The Joe Frank Wiki:Style Guide

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Our top priority at is to support the work of Joe Frank, to broaden his audience where possible, and to facilitate discussion and analysis of his work. Because of our respect for Joe Frank and his work, we have sought to establish an editorial policy which is respectful of his intellectual property while satisfying the needs of his audience to study his body of work. We therefore ask all wiki contributors to follow these guidelines when editing or creating a synopsis of a Joe Frank program:

  • Be as terse as possible. The goal is to be able to identify a show, without giving away its nuances.
  • Try to identify and articulate the themes of a program, rather than providing an inventory of the literal details of the narrative from moment to moment.
  • If it is absolutely necessary to reveal a surprising or sensitive detail in a synopsis, consider adding a {{Spoiler}} tag at the top of the article.


Here are some general editing guidelines we ask that you follow.

Always use the Summary box

When editing pages, always fill in the "Summary" box above the Save/Preview buttons before saving, and make sure that you fill it in with something useful describing the edit you made and, if it's not obvious, why. For example, "fixed spelling error" or "added fun fact" or "reverted from troll" are all acceptable. Saying "made some changes" or just filling in the name of the page is not helpful, because it's information that we already have. Making your summaries accurate and useful makes it vastly easier for the rest of us to keep track of Recent Changes and keeps everybody happy.

Use the Minor Edit button

As a corollary to the above, if you're making a minor edit (e.g. fixing a spelling error or tweaking formatting), check the "This is a minor edit" button below the Summary box before saving the page. Again, this will make things easier for the rest of us.

Don't link to the current page

In other words, a page should not link to itself.

Link once

A given page should only contain one link to any other page. If a page links to Larry Block in one place, then that should be the only link to Larry on that page. Typically this link should be the first instance of the term in the article.

Don't use conversational style

This is an information site. It should read like Wikipedia, not like your diary.

  • Check your spelling and grammar. Don't use internet slang (ex. "How r u?" or "c u 2nite"). If you're not 100% sure about the way a word is spelled, type it into Google or If you know that you're not the strongest speller, compose your edits in a word processor like Microsoft Word that has spell-checking built in.
  • Interesting facts should be written as statements, not questions. If you're not sure about a fact, use language like "may" or "could be" to indicate ambiguity; don't phrase it as a question. Each page has a "Discussion" subpage we use for asking each other about stuff like this.
  • Don't use "smileys" or "emoticons", except perhaps in discussion pages or your own user page.
  • Don't "reply" to content others have posted. If you think a particular point warrants discussion, post on the article's Discussion page. If you're 100% sure that something should be changed and don't think a discussion is necessary, just change it. Dialogue goes only on articles' Discussion pages.
  • Don't leave notes or instructions to future editors like "Add more information here if you find it". Again, use the article's Discussion page if you want to communicate with other editors.
  • Never abbreviate the names of characters, actors or things on the site (e.g. DMW or SoT). Wherever possible, use the full name the first time it is mentioned. After the first mention, you may refer to "Debi Mae West" as "Debi" and so forth.

Don't sign your edits

All contributions are appreciated, but if every user left their mark on every contribution they made, the Wiki would be nothing but signatures. If you've made an edit that you're particularly proud of, the correct place to take credit is on your own user page. If you do not have a user account, we respect your anonymity, but your edits will remain anonymous, too.

Do sign your Talk posts

If you make a post on a discussion page, please sign it. If you have a user account, this is as easy as typing "~~~~" at the end of your post. If you don't have a user account, just sign it with your name or nickname so everybody can tell who's who when reading long conversations. Even better, create an account anyway and use the signature method described. There really is no reason not to if you're going to stick around.

Keep it friendly

Wikipedia's article on wikiquette is a good place to learn the ins and outs of maintaining the health of our Wiki community.

Program Writeup Format

Here is how we're structuring program writeups. See Higher Learning for a nice example.

== Synopsis ==

== Interesting Facts ==

== Commentary ==


== External Links ==

{{The Other Side}}

[[Category: Absurd Monologue]]


Guidelines for including personal opinion are described elsewhere.

