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For a general history of the Fossil Wiki, and an overview of it, see the About page.

General questionsEdit

What is Fossil Wiki?Edit

Fossil Wiki is a free content, freely editable online encyclopedia about everything Fossil related.

Who owns Fossil Wiki?Edit

Fossil Wiki is hosted by Wikia, a free wiki hosting service operated by Wikia, Inc., a for-profit organization founded by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley. Wikia receives all profit from the Google AdSense advertisements on Fossil Wiki. Wikia is responsible for technical issues with the site; it also sometimes provides legal advice and is our legal Designated Agent.
However, the Fossil Wiki content, licensed under the GFDL, is not "owned" by anyone in the traditional sense. Anyone can reuse it elsewhere or even download the database dump and make a mirror or "fork" (not that we would be very excited in the latter case, though).

When and why was Fossil Wiki created?Edit

Fossil Wiki was started by Meghunter99 in January 2009 as a project that would provide a more complete coverage of fossils and paleontological topics than Wikipedia was allowed to by its notability policies. For example, almost every genus on Fossil Wiki has a separate article, while on Wikipedia, minor genera are grouped into long "List of related genera" articles. More notable fossil specimens also have their own articles, such as the Sacaco dentition, or Jane the t-rex. A smaller wiki is also easier to manage, customize and verify (when it comes to factual accuracy).
Our first articles were forked from the English Wikipedia, although most articles have since been completely rewritten to the point that almost no Wikipedia material remains as of now, and the material that does remain mostly constitutes imported policies and guidelines.

Who is responsible for the Fossil Wiki content?Edit

You are! In fact, you can edit this very FAQ! However, note that since Fossil Wiki is a community-driven project, edited by hundreds of people unfamiliar with each other, we cannot possibly guarantee any degree of accuracy and validity, although we do strive for both accuracy and verifiability; this means that everyone should be able to verify the facts mentioned in every article. This is why all Fossil-related articles have lists of references and sources, and why all articles are referenced.
You can find who contributed to a particular article by looking at its edit history.

What keeps Fossil Wiki from being destroyed?Edit

Every Fossil Wiki article contains an edit history (accessible from the "history" tab by default), which records all edits to the article since it was created. In case someone makes a bad edit (intentionally or not) by vandalizing the article, anyone can revert (restore) the article to an earlier, better revision.

Legal questionsEdit

Is Fossil Wiki copyrighted?Edit

Yes, all contributions are copyrighted by the people who made them. This means that if you edit an article, you hold copyright for the edits you made, but not for edits made by other people contributing to the same article.
The GNU Free Documentation License, which we use, leverages the legal institute of copyright to ensure that everyone will have the right to freely access, modify and redistribute licensed content, no matter what. Therefore, do not contribute if you do not want your edits to be in turn mercilessly edited by others.

Can I use Fossil Wiki content on my site/elsewhere?Edit

Yes! However, this only applies to the text, licensed under the GFDL, and a select few free images. Most of our images are Public Domain.
If you use Fossil Wiki articles elsewhere, all you are legally required to do (by the license) is to add a copyright notice saying that the article is copyrighted and licensed under the GFDL, and a link to the original Fossil Wiki article. You can freely modify and redistribute the material, provided that you license your modifications under the GFDL as well. You cannot license it on other conditions or put it in the public domain, nor can you claim copyright for content you did not write yourself (everyone only holds copyright to the contributions they themselves made).

Can I use Fossil Wiki content on another wiki?Edit

Yes, if the said wiki is itself licensed under the GFDL. This includes all of Wikia (with the exception of Memory Alpha and Uncyclopedia, which are sister projects licensed under Creative Commons licenses) and most Wikimedia Foundation projects, including Wikipedia. In this case, the aforementioned copyright notice goes to the talk page of the said article; the restrictions still apply.

Can I use content from other sites on Fossil Wiki?Edit

No. By default, every work is copyrighted and the author holds exclusive rights to it, unless they explicitly release all or some of them. You can insert GFDL or public domain text into articles verbatim, but not anything else.

Technical questionsEdit

What wiki software does Fossil Wiki use?Edit

Fossil Wiki (and the rest of Wikia) uses MediaWiki, the same software as Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects. Wikia also uses some third-party extensions, which are available to all hosted wikis. The exact details can be found at Special:Version.

Where should I report technical issues?Edit

If they are indeed technical (like the site being down, or weird error messages) and not something within the users control (like templates), you can report them to the Wikia support channel on IRC, #wikia.

Do I have to register?Edit

While registration is optional, it is strongly recommended. You can view and edit pages as an anonymous user, but registration hides your IP address and gives you the ability to upload files, move (rename) pages, and edit so-called semi-protected pages (after a few days).
Most importantly, registration gives you an identity and makes you a full-fledged member of the Fossil Wiki community. After you register and make your first edit, another user will usually greet you on your talk page and give links to some useful information pages. Registration is the first step in earning reputation and respect.

Editing questionsEdit

See also Fossil Wiki:Editing FAQ

What is the difference between red, blue and light blue links?Edit

Blue links point to existing pages (like Main Page), red links point to nonexistent pages (like MediaWiki:Nonexistent), and light blue links are either external or interwiki links: in short, links that are supposed to point outside Fossil Wiki.

Where can I discuss pages?Edit

Each page has a built-in discussion (talk) page, which can be accessed via the "discussion" tab. While discussing articles, please limit your posts to the article content, not the article subject. For example, the Talk:Shark evolution page should not be used to find out who believes that sharks even evolved, but discussions whether (and how) it should be expanded, whether a certain image should be replaced or a section reworded are perfectly acceptable.

Somebody reverted my edits, what should I do?Edit

Generally, not revert to your version in turn. This can start a revert war (also known as edit war), which is seen as disruptive because it prevents other contributors from improving the same article. Instead, question yourself whether the revert was justified, look at the edit history for the reason given, and try to settle the case on the talk page.

What is a minor edit?Edit

A minor edit is an edit that it is so non-noteworthy that users monitoring the article can usually skip it. Examples are spelling and grammar corrections, corrections of formatting and template usage. Addition and omission of content, as well as factual corrections, are not minor edits and should not be marked as such.
If you accidentally marked a non-minor edit as a minor one, make a dummy edit (an edit that affects the source wikitext but not the output, like changing one space to two or vice versa), mark it as non-minor, and explain the problem.

What is a semi-protected page?Edit

Semi-protected pages are pages that can only be edited by registered users that have been registered for 4 days or longer. It is done to prevent pages from being vandalized by anonymous or very new users. Template pages are most likely to be protected in this manner. Like full protection, it is only used in extreme cases. If full protection is a last resort measure, semi-protection can be thought of as a "penultimate resort".

What is a fully protected page?Edit

A fully protected page is one which can only be edited by administrators. Very few articles should be in this state: it is primarily reserved for frequently used templates, where vandalism or misguided good-faith edits can cause problems on multiple articles. It may also be used temporarily to forestall edit disputes.

A section or sections of this article are under construction, and will be finished as soon as possible.

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