Thelemapedia:How to Contribute
This page is written to help you make great contributions to Thelemapedia. It really is a snap, and we encourage new editors to jump right in. There is one thing that needs to be said right up front:
This page focuses on content, and does not give much in the way of wiki markup (the code that formats text). You can find out the basics of wiki markup in the Really Simple Tutorial or on the full Wiki Markup page which lists everything in detail.
|Table of contents|
Step 1: What to cook
There are two basic places to start:
- Creating a new topic
- Adding to an existing topic
Adding a topic that does not yet exist on Thelemapedia
Okay, you want to add a whole new article. Great! Here are the basic flavors of adding a new topic:
- You already know what you want to write about. Just do a search on the site to make sure it isn't already there. Then go on to step two.
- You have no idea what to write about. No problem! Here are some choices:
- The Projects page. This page has a list of major projects the site is trying to put together. There will always be empty pages here, and you are welcome to tackle any of them. (There are also blue links to pages that have entries but still need more info).
- List of all empty pages. These are pages that have links to them but don't contain any information (I'm sure you've noticed by now that links to empty pages are red). They are listed in order of number of links. You certainly don't have to start at the top...just scroll though until you find a topic that sounds interesting.
Adding to an existing topic
It is equally as valuable to add to existing pages. Many are incomplete and need more material. Remember, it is acceptable and expected for editors to make changes to articles. You are, of course, free to search and browse the site for any topic that you want to write about. You can also use the following links to find existing articles that need more material:
- The Projects page. This page has a list of major projects the site is trying to put together. The blue links go to pages that have some info already, but probably need much more.
- Stubs. Stubs are pages that have a really really short entry. These pages need your help!
- Articles that need Thelemic info. (http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php?title=Special:Whatlinkshere&target=Template%3AThelema) Many pages on Thelemapedia have been imported from other GNU-licensed sites (see below) like Wikipedia, and are more or less complete. However, most of these have no information from a Thelemic perspective. It is up to you how much you want to do with these: you can add a single paragraph or rewrite the whole thing.
Step 2: Finding the ingredients
Now that you know what you want to write about, you need to go about finding good information. But first, here are some important principles to keep in mind:
- Thelemapedia is an encyclopedia. It is NOT a journal, blog, or personal website (for more, see what Thelemapedia is not). Articles SHOULD reflect knowledge that is generally accepted in the Thelemic community, drawing from EXPERT SOURCES or COMMON KNOWLEDGE. Articles should NOT advocate your personal beliefs or report on your subjective experiences.
- Crowley comes first. At Thelemapedia, Aleister Crowley is considered to be the primary source of information regarding Thelema and magick. He is by no means the only source, of course, but Thelemic information should most often come from him before anyone else.
For other important Thelemapedia policies, see the Editorial Policies page.
Sources of information
On Thelemapedia, information should come from the knowledge base, meaning books and other publications (and the Web in rare instances). The idea is to reference material in a concise, neutral way. Think of Thelemapedia articles as short high school research papers.
Since Thelemapedia is a reference site, information needs to come from verifiable sources, especially books and peer-reviewed journals (and the Web in some cases). As was said above, Crowley is considered to be the best source for Thelemic information. Other excellent writers include: Israel Regardie, Lon Milo DuQuette, Kenneth Grant, Gerald Del Campo, Rodney Orpheus, Martin Starr, Lawrence Sutin, Richard Kaczynski, Sabazius, Dionysos Thriambos, Hymenaeus Beta, Jack Parsons, and J.F.C. Fuller. If writing on topics that are not explicitly Thelemic in nature, other expert writers should be referenced.
Online sources for Crowley
Useful research tip: Google is your friend. One way to get lots of information quickly is to do detailed searches on specific sites. For example, if you wanted to know what Crowley said about "Baphomet", you could do a search on Google (http://www.google.com) with the following in the search box: "Crowley Baphomet site:hermetic.com" which would return all hits for Crowley and Baphomet on the site Hermetic.com.
Some excellent online sources for Crowley (and some other Thelemic writers) are:
- The Hermetic Library (http://www.hermetic.com/)
- One Stop Libri Shop (http://mysteria.com/liber/)
- The Equinox (http://www.the-equinox.org/)
- The Ape of Thoth (http://larabell.org/Hanuman/)
- A.'.A.'. Collection (http://pturing.firehead.org/occult/thelema/)
- The Book of Thoth (http://altreligion.about.com/library/texts/bl_thoth.htm)
- The Vision and the Voice (http://mysteria.com/liber/L_418.txt)
- Thelema Lodge Calendar (http://billheidrick.com)
Other online sources
- Sacred Texts Archive (http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm) (this site it too awesome!)
- Bulfinch’s Mythology (http://www.bulfinch.org/)
- Twilit Grotto: Archives of Western Esoterica (http://www.esotericarchives.com/)
- Folklore & Mythology (http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/folktexts.html)
- Rosslyn Sanctuary Library (http://www.rosslyn.org/library.htm)
- Astro.com (http://www.astro.com/astrology/in_intro_e.htm) (astrology)
- Skeptic's Annotated Bible (http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/)
- Sacred Magick Esoteric Library (http://www.sacred-magick.com/Main.html)
- Magick Dictionary (http://www.choronzon.com/tocmirror/tzimon/Magidict/magdic1.html)
- Encyclopedia.com (http://www.encyclopedia.com)
- About.com (http://www.about.com)
- All Reference (http://reference.allrefer.com)
- Bartleby (http://www.bartleby.com/)
- U.S. Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/)
- RefDesk.com (http://www.refdesk.com/)
- InfoPlease (http://www.infoplease.com/almanacs.html)
Open source sites
Open-source sites have material that is openly available, as long as you conform to a few rules. It is possible to take text from these sites verbatim as long as you properly cite the source. For example, if you copy over the article "Ratchet", then you must put a reference at the bottom of the page, such as:
- Adapted from: Wikipedia. (2005). Ratchet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratchet). Retrieved on July 7, 2005.
