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7/31/2008 12:33:05   

Guidelines to Guides
Tips for making great guides!

Before I even start, I'd like to say that this thread is only a few helpful hints on how to make a guide better. If you want to read a really great guide on how to make really great guides (the source of much of the information in this thread), please visit the AQ Guides section of the forums and read Eternal Chaos' The Guidewriter's Manual to Excellence.

{000}Table of Contents
Use "Ctrl + F" and input the bracketed numbers (for example, {000}) to find individual sections of this post. (Try it now!)

{000}Table of Contents
{001}Common Misconceptions
{002}General Guidelines
{003}Things that AREN'T so Great

{001}Common Misconceptions

When you write a guide, you have to know a few things. Without knowing them, your guide will be just another sort-of-helpful post. In knowing these things, you will able to write a truly great guide. The following are untrue ideas about guides that many people have:

1. A guide is just a post with information on a subject.
False! A guide is a multi-faceted, all-encompassing post or posts that thoroughly explains, covers, and/or handles a certain situation, battle, or activity within the world of DragonFable. A guide is not two or three sentences, or even two or three paragraphs.

2. Great guidewriters can construct a guide on anything in under an hour.
False! A guide cannot really be made in an hour, or even in two hours. Many of the greatest guides take many hours over several days to research, construct, and code.

3. Great guides don't have to follow anyone's rules but mine.
False! First of all, the rules are there for a reason. Formatting rules are there to make things easy on reader's eyes; image rules are there to make things easy on reader's connections. Secondly, rule-breaking posts get locked or deleted, so your guide can't be great if it's not there! A no-brainer, huh? :P

4. People will know DF's background. I don't need to explain anything except my subject matter.
False! You have to assume that the people that are reading your guide know next-to-nothing about DF. You can never have too much information, but it is very easy to have too little.

Basically, great guidewriters take their time and have a great knowledge and passion about their subject, and great guides are thorough and neat. Do that, and you'll be well on your way to writing a great guide!

{002}General Guidelines

Before you start working up a guide, you need to have some idea of the "tricks of the trade" -- tools that will take an ordinary helpful post, or even an ordinary guide, and make it into a great guide.

1. Make sure you are not making a guide that has already been made! Use the search feature as well as the =DF= Guides Index to make sure your idea is a new one. If your Pending Guide is a repeat of an already-approved Guide, it will be locked.

2. Always use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Nothing says "unreliable" like a guide full of leet speak, bad spelling, and run-on sentences. A typo here and there is not going to make or break your guide, but use proper English, run your guide through a word processor to spell-check, and proofread. Make sure things make sense!

3. Provide as much information as possible. Be thorough. As I said before, you need to instruct your readers as if they were absolute beginners and newcomers to the DragonFable world and the forums. Make sure you provide as much information on both your subject and things directly connected; for example, if you wanted to make a guide to tell someone how to burn a CD on a computer, you would want to tell them which computer program to use, and how to open it. It sounds simplistic, but your readers will thank you -- you might be an expert, but not everyone is!

4. Be organized. Make sure that things are in order and it is easy to tell where one section ends and the next one begins. As silly as this sounds, when writing a guide oftentimes (I know this is true for me!) your first draft will end up as a giant blob of text or a mess of notes to yourself, and might even be all out of order. Make sure that not only is each section in the proper order (for example, in a guide to achieving a full set of Pirate skills, farming for a Black Pearl would come before presenting a Black Pearl to Captain Rhubarb), but it is easy to tell which section is which. You can use horizontal breaks or image dividers, but remember that any image dividers would count towards the 500KB image limit.

4a. Got a long guide? Organize it with a search-able index and "symbols." If your guide is longer in length, use a combination of special text symbols (such as -=, {}, or &*) to make it easy to find things, as demonstrated with this guide. It's not easy to scroll through a long guide and find the section you want, so using a symbol like "{" followed by a number or letter, and then closing with another symbol like "}" makes things easy to find. Then, all you have to do to find a specific section is to hit "Ctrl + F" and type in the "code" (for instance, in this guide, this section's code is "{002}"). Make sure you include a Table of Contents so that people know which "symbol" goes with which section!

5. Use simple and easy-to-read formatting.
  • A. Color
    Color is cool but this is hard to read. Color like this is a lot easier to read and draws attention to the word. Also remember that the Guides rules say that 90% of your guide should be in black text.
  • B. Bold / Italics / Underline
    Bold, italicized, and underlined text can add a lot to your guide. These formatting styles can be used to make headings, draw attention to a certain word or link, or emphasize a point. However, they lose their potency when an entire paragraph, sentence, or even just a whole line is formatted this way. Use these tags sparingly, and again recall that Guides rules state that 90% of your post should be in normal (that is, unformatted) text.
  • C. Larger Font Sizes (3+)
    Large font can be great for headings but too much of it is distracting. Make sure to keep font sizes larger than 3 to a minimum, and make sure that your post follows the Guides rule concerning formatting.

