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How to Use Sources and References

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The purpose of PPC Wiki is to help people understand and navigate the vast and bewildering morass that is the Protectors of the Plot Continuum universe.

Wait, are we technically a multiverse now? Multiverse, then.

But the point stands: It's big. Really, really big. And confusing. Therefore, when you are writing a wiki article about certain topics in the PPC, it is very important to use references or list sources. There are three reasons for this:

  1. Information. Sources/references allow people to see quickly and easily where certain facts or ideas came from.
  2. Navigation. Sources/references allow people to easily find stories that involve the persons, places, or things they're interested in.
  3. Verification. Sources/references let us know the fact in question wasn't just made up on the fly, but legitimately comes from a written work or works by someone with Permission.

Not everything is sourced/referenced the same way. This guide won't cover all the intricacies of when and how to source or reference, but it should touch on the most commonly used forms.

Source vs. Reference Edit

What's the difference between a source and a reference, and when should you use them?

  • References use numbered, inline tags that involve a bit of wiki code. References are always preferred over sources, since they provide the most detailed, specific information, and that's important when a page's content comes from many, varied works and may be expanded piecemeal over time. References always appear under a section header called "References" at the very bottom of the page.
  • Sources are acceptable when a page's information comes from a small or connected body of works; this avoids cluttering up the page with lots of tags that point to the same stuff over and over. Also, if you're not comfortable using Wikia markup and don't want to mess around with reference tags, we understand, and we still want your help, so you may use sources if that's more accessible for you. (Just don't be offended if someone comes in and rewrites the page with references later!) A Sources section may under different names, as best fits the situation (this will be discussed more as we go).

Basic Sources Edit

Your typical "Sources" section goes at the bottom of the article under a second-level header:

== Sources ==

Most sources will be missions, which are usually attributed with the canon in which they take place, the names of the agents who star in them, and the agents' departmental affiliation. For example, let us assume our source is a Lord of the Rings mission by Agents Alice and Bob in the Department of Mary Sues:

* [www.aliceandbob.com/mission1.html "Mary Sue Goes to Middle-earth"] (''[[The Lord of the Rings]]''), Agents [[Alice]] and [[Bob]] ([[DMS]])

For more about how to format mission links, see Posting New Mission Reports.

If the source is an interlude, that may be noted with an (interlude) tag in place of the canon title.

If the source is a non-narrative PPC work, it should be attributed to the author of the work:

* [www.aliceandbob.com/essay1.html "My PPC Essay"] by [[User:GoodWriter|GoodWriter]]

(The [[User:Name| ]] may be omitted if the author doesn't have a user page on the wiki.)

Inline Citations Edit

When using sources, it is helpful to indicate which work a fact comes from by including a mention of it in the body of the article. For instance, let's say it was revealed in Alice and Bob's second mission, "Mary Sue Goes to Mirkwood," that Alice went to OFUM and has a mini-Balrog named Meras. When updating Alice's page, it would be acceptable to write something like this:

Alice went to OFUM and was adopted by Meras the mini-Balrog ("Mary Sue Goes to Mirkwood").

Or this:

Alice told Bob about her term at OFUM at the end of their second mission, when they returned to their RC to find Alice's mini-Balrog, Meras, making a nest in Bob's bedsheets.

Basic References Edit

A references section also goes at the bottom of the page. If a Sources section exists, it should go below the Sources section. A References section must include a <references/> tag beneath the header, like so:

== References ==
<references/>

Links are formatted the same way as in sources, but they must be placed between opening and closing <ref name=""></ref> tags in the article body. Note that the ref tag should come after any punctuation at the end of a clause, not before, and there should be no space between punctuation and tag. Also, a reference should ideally be attributed with the author's name and the publication date of the work, if available.

Text text text,<ref name="AnB1">[www.aliceandbob.com/mission1.html "Mary Sue Goes to Middle-earth"] by [[User:GoodWriter|GoodWriter]], Jan. 01, 2010</ref> more text more text more text.

All together, a reference and reference section should look like this:[1]

References
  1. "Mary Sue Goes to Middle-earth" by GoodWriter, Jan. 01, 2010

What to Do on Different Pages Edit

Canon Pages Edit

Canon pages (including canon continua, canon characters, canon items, etc.) rarely need sources or references, since the information on the page can be assumed to come from a) the canon works in question, and b) the personal experience of the PPCers who are part of that fandom. Granted, it would be nice if people could offer evidence to back up their claims about fandom tendencies, but we understand that this is often difficult if not impossible.

References should always be used if one wishes to cite a work that is not part of the canon's main corpus.

Department Pages Edit

Department pages typically use a reference section, especially the larger ones that have been written about extensively by many different people. Things that are generally accepted as common knowledge and may be verified quickly and easily, such as the head of department and flash patch, need not have a reference in most cases. If the information comes from somewhere besides a story in a spin-off featuring the department in question, though, that may warrant referencing.

Specific statements about a department's description, methods, special equipment, and especially history should be referenced, especially if they weren't established in an obvious place or by obvious people.

A Sources section may be used instead of a References section if all the information about the department comes from just one or two places, especially if they're part of a single spin-off. For instance, this currently applies to the Department of Angst and the Eclectic Subdivision of Advanced Species.

PPC Character Pages Edit

Almost all character pages include sources in the form of a "Mission Logs"/"Mission Reports" or "Appearances" section. See How to Make a Character Page for more information on formatting this section of a character page.

Ideally, character pages should also include a References section in addition to their list of appearances, particularly free-to-use characters such as Makes-Things. As one of the most popular NPCs, he is written about by lots of different people and mentioned as often as he is written into a scene. Most Flowers also fall into this category.

For good examples of how to source and reference character pages, see the Featured Agents category.

PPC Events and History Pages Edit

These should ideally be referenced, since claims about stuff that happened in the PPC's past (or future—yes, this comes up) are dubious by nature and likely to be challenged by people who didn't actually experience them (or just have terrible memories).

A Sources section is usually called "Sources" or "External Links" in this context.

PPC Invention Pages Edit

Pages about PPC technology, substances, afflictions, etc., should be referenced, but may be sourced instead, depending on the number and variety of sources involved. A Sources section may be called "Sources," "External Links," "Use in Missions," "Examples," "Appearances," and so forth; whatever seems most fitting. (But not actually "So Forth." Come on, guys.)

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