Categories vs. Templates

WikiMedia can do some clever things with cross referencing and templates that can make our lives easier when it comes to managing links between pages.


Categories involve placing special wiki text at the end of the article, like this:

[[Category:Absurd Monologue]]
[[Category:Narrative Monologue]]

When you do this, two things happen:

  1. a nicely formatted block of category links is placed at the bottom of your article, and
  2. those category pages are automatically populated with alphabetized links to your article.

To create a link to a category page without making your article itself part of that category (like we do from the Main Page), use a leading colon, like this:

[[:Category:Absurd Monologue]]

Suggested uses for wiki categories are the "types" of shows originally articulated in The Joe Frank Reminder and listed on the Main Page of this wiki. Using this capability to manage series of shows ("Somewhere Out There" and "The Other Side" for example) is not recommended; see "Templates" below.


Templates are like macros. Text that we want to appear in many places without lots of retyping can be entered a single time and included with a special code in lots of pages.

To include, for example, a collection of links to each page for the shows belonging to the series "Somewhere Out There", use this syntax:

{{Somewhere Out There}}

Like anything else in a wiki, each template has its own page for editing purposes. To see (or edit) the material presented when {{Somewhere Out There}} is included in a page, visit Template: Somewhere Out There.

So: we use categories for show types, and we use templates to manage links to members of each series. As for cast members (Debi, for example), the current practice is to use categories, and that seems to make sense for now.

Just in Case: Titles and Capitalization

Links in WikiMedia are case sensitive. A link to In The Dark might take you to a different article than a link to In the Dark. So which one is correct? We have adopted the following titling guidelines:

  • Since series titles are sort of special, we capitalize all of their words. Hence: "Work In Progress". Exception: "WBAI and NPR Playhouse", since that's really two series joined into one category.
  • Names of individual shows: per the common-sense title capitalizing rules implemented by the perl module Text::Capitalize, every word in a program title should be capitalized, except: 1) the articles a, an and the; 2) two and three-letter conjunctions: and, or, nor, for, but, so and yet; 3) short prepositions: to, of, by, at, for, but and in. If one of these appears as the the first or last word of a title, then it should be capitalized.
  • If a program is a remix of another program ("At the Border (remix)"), leave "remix" in lower case.
  • This is more of a titling rule than a case rule, but if an article like a, an or the is the first word in a program name, leave it capitalized and move it to the end, like "Call in the Night, A" so it will alphabetize properly.
  • But if you're linking to a show with a title like that, use WikiMedia's syntax to make it prety, like this: [[Call in the Night, A|A Call in the Night]].
  • Programs split over multiple parts should be named according to these examples:
    • Karma (part 2)
    • Dictator, The (part 3)

If you find an article or a link that has been misnamed, feel free to fix it!

  • In the case of incorrect links, go ahead and change them, first making sure they point to a page that exists.
  • If a page exists with incorrect case, you can move it such that its capitalization is correct. Please do not just delete it, copying its text to a new location. Using the "move" feature will cause all remaining incorrect links (or mistyped searches) to be properly redirected.

Naming conventions for remixes and rebroadcasts

There seems to be some confusion about which programs get a "remix" tag, no doubt inherited from the labeling scheme at They seem to use "remix" in four different situations:

  • programs which have the same title as previous shows (eg. Red Sea remix)
  • programs with unique titles but which include large amounts of material taken from previous shows (Brothers remix)
  • programs which share text but not audio with other shows (Fat Man Down remix)
  • programs which seem to have been rebroadcast without change (eg. Policemans' Ball remix, if the non-remix version isn't simply a mistake).

In order to clarify matters, we're going to try to use the following guidelines instead. (If you disagree with this policy or have a better idea, let's discuss it.)

