FAQ of the Month. It refers to the monthly contest in which the five best FAQs are selected. You must apply first:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/contribute/submit_entry.php

Do note that you cannot enter one specific guide in both FotM and Bounty contests at the same time; it's one or the other.

Can I enter a contest or win a bounty if I'm from outside the USA?
Yes you can! Although it says you can't (legalities), you can simply enter an address from the US (such as the White House's address) and select any coupon you'd like. Do note that coupons from amazon.com can not be spent on partner websites around the globe (such as amazon.co.uk or amazon.de).

How can I improve the odds of winning FotM?
Writing a good, full, first FAQ/Walkthrough for a newly released game is a good place to start. Getting a lot of hits during that first month is definitely a factor. If you also ensure your organization, presentation and content are of high quality, you also definitely improve your odds of winning. Being a well-known author whose work has won in the past may play a small role as well. Your chances are diminished if you've already won FotM last month, to give others a better chance this round. In such a case there's still a small chance you may win however, for example when competition for that month is poor.

What do the abbreviations in the FAQ Progress topic mean?
FP = FAQ Progress
GP = Game Progress
LP = Life Progress (Yes, even if it's not 'progress')
MP = Music Progress (or Movie Progress)
BP = Book Progress
CP = Charity Project or Completion Project

Who deals with contributions?
SBAllen deals with contributions at this time. Devin currently handles other technicalities of the website. There were at some point plans to hire someone else for contributions, but details are currently unknown.

How long does it take for my guide to get accepted/updated?
Less than 24 hours during workdays. Updates are queued over the weekend, so if you submit something Friday night, you'll need to wait until Monday morning for it to get posted. The queue (at Contributor Center) turns green whenever it has been cleared. It then usually takes a day before it's fully cleared again, although existing updated FAQs are sometimes updated sooner. During holidays, updates may take longer.

What (ASCII) characters can I use in my guides?
You can use any of the following characters:

- The 26 lowercase letters (a-z)
- The 26 uppercase letters (A-Z)
- The 10 numbers (0-9)
- The space character
- 32 punctuation marks: !@#$%^&*()-=_+[]{}\|;:'",.<>/?`~

What are 'hits'?
Hits refer to the amount of clicks that have been made on your guide, and more narrowly are an indication of how many people you've helped with your guides. Since there are bots, and since the same people will click your guide many times over and over, your hits total does not equal the amount of people you've helped. Nonetheless, it remains a good indication of how popular your work is.

What is considered a high amount of hits?
For guides, anything above 500000 total hits is generally considered quite high. Guides with millions of hits have the highest amounts this site has ever recorded. For reviews, anything with 20000+ hits can be considered very high. No review has ever gone past 150k hits on GameFAQs. For Top 10 lists, (tens of) thousands of hits is considered high.
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#5AbsoluteSteve(Topic Creator)Posted 10/16/2012 12:06:23 PMmessage detail
What do some of the terms mean when my work has been rejected?
Lack of content = Your guide contains too little information, or is simply too short and uninformative.
Oversaturation = The subject your guide covers has been done to death. Choose a different game or in-depth subject.
Overspecialization = Your guide's subject is too specific. A guide covering only the first reactor of FFVII is such an overspecialized example.
Corrupted text = Characters in the guide have become lost or otherwise altered. This is most likely because you saved the file incorrectly.
Duplication = Your guide is too similar to an existing guide. GameFAQs doesn't post more than two in-depth guides on the same subject. You also get the duplication message if you submit the same file twice, with the older copy overwritten.
Bad margins/trailing spaces = Most likely because one or more lines are over 80 characters in width. GameFAQs shows you which lines are erroneous, so with a good text editor you can easily check and correct those lines.

I lurk here but never post.
Good for you, but that's not a question! You're more than welcome to show yourselves every once in a while though; the board could use the activity. [It's known that some moderators lurk this board but (almost) never post..]

