Welcome to the SCP Foundation! This is the Guide for Newbies, your introduction to site etiquette and standards. However you may have found your way here, we welcome you as a member and a potential author of SCPs and SCP-related stories and documents. While this document may seem long, everything in this guide is very necessary to getting a handle on how to behave on the site. So please: read, don't skim.
Let's start from the beginning: getting from casual reader to site member.
- 1. Make an account with Wikidot, our glorious overlord host site. Go here to do so.
- 3. Even with a Wikidot account, you still aren't a member of the SCP Foundation site itself. To join the site itself, you have to go to this page and write your application.
Hey, that's odd. We went from step 1 to step 3. What's step 2? Wait, here it is:
- 2. Your application will be a short paragraph, not more than 200 characters. However, we get a significant number of applications every day, and we have certain standards for joining. Specifically, you have to read all of the information (including all of the tabs) on this page.
If you're interested in joining the chat or writing for the site, you'll find additional pages linked to from this guide which will help you out. You are strongly advised to read those if you have a specific desire in joining. You do not have to read any pages besides this page and the Join This Site page before sending in an application, but you are expected to know the Site Rules before posting any comments, and you are expected to have read How to Write An SCP before writing any articles.
Some tips on applications from Dr. Bright, who is one of the administrators who might be accepting (or rejecting) your application:
Some good topics include:
- Why are you interested in joining?
- Do you have any particular skills that you pride yourself on?
- What can you offer the wiki to enhance the community?
Keep in mind, you're not the only applicant. Don't write a novel in the text box to waste the reviewer's time; just keep it concise and to the point.
To navigate this page, scroll to the top and click on another tab. (The next one is "Site Behavior," if that helps.)
If, after reading this guide, you still have questions, you should check out the FAQ.
If you are reading this page to find out how to get into the site, finishing this first tab is not enough. Please continue reading, or your application will be denied.
The rules page that you should have read by now contains a very clinical list of things you are allowed to do, things you are expected to do, and things you are not allowed to do. However, the SCP Foundation is a writing community, and no list of hard-and-fast rules will explain the nuances of social interaction for you. There are some behaviors that will simply grate on different people's nerves; you can't, as the quote says, please everyone. There are, however, behaviors that annoy everyone, and these will get you banned. Keep this in mind.
Wil Wheaton's Law: Also known as simply Wheaton's Law, this is possibly the single simplest and most effective way to keep yourself in the good graces of those around you. It is a summation of social morality and behavior that encompasses the Golden Rule, Hobbes's theory of the State of Nature, and Kant's categorical imperative, with a simplicity that goes far beyond all of these in its delivery and conciseness:
Don't be a dick.
So much of your life, and your time here at the Foundation, will be much easier if you remember this.
Sassing the Mods: Don't. The tab at the top that says "Senior Staff" has a list of people who have some degree of authority on this site; every one of them is at least a trusted user, and has a great deal of experience in writing and interacting with people on the site. You are required to know who these people are!
- That said: Staff, Mods, and Admins are allowed to have and express opinions just as writers and site members. You are advised not to behave obnoxiously towards them (or anyone—see the first rule), but you as a member are allowed to debate, disagree, and discuss whatever you like, however you like (as long as you're civil), with Operational Staff, Mods, or Admins in their capacity as members. This changes when the Staff, Mod, and Admin hats come out. See:
Staff/Mod/Admin Posts: This is a member of staff acting in a position of authority. They will be clearly marked as "Staff Post", "Mod Post", or "Admin Post". Those are generally discussions to be read by members, but contributed to by Staff.
- Moderative Posts: Moderative posts will have a specific title. These titles are used to indicate specific types of posts, and should only be responded to in certain situations. This exact text will be in the post itself:
- Call for Rewrite: Anyone wanting to volunteer to rewriting a page or discuss the rewriting of a page may respond to this post.
- Deletion Vote: Anyone wanting to request a stay of deletion or ask for the opportunity to rewrite may respond to this post. Do not 'vote' if you are not staff.
- Stop Order - Do not respond to this post. If a staff member ends a discussion, it is over. Do not try to get the final word in; just stop.