    For more information on forum coding and how to use it, please check out
    Forum Commands (screenshots, images, links, colors, signatures)

    6. Make it look nice. While you need to use formatting sparingly, it can also help you make your guide look very nice and very neat. Consider using numbered and/or bulleted lists, horizontal dividers, and font formatting to make your post look nice, and use the "Preview" button (next to "OK") to get a look at your guide before posting it!

    7. Add links. Links add a lot of depth and helpful information to your post without you actually having to post the info yourself. Mention The Sandsea or the Crystal Clear Lake in your guide? Link to them, and people can find out all about them while you continue on with your guide. Depending on the number of links in a sentence and how many links are close by, you may wish to make a link bold to make it stand out more. NEVER change the color of a link away from the default, and never surround a link with blue text.

    8. Always give credit. If someone helps you out with your guide, be it correcting a typo, correcting some information, or helping you reformat the entirety of your post, you need to give them credit somewhere in your guide. Not only is it rude if you don't, but it is also against forum rules, as taking other people's work and claiming it as your own is plagiarizing.

    9. Proofread! I can't stress this enough -- look over your guide before you post it! If you want, have someone else look over it too, and a lot of times they will catch mistakes that you may have missed. It's doubly hard to proofread your own work.

    Perhaps most important is to note that for a guide to be on its way to greatness, all of the above should be done before the first version is ever posted in Pending Guides!

    {003}Things that AREN'T so Great

    Just as there are things that make a guide truly great, there are some things that can really do your guide in and make it, well, bad (which means, not likely or not at all likely to be approved). D:

    Some of these things are:

    1. Making a guide that has already been made. I cannot say this enough! The fastest way to get your pending guide locked permanently is to try and make a repeat of an already approved and updated guide. If you have an update or correction, post it in the Update / Correction Request Thread - don't post your corrections as a thread, or worse, copy the guide and correct it. This also counts topically, not just totally copying. For instance, there are several farming guides - it's not a good idea to make a farming guide, therefore, because we already have them! Lots of them, even! Look before you leap, and search before you put a lot of time and effort into a post that is a repeat.

    2. Making a guide that is (1) nearly identical to an Encyclopedia entry, (2) is a compilation of Encyclopedia entries, or (3) has a whole board dedicated to it. There is a reason we have the Dragonfable Encyclopedia - making guide that is simply a repeat of that information is just as bad as copying an already-made guide.

    Guides that are truly great offer NEW and COMPREHENSIVE information on a subject - information/insight that is not obtainable anywhere else! See the Frequently Tried Guides (FTG) add-on for more information on this subject.

    3. Making a guide about something you are not familiar with. Nothing says "I am not a reliable source" like making a guide that says something like: "You should use SRoD against skeletons becus SRoD pwns!" Make sure you know what you are talking about! Have knowledge and passion about the subject you're writing about - knowledge is essential, and passion will help your guide go from "good" to "great."

    4. Making a guide that requires updating, and never updating it. First of all, doing this is a great way to get your guide forcibly and permanently retired (which is not good!). Secondly, you are doing no one a favor by presenting a great guide and then letting it decay with time. Keep your guide up, and looking great, and it will be great! ^_^

    However, knowing when to let go is just as important. If you feel you can no longer take care of your guide, please let us know in the All-Purpose Locking / Deleting / Retiring Thread

    A few points of note:
    1) If you KNOW you will be away for a while (longer than 2 weeks) on vacation, a trip, etc., and FULLY INTEND on returning to the forums and updating your guide upon your return home (or wherever), let myself or an AK of this forum know via PM and we will make a note about it so that your guide is not retired. Also, edit a line into the top of your guide, so that people know that you are gone.
    2) If you TRULY feel that you need to reply to your own guide to updated, again, write a PM to myself or an AK explaining why (with good reasons!) and we will consider moving your guide to Pending Guides temporarily in order for you to update. Have the post ready for as soon as we move the guide, so that things happen as quickly as possible, and above all, make sure you have a good reason! (It is wise, therefore, to try and make use of horizontal rules and search-able indices in your guides so that this will not need to happen.)

    6. Completely ignoring other people's comments. If they are trying to help you, even if they are wrong, you should still thank them for their help. Also, try to explain quickly why you are not updating the guide as they ask. If you accept someone's correction or update, make sure you credit them!

