Posted by Flaime (525 posts) -

Disclaimer

Nothing in this blog has been confirmed to be “the right thing to do”. It serves as a mere guideline and an insight on how to setup content when wiki editing, based entirely on my experience with Giant Bomb and the little education I’ve received in design and matters of such. 

Introduction

One of my primary activities here on Giant Bomb is wiki editing. I’m not a person who often adds ton of content to various pages, in terms of words, unless I find the subject rather interesting. However, the way I’ve gotten most of my wiki points is simply by formatting (more reader-friendly) various pages; pages that are messy (visually), chaotic, or poorly constructed. Sure, doing something like this usually, reward you with only 1-5 points, but some pages are really messed up, and if you take your time, you can easily acquire a quite large amount of points. Also, you make the Internet a better place!
 
With the rapidly increasing user-base on this site, I thought I would make a mini-guide showing you my approach, and maybe give you some tips on how to make your wiki editing look awesome! 

Placing Images

Adding images is incredibly easy and gives the pages much needed color and beauty. However, some problems may occur when not placing them correctly.
When images are place incorrectly, they divide a sentence in two, separating a word and making a new paragraph.

This happens because the image was placed in the spot where the word “augmentations” is now separated.
To avoid this, you have to place the images in the begging or in the end of a header or paragraph.  

Simply drag the images and make sure your marker is at the desired location. 

Images Overlapping Header.

One of the most common problems I see on this site is images that cross a H2 (Header 2).

This is often found at the very top of the page, giving the reader a bad first-impression when he visits the page. It makes the page look unprofessional. When talking about problems like this, your browser’ size often plays a big factor. The person who inserted this picture most likely had a smaller browser window, making the page look like this on his/her montitor:


Which is totally acceptable, but the problem occurs when you stretch your browser window. So whenever you are editing, keep in mind that pages may look different for some users.
 
Luckily, there’s an extremely easy way to avoid this. All you need to do is add a table. Adding tables is probably one of the tools I’ve used the most, as you will probably notice when reading this guide. 

  •  Copy/Cut your images and this will happen
    Add a table, size 1x1.
  • Delete the Column header (select the cell and press the cross in the middle of the two arrows, which you use to add additional columns or rows.)
  • DRAG the content into the table. It is very important that you don’t copy or cut anything, especially when you’re dealing with images. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an image that looks like this (see picture to the right) after you submit your changes, and you’ll have to delete it and then find it and add that image again, which sometimes can be a pain.
  • Right click anywhere on the table, and select “Borders Off”

Now the problem should’ve been solved. The image will no longer overlap the header.

Images Overflow

Sometimes when a section of a page has too many images, your eyes constantly have to jump whenever there’s a new paragraph, making the entire section intuitive and hard to read. This especially happen when images are aligned to the right, then left, then right, then left and so on. This is a fine method to “spice up” a larger and more heavily text based section of a page, such as the story or larger pages with few, if any, sections. But in this case, it just makes the section look chaotic. 


Now, this is not the best example of what I’m talking about. But you can see that because of the minimum of two images pr. header; the text is easily overshadowed by the images, making the page harder to read, as stated above. 
 
The easiest way to deal with this is obviously to delete some of the images, but in this case, I think they give this section a nice look. So to solve this problem without deleting images we should add some tables. 

  • Make a 1x1 table for every header, and add a row for every image under that header.
    or
  • Make a 1xX table with a row for each header.

If using the latter you would probably have to manually add some space between each header and body text, otherwise the paragraphs would be too close to each other.  
Once the content has been moved into the tables, align all images to the right side of the page, to avoid the chaotic feel of the page.
 

Lists

Weapon and vehicle lists are quite common here on Giant Bomb, yet most of them are poorly done and look chaotic.
 
