Rewriting Most Donkey Kong Country / Donkey Kong Land Level Articles

Andymii

'Hoy, small fry!
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
I was browsing the wiki and noticed that the articles for the retro DK games (Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2, Donkey Kong Country 3, DK Land, etc.) have pretty atrocious writing. Most of them are flowery, inconsistent with the tense, full of assumptions, not concise, and overall just confusing.

Nearly all the articles use the word "heroes" in place of "Kongs" at some point. This is a massive assumption and an opinion. Also, the articles are written in a very dramatic / colloquial way ("to make matters worse," "it should be pointed out," "in plain sight," "if they're clever enough," etc.). Furthermore, most of the articles use future tense, which is awkward when summarizing a level; summaries should generally be in the present tense.


Take these articles as examples (DKC3 articles are particularly bad):

Lightning Lookout

Poisonous Pipeline


As you can see, I've started editing them, but due to the sheer amount of poorly-written pages, I'll need some help. Additionally, I hope I can get some of these pages into the 'Shroom Spotlight in order to give them a bit more attention.
 

Duskull

Star Spirit
Core 'Shroom Staff
Retired Wiki Staff
Andymii said:
As you can see, I've started editing them, but due to the sheer amount of poorly-written pages, I'll need some help. Additionally, I hope I can get some of these pages into the 'Shroom Spotlight in order to give them a bit more attention.
Your wish is my command, also I am aware of some modern Donkey Kong stuff, mainly to do with enemies and items that suffer from the same issue, so I don't know if you want to expand the scope of this.
 

Andymii

'Hoy, small fry!
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
If you know of any poor modern DK articles, please do include them. However, I'd rather the focus be on the retro articles, as I've noticed them to be particularly bad.
 
Nearly all the articles use the word "heroes" in place of "Kongs" at some point. This is a massive assumption and an opinion.
Honestly, I don't see how naming the good characters "heroes" would be an assumption or an opinion. What are they then, villains? In all current DKC games, they face dangers to rescue or redeem something for everybody's good. This makes them heroes; it's a truth.

What IS an opinion, however, is your remark on the writing style of the articles. Not following the website's writing standards doesn't necessarily make them "atrocious" or "poorly-written". Sometimes, as in the examples you offered, their wording is a bit awkward, I admit. But making extreme remarks for that is just arrogant and a total turn-off for initiated editors. (I'm talking in general, not just about the Donkey Kong articles.)
 
We don't like using "heroes" mostly because while it is technically true that the characters are considered that within the game's scope, it also contributes to flowery, sugary language, which is something we want to avoid in our articles that attempt to write out like an encyclopedia. All words have different meanings and connotations, and we prefer to use terms that have a more neutral connotation. A better way to describe these characters are "protagonists", that term is a far more neutral and professional term than "hero".

Additionally, not following wiki standards does actually make them "poorly written". It's why we established those standards in the first place. Standards basically mean that it's the minimum the article can achieve.

It is true that our comments on these articles are merely our opinions. However, if your only criticism is that "man your tone describing those articles is so bad", that criticism is not helpful at all. Also, our policies on this wiki is also dictated by consensual opinion in the first place, (other wikis can take on snarkier tones, it's not like that's objectively disallowed universally) so complaining about opinionated stances on how articles are structured is a moot point.
 
I see what your point on "heroes" is.

Also, maybe I interpreted his remarks wrongly. But you'd have to admit that, out of context, that writing is still not exactly poor.

My criticism is significant from a moral standpoint. It's not nice to act so superior, be it indirectly, towards people with less writing talent or knowledge, who only try to contribute. That's why I'm saying his comments are a turn-off. You want more contributors on the wiki, as a high-ranked individual? Be nice then. If the whole Mario Wiki was a closed project between a group of professional, mature writers, then they could have had any kind of attitude towards each other.

With so many children and non-native, new English speakers signing in on the wiki, it's difficult to make it the most professional Mario database on the Internet. With regard to these people, criticizing their writing in such an opinionated manner, even in rapport with the guidelines, is plain bossy.

Maybe it's just me who hates this kind of snarky attitude towards people who try to help however they can. Oh well.
 

Glowsquid

Shine Sprite
Forum Moderator
Wiki Bureaucrat
Core 'Shroom Staff
Super Radio said:
Also, maybe I interpreted his remarks wrongly. But you'd have to admit that, out of context, that writing is still not exactly poor.
While not the worst the wiki has to offer, the writing is exactly that: poor. Just looking at the two articles linked in the OP, you can find instances of many writing flaws such as word cruft:

It should be pointed out that while the lightning can be used to take out most enemies, Red Buzzes and Koin are immune to the lightning strikes.

bathos

Moving along the poisoned path with their messed up directions, they will pass many Lurchins and Kocos, who will try to hinder their progress.
Captain Obvious statements

Though these enemies could become a problem for the heroes

repetition:

About halfway through the level, the monkeys will enter another long area, where they will swim down a large pipeline and avoid countless schools of enemies. Soon, they will find two Lurchins moving through a small pathway. Going under the foes, they will make their way into another area. There, they will pass several Kocos and also find the letter K in an above alcove. Farther on, the Kongs will pass many more Lurchins, assisted by the small Kocos. Once they begin to take an upward pathway at the end of the area, they will dodge some Kocos and travel west. Shortly after going this direction, they will come up to another pathway, which they should head up.
I don't have a name for this but this is stupid

The Kongs will have to swim around with these reversed directions, which can be fairly confusing, as sometimes, they may forget about the revered directions, and move into a nearby enemy.
With so many children and non-native, new English speakers signing in on the wiki, it's difficult to make it the most professional Mario database on the Internet.
Indeed! That's why I think it's a good idea to make a strong statement on what's not acceptable.

The articles in question weren't written by children or ESL writers: they were written by native english speakers in their late teens or adulthood, most of which haven't edited the wiki in close to a decade. Furthermore, Andymii's italication choice of caligraphy and adjectives is mild at worst. You're going to get far more snarky comments were you submitting your writing for peer review, or previewing your manuscript in a public forum. An attack on your writing is not an attack on your character.
 
Super Radio said:
My criticism is significant from a moral standpoint. It's not nice to act so superior, be it indirectly, towards people with less writing talent or knowledge, who only try to contribute. That's why I'm saying his comments are a turn-off. You want more contributors on the wiki, as a high-ranked individual? Be nice then. If the whole Mario Wiki was a closed project between a group of professional, mature writers, then they could have had any kind of attitude towards each other.
When creating threads like these, our intent is to prioritize practicality and usefulness over courtesy. There's no need to internalize criticisms of your writing; we aren't attacking anyone personally when we say that the writing is sub-standard.

If contributors can't deal with criticism with other editors, which can sometimes forgo a little bit of courtesy for uesfulness, then they are simply not fit to be wiki editors.
 

White Diamond

Flawless Entity of Pure Christmas
Chat Administrator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Retired Wiki Staff
I'd say it's even less moral to force readers to waste their time slogging through repetitive and/or hollow paragraphs to get to the information they want.

Though I can also sympathize. I've written my share of level articles and it's not always easy to find enough to say about a level to fill a page without grasping.

That's still no excuse though. It's the editors' collective responsibility to try to make each page the best it can be. If an article can be improved, it should be improved. There's nothing immoral about that.
 

Borp

Blooper
Mr. Edo said:
Though I can also sympathize. I've written my share of level articles and it's not always easy to find enough to say about a level to fill a page without grasping.
Couldn't this be used to make a case for why absolutely every level doesn't need its own page? Has it ever been used?
 

Andymii

'Hoy, small fry!
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
Borp said:
Mr. Edo said:
Though I can also sympathize. I've written my share of level articles and it's not always easy to find enough to say about a level to fill a page without grasping.
Couldn't this be used to make a case for why absolutely every level doesn't need its own page? Has it ever been used?
Alternatively, we could massively trim the play-by-description of each level (as Yoshi876 said, we don't need to know small details like variations in platform height). The pages would still be long enough to make an article.

Either way, i don't think we should make articles longer for the sake of making them longer. We need to be concise.
 

Glowsquid

Shine Sprite
Forum Moderator
Wiki Bureaucrat
Core 'Shroom Staff
Borp said:
Mr. Edo said:
Though I can also sympathize. I've written my share of level articles and it's not always easy to find enough to say about a level to fill a page without grasping.
Couldn't this be used to make a case for why absolutely every level doesn't need its own page? Has it ever been used?
I mean, that's already the case. We don't have individual pages for the "boss levels" in DKC Returns that are just a short stretch of land before the boss. Every "regular" level in the platforming levels have enough material to make a page (collectible, layout, enemies, etc.)

Since the subject of the level descriptions has been brought up, I'll say I've never liked the de-facto standard for level descriptions. They're basically walkthroughs, but without most of the stuff that make walkthroughs useful: Jump on this platform, then jump on this platform. Then there will be land with two goombas and a koopa, then jump on this platform..., etc. I think it's really boring to read and not the best way to convey information.

I think level articles should drop the idea of havcing a detailled layout description and just provide a concise overview of the level and its key elements (gimmicks, unique enemies or props, set peices, puzzles, etc) with separate sections for the location of finite collectibles (like this).
 

Shokora

L'esclavage D'amour
Core 'Shroom Staff
Retired Wiki Staff
Glowsquid said:
I think level articles should drop the idea of havcing a detailled layout description and just provide a concise overview of the level and its key elements (gimmicks, unique enemies or props, set peices, puzzles, etc) with separate sections for the location of finite collectibles (like this).
I've always loved how the Wario Land II articles were written. Not a platform-by-platform walkthrough, but a concise summary of the levels gimmicks. Plus you've got the separate sections for enemies encountered, character abilities used, and collectables/secret exits. Example.
 
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