    Avoid this stuff, and half the battle of making a great guide is over without a fight!


    Whew! This guide looks kind of intimidating now! Let's boil down the main guidelines to guides:

    1. Make it look, sound, and read well. Good grammar, good formatting, good info.

    2. Keep it updated.

    3. Give credit where it's due.

    And there you have it! Of course, these are only steps to help make your guide great - it certainly makes no guarantees! However, if you follow these guidelines (and for the most part, they are guidelines and not hard and fast rules), you will certainly make your guide a lot better, and perhaps you can make a great guide!

    Happy writing!


    1. Eternal Chaos! Even though I didn't ask him. Thank you, dear man, for making The Guidewriter's Manual to Excellence, thank you!
    2. Aerowarrior, for helping me update, correct, and reword the General Guidelines section, and for #2 in section {003}.
    3. Brilliancy, for correcting many of my silly mistakes. ;)
    4. All the readers who, because of this thread, make truly great guides! You are what keeps this forum running. Thank you. :)

    < Message edited by Zyrain -- 12/29/2017 6:45:36 >
  • AQ DF MQ  Post #: 1
    9/11/2008 18:08:32   
    Warrior of Aero...

    Frequently-Tried Guide Topics
    Topics to watch out for, and Topics to Avoid

    What is a "Frequently-Tried Guide"?
    A Frequently-Tried Guide (FTG) is a guide with a topic that has been attempted many times. The topic is such that a proper guide is difficult to make, whether because the topic already had many guides made on the subject, because the topic is hard to cover comprehensively, or the topic's material is already mostly covered in other areas of the forums.

    Some FTG topics are viable--they are simply difficult to tackle due to the level of original insight needed. Others suffer from the lack of actual subject matter on which to base a guide, or the overabundance of material. Still other FTG topics are not viable due to either (1) the already available guides on the subject or (2) the already available information on the subject in other areas of the forums.

    Will I get in trouble for using an FTG topic?
    As said above, some FTG topics are perfectly viable, just difficult. You're perfectly welcome to attempt these topics; they are covered in the section Topics to Watch Out For. Other FTG topics are not viable, and many of them never will be, for various reasons. These topics are covered in Topics to Avoid.

    FTG topics that are in Topics to Avoid will be locked. If you continue to make these topics, in ignorance of this thread, you may receive a warning from a Guides ArchKnight or Moderator.

    Topics to Watch Out For

    These topics are difficult. Be prepared to work extra hard.

    1. Guides to Activities
    Guides to activities are any guides that attempt to cover an activity, such as a chain of quests or a skill/class chain (like Blacksmithing). These topics are often difficult because so much of the information needed for the guide is already contained within the DragonFable Encyclopedia. These guides need a high level of original analysis and insight in order to be viable--that is, it’s totally unnecessary for you to just repeat what is in the 'Pedia entry.

    2. Guides to Events
    Guides to events are any guides that attempt to cover the storyline and activities of a single event, such as a war, or a special storyline quest. Guides like these are nearly always too short--the cutscene or storyline that occurs in a special quest or event is not enough to base a full guide on. Furthermore, there is already a very comprehensive DragonFable History and Plot Synopsis. If you really feel that the event you want to cover needs a guide, and has enough material to be a guide topic, you’re still welcome to try, but just remember--it ain’t easy!

    3. Lists of Stat Builds for <Insert Class>, or for All Classes
    Lists of builds are incredibly difficult to accomplish for several reasons. First of all, the subject, even for a single class, is incredibly broad. Every player has a slightly different opinion of how his or her stats should be distributed and you’ll have to at least cover most of them if you want a viable guide. Secondly, stats in DragonFable are not even fully understood, and so it is difficult to determine just what exactly makes the “best” build for a certain class--we can make fairly educated guesses, but that’s about it. Finally, we have a very useful DragonFable Q&A forum, where you can go and get advice concerning your build based upon your individual playing style and needs. Again, this guide can be tried, but it’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination!

    4. Guides to being a <Insert Class>
    Once again, we’re looking at a subject that is incredibly broad. There are countless ways to play each class in DragonFable, and therefore it’s nearly impossible to present comprehensive information on the subject. Furthermore, much of the information needed can be found in the respective class’s entry in the Classes / Abilities section of the DragonFable Encyclopedia.

    Topics to Avoid

    These topics are essentially illegal. Avoid them.

    1. Farming Guides
    We already have a detailed comprehensive guide to farming. Farming guides include (but are not limited too) how to farm a certain quest, how to farm as a low-level character, how to farm as a high-level character, or how to farm for a certain object. We do not need more farming guides.