 Not the best example I could find, but you'll get the idea
A problem that a lot of these lists have is that there’s not much difference between the body text and the headers, since there’s so many weapon-categories, sub-categories, weapon-functions and so on. So the first step to make this page look better is to delete the H2 titled “Game content”, and make “Weapons” the new H2. An easier way to divide each weapon type up is to add tables for each “weapon category”. This way you’ll save a H3, which you then can use on something else, or as in this instance, the weapon name:  
 
Adding the weapons’ name to the image caption is also a good idea.
 

Mess

This last scenario is a good example on how not to make your lists. 


There’s no consistency whatsoever, everything blend together, and, well… no headers. It’s truly chaotic. To finish the design the original editor probably intended to make, a 2x column table can be used here. I usually align the images to the same side, that way the differences between each column becomes more distinct. 

 
Also, never do this: adding spaces to align your text is a bad idea. 
 
 
 
 

That’s it (for now?), thanks for reading! I hope you’ll make good use of the tips and information I provided. Feel free to share some of your own tips. Do you have easier ways to approach situations like this? Do you think it’s a complete waste of time? Do you think that some of the examples I showed are complete bullshit? Let me know what you think!
#1 Posted by Flaime (525 posts) -

Disclaimer

Nothing in this blog has been confirmed to be “the right thing to do”. It serves as a mere guideline and an insight on how to setup content when wiki editing, based entirely on my experience with Giant Bomb and the little education I’ve received in design and matters of such. 

Introduction

One of my primary activities here on Giant Bomb is wiki editing. I’m not a person who often adds ton of content to various pages, in terms of words, unless I find the subject rather interesting. However, the way I’ve gotten most of my wiki points is simply by formatting (more reader-friendly) various pages; pages that are messy (visually), chaotic, or poorly constructed. Sure, doing something like this usually, reward you with only 1-5 points, but some pages are really messed up, and if you take your time, you can easily acquire a quite large amount of points. Also, you make the Internet a better place!
 
With the rapidly increasing user-base on this site, I thought I would make a mini-guide showing you my approach, and maybe give you some tips on how to make your wiki editing look awesome! 

Placing Images

Adding images is incredibly easy and gives the pages much needed color and beauty. However, some problems may occur when not placing them correctly.
When images are place incorrectly, they divide a sentence in two, separating a word and making a new paragraph.

This happens because the image was placed in the spot where the word “augmentations” is now separated.
To avoid this, you have to place the images in the begging or in the end of a header or paragraph.  

Simply drag the images and make sure your marker is at the desired location. 

Images Overlapping Header.

One of the most common problems I see on this site is images that cross a H2 (Header 2).

This is often found at the very top of the page, giving the reader a bad first-impression when he visits the page. It makes the page look unprofessional. When talking about problems like this, your browser’ size often plays a big factor. The person who inserted this picture most likely had a smaller browser window, making the page look like this on his/her montitor:


Which is totally acceptable, but the problem occurs when you stretch your browser window. So whenever you are editing, keep in mind that pages may look different for some users.
 
Luckily, there’s an extremely easy way to avoid this. All you need to do is add a table. Adding tables is probably one of the tools I’ve used the most, as you will probably notice when reading this guide. 

  •  Copy/Cut your images and this will happen
    Add a table, size 1x1.
  • Delete the Column header (select the cell and press the cross in the middle of the two arrows, which you use to add additional columns or rows.)
  • DRAG the content into the table. It is very important that you don’t copy or cut anything, especially when you’re dealing with images. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an image that looks like this (see picture to the right) after you submit your changes, and you’ll have to delete it and then find it and add that image again, which sometimes can be a pain.
  • Right click anywhere on the table, and select “Borders Off”

Now the problem should’ve been solved. The image will no longer overlap the header.

Images Overflow

Sometimes when a section of a page has too many images, your eyes constantly have to jump whenever there’s a new paragraph, making the entire section intuitive and hard to read. This especially happen when images are aligned to the right, then left, then right, then left and so on. This is a fine method to “spice up” a larger and more heavily text based section of a page, such as the story or larger pages with few, if any, sections. But in this case, it just makes the section look chaotic. 