What is “KB whoring”?
In short, it’s a controversial subject that arises every now and then on the FCB. It has to do with the (putative) inflation of guides, solely or primarily to increase one’s KB total. “KB whoring” is as such an intentional act and goal of the author. These days it is believed – or at least hoped – by many to be an extinct phenomenon, even though the subject still gives rise to major disputes at odd times. Ever since hits have been made visible to authors, the insight slowly sank in that ‘more content’ doesn’t always equal ‘more people helped’.

What are Completion Projects?
These are projects with the aim to have a complete/full FAQ/Walkthrough for every game of a certain platform (such as the NES or the Game Boy). More information can be found in the respective topics.

What are Charity Projects?
A charity project focuses on one of the major problems in the world (such as (kids) cancer, extreme poverty, slavery, etc.) and raises money by having one or more authors writing a guide for a certain game, selling licenses and asking for donations to get as many funds as possible. If you have any questions regarding charity guide projects, you are welcome to ask me any questions about them at faq@shillatime.org.

What’s a Formatted FAQ?
Formatted FAQs are a type of FAQs that can handle basic markup language and pictures.. They show up as integrated into the GameFAQs page. All information regarding markup can be found here:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/help/entry.html?cat=53
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#6AbsoluteSteve(Topic Creator)Posted 10/16/2012 12:07:18 PMmessage detail
Useful links:

This section contains a few websites you may find useful or interesting. They all contain information on a wide variety of subjects that all have to do with writing FAQs.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/help/ (GameFAQs Contributor Central)

http://www.network-science.de/ascii/ (Best ASCII art generator)

http://www.freewebs.com/domz_ninja/asciiart.htm (DomZ Ninja's ASCII art website)

http://faqs.darkspyro.net/prolific.html (Prolific contributor rankings)

http://www.shillatime.org/faqsforcharity.html (FAQ Charity Projects collection)

http://selmiak.bplaced.net/gf/gf.php?lang=eng&page=FAQ (Collection of FAQ related content)


Historically interesting links:

http://www.capsu.org/games/writers/ (Old contributor ranking page)

http://members.optusnet.com.au/astroblue/faqwarp.html (Old FAQ helpsite)

http://www.crazyreyn.com/fcbhistory/ (FCB history website)


Links to useful programs:

http://liquidninja.com/metapad/ (Metapad's website)

http://www.textpad.com/download/ (Textpad's website)
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#7AbsoluteSteve(Topic Creator)Posted 10/16/2012 12:08:14 PMmessage detail
Good & untrustworthy hosting sites:

Good:

mycheats.1up.com
www.chaptercheats.com
www.cheatmasters.com/
www.gamesradar.com
www.gamerstemple.com
faqs.ign.com/
www.neoseeker.com/
www.supercheats.com

Untrustworthy:

Cheat CC
cheat-database.com
cheatsguru.com

Users from external wikis sometimes steal from GameFAQs as well, so keep your eyes open and trust on your readers to pick out the rotten apples. ALWAYS protect your work with a basic copyright section such as:

This document may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal,
private use. It may not be placed on any website or otherwise distributed
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web-
site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation
of copyright. Do not copy or alter this guide, and do not present it as your
own. The creation of this guide took a lot of time, and we would appreciate it
greatly if you'd respect that. Below is a list of sites that are allowed to host
this document and/or adaptations of it. The latest update of this text file
can always be found at GameFAQs.com.


Please don’t include things like “I’ll know where to find you”, “if you steal this, lawyers will be on the case”, or “your nuts will be mine”; it just makes you look stupid and might actually provoke some people to send you spam mail.
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#8AbsoluteSteve(Topic Creator)Posted 10/16/2012 12:09:01 PMmessage detail
Credits:

The following people provided feedback on a first draft of this topic:

- Glacoras
- RedIsPoetic
- super_luigi16
- threetimes
- RARusk
- Mookiethebold
- ridalnae_drache
- odino
- selmiak
- Bk_stunt
- Warhawk
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