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Wikibooks:Strategy guides

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This is the policy for the inclusion of strategy guides and walkthroughs relating to video games. These should be placed on Shelf:Electronic games. See Wikibooks:Reading room/Proposals#Draft policy created for the ongoing discussion.

Historical background

Video game strategy guides and walk-throughs were banned from Wikibooks in 2007, although scholarly analysis of video games, or guides on the design of video games, have always been allowed. Following from this decision, most guides were migrated to StrategyWiki, an existing wiki with a compatible license.

Following the strong consensus at a community discussion in early 2021, this was reversed, as it was felt that it was no longer logical to exclude books on video games that described strategy. But there was also strong consensus that a policy would be needed to implement this change.

Overview of policy

The main consideration is that Wikibooks has a number of policies and guidelines relating to content, and nothing in this policy supersedes these. Instead it provides additional guidance for strategy guides, which should conform with the purpose of Wikibooks as an educational resource that allows textbooks, annotated texts, instructional guides, and manuals.

Copyright considerations

With this screenshot from the game Celeste, the developer confirmed a compatible license with an OTRS ticket, allowing it to be hosted at Commons
A freely-licensed image created to illustrate gameplay of the game Portal

Wikibooks has strict rules regarding copyrights: see Wikibooks:Copyrights for the full policy.

In particular:

  • If you contribute text directly to Wikibooks, you irrevocably agree to license it to the public for reuse under the CC BY-SA and GFDL.
  • Many sources will be copyrighted, and while providing citations to these are permitted the copying of content is normally prohibited; the doctrine of fair use should only be used as described by policy.
  • If sources have licenses that are compatible with that of Wikibooks, then the importing of content may be feasible, but carefully examine licenses for any restrictions that may apply.
  • Avoid plagiarism of any sources that you use for your guide; you should always attribute content to the original source.
  • If in doubt over copyright, ask somewhere like the assistance reading room.
  • If importing, make sure that the source wiki itself isn't in violation - things that may be fine there need not be accepted here! For instance, StrategyWiki allows using video game handbook content verbatim in articles, but this is not allowed on Wikibooks (except in small portions) unless the video game handbook itself was released under a free licence, which is usually not the case. Your only option would be to possibly upload the handbook itself as a non-free document.

Screenshots and other media usage

The usage of media, such as images, videos and sounds, is strictly limited by policy: see Wikibooks:Media for the full policy.

Media in Wikibooks usually fall into two broad categories:

  • Media in the public domain, or under a Commons-compatible free license. New media in this category should be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons; you can also search Commons for suitable media that are already there. Media at Commons may still be copyrighted, but their free licenses allow for their liberal reuse in books.
  • Non-free media, which must be uploaded to Wikibooks, and only used under the strict terms of the non-free media usage policy. Non-free media are copyrighted, and the policy for their reuse relates to the doctrine of fair use in US law. Trusted users needing to upload non-free media can apply for local uploader rights, and other users can ask for non-free media to be uploaded at requests for import.

Screenshots taken from copyrighted games are usually copyrighted non-free media; exceptions to this are rare, but the EULA (end-user license agreement) can be consulted to check this. Non-free media rules would normally apply to screenshots of popular games and series like Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto, and Pokémon.

Screenshots of open-source games may be in the public domain, or compatible with an appropriate free license; but carefully examine the EULA of open-source games as there can be exceptions. If a developer consents to donating screenshots, you may consider going through OTRS with them to make otherwise non-free media available under a free license.

Copyright issues relating to media can be complex, but a good place to ask would be Commons:Village pump/Copyright; but first read Commons:FAQ, Commons:Licensing, and Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter. To get around the restrictions on non-free media, graphical images and other media can be created to demonstrate gameplay, that are not screenshots nor restrictively copyrighted; examples of these can be found at Category:Video game gameplay at Commons.

Other considerations

Only include significant games

Please do not include strategy guides for video games that are likely not significant to the wider gaming community. Wikibooks is not a place to merely advertise your or your friend's game. A useful rule of thumb is to look at review aggregator websites such as Metacritic or OpenCritic; if a video game listed there has garnered reviews, there is every indication that the game is widely significant.

Inclusion of games in other prominent review sites may also indicate significance. If there is doubt whether a game is significant, this should be discussed at venues such as the projects reading room.

Employ an academic tone

In general, an academic tone should be employed in strategy guides. Overall, the style should be that of the academic writing that you might find in a textbook, research paper, or encyclopedia. In particular, advertising or self-promotion, or other types of endorsements, should be avoided; and a neutral point of view, which is a fair and neutral description of the facts, should always be presented.

It can be helpful to give a wider context to video game strategy, such as a historical or technical discussion of the game.

Avoid primary research

Wikibooks does not allow primary research, such as proposing new theories and solutions, and presenting original ideas. However, you can use video games as a primary source; and it is reasonable to describe elements of strategy that are likely to be encountered during a typical play-through of a game. But opinions about the relative benefits of strategies should be avoided, unless they are obvious, or else provided by citing reliable secondary or tertiary sources. It is preferable to provide references for citations of any secondary or tertiary sources.

Citing secondary or tertiary sources may also help in maintaining a neutral point of view; any controversial statements should be shown within the context of other opinions, and reliable sources should help in providing these.

See also