More on citing and referencing is later in this article. But first, here are some quality open-source encyclopedias with much information on the occult:
- Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/)
- SourceryForge (http://sourceryforge.org/)
- Acadine Archive (http://www.acadine.org/w/Main_Page)
- Wikinfo (http://www.internet-encyclopedia.org/)
- WikiSource (http://wikisource.org/)
Step 3: Boiling it down
Once you've gathered your research, it's time to start putting it together.
First, organize what you've found into logical chunks (for example, Magick has the following chunks: Traditional definitions, Modern definitions, Magick as ritual, Systems of magick, etc.).
Gather up some good quotes that support each of the sections. Depending on the nature of the topic, you might end up including it as a verbatim quote, or you might paraphrase it. Either way, you need to cite the source, and include it in the References section (see below).
Then start the writing proper. Synthesize the information and use friendly, accessible language. Define technical jargon. Try to take the more complex concepts and boil them down to their basic components.
Also, keep the article in an encyclopedic style. Be objective: avoid personal language or references to yourself. Be concise and clear. Remember, the goal is to educate someone who has minimal knowledge on the topic at hand...do not assume knowledge in the reader. Don't be afraid to state the obvious: not everyone knows that Aleister Crowley wrote Liber AL, also called The Book of the Law.
What TO include
- Material that references the knowledge base, esp. Crowley, as well as other Thelemic writers
- Concise writing that is clear and easy for a "beginner" to understand
- Lucid summaries of important elements of a topic, divided by headers
- Neutral, third-person writing (e.g. "Crowley believed..." or "It has been shown that...")
- The obvious without being redundant
What NOT to include
- Verbatim information from copyrighted sources (unless you own the copyright)
- Essays on your personal theory of magick, symbols, ritual, Thelema, etc.
- Writing that sound preachy, poetic, or mysterious
- Lots of technical jargon without definitions or links
- Rants, personal opinions, or attacks on other people or groups
- Detailed information or quotes without citations or references
- First-person writing (e.g. "I believe..." or "I have found that...")
- Value-oriented statements (e.g. "It is unfortunate that...")
- Unverified blanket terms (e.g. "Most Thelemites read Liber AL daily.")
- "Peacock" terms (e.g. an important... one of the best... the greatest...)
- "Weasel" terms (e.g. Some people say... ...has been called... It is believed that...)
Test your contribution
Here are some thought experiments to help you test whether your contribution fits the needs of Thelemapedia:
- Does the article sound like one person's opinion or like an objective report?
- Does the article make sense if the reader gets to it as a random page?
- Imagine yourself as a layman in another English-speaking country. Can you figure out what the article is about in the first two or three sentences?
- Would a reader want to follow some of the links?
- Does the reader need to have several years of study to understand the terms and concepts?
Step 4: Serve it up
Most articles will have the following basic structure:
- Brief intro—a lead section which is brief but sufficient to define and summarize the topic
- Detailed sections—covering the major aspects of the topic (be sure to use headers!)
- See also—List of links to other relevant Thelemapedia articles
- External links—to relevant sites of interest
- References—citing sources used
- Categories—add any that fit
Please, write a brief summary at the beginning of your article (if you are writing a new one). It should include a definition of the topic (if a definition makes sense), set the context, and establish significances, large implications, and why we should care. The title should be highlighted in bold the first time it appears in an article, but not thereafter.
After the introduction should come the various topical sections. These should be concise, and written with short sentences and friendly language. Divide them up with headers.
- See also. This section contains a list of links to relevant Thelemapedia articles.
- External sites. Links to webpages that present information relevant to the topic
- References. VERY IMPORTANT...please list your sources. Please review how.
Thelemapedia has a neat function that makes creating categories very easy. To add any page to a category, simply type [[Category:Category name]] at the very bottom of the article. This will automatically add that page to the category listing and a link will be created at the bottom of the article.
Here is a list of all Thelemapedia categories. If there isn't an existing category for an article, when you add the category code at the bottom, it automatically creates that category. Note that, although "uncreated" categories will correctly list articles that have been assigned to them, the category page itself does not exist until it is manually created. The easiest way to create the category page is to follow the edit link from an article and add a parent category and a category description.
Add formatting to your articles, such as italics, bolds, indented paragraphs, bulleted lists, etc.
Also, be sure to add links to other Thelemapedia articles. When you do create links, link only one or a few instances of the same term; don't link all instances of it. You can also find out about linking in the Really Simple Tutorial.
Where to go from here
- Where to start Read this if you are having trouble with getting started
- Really Simple Tutorial A friendly guide to all the basics
- Editorial Policy Basic policies regarding content and behavior on Thelemapedia
- How to Contribute A quick start primer for adding content to Thelemapedia
- Wiki Markup Full list of all the formatting code, including text, images, sections, and links
- Article Basics Find out how to write a great article
- Common Sources How to cite sources (including short libers), and a list of common books in reference format
- Projects Page List of needed articles organized by general topic
- What Thelemapedia is not
- Thelemapedia Power Structure Who's in charge
- Characters How to use Greek and Hebrew letters in your article
- Using Images How to upload and use images in your Thelemapedia articles
- Dispute Resolution What to do when the fighting breaks out
- List of boilerplate templates Automatic text messages, like the "stub" line
- Comprehensive Wikipedia Help Pages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Contents) Everything there is to know about using a wiki