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 all of the following pages:
- Guide to Newbies: The page you are on now.
- How to Write an SCP: The guide to writing for the site.
- The Chat Guide: Instructions, rules, and expectations for participating in the Realtime Chat on synIRC.
- FAQ: Frequently asked questions. Should explain at least some things you aren't yet familiar with.
- Deletion Guide: What you need to know about deletions.
- Site Rules: Rights, obligations, and expectations for users and staff.
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.)
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! Mods and Admins in particular have very specific authority in controlling inter-personal interactions on the site.
- 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 Senior 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. Do not respond to any Staff, Mod, or Admin post. They will be clearly marked as "Staff Post", "Mod Post", or "Admin Post". Don't reply to them. It is possibly the fastest way to irk the entire administrative body of the site, and makes you look dumb. Those are discussions to be read by members, but contributed to by Staff.
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.
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.
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. 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.
- 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.
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 here or at http://scpsandbox2.wikidot.com/ (same thing). Just create a page for yourself, and share the link.
Senior Staff and You
Who are the senior staff? We are the veterans and gurus. We have experience built up from the time spent here. We run the site, making sure everything goes smoothly and well. Here's a small dossier to help show who the senior staff are.
You'll notice a separate section for "Senior Staff" at the bottom. This is because Admins and Mods are also senior staff, but with additional staffly powers.
PS: Yes, there is humor here. However, these are also pretty damn accurate descriptions of us all, 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.
- Bright: A self described "crotchety old man" and perv, so beware. He's blunt and crude, but always working for the best. He spearheads the application process, so if you want to contact someone about that, he's the first one to talk to. He's second in command on the site, taking charge during those times when Gears is unavailable. He's also one of the GMs of Tamlin House, the SCP RP.
- 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.
- Kain Pathos Crow: Kain is our lawful good guy on the admin team. He can be hard to get a hold of, but he's a very nice guy; generally kind hearted, and slow to anger. No kind of push over, but he's a lot more even tempered than a lot of us (which admittedly isn't saying much).
- 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 chat op and GM. Runs the Wanderers Library.
- Photosynthetic: She's a great girl, and one of our resident scientists! Can you guess what her specialty is? In any case, she's very helpful, and great with science; so if you need to science up an article, she's a great person to ask. She's hard to catch in chat, but she answers her private messages.
- 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. If you have questions about the Creative Commons license or products with SCP branding let him know. Sorts is also the current chat owner and can be found there most weekdays during the day.
- TroyL: A good guy, and a better writer. TroyL is known for quality work, and you'll recognize his stuff when you see it. Easily the most approachable admin, as well as one of the nicest. Troy is the guy who gets shit done. If you have a problem, talk to him.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Eskobar: Graduate student and daycare worker, Eskobar specializes in explaining redaction, formatting, tone, and syntax to newbies. He has terrible taste and will tell you your SCP does not suck, even when it does. Can generally answer questions relating to Western philosophy and American history. He invented Alexylva University and wishes you would use it. Goes exclusively by Eskobear in chat, except when he doesn't; don't send messages to "Eskobar" if you want him to get them.
- Heiden: One of the nice guys. Wow, we're really moving away from the random asshole mods, aren't we? Somewhat approachable, vaguely acerbic if you're too dumb.
- 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 also a stickler for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, so if you need another set of eyes to help proofread your article, just ask.
- Scantron: The least responsible moderator, he is vaguely knowledgeable on a variety of scientific topics, or possibly just good at using Google. Major stickler for good formatting and making articles look nice visually, and can back up the zeal with competence. Good at sentence structure and general flow/organization of SCP articles, and can help think of twists to put on ideas. Probably memetic or something. Don't ask for help with tales.
- 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.
- 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. Can generally answer questions about anthropology, psychology, gender, and sexuality. Willing to take and relay questions about site administration to the rest of staff. An active administrator at the Wanderers Library.
- 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. Feel free to show your ideas to him. Useful in the ideas department, not so much in the editing. Wiki name: Arlecchino. Also goes by Doctopus and related handles on 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.
- Dr. Kens: Materials scientist and engineer (in training), and also a freelance photographer! He does a lot of research work with nanomaterials in a lab. Feel free to ask him anything about science/engineering, research, lab work, and/or nanomaterials! He's usually willing to offer feedback and grammatical help.
- 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 49. 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.
- murphy_slaw periodically shows up in #site19, yells something inane, and then leaves. 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.
- 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. Will jump at the chance to proofread your article if you let him.
- Roget: The staff member with 12 different ways to pronounce his name. Pretty nice and willing to help people out, but is better at the general idea and structure criticisms than grammar or spelling. Also currently in charge of Far Recon and staff in the Wanderers Library.
- 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.
- Spikebrennan: Avuncular, cerebral, and probably older than you. Also, a lawyer. More interested in science fiction than horror. If you catch him on the chat, pitch your draft of your work to him: he is often willing to offer constructive criticism.
- Zyn: is happy you scrolled down all this way and read her name. Biology student, poetry fan, part-time violin tutor, and butterfly caretaker (generally of Nymphalis antiopa, in the spring). Zyn is readily available for answering of questions in #site19 and through wikidot PM.
Inactive Staff Members
These staff members have been deemed inactive, whether voluntarily or through a prolonged absence.