The purpose of this document is to supplement the site guidelines with my own rules and preferences, and to further illustrate issues which are in the guidelines, but are common reasons for rejections nonetheless. If you are uncertain about whether a particular submission will be accepted, read the following and then send me a PM if you are still unclear.
Use correct (American) English:I hold my guides to the same standards as a printed work such as a book or newspaper. Any entry must be written with correct grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Further, American spelling and usage are the standard on this site, so avoid non-U.S. spellings such as "rumour." This does not mean that American spelling is any more "correct," just that it is the standard for the site, and we should strive for consistency.
Minor problems with language (typos, etc) will usually be corrected by the editor, but if an entire passage needs to be rewritten, it will usually be rejected.
Read the guide first:Perhaps the majority of rejections I have to make are simply due to the fact that the information provided is already on the guide. At the very least, read the section of the guide to which you are submitting, so that you can be sure that your submission isn't a duplicate of something already on the guide.
Include detailed comments:Use the comments section to tell me exactly why this submission should be accepted. If it is a piece of new information, provide me a link to a source (a detailed link, not just "john smith's website" or "johnsmith.com" because I don't have time to search an entire site for every submission). If you have edited anything, but especially the summary or recap, tell me exactly what you changed. I need to be able to see at a glance what has changed.
Do not ask questions within a submission:Entries in the guide are supposed to be information for later readers. Therefore, please do not use questions. They serve no purpose (since no one can answer you) and encourage debate on the guide (see next point). For example, rather than writing "In this episode Buffy kills a puppy. Why would she do that?" you could write "It seems odd that Buffy would kill a puppy in this episode, since she isn't usually evil."
Do not debate on the guide:If you disagree with an entry, do not submit another entry trying to explain it away. Your submission will appear above the earlier one, and will seem out of place. More important, though, having different points of view on the guide can be confusing, since this is supposed to be a source of information. The best thing to do if something on the guide is incorrect, is to either rewrite the whole thing so that it will be correct (don't just add something like "edit: In reality, blah blah blah" at the end), or else have the whole entry deleted. Only do this if you are certain that the information is incorrect, and explain how you know this in the comments field.
Submit to the correct section:The most common mix-ups are between "notes" and "trivia" but I have seen many kinds of information being submitted to the wrong guide section (quotes that are sent as trivia, recaps submitted as summaries, etc). BTW, "notes" refers to anything behind the scenes or off-camera, while "trivia" should be about things which were onscreen, but that a casual viewer may have missed. For more information, check the site guidelines.
No spoilers:Do not enter information that would be considered a "spoiler" for a later episode. We want these guides to be usable by people who are watching the episodes for the first time. Thus, if something connects to a later episode, mention it on the later episode's guide. This avoids spoilers, and also prevents "double dipping" by entering the same information on both episodes.
Quote format:This is a constant problem. Every quote on the guide should follow the same format, meaning that the name of the speaker is in bold, followed by a colon (which is not bolded), followed by text which does not have quotation marks or any other modifications. Occasionally, if you must describe an action or explain who the speaker is addressing, put that information in parentheses after the colon, and italicize the parentheses. Bold and italics are done using HTML or XHTML. For more information on this, see the site guidelines.
The end result looks like this:
Dick: Do you think anyone is home?
Jane: (as the door creaks open) Umm... I think that means "yes."
Single and double quotation marks:As mentioned above, quotation marks are not used in the standard quote format. Since single quotation marks are only used for a quote within a quote, this means that any quotation marks on the guide should be the standard double quotation marks. In other words...
Correct: In this episode, we learn that "Johnny" is really Jimmy in disguise.
An example of the correct use of single quotes would be:Incorrect: In this episode, we learn that 'Johnny' is really Jimmy in disguise.
In this episode, we learn that "Johnny 'The Hand' Jones" is really Jimmy in disguise.
Ellipses:Ellipses are the dots that are used to indicate a long pause, a trailing off sentence, missing information, etc. These should always be only three dots with no space at the beginning, and one space at the end. The only exception would be indicating missing text, in which case you can leave a space at the beginning and end. Most submissions use more than three dots, and forget the space at the end.
Stunts, fights, and special effects:There have been numerous submission lately which say things like, "During the fight with Charlie, you can tell that "Johnny" is actually a stuntman." Or, "When Jason gets thrown through the door, the door is just a couple of layers of balsa wood." These things are just a part of the way that stunts are done. They are not trivia or goofs, just a part of the filmmaking process.
In the same vein, do not submit things like "the giant muskrat is obviously CGI." Given that we all know that there are no 25' tall muskrats, such a creature would have to be CGI or some other effect. The fact that you can figure out what process they used is not worthy of a note. If, on the other hand, they really do use a 25' tall muskrat... now that would be noteworthy.
That said, if something is really obvious, like a full face closeup of the stunt person, a chair breaking before it actually hits anyone, or being able to see through a CGI monster, then that would be fine to submit as a goof.
This is all off the top of my head and in no particular order. Also, it may be subject to change as I notice other problems or change my mind about existing ones. This will be published in the forum of every guide that I edit, and all changes will be updated there as well.
Thanks for reading this.