Rewrite Team Guide

Hello! If you’re reading this document, you’re either very confused or you’ve been subjected to enlisted for selected for the Staff Rewrite Team! Whether or not you’re actually staff, this is intended to be an informal guide to what exactly we do on the Rewrite Team, definitions for terms that we use, and general procedures on what to do in “X” scenario.

The first step of being a Rewrite Team member is to read the entire Rewrite Guide. Seriously. If you haven’t done that, go read it right now. Make sure that you are completely familiar with the entire guide in case someone asks you about something to do with Rewrite procedure. In addition, it often gets small edits on procedure from time to time, so always stay up to date on its provisions.

Moving on from that, these are our priorities on the Rewrite Team, as listed on 05 Command.

  1. Call for critical attention to an article with the intent toward spurring rewrites.
  2. Handle, or appoint volunteers to handle, rewrites of articles in danger of deletion. Approve or supervise rewrite drafts made by volunteers, if necessary.
  3. Handle, or appoint volunteers to handle, approved cleanup and updates of old articles, under administrative guidelines or supervision.
  4. Suggest articles to admins for featuring on the front page.
  5. Function as admin liaison when dealing with rewrites of 'classic' articles, or articles on the heritage list.
  6. Administrate all functions related the Heritage List of historically important SCP articles, i.e the addition of new articles, maintaining the page, and answering questions from users.

I’m going to address point by point each issue that we’ve been assigned.

First Point: Now, this is probably the most “day-to-day” operation that we do. Every week (or maybe two), we do a Call for Review on an article. This Call for Review is an in-depth consideration of all points of the article, good and bad. Think of it as a movie or video game review that focuses on what’s kept the article alive, and areas that need to be addressed in a cleanup or rewrite. Be sure to include criticisms from comments already made on the article as well.

This shouldn’t be a dry commentary though. Try to make it somewhat interesting and make it something that people want to read! If you need an example of a Call for Review, we link all of them in a thread stickied to the General subforum on the mainsite. Read one to get an idea of what it’s like.

A Call for Rewrite is generally picked by members of the Rewrite Team itself, and we’ll talk in chat about which article we want to draw attention to, and why. Sometimes we get specific requests to do some review on an article that administration or mods want to see more attention on, and we’ll generally bump those requests up in our order of articles that need review.

We look to do calls for review on old articles hanging in the single or low teens. If possible, don’t do a call for review on any article that’s younger than a year or two, or has had a few calls for review in the past (including the old-style calls for review that were less extensive).

Second Point: It’s in the name! Rewrites are the top priority of our team, and it’s what we specialize in. We don’t always write the rewrites ourselves, but we’re heavily involved in all staff-sponsored rewrites nonetheless.

This is where the Rewrite Guide really comes into play. It sums up the vast majority of the points that need to be covered, but there are some other things to know from a staff perspective.

1.) Rewrites should always be recognizable as such. The idea with any staff-sponsored rewrite is that it should maintain the core of what kept the article alive. The rewrites that you read and help approve should always keep the same general item concept, even if they change the impact, theme, or general aura of the article. If the original article is a magical sheep that explodes when you look at it too hard, it shouldn’t turn into a time-traveling pyromancer who blows up sheep.

2.) It’s fine to issue initial personal opinions about a rewrite to the rewrite author, but the final approval for the rewrite should come from the team as a whole. If you’re helping to supervise a rewrite, send the final draft to the whole team on chat in #historian’sdesk (our rewrite team channel) and have as many team members as possible look at it. We’ll work on an official Rewrite Team assessment of the work, and it’ll be a complete review of a rewrite work.

3.) A reality of rewrites is that many people who sign up for rewrites are not going to complete them. Don’t get frustrated if this happens, and don’t constantly bother the rewrite author. Rewrites are made on a strictly volunteer basis, and if nobody wants to rewrite a failing article, we can always save the original and rewrite it later.

4.) Unless an article that’s going to be rewritten is in deletion range, all rewrites should only replace the current article in the slot, and should not get a full wipe. Essentially, you’re going to just edit the in-place article, and you won’t delete the old one/enter the new one. If an article does get fully wiped, screenshots of the original one need to be added in the files of the new article.

Third Point: Cleanups are pretty rare for us to do nowadays, but we’ll do them occasionally if administration asks us to. Cleanups are like mini-rewrites, but they change substantially less. In a cleanup, you won’t change the theme, aura, or impact of the original article. Essentially, all you want to do is to get rid of old, outdated material and fixing small errors in tone or grammar. It’s a new touch of makeup to an article, not major cosmetic surgery. The distinctions of these between rewrites and cleanups are somewhat hard to understand, so be sure to consult a veteran member of the Rewrite team or the team captain to get an opinion on whether or not something falls into cleanup or rewrite territory. For an example of a cleanup, check the history of SCP-754.

Fourth Point: This is not something that we currently have in our regular duties, since administration generally picks front page articles/tales now.

Fifth Point: This is generally similar to regular rewrites of articles, though some extra provisions apply. There’s a greater emphasis here on ensuring that the history of an article sticks out, and that what kept the article “classic” remains in the new version presented. Extra time will be taken with these articles, and we’ll work more closely with the administration in making sure that a rewrite or cleanup is suitable. Unlike regular rewrites, rewrites of “classics” should receive administrator approval prior to posting. It is highly important that these articles have a distinctive part of their history represented in the new version, thanks to the status of these articles.

Sixth Point: The current structure of the Heritage List is currently up for debate, and we’ll receive our formalized duties when the list itself becomes formalized.