    2. Equipment Comparison / Battle Strategy Guides
    We already have areas of the forum centered around these two topics: the DragonFable Equipment Comparison forum, and the DragonFable Strategy Forum. These forums’ function is to be the guide for any and all of these needs. They replace the need for EC and BS guides. Therefore, such guides should be avoided. Note: This also includes “recommendation” guides, or guides for comparing accessories/pets/etc for different classes. Take it to the EC.

    3. “How to have an Uber / Awesome / Godly Character” Guides
    This topic treads the fine line between one to watch out for, and one to avoid. The main problem with these topics is that ninety-nine times out of one hundred, they are essentially a listing of the best equipment available for a certain base class, and where these items are located. Information about the weapons in DF is available in the Weapons section of the Encyclopedia, and information about the “best” weapons, as well as other “best” equipment is located in the DragonFable Equipment Comparison area of the DF boards.

    4. Independent A-Z Indices
    This information is also contained in Guidelines to Guides (Section {003}, point 2), but it is worth stating again--indices are only needed if a Guides mod or AK requests them in the Guide Request thread. Otherwise, they should not be made.

    5. “Short and Sweet” Guides
    Do you have a topic that you would describe as short and sweet? Are you an expert at it? That’s great! However, Guides is not the place for you. This forum is concerned with the more complicated and technical aspects of DF that need more lengthy explanations. Got something “short and sweet”? Your information is probably in high demand in the DragonFable Q&A. :)


    While this might seem intimidating, there really is a host of subjects that guides can be written about, and since DragonFable is ever-evolving, there will always be new aspects that possibly need guides written about them. That means that this guide will be ever-evolving too, as a way to help you--the guide writer--do the best you can in this forum!

    Frequently-Asked Questions

    1. What do I do if I’m unsure if my guide topic is allowable or not?
    Your best bet is to PM a Guides ArchKnight. The list of Guides staff is located in the Guides Rules.

    2. I’m confused! Am I not allowed to make a farming guide/other guide under “Topics to Avoid”?
    For all intents and purposes, no, you’re not. These guides can never be approved due to certain Guides rules about content and comprehensiveness.

    3. What about “Topics to Watch out For”? Can I make guides with those topics?
    Yes you can, but be ready to work extra hard and think outside the box to get them approved!

    4. I have a topic that should be added to this guide! Who should I contact?
    You should a DF Guides AK. Again, the list of AKs and links to PM them are available in the Guides Rules.


    The DF Guides AKs, especially Brilliancy, for their numerous topics and constant help.
    PaperClip of DOOM, for his additional help in constructing this.
    westward_ho!, for writing this.

    < Message edited by Peachii -- 4/10/2017 2:38:07 >
    AQ DF MQ  Post #: 2
    1/26/2012 21:49:17   

    Been wondering how to get your thread approved? Curious about the exact process? Here is where to find the info you seek!

    This forum is going to run like this:

    1. You post a guide (I'm not doing the work for you ). Make sure you follow all the rules! ^_^
    2. You get feedback (we hope) on the guide.
    3. You improve the guide, and make it super great!
    4. When you feel the guide is ready, post in the Approval Request Thread.
    5. A decision is made by a Guides AK or mod.

    Frequently Asked Questions (the FAQ part)

    Can I still work on my guide if I don't get approved?
    Of course! If your guide has the potential to be approved but is just not ready, you can take as long as you need to get it there!

    What if someone posts a guide on my topic and it is approved before mine, even though mine was up for approval first?
    Unfortunately, this means that your guide is no longer viable. This is why it is essential to make your guide as good as possible before even posting it.

    Conversely, of course, it is completely illegal and wrong to take someone's code, spiff it up, and get their guide approved as yours. If you feel someone has infringed on your work, please contact a Guides AK or mod politely and immediately when you notice.

    I want to quit! My guide has not been approved!
    First of all, please don't quit! It might take only a little more work to improve your guide. However, if you wish to discontinue work on a pending guide that is up for approval, you must do two things.
    1. Post in the All-Purpose Locking / Deleting / Retiring Thread that you wish your thread to be locked and why.
    2. Edit your post in the Approval Request Thread to indicate that you have stopped working on the guide and no longer wish to have it checked to be approved.

    My guide is a Farming / Uber Weapons / frequently-suggested guide, but it's different, I swear! Will it get approved?
    A general guideline to go on is that if your thread is not about 75% or more new material (that is, your original work), then don't post it. Use the guide that is already available.

    FAQs will be added as they are asked :)

    < Message edited by Peachii -- 4/10/2017 2:38:37 >
    AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 3
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