Indices : FAQs : About TypoWiki

Getting Started
Wiki Etiquette
A Brief FAQ-style Dialog

Getting Started

In a nutshell, the TypoWiki is an encyclopedia of typography for the Typophile community. Since it is a community-driven tool that can take shape in virtually infinite ways, it’s a natural evolution of the forum in that we can now separate factual information from opinion and discourse.

Best of all, the forums and wiki are fully integrated, so now we can all refer to wiki topics by simply wrapping the term in question in double brackets [ [ like this ] ]. Typophile will color the link green and follow the term with a small superscript “W.”

An entry does not have to exist to reference the Wiki. If you want to create a reference to a topic that could one day become an entry, simply wrap it in double brackets.. These "entries-in-waiting" are typically referred to as “stubs,” and graduate to standard entries once someone has added content. Stubs are distinguished from standard entries by a red "W".

Typophile co-creator, Jared Benson, says, "Personally I’m hoping that the wiki can become the go-to place for frequently asked questions that normally end up in the forums. Is there any reason why the wiki couldn’t or shouldn’t resolve questions like:
1. Does anyone know any fonts that look like font x?
2. What fonts go well with font x?
3. Can you guys recommend any good quirky rodeo fonts?"

Information taken from: http://typophile.com/node/12418

Wiki Etiquette

The rules of conduct for the Typowiki are different than those you may be used to for the Typophile forums. When authoring an article, you should be "concise, complete, and unafraid to pass judgement." However, wiki articles should not become biased. That is not to say that there is no room for opinion in Typowiki articles. In fact, articles on controversial topics that present multiple perspectives are more thought-provoking and more interesting for the reader. Linking to relevant discussion threads on Typophile is an excellent way to showcase differences of opinion and to direct interested readers to additional information on these types of topics. For an example of a well-written Typowiki article that presents differences of opinion in a fair and balanced manner, see the entry for Mrs Eaves.

In Review:

  • Base articles mainly on factual information
  • Be clear about what information is opinion
  • If you disagree with an opinion presented in an article, add another point of view
  • Leave arguments in the forum area
  • Respect both minority and majority opinions

If you would like to participate in a discussion on Typowiki etiquette, you may do so at: http://typophile.com/node/12424#comment-72477

A Brief FAQ-style Dialog

What if I have very strong opinions about a typeface, designer, or foundry?

That's nice, Sparky. You must be a very perceptive and discerning typographer, to have such strong opinions.

Of course you have strong opinions! Anyone who cares about fonts and type enough to participate in building the Typowiki must have a passion for them. But you're writing for a community resource, and when you write for Typowiki, you should be trying to write from the community's perspective. That's not to say that you have to squelch your opinion, or that every opinion has to be precisely balanced -- or even fair -- but it does mean you need to acknowledge your opinion isn't the only one out there. Also, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between colorfully expressing your opinion and libel, but you should know when you're being a jerk. Refrain.

But I really hate Helvetica a lot. I mean, come on. It's characterless and it's hard to read text set in it and it sucks.

I'm sure Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann, were they still alive, would be suitably chastened by all of the withering critiques directed towards their most famous achievement. There's no case left to be made for Helvetica, except for the fact that it was one the key type families used by one of the 20th century's most influential design movements, it's built into most laser printers, it's gotten used for who knows how many thousand corporate communication designs, and it's one of a vanishingly small number of typefaces to have an entire art book aimed at the general public dedicated to it. You don't like it. Terrific. The most noble thing you as a typographer can do to express your dislike for it is not to use it. But just because you don't like it doesn't give you the right to edit history, so even if you decide to rant and rave about its bland, beige horribleness on Typowiki, please do acknowledge its very important history and still-current popularity. Also, remember that Typophile has some very nice forums. As already mentioned, they're far more appropriate for getting your opinions off your chest.

What about Comic Sans? Can't we all agree it's terrible?

While it's true that even Vincent Connare, the designer of Comic Sans, is somewhat bemused by its ongoing popularity, and there is a rough consensus within the design world that it's a terrible font, it's also very popular with the general public. To dismiss that popularity instead of engaging with it would only alienate readers coming to Typowiki for information and advice. Also, Mr. Connare is a skilled type designer, and he really doesn't deserve the level of vitriol he's had leveled at him over the years.

All of the typefaces we love and hate so much were designed by other people, many of whom are still alive. Unless you want Typophile to be perceived as an insular community of iconoclasts (or, to put it more bluntly, a bunch of elitist snobs), it would be a good idea to temper your writing with the kind of common courtesy you'd extend to your peers if you were discussing their work -- or them -- with them in person. Even if you don't care how the rest of the world perceives Typophile or the online typographic community, some of us do, and you should keep in mind that intemperate outbursts in the wiki are likely to be modified by other Typowiki users, and the more irate or sardonic your spleen-venting, the more drastic will be the resulting revisions. If you think something is likely to be controversial, bring it up in the forums first. Then you can rant as much as you want in the discussion thread and link to that from the Typowiki entry.

Also, a brief note: the tendency in writing for a general audience is towards accolades rather than harsh criticism. However, hyperbole in either direction is not particularly useful. Keep in mind that many of the people coming to Typowiki will be new students or relatively inexperienced enthusiasts, and when you're learning something, it's easy to take enthusiastic endorsements as prescriptions. Just because you think loosely-tracked, