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American Girl Wiki
Article Creation, Editing Guidelines, and Style Guide

New articles are the way the Wiki grows and edits are how those articles flesh out. However, each and every article needs to be well done, hence the Article Creation and Editing Guidelines.

Every new article should have a strong backbone and outline for new editors to come in and add information well, information added should be clear and precise, and data should be helpful and informative. Articles and edits that don't do this make it so much harder for people to contribute, and frequently these edits must be removed or a whole new outline put in; the article is essentially scrapped from launch. Furthermore, a fluff-written, overly flowery, elaborately written article is not informative as it uses too many words to convey necessary information.

Every part of this article matters, but long story short: It doesn't matter if you are the first to create or edit an article. It matters if you are the first to create a GOOD article and edit it WELL. Quality Over Quantity.

Basic Formatting and Writing Rules

  • All articles and uploaded pictures must have categories listed at the bottom of the pages. Most things on the wiki apply to a character, line, or release year; there is a category for almost everything. At the bare minimum, use the character name/brand line and, for items, year of release. Use [[Category:TYPE]] to locate categories.
  • Articles, character facts and descriptions, and descriptions of items on pages should never consist of one or two short lines, a short list of items, or only two or three sentences. "Ana's oldest son", "shirt and overalls and sandals and hairclip" or "Molly's green dress with white ribbons" is not helpful anymore than "blue dress with ruffles" is helpful. Write a good opening paragraph and do a good setup of the article; write full, proper descriptions.
  • Any article or edit that is only a copy-paste of any website descriptions or catalog descriptions will be deleted immediately. This is not intended to be a rehash of the website and doing so constitutes a copyright infringement. Furthermore, most descriptions from the catalog are not written neutrally; they are written like ads.
  • All new articles should have a basic layout in likeness to articles of a similar nature. If you're not sure, please look at other pages like the article (for example, if you are creating a character page, look at another character). While the article need not have everything, it should have sections if these are needed (and they are probably needed more than they aren't). Without this, the article will be deleted.
  • All articles need an opening line or paragraph describing the topic. Sections with no description don't work either.
  • Any article that is only uploading the picture to the page is NOT an article.
  • Keep your personal opinions OUT of articles.
  • Proofread your work. Nothing looks poorer than an article with poor spelling and grammar. Correct them as soon as you spot them. Absolutely don't use uncited abbreviations, "net" or "chat" speak, or poor spelling. Turn your spell check on. Use the preview button.
  • Don't remove an integrated link unless you know it's broken or unwritten (and unlikely to be written), incorrect, or pointing somewhere that no longer exists as it did.
  • Unreleased items are headlined with {{Unreleased}}. Such items are by their nature incomplete and caution is warranted before making any major edits or uploads. False Information can happen. Be cautious in editing pages on unreleased items, as false information and/or unauthorized leaks, hearsay, or rumor will result in blocks.
  • Make internal links. A page that doesn't point anywhere is a dead-end page; a page that is neither linked to nor linking to others is an orphan page. Both fail to do what a wiki does and connect topics.
  • If the article is short or incomplete, please put {{stub}} on the page. If an article has been filled out, please remove.
  • Any article or category that is an unnecessary isolated topic (such as full pages for extremely minor characters, a list of "ethnic dolls" or character birthdays, an article of all released ballet outfits, or tagging which items are related to a specific holiday or belief) will be deleted and/or removed swiftly. There's no need for these kinds of lists or categories on the wiki, as they do not do anything to add to content we already have. If you want to list these kinds of minutiae, get a blog.

Required, Suggested and Preferred Article Formatting

We have a professional style here to be concise, clear, and crisp. Too much bloat extends articles unnecessarily.

  • Only one link is generally needed in article per item. e.g. the first time a character is mentioned in a book summary, a link should be present to their article; after that, the character article should remain unlinked.
  • Character pages should relate to the primary character of a series, rather than other characters. For example, Juan Montoya's page shows his connection to Josefina as her nephew; while Ana Montoya is his mother, she should not be the headlining connection and should be discussed later on the page and/or in the character infobox.
  • Character lives, character facts, story summaries, and item descriptions are to be made in the active, present tense. e.g. Addy's birthday is April ninth, not was; Nanea's friends are Lily and Donna, not were; Josefina asks her father to learn to play the piano, not asked; Molly's rollerskating shorts are plaid print, not were plaid; an item has Velcro closures, not had. Some noted exceptions:
    • Former retail cost after an item is retired should be "was."
    • Characters who are deceased prior to any books or other media should be referred in the past tense, such as Lydia Parkington or Marie-Grace's mother. Characters who die during the course of a series such as Felicity's grandfather or Auntie Lula should be referred in the present test until their passing and then in the past.
  • There is no need to state that persons, locations, doll food, and/or items are fictional, doll-sized or "pretend". We know. None of us should be confused about the fact we're writing about toys and fictional characters. The Xbox Series X isn't on sale for $60. Cite, instead, if a specific person/place/item is real or based on a real object, (preferably with a proper Wikipedia citation or official website) or sized for a person. Except books. We know books are for people.
    • Exception: If a character's stories are located in a fictional town (such as Samantha's town of Mount Bedford), this should be stated.
  • Descriptions of text on items should be italicized over placed in quotes. Do not write in all caps even if text is written that way on the product, as this makes it harder for screen readers for the visually impaired to read articles. Do not put extraneous quotes around text as these result in scare quotes.
  • Do not use scare quotes anywhere in descriptions e.g. calling a plastic molded spoon "wooden" or simulated navigation links on a tablet screen "navigation."
  • Bold and italic text should only be used at the top of a page if a book or publication title is being cited; bold text should only be used as necessary such as for titles, with the title of article always in bold.
  • Use bullet text over extended paragraphs. The latter makes the page read longer than it needs.
  • Write in third person. "You" don't buy AG things, "consumers" do.
  • Refer to left and right using proper left and proper right; that is, according to the doll's left and right and not the viewer's (e.g. if the doll is facing you, their left hand is on your right side). This includes clothing, as the proper left facing a reader is the right side.
  • Spell out all numbers below ten (zero-nine). This is mandatory for our style gude, though under one hundred is preferred. All numbers that begin a sentence are to be spelled out. In two-in-one sets, spell out both numbers, even in the article title. Spell out all ordinals (first, third, twelfth, etc.) Spell out all ages.
    • Exceptions:
      • In dates, a digit is acceptable e.g. January 7/January 7th or seventh of January/January seventh. This includes centuries, such as the 19th century.
      • Series books (such as Mini Mysteries 2) may have the number in the title.
      • Page numbers should be in numerals only; "page 9", not Page Nine.
      • Prices of items should only be listed in numerals with the US Dollar symbol, e.g. retail cost is $9, not nine dollars.
      • Measurements should be listed numerically, with US Standard measurements (and metric following if cited).
      • Descriptions of an item text with numerals (such as a 5 on the front of a doll's jersey) should retain the numerical.
  • All prices are to be listed in US dollars only.
  • Do not use the ampersand (&) in any article text or titles: type out the word "and."
  • Make sure not to use curly or "smart" quotes and apostrophes in articles. These damage the formatting, especially in articles and links. If you are writing articles offsite using a word processor, make sure to turn off all smart quotes.
  • Be as gender neutral as possible for items such as outfits and Dress Like Your Doll sets. Rather than say that clothing is for "girls," just say children; after all, not all children with a femme style or who play with dolls are young girls.
    • Consequently, when mentioning purchasers of items, say "customers", "consumers" or "purchasers"; don't say, for example, "mothers," as not all purchasers are women buying items to give to their children.
  • If you do not own the item you're describing or the book you're summarizing, don't make an assumption based off the images or the website or catalog. AG has described things wrong. If you are not sure something is a notebook vs. a notepad, a hair clip verses a comb, displayed or not, a tomato instead of an onion, made of plastic or glass, or made of a specific fabric, we'd rather it be left blank than having to correct a mistake from your wrong assumptions. Furthermore, do not say something is "possibly" X. Descriptions need to be precise.
  • With few exceptions, character articles and pages about real-world persons, fully named characters should have the DEFAULTSORT tag, so that they would be categorized by their surnames in category lists. Make sure to add {{DEFAULTSORT:Lastname, Firstname}} at the bottom of the page before the category tags, e.g. {{DEFAULTSORT:Abbott, Caroline}}. Articles that start with A or The should also be sorted to make sure the article is not classified by those words, e.g. {{DEFAULTSORT:Dozen Delicious Days Countdown Set, A}} or {{DEFAULTSORT:Crystal Ball, The}}.
  • Alternate pictures left and right so that they display evenly or, if pictures are in a section of description, use {{Clr}} to push next section down clear. Both techniques can be implemented.
  • Use {{clr}} to leave a space after a section if needed.

Good Descriptions and You!

When describing items, we require sufficient details. As stated above, "green dress with white ribbons" is not a detailed enough description. However, "the fancy holiday dress is a deep forest green and reaches to the knees, made of a low pile velveteen fabric of soft drape to flow around the doll's body" is going way too far.

Being descriptive without being extraneous is important and a good writing skill. While articles should never be written too simple, they also should avoid be too superfluous and confusing with multiple obscure words; that kind of writing makes text harder to understand. Some tips and rules.

  • Do not use possessive pronouns/nouns in articles to state who "owns" anything. It's not "Luciana's jacket has patches on the sleeves showing her space camp achievements," it's just "Jacket has patches on the sleeves about space camp." It's not "her clutch purse has a velcro closure" it's "clutch purse with velcro closure."
  • Do not break a phrase apart by script or font design. If a sign reads Home Sweet Home in brush script for home and separate cap lettering for sweet, keep the phrase together and describe the design lightly.
  • Capitalize only and always the first letters of each text and describe as lowercase/in all caps, rather than typing in all caps or all lowercase. Don't yell at or confuse the screen readers!
  • Avoid opinionated words such as "cute," "soft," "gentle," "gorgeous," "stunning," or "pretty." Even for colors. Just the Facts.
  • In descriptions there is no need to state articles e.g. "a pink velvet dress" rather than just "pink velvet dress."
  • Start at the top, front, or left side of an item and work your way describing its look in one direction, closing with whatever fastenings are present on clothing if any not already discussed (e.g. there is no need to discuss a zipper closer if it's already been cited as a functional zipper). Clothes articles should be described top to bottom. Don't describe the sleeves of a dress, jump to the skirt, and then jump back to the bodice. Descriptions are done in one direction.
  • Don't add more words than needed to describe items, especially if they can be a lot more "encyclopedic." Be descriptive without being extraneous. If describing a dress, there's no need to pad it out and say "the dress color is X, and it is made of Y fabric, and with Z embroidery across the fabric." Saying something is "mauve lilac-colored rose of sheer fine fabric" is extraneous. Use only as many words as are needed to describe. The neater way is to say "X, Y, dress embroidered with Z." or "lilac fabric rose." We're not Charles Dickens; the wiki doesn't go up in rank the more words you use to talk about a single thing.
  • Don't use a twenty-dollar word when a five dollar will do. We're not your SAT test or your High School English Vocabulary Quiz. Don't say "amber golden hued" when you can just say "light yellow." No one is more impressed that you used an obscure or more elaborate word. We just have to go in and clarify.
  • Avoid stating how to use things such as hair clips, hair products, purses or bags, and storage items. Use generic names when needed. "Two red elastic ponytail holders" is preferred rather than "Two Scrunchie-Os for putting a doll's hair in pigtails." "Five pink sponge rollers with white closure clips" is preferred rather than "five soft hair rollers for giving your doll "American Curls"."
  • Playsets with large amounts of components should start with the largest component and any decor and items for it, then any furniture, then followed by items grouped by type as much as possible (i.e. all the tableware together, all the included food together, all the included paper products such as stickers.)
  • If a large playset has multiple angles, e.g. Blaire's Family Farm Restaurant, work in sections. Describe the set as a whole, then the external, then internal. Do not go from one wall to another, for example. Describe a single wall from top to bottom on one side before moving to the next one.

Character Trivia and Fact Citation Policy

When citing character facts and/or trivia (such as in <ref> tags) please cite/handle conflicts in the following ranked order:

  1. Core Character Books: The core books--Central Series for Historicals, main books for Girls of the Year and Girls of Many Lands, etc.--are the highest definitive source of character data and facts. This includes chapter books for the WellieWishers. With few exceptions, core character books rank at the top. Books that present information earlier should be cited first (e.g. Lula and Solomon's last name of Morgan is first cited in Addy Saves the Day, so this should be the cited reference).
  2. Secondary Books: This includes secondary but canon books such as Short Stories, e-books, and Historical Character Mysteries. These are fully integrated into the canon of a character's core books and cover additional events. In a conflict between a Secondary Book and a Core Book, the Core Book takes precedence.
  3. Tertiary Books: These include books that only cite casual or passing facts such as historical activity and craft books, craft sets, Welcome to World Books, My Journey Books, books by other publishers such as Random House Books, and authorized American Girl encyclopedias or factbooks. For example, while not fully canon with time travel, there are facts given in the My Journey Books that may not be cited in the Central Series, and there is information presented in American Girl Teacher's Guides that is not in the books. The notable exception is when a source erroneously softens sensitive data for young readers or uses inaccurate and outdated terms. The most prominent example is that Felicity's central series calls Rose a "servant" of the Merriman family, but Felicity's Cookbook accurately states that Rose is enslaved. It is clear from the context of the books that Rose and Marcus are enslaved persons to the Merriman family and should be called as such properly.
  4. Product Inserts/Data: This includes character collection items, or pamphlets such as those that come with collection items. e.g. a middle name cited on a report card in a character's school items counts, or an included pamphlet talking about Courtney's sleepovers.
  5. Contact with AG/American Girl Website/AG Social Media: E-mails, website facts, and/or social media data from American Girl can be cited as a firm source. If there are conflicts between sources here and higher sources, higher sources take precedence.
  6. All Other Factual Sources: This includes factual details given from other sources or businesses, such as formal press releases and factual citations/insider data from sources verified to have worked with American Girl.
  7. Movies/Live Action Media/Video Games: Various changes between other media and books are often large or significant enough that any differences between these sources and more primary ones should only be cited for reference, not taken as facts above any other higher source ever. For example, Anna-Sophia Robb's eyes are blue and were not changed or covered, but this does not change the fact that Samantha Parkington has brown eyes.

An example of how to rank and cite data would be that both Meet Julie and A Brighter Tomorrow: My Journey with Julie cite that Julie's apartment is located at the corner of Redbud and Frederick. The Central Series data outranks the My Journey Book, so it should be cited instead as the source of the fact. However, Melody in her movie wears glasses (as the actress does) and is the only child of a single mother--but in the books she does not wear them, both parents are alive, and she is the youngest child of four. Therefore, none of these movie traits should be cited for Melody outside of compare and contrasting data on the movie pages.

Do Not Include: At no point should fandom data, opinion data or guesses from collectors or purchasers, fan theory or fan fictions, or personal opinion pages/"clickbait" articles ever be cited as fact or even so much as referenced. Sources such as those are not considered reliable and are defined here as hearsay. While there may be cited sites such as customizing sites for references or instructions for personal repairs, these have been vetted and are being used sparingly. If you haven't been vetted by admin, the data is not for here. And chances are good admin hasn't vetted you.

This is especially true for fan theory. Fan theory is just that--fan theory, and we are not a place for such shenanigans. Caroline is not, for example, the same woman that helps Addy to freedom; Courtney isn't Maryellen's daughter; and all the mental gymnastics and desire to make it so will never prove that Marie-Grace somehow grows up to be Grandmary.

Fan Theory is considered inserting false information and will get you banned.

Trivia Policy

Trivia adds facts and little details about items that don't always fit in an article text. However, not every little detail is trivia. Some is just trivial--or worse, pointless.

Trivia should be interesting facts about the item or character in question and add to an article without repeating what's already been stated. They may only be tangent to the actual nature of the page in question, but should have a direct relation nonetheless. Examples:

  • Good trivia: Kaya's books are set in a time and place that is not technically part of America yet; at the time, some European contact had been made but the Pacific Northwest was still unclaimed by any European nation. The area did not officially become part of the US until the Oregon Country was given to the US as part of the Oregon Treaty of 1846. (From Kaya's character page)
    • What makes this good trivia?: This item is not about Kaya herself, but expounds on the time period of her stories. It is interesting but has no place in the rest of Kaya's article, and as such, is placed in the Trivia section.
  • Poor trivia: The doll is similar in looks to Just Like You 37. (Removed from Just Like You 53.)
    • What makes this poor trivia?: This item is not about Just Like You 53 herself, but how she resembles another modern-line doll. As the modern line dolls are intended to reflect various races and ethnicities and while some dolls may have passing resemblance to other dolls for various reasons (ex: JLY 33's release and resemblance to the retired Nicki Fleming doll), the piece of trivia listed in this example was not noteworthy to JLY 53's article and was removed. This type of trivia should only be implemented for a significant reason (ex: JLY 51's resemblance to JLY 3's looks after JLY 3's retirement).

Trivia should be interesting and/or helpful. This can be tricky since "interesting" and "helpful" are somewhat subjective terms. In general, trivia that displays a non-noteworthy example of something or whose relation to the page is tenuous at best will be considered uninteresting. Trivia should give a reaction similar to "Wow! I did not know that!" from the reader. If most readers' reactions to the fact is similar to "Meh, who cares?", then it is likely not a good piece of trivia. Examples:

  • Good trivia: Felicity's low cut outfits resulted in the body fabric of the first three dolls being changed from white to skin-colored. (From Felicity Merriman (doll).)
    • What makes this good trivia?: This item is of great interest to people who are unaware that Samantha, Kirsten, and Molly were originally white-bodied rather than skin-colored and it gives a simple and succinct explanation for the change.
  • Poor trivia: [Nellie] was also the very first BFF (best friends forever) doll (Removed from Nellie O'Malley (doll).)
    • What makes this poor trivia?: In addition to being unprofessionally written and using a slang term, Nellie's character article already mentions she was marketed as the first Best Friend doll by American Girl, thus making this piece of trivia redundant on Nellie's doll page and leading to its removal.

Trivia should clarify unique data about items, characters, releases, and other aspects that would be bulky if integrated into an article, and should not repeat or include data that is obvious, ineffective, or with bias towards cultural expression. Examples:

  • Good trivia: As of 2016, Melody is the only character in any product line from American Girl to have a book released before any items in the collection were available. (From Melody Ellison.)
    • What makes this good trivia?: This is of significant note for character releases, citing a previously unprecedented event of having a book and story out before the option of purchasing any collection items.
  • Poor trivia: This outfit is not labeled "Kaya's" because Kaya would not have worn something like this in her time period. (Removed from Modern Fancy Shawl Outfit.)
    • What makes this poor trivia?: While the item is not labeled with Kaya's name (a trend that was started later in releases; earlier ones did not add possessives to character items), it is clear that the outfit is tied to and relevant to her collection and perceived to be exclusive to her collection. Furthermore, the note that "Kaya would not have worn something like this in her time period" implies a past narrative of Native peoples; "modern" things are added to Kaya's collection to provide modern Native clothing, as it would be insensitive to attempt inaccurate Native apparel.

Image Policies

See: Good Article Images and You!
  • Catalog pictures are best in the long run, and override personal images.
  • Images taken personally are to be clear, focused, and only of the item in question with a minimal of background clutter. Clothing should be complete sets without other sets and taken on a doll who is neatly and fully dressed. Accessories and items should be taken alone. A good personal image can be seen on the School Jumper article.
  • If you can locate good pictures of items or unique images, please upload them. However, do not take pictures that have been watermarked from other sites, such as AG Playthings. Theft of another site's images is a violation of policy and all images of such nature will be deleted.
  • Filenames should be descriptive and relevant to the contents of the picture, i.e. File:KitTypewriter.jpg. A randomly-named file or a file with gibberish/checksum characters or the date and time, like File:727f2a590028b2bcd20de972d99b1d3a.gif, File:Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 2.16.26 PM.png, or File:Image1.jpg makes it too much of a hassle for administrators and other users to use the images as it leaves them guessing what the image looks like and increases the probability of duplicates.
  • Much like articles, every picture needs to be categorized.
  • Do not upload leaked images. Unless American Girl chooses to upload or distribute pictures of unreleased products, leaked images have no place in the wiki.

Non-Compliant New Articles and Pictures

Any new article that does not follow the basic rules is subject to be deleted or purged immediately with no warning.

Any edits that violate this policy are subject to reversion, revision, or total removal. Edit wars will result in page locks.

Images that do not comply will be removed. Images taken from other sites will be removed and the violator will be given a one week ban, minimal.

After multiple "short" articles, bad edits without corrections, or improper images by a user, they will be warned and/or given a block relative to the time to do correction or remove errors; should a lack of self-correction or continued issues arise such as further poor edits/counter productive edit wars/poorly created articles, blocks will escalate and can mean permanent removal.

This policy is effective immediately and continuously, including any changes.

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