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Species tutorial
   
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Don't these guys deserve some love?

"Freedom is the right of every sentient being."
"Featuredom is the right of every sentient species.
"
Optimus Prime and Eyrezer swap notes[src]

One of the things I've always loved about Star Wars is the abundance of aliens; however, it is an area where the Wookieepedia is relatively weak. As such, there is significant need to create species articles up to the Feature article standard.

ChoiceEdit

"In our efforts, we have learned that life is not rare. Rather, given a chance, life will occur. It is tenacious, aggressive—it seems to crave existence."
―Tem Eliss; Sentientologist[src]

When it comes to choosing a species to FA, there are two major options. The first is to do a species that is covered in an Essential Guide or a roleplaying sourcebook. If you choose one of these, much of the base research and data collation will be done for you. These sources have generally summarized existing canonical information, presenting it conveniently in one place. Your job as FA writer will extend beyond just this but it is a good grounding. The second option is to do a species not covered in one of these sources; this will require a bit more active research, but it can also be more satisfying as you are potentially creating something never before collated in one place. We currently have FAs of both types. Examples of the former include the Tunroth and the Elom. Examples of the latter include the Bouncers, the Knowledge Bank and the Whaladons.

ResearchingEdit

Rough and readyEdit

Tem Ellis

To be a sentientologist you must be in peak physical condition...

Once you settled on your choice, you need to begin researching. My general approach is to try and gather all the appropriate sources first. I'd rather not start on an article and find I am unable to complete it because I lack an important source. However, if you do find you are lacking a source, try asking for any relevant info in the IRC channel or on the WookieeProject Aliens forum. Sources for species include both publications that include information on the species generally, as well as all appearances of an individual member of the species. The activities of individuals can often provide a key piece of info (eg, Side Trip revealed that the Tunroth have blue blood!) The major sources should already be listed on the species page.

Spreading the netEdit

Once I've done this researching and written a first draft of the article (see below) I normally do a check for sources I may have missed. When writing an article, don't rely on the Appearance and Sources sections on Wookieepedia page to be exhaustive. They are not. If you are putting forward an article to be featured, you need to take some responsibility to ensure you have covered all sources out there. There are a couple of reasonably simple techniques I use to facilitate this. Firstly, do some cross-referencing with the impressive Completely Unofficial Star Wars Encyclopedia. Use the "Advanced Search" function and search for your topic the "Entry Names and Descriptions" field. This will bring up both the species itself and any entries for individuals of the species. It also pays to do a search for their homeworld too. Often in doing this, you will pick up some further appearances for the species or other topic that were not listed on the Wookieepedia article. If you do, make sure to still check the original sources. CUSWE should be used as a pointer, never as a source in itself.

Another check that is useful is to do a Google search of the official Star Wars sites. A generic google search is normally of little value as there is much fanon and speculation out there; however, it is useful for its site search function. Using the example of the "Lepi," enter into the google search field:

site:www.starwars.com Lepi
site:www.wizards.com Lepi

With this example, the search reveals that Seeqov Thranx can speak the Lepi language; a piece of info that could have easily been missed otherwise.

Structure and writingEdit

Species articles have guidelines as to how they should be set out. As opposed to a character article which is predominantly a biography section, species have four sections:

Sentient Species Articles

There are some guidelines for the organization of species articles within Wookieepedia. Ideally, they are organized into four main sections:
  1. Biology and appearance deals with the physical characteristics of the species. This includes descriptions of both their physical, instinctual and mental abilities, with particular emphasis on unique factors.
  2. Society and culture deals with the sociological organization of the species, including such features as language, temperament, and family and societal structures.
  3. History deals with the major events in the history of the species. This includes such events as wars, discovery by the galactic community, and other important epochs.
  4. [Species] in the galaxy provides an overview of the species involvement in the galactic community with particular emphasis on species trends and notable individuals. Depending on the available information, this section in particular may be incorporated into the earlier sections.
Each of these four sections may be further subdivided as appropriate.

The size of each section will vary in importance depending on the information available. As a writer, you shouldn't feel obliged to have any particular section be extra large. For example, compare Lepi with Carosite. The former has a tiny history section and a large Lepi in the galaxy section; the latter has a large history section but only a tiny Biology and appearance section. This imbalance shouldn't be a worry, so long as each part is complete.

One of the key choice when writing an article is to decide which information goes where. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish what should be better covered in history or culture, but do your best, and the FAN process will provide some guidance later as well. With regard to the [Species] in the galaxy, as the writer you'll have to determine the level of detail based on the number of known individuals. Where there have been very few individuals of the species, you should incorporate a brief description of their activities, eg look at that section in the Tunroth article. If you're dealing with a prolific species, such as Rodians, you might have to be more general in your comments. I advise that if there are any particular groupings of individuals, it is appropriate to give them an overview, eg as bounty hunters, Jedi etc.

FootnotingEdit

Jaxxon

Jaxxon delivers a footnote to the face.

One of the things I encourage in writing articles is thorough footnoting. Basically, I believe that in writing all articles, we have to make editorial choices where the canonical information leaves a gap. These can be with regard to the order of certain events that have not been given a canonical placement, and so forth. (For instance, with Empire Reborn [Ed.: now a former FA], the demo level has no canonical timeline placement.) I believe making such choices is a legitimate part of writing, but we need to be transparent in the choices we make, so that readers know when there is any ambiguity in the sources.

This is where footnotes come in. Rather than just attaching the normal source tag, write a sentence or two explaining how and why you have handled this point. It is even useful to note where the source material is unclear. This way when a user reads the page they are not left wondering how you came to your conclusions. This may not always be so applicable to species articles, but have a look at Bouncer or Platt Okeefe for examples of how this can work.

Extras featuresEdit

At this point, it is good to add some extra features, such as a link to an image category for the species. This can be done by adding this template:

{{Imagecat|Images of [species name]}}

It's also a good idea to add a link to the CUSWE. Search for the species on the CUSWE and then click on the specific entry. This will generate the search number in the webpage. This can be posted in the below template under an ==External links== section.

{{CUSWEID|Search number|Species name}}

The article will also need a lead quote (unless none are available), and I like to have a quote beginning each section if at all possible. Finally, check the article has all the relevant categories. These include any biological ones, such as Category:Mammalian sentient species, as well as that for individuals of the species. This should be added with a "|" and a space after it, eg:

[[Category:Carosites| ]]

NominationEdit

Hopefully after all this, you are about done. Have a read through your final product, and have a check for both spelling mistakes, and links that go to disambiguation pages. Once these are cleared up, you should be good to nominate the article on the FAN page. Good luck!

You can also list your nomination on the WookieeProject: Aliens announcements page, to alert other members of the Project to your nomination.

PS: If your article doesn't reach 1,000 words, we also need plenty more species GAs. They can be fun too!

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