  • programs which have the same name as previous shows but content which is not identical get the tag "remix," or in cases where a convention already exists, a year. Thus, Red Sea (remix) keeps its title.
  • programs which only contain audio taken from more than one previous program get no special tag, but they get added to the category "compilations."
  • programs which only contain a remix of material from a single previous program but were broadcast with a new and unique name don't get any special tag, but we make a note of the relationship. Thus, Brothers (remix) becomes Brothers, and it gets a note about Jerry's World in the article.
  • Programs which are rebroadcast without change in more than one series get two pages. The main article should have a title with no extra tag and include the template for the earlier series. Then, we add "title (rebroadcast)" to the template for the second series, and make that article a redirect. In the body of the main article we mention both series.
  • When uses the word "remix" but we do not, mention that at the top of the article. For example, "Brothers, also called Brothers (remix), is the name of a program. . . "

Adding Information About Music

Beau Gunderson has given his permission to add the information on his music page to the Wiki. Here is how we decided to format this information.

== Music ==


{{Music template 1}}
{{Music template 2}}

See below for discussion on the "music templates". The {{Music-stub}} is only for programs where we think we have an incomplete understanding of the music featured in the program.

Each Song Gets Its Own Template

Every song that appears in a Joe Frank program will get its own template. The advantage to this is that we only need to construct the syntax and links for a song once, not multiple times, for those songs that appear in many programs. Another advantage is that this approach lets us quickly see which programs a given song appears in, as will be explained below.

Let's take as an example the song "Spacebeach" by Arling & Cameron. This song can be heard in nearly every Karma-style program. We have created a template for this song that can be added to the music section of a write-up by entering this text: {{Spacebeach (Arling & Cameron)}}.

The contents of this template can be seen and edited using the following link: Template:Spacebeach (Arling & Cameron). Here is what the template contains:

* ''"[[:Category:Spacebeach (Arling & Cameron)|Spacebeach]]"'' - 
[[:Category:Arling & Cameron|Arling & Cameron]] (from
"Music for Imaginary Films"], 2000)
[[Category:Spacebeach (Arling & Cameron)]]
[[Category:Arling & Cameron]]

This text produces a nicely formatted bullet containing the song title and artist, with a link to the page for the album on which the song appears. Go play in the sandbox and add {{Spacebeach (Arling & Cameron)}} to see the effect. It more or less looks like this, but with links:

  • "Spacebeach" - Arling & Cameron (from "Music for Imaginary Films", 2000)

When constructing your Amazon links, truncate this:

To this for a pure, sessionless, free-of-amazon-associates-referral-data link:

Each Song Gets Its Own Category Page

Also note the "Category" links within and at the bottom of the song template in the example above. One refers to an artist category, and one refers to a song category; the effect of this is that each of the linked category pages will contain a list of all programs where a certain song (or artist) can be heard. We also add a [[Category:Recording Artists]] link to each artist category page, and a [[Category:Songs]] link to each song category page. More on this below.

Adding Music: A Summary

So here are the steps to adding music information to a program write-up:

NOTE: See the discussion here before you use this recipe.

  1. See if a template already exists for your song. (Example: search for "Spacebeach", find a reference to it in Karma (part 2), edit the program write-up to discover the template exists as {{Spacebeach (Arling & Cameron)}}).
    • If it exists, simply add the template in the "== Music ==" section, and you're done.
    • If not, continue to the next step.
  2. Add a reference to a (nonexistent) template to the program write-up in the format {{Title (artist)}}. Preview your changes (by clicking "Show Preview").
  3. Note the broken template link. Open this link in a new window to create the template, and create it by using the syntax shown above. Save the new template.
  4. Click "Show Preview" again in your program writeup. The information you placed in the template should appear in your writeup. Note the broken links to category pages. Open a new window with the artist and song category pages, and place some text in there, like "here are the programs where this song/artist can be heard." Add a [[Category:Recording Artists]] link to the artist category page, and add a [[Category:Songs]] link to the song category page. Save the category pages.
  5. Click "Show Preview" one last time in your program writeup. Your template should now look correct. Save your program writeup.

One Last Example

We realize this may be confusing. If you prefer to learn by example, let's look at "Spacebeach" again.