Editing: The SCP Foundation is a wiki, meaning you are encouraged to write and contribute to the site. Likewise, you are permitted to improve the site by editing existing pages, to an extent. Editing is broken up into different ranks:
- Minor edits: These include minor grammar, spelling, or punctuation fixes, or adding (correct) tags to a page. The rule is: as long as the change doesn't alter a sentence's meaning, the edit is fine. If you plan to do a lot of minor edits, be sure to let a moderator know, to avoid misunderstandings about the changes.
Also important: Make sure you know what you're doing when you edit. Don't make a sentence worse by a) changing something that is supposed to be whatever it is, like an intentional misspelling, formatting quirk, or an acceptable but alternate spelling of a word (color/colour, analog/analogue, etc.), or b) fixing something that literally isn't wrong in the first place. Remember: every edit you make is visible for all to see.
- Major edits: This includes changing paragraphs, altering pictures, or other concept changes. These types of changes should be run past the original author if possible. If the original author can't be found, ask a moderator or administrator for permission or advice.
Appropriate Content: We give writers a great deal of latitude with what they want to do (see Procedure 110-Montauk, for example). We're likewise fine with "squick," body horror, etc. However, no pornographic or excessively gory content is allowed. Again, if you aren't sure, ask a moderator or admin.
The Password: When you submit your application to join the site, make sure you include the phrase "Nex Dak Tao Sek." Failure to include this phrase will result in the automatic denial of your application. Do not talk about the existence of this phrase in chat or on the site or to anyone else, or you will be banned. (Note: If you come into #site17 to ask for help, or if you are speaking with a member of staff in private messages, you may discuss the password.) If you attempt to be cute with the password and work it in to your application, it may be missed, so please just append it to the beginning or end of your application.
In-character Behavior: Don't. Yes, you've read Duke Till Dawn or The War of the Doctors, and many of the characters in that are avatars of writers here. But we don't talk like that on the forums. Everything on the site and in the chat is out-of-character, meaning you are to write as if you understand that this is a fiction site and we are writers of fiction.
Spam: Don't. Don't bring up your new SCP every two minutes. Similarly, don't post responses to forum posts that are several months old. This likewise will give off the indication that you don't know what you're doing. In fact, if you want a general guide to how not to behave on the forums, go here, read as much as you can physically tolerate, and then never do any of that.
Self-Upvoting: Don't. Upvoting your own article is considered bad form and people will likely downvote it for that reason alone. The only valid reason for upvoting your own article is to counter malicious downvoting, and only with the blessing of a staff member.
Signatures: Don't. Signatures are unnecessary and not allowed on the forums.
For a complete list of the things we do and do not allow on the site, check out the Site Rules.
Tips for Members
While we've covered things you can and can't do, let's spend some time with things you should and shouldn't do.
- Leave constructive comments: This is a big one. Simply telling an author "your idea sucks" or "it's cool" doesn't do much. You can do that, but if your post history is a long line of "I like it!" or "This sucks", everyone's going to get annoyed. Here are some tips you can keep in mind when you leave a comment:
- What makes it good/bad? (They can't fix what they don't know.)
- What could they do to either enhance or fix it?
- Ask questions that can make an author think of alternate ideas or perspectives about the article. Asking questions make them think of an answer, potentially letting them realize another point that can improve the article.
- Why did/didn't you like it?
We're not asking you to write a report on each article in the comments, but these extra points help improve the nature of the community.
Check out our Criticism Policy for a more in-depth explanation of what we're looking for from criticism, as a community.
- Don't rush to contribute: This is another big one. Newbies often assume that because they joined a collaborative writing site, they must submit something to look smart or seem like a constructive person. This isn't the case. Generally, quality writing takes time. Trying to submit some thing as fast as you can to seem like you're being a good member of the community will generally lead to sending in a shitty article that is downvoted to oblivion. Ask users in-chat for critiques or feedback, and get more info about the article you're trying to write. As brusque as some chat ops may seem, we are all ultimately there to help you create something new, unique, and interesting. This brings us back to the main point, which is take your time. We're not going anywhere.
- Experiment with new concepts: While it may seem like the main focus of this site is the SCP articles, there is more for you to contribute. We have sketch artists, storytellers, and graphic artists. People write stories about the Foundation universe, exploring the concepts behind various SCPs. Others help flesh out universe through sketches and posters, even going so far as to design animations. There's just so much you can contribute, other than just an SCP article. Give your idea a shot! We'd love to see it.
- Read the articles: Before trying to critique SCPs, read through the articles and links to get an understanding of the Foundation universe. Building up a knowledge base helps to give your articles a better chance at being accepted in the site. Too much knowledge is not a thing that exists.
- Member Pages: These are reserved for when you have written three successful, well-rated SCPs or Tales. If you aren't sure if you can write one yet, ask a mod. When you do create one, remember that self-deprecating humor is better received than Mary Sue power fantasies. You are generally allowed to write whatever you like without fear of deletion, so long as you keep at least three pages on the site.
- Modesty: You don't need to be the most awesome thing in the site, and trying to be will generally result in the opposite reaction. Just be what you are and let the flow of the environment guide your decisions.
If you're looking for more feedback from site users, you should probably check out our IRC Chat. For information on how to join it and what you're allowed to do while you're there, check out the Chat Guide.
Tips on Writing
- RTFM: Or, in our case, the How to Write an SCP Page. This entire guide is just about how to write for this site. If you like, we also have the Cliche Guide; this is a list of topics and concepts that have been written about extensively (though that list is both somewhat outdated and incomplete).
- Search: There are literally hundreds of articles on this wiki. It is a sure bet that any new ideas you have have either been done before, or something close to it. Use the search function to check and see if we already have your idea here. It's not a bad thing to use an idea that has already been done; you just need to give it a unique spin. Once you join the Realtime Chat, you'll have access to dozens of seasoned veterans who can further tell you if your idea has been done or needs work.
- Announce your SCP in the Announcement thread: When you're finished, put up a post in the SCP announcement thread here under the most recent "New SCP" thread, telling the world it's ready to be viewed and critiqued. How are we supposed to know your article exists if you don't tell anyone? The flipside of that is that you should not make an entirely new thread simply to announce your SCP. It belongs in the designated announcement thread. The other flipside is that you should not post in an outdated "New SCP" thread.
- Your first may suck, and that's okay: Statistically speaking, your first SCP will probably fail. It's just a trend that's happened for as long as this community has been in existence. Don't feel bad if/when yours fails, but instead take the feedback and use it to make your next one even better. Don't dwell and complain how we removed it or people downvoted it for being blind to your genius. That sort of behavior is the most idiotic sort of thing anyone in this wiki knows about. You will be awarded no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
- Don't post works in progress on the forums: This especially includes not creating sandbox pages on the main wiki. Yes, I know we have a few of these on the site, but they're inactive and no more are being made. They clog up the forums, including the New Posts page, which some of us use to navigate the site quickly. You have two alternatives to on-site sandboxes:
- Pastebin - You can type it up in pastebin, click Submit, copy the new URL, and paste the link in the chat.
- Sandbox - Your second option, if you want a dedicated sandbox or if you want to be able to look at your draft using the wikidot format, is to go make a page at http://scpsandbox2.wikidot.com/. Just create a page for yourself, and share the link. Do not edit others' sandboxes without their permission. If it's not your sandbox, there's no reason to make unsolicited changes, even if you're trying to be helpful and fix something.
Again, and we can't stress this enough, if you're looking to be successful, you should definitely check out the How to Write an SCP guide. It's a bit big, but if writing for the site is something you want to do, it's pretty much required reading.
Senior Staff and You
Who are the senior staff? We are the people who are assigned responsibilities on the site. It's our job to help keep the site running as smoothly and as well as possible. Most of us are veterans, with experience built up from the time spent here. Here's a small dossier to help show who the senior staff are.
Note: You are expected to know who staff are when you encounter them "in the wild", because you have to know when to listen to them. You don't have to memorize or even thoroughly read these bios. But you do have to know which people are staff.
PS: Yes, these are tongue-in-cheek, but they're still true, so don't be surprised. We warned you.
- Gears: Head admin of the site, and a generally awesome guy. As may be evident by the name, Gears is our resident steampunk expert. Has a fairly high tolerance for newbies, and is fairly easy going. Just don't piss him off. The 'True Neutral' of the admin team. May not always be around, but is always around in spirit.
- Bright: A self described "crotchety old man", so beware. He's blunt and crude, but always working for the best. Reads almost every article there is, and has been reliably active longer than any other present administrator. He is not now, nor has he ever been in recent memory, a monkey.