Now, this is not the best example of what I’m talking about. But you can see that because of the minimum of two images pr. header; the text is easily overshadowed by the images, making the page harder to read, as stated above. 
 
The easiest way to deal with this is obviously to delete some of the images, but in this case, I think they give this section a nice look. So to solve this problem without deleting images we should add some tables. 

  • Make a 1x1 table for every header, and add a row for every image under that header.
    or
  • Make a 1xX table with a row for each header.

If using the latter you would probably have to manually add some space between each header and body text, otherwise the paragraphs would be too close to each other.  
Once the content has been moved into the tables, align all images to the right side of the page, to avoid the chaotic feel of the page.
 

Lists

Weapon and vehicle lists are quite common here on Giant Bomb, yet most of them are poorly done and look chaotic.
 
 Not the best example I could find, but you'll get the idea
A problem that a lot of these lists have is that there’s not much difference between the body text and the headers, since there’s so many weapon-categories, sub-categories, weapon-functions and so on. So the first step to make this page look better is to delete the H2 titled “Game content”, and make “Weapons” the new H2. An easier way to divide each weapon type up is to add tables for each “weapon category”. This way you’ll save a H3, which you then can use on something else, or as in this instance, the weapon name:  
 
Adding the weapons’ name to the image caption is also a good idea.
 

Mess

This last scenario is a good example on how not to make your lists. 


There’s no consistency whatsoever, everything blend together, and, well… no headers. It’s truly chaotic. To finish the design the original editor probably intended to make, a 2x column table can be used here. I usually align the images to the same side, that way the differences between each column becomes more distinct. 

 
Also, never do this: adding spaces to align your text is a bad idea. 
 
 
 
 

That’s it (for now?), thanks for reading! I hope you’ll make good use of the tips and information I provided. Feel free to share some of your own tips. Do you have easier ways to approach situations like this? Do you think it’s a complete waste of time? Do you think that some of the examples I showed are complete bullshit? Let me know what you think!
#2 Posted by TheBeast (1931 posts) -

Great work - could certainly do with a set of guidelines defining how a good page looks. 
 
I have a few issues with your approach of using 1x1 tables though - while these may 'correct' the layout, you're adding extra markup that somewhere down the line, when the layout of these pages is changed, is going to to be a pain in the ass to remove and workaround. Using tables for separating a set of data in to columns (as you've done with the GDI/NOD vehicles) is perfectly reasonable though.

#3 Posted by Flaime (525 posts) -

I'm not sure if I follow you, I think it's just as easy to remove content from a table as it is to add it. But I guess I can see that for users that doesn't work with tables usually, it would be a pain, since they behave rather weird at times.

#4 Posted by SuicidalSnowman (396 posts) -

Very nice, I will reference this later when I do some edits.

#5 Posted by Marino (4600 posts) -

Nice work.  I'm all for having a default standard for people to follow.

Staff
#6 Posted by natetodamax (19177 posts) -

I was actually planning on doing something like this at some point. Good work, hopefully this will get rid of some of the glaring formatting issues I've encountered.

#7 Posted by eroticfishcake (7782 posts) -

Good stuff there. I generally try to follow this format but the editor is a bit dodgy from time to time so it's not exactly easy to get it spot on, especially images.

#8 Posted by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

I like the grid set up plan. I was curious how that would serve a practical purpose but now I know. It makes everything pretty centered and neat.

Online
#9 Posted by asdfghasdf (71 posts) -

I imagine large resolutions (like 1920x1200) will suffer a lot from images overlapping headers and whatnot, because I think the majority use lower resolutions and edit under them.
 
I found this link, which helps view what pages look like in whatever resolution you select. Handy, if you're curious to see how your wiki appears to users with large resolutions.

#10 Posted by natetodamax (19177 posts) -
@Wilkins_III said:
" I imagine large resolutions (like 1920x1200) will suffer a lot from images overlapping headers and whatnot, because I think the majority use lower resolutions and edit under them.
 
I found this link, which helps view what pages look like in whatever resolution you select. Handy, if you're curious to see how your wiki appears to users with large resolutions. "
I got a 404 error when I tried to use that site.
#11 Edited by asdfghasdf (71 posts) -
@natetodamax: The URL box only seemed to work when I removed the "http://" portion.
 
Edit: I also find it a little weird that the news stories have a fixed width, but everything else doesn't. Maybe a fixed width for the wiki would eliminate some of the problems from happening in the first place, because everyone would see the wiki page exactly the same.
#12 Posted by natetodamax (19177 posts) -
@Wilkins_III: Ah, I see. I'm typing this on the website, it's pretty cool!
#13 Edited by asdfghasdf (71 posts) -

I just tried out your suggestion on how to do lists, and it works great. Solid advice. :)

#14 Posted by Hamz (6846 posts) -

Nice work, good to see someone in the community going to length on this sort of thing.

#15 Posted by hedfone (1749 posts) -
@Marino said:
" Nice work.  I'm all for having a default standard for people to follow. "
#16 Posted by Matthew (1911 posts) -
@Flaime: Everything looks totally peachy and dandy, buuuuuuuuutttttttt you have to keep in fact one thing.  Screen resolution/size differences.  I say this for a fact that I bounce between 5 or 6 monitor set ups, ranging from a 17in 4:3 to a mac 30in cinema display.  Things look a bit different from person to person, since there is no real standard.  
#17 Posted by Flaime (525 posts) -
@Matthew said:

" @Flaime: Everything looks totally peachy and dandy, buuuuuuuuutttttttt you have to keep in fact one thing.  Screen resolution/size differences.  I say this for a fact that I bounce between 5 or 6 monitor set ups, ranging from a 17in 4:3 to a mac 30in cinema display.  Things look a bit different from person to person, since there is no real standard.   "

I mentioned that in the "Images Overlapping Header" section.
#18 Posted by FireSketch (827 posts) -

Nice work here! I really like the way you organise lists, I just used that on the Half Life 2 page.

#19 Edited by Flaime (525 posts) -
@FireSketch:  Glad to hear that you could use it! However, I find it unnecessary to divide each weapon into a different category when the game itself doesn't state it, It probably just clutters the page up more than needed. In this case I think it's better to just have one long list of weapons. You should also make a row for each weapon, so you don't have to make a new line manually between each weapon to prevent image overlapping. Also, you made a table within a table.
#20 Posted by AlwaysBeClothing (1446 posts) -

I need to bookmark this, as an editing noob I made the very common editing mistakes detailed here.  The other problem I had was poor formatting when I shrink my zoomed text to normal size.
 
This guide saved the beard page from looking like a jumbled mess, thank you again!

#21 Posted by TMThomsen (2070 posts) -
@AlwaysBeClothing: Would be better with invisible borders.
#22 Posted by JJWeatherman (14557 posts) -

Sweet guide. I'm sad that I didn't see this earlier. Bookmarked!

#23 Posted by Mercy_ (259 posts) -

O_O Somebody linked this over on CV. It's epic and extremely helpful.

#24 Posted by djames216 (363 posts) -

Hi - quick question. Do you know what that "Magic Show" button is for when creating tables. I've been releuctant to use it as I have no idea what it does and don't wanna mess up any work-in-progress I do. Thanks.

#25 Posted by Marino (4600 posts) -

@djames216 said:

Hi - quick question. Do you know what that "Magic Show" button is for when creating tables. I've been releuctant to use it as I have no idea what it does and don't wanna mess up any work-in-progress I do. Thanks.

It strips the table without deleting the info in it. It's useful when cleaning up bad wiki pages that cram way too much stuff into tables in a poor attempt to format stuff.

Staff
#26 Posted by djames216 (363 posts) -

Cool thanks . Sounds useful.