- Clef: Rumor has it, Clef has no penis, just another hand, holding a gun. Clef may come off brusque, but he only has the good of the site in mind. Don't kiss up to him, or he'll probably shoot you in the face. A tip: when Serious Clef speaks, you better listen. Also spearheading the nascent Global Occult Coalition sub-wiki, so if you're more interested in shooting werewolves to save the Earth, you may want to talk to him.
- Drewbear: As Waxx said, "A bear is just a man who made a choice." (wait, Burns already did this joke. Damn.) Will likely not maul you, despite the name. Actually does want you and your articles to succeed, but won't pull punches if the piece in question is seriously flawed. Erratically shows up in chat, but responds to PMs fairly quickly. WILL ding you for getting your science precepts wrong.
- Dr. Mann: A pretty cool guy, and a great writer. He's got a very impressive creative mind, though sometimes it's used for evil. He's also sometimes a GM. Runs the Wanderers Library.
- Photosynthetic: One of our resident scientists. Can you guess what her specialty is? In any case, she's very helpful, and great with science; if you need to science up an article, she's a great person to ask. We can neither confirm nor deny whether she possesses anomalous sun-powered eldritch powers.
- Quikngruvn: Not that quick and rarely ever groovin', he is actually a cynical but easy-going old fart. Most likely to edit your article with some obscure grammar fix. Handier for formatting and syntax issues than on actual concepts.
- Sorts: Might be recognized due to a certain webcomic he stopped drawing years ago and doesn't want to talk about. But he does have a new, awesome webcomic called "No Scrying" that he might tell you about if you ask him nicely! Not around as much these days, but if you have questions about the Creative Commons license or products with SCP branding let him know.
- TheDeadlyMoose: Kind of sassy, but has a good eye for what works. Good editor and rewriter. Reads every posted article on the site (eventually) and has a tendency to leave lots of criticism. Likes anthropology, psychology, gender, and sexuality. Administrator at the Wanderers Library. Current chat owner of #site19; also helps run public staff chat (#site17). Will answer almost any question you care to ask, including on site administration.
- TroyL: A great guy, and a better writer. TroyL is known for quality work, and you'll recognize his stuff when you see it. Puts a hell of a lot into the site. Troy is the admin among admins, the guy who gets shit done. If you have a problem, talk to him. And read his stuff while you're at it (especially if you see this sentence before Troy notices it and deletes it).
- Aelanna: Also known as Mackenzie. A professional web designer, programmer, and maintainer of the chat bot Nala. More than happy to assist with pretty much any SCP draft (especially with computer-related SCPs) and good at tone and formatting. Creator and maintainer of the Tag Guide, and liable to bite you for messing tags up. She's our head technical person, and also largely maintains the draft forums.
- Dexanote: Dexa's friendly. Good at mediating arguments and pretty good at brainstorming. PM him if you need to hash out ideas. He is also a butte plateau SHIELD (You all flatter me. Lets just say… that I rock.)
- Eskobar: Eskobar is a graduate student in training to be a high school history teacher, a landscaper, a husband, a father, and probably one of the nicer mods who can review a draft, all things considered. Will defend the indefensible, write the unreadable, and say the unspeakable. Most likely to correct your redactions using unnecessarily elaborate analogies. Goes by Eskobear in chat.
- Heiden: One of the nice guys. Somewhat approachable, vaguely acerbic if you're too dumb. Good at what he does, but not able to be as active as he used to be. Good eye for developing concepts.
- Pig_catapult: Pig's been here a while, and generally has a good instinct for whether an idea will go over well. She might not say much most of the time, but she's usually just a ping or private message away, and is almost always ready to give some constructive criticism. She's a stickler for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, so if you need another set of eyes to help proofread your article, just ask.
- Roget: The lil' Stalin himself. Very active, and willing to help people out, if you send him a PM. Tries to answer every wikidot PM sent to him… eventually. Currently in charge of the Foundation Origins SCP role-playing game, and moderates the Wanderer's Library. He's also written the History Of The SCP Foundation essay series, so he's the best person to ask questions about site history.
- Scantron: A grading machine that is vaguely knowledgeable on a variety of scientific topics (especially math and biology) and/or can Google that for you. Ask about flow and formatting, or alert him to site issues. Will likely forget about requests for feedback sent over Wikidot PMs — ask him in chat or the forums.
- Sophia Light: Admin emerita. Dubiously well educated, and constructive in her criticisms. She's been around the site for a long time, and is (one of) our resident biologist(s). She can help with sciencey things, or questions about jellyfish.
- SoullessSingularity: Most likely to want to touch your eyes. Quirky and odd as a rule with a passion for the written creepy, but he's generally harmless. Considered to be a good writer and great at critique. If you can find him through wikidot PM or #site19, he'll be happy to look drafts and ideas over.
- Zyn: Psychology and social behavior student (formerly biology), poetry enthusiast, part-time violin tutor, and butterfly caretaker (generally of Nymphalis antiopa, in the spring), Zyn is readily available for answering of questions in the IRC (send her a private message, or try #site17) and through wikidot PM. She can help if you want your articles to evoke non-scary emotions. Favors "Marp" as an onomatopoeia.
- Bouncl: Sometimes goes by Imants. He's a nice guy with a good head on his shoulders. Not around so much anymore, but happy to help if you need something and he's around.
- Burns: As Waxx is fond of saying, a bear is just a man who made a choice. Well, Burns is a man who made a choice to be an imbecile. Not always around that much, but if you catch him around, feel free to show your ideas to him. Useful in the ideas department, not so much in the editing. May scream obscenities at you if he likes you. Also goes by Arlecchino and Doctopus on the wiki and chat.
- Dmatix: Historian-in-training. Is willing to offer advice on the subject, as well as general information on the humanities. Just don't ask about Rome unless you have a supernatural tolerance for long, mostly pointless lectures.
- EchoFourDelta: Jarhead extraordinaire. If you need ideas on containment procedures, fact-checking on tactics, weaponry, radio procedures, or anything of the like, he's your man. Stickler for practicality, realism, and precision of language.
- Eric_H: Possibly the oldest member of the site, at 50. Tends to ignore the Cliche List and get away with it, and write up ideas multiple people have failed with. Happy to proofread (PM him on the Wiki). Has a background in Mathematics and Computer Science, and has been on the Internet since Biblical times.
- Jekeled: He… does stuff! Fairly active in the chat and on the wiki. Likes to write tales. Tries to respond to every PM requesting criticism (both in IRC and on the site) that he can.
- Dr. Kens: Photographer and uni student majoring in materials science and engineering. He's pretty good at offering feedback and new ideas. If you have a question about science (subject or labs) or photography, he's the man to ask. Oh, and he'll correct your grammar, so it's nice and coherent. Very busy, but tries to be around.
- MisterFlames: Old, crotchety, and possessing a beard made of barbed wire, MisterFlames can be relied upon to give frank advice on readability and entertainment. If you can convince him to put down the hot peppers.
- murphy_slaw periodically shows up in #site19, yells something inane, and then leaves. Not around as much, but if you catch him, can give decent critique if you don't mind being laughed at. A cornucopia of useless trivia. System administrator by trade, but will not help you fix your computer. Does mostly behind the scenes work on technical staff.
- RhettSarlin is one of the older members and reads pretty much every damn thing on the wiki. He has excellent taste and is basically what you get when you put a lurker through 914 on Very Fine. Able to assess any idea and give you a realistic prediction of how well it will do. Less around these days, but if you can catch him on chat, will jump at the chance to proofread your article if you let him.
- Silberescher: Alias Silber. Pretty much everything he says is tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic. Remember that, and you'll get along with him well. Gives solid advice, and is an exceptional writer, even if he doesn't think he is (just read his writing). Also, kind of into comics and CCGs. Ask him about his SCP Magic Expansion.
- Spikebrennan: Avuncular, cerebral, and probably older than you. Also, a lawyer. More interested in science fiction than horror. Not as much around anymore, but if you catch him on the chat, pitch your draft of your work to him: he is often willing to offer constructive criticism.
- Wogglebug: Wogglebug is some guys who woggles, and definitely not a robot of some description. A fan of oldish books and coolish names, he's very much interested in both your article and you as a person. Tends to hang around Site19, and is (almost) always available for help with drafts on tales and SCPs. Rather great at editing.
Inactive Staff Members
These staff members have been deemed inactive, due to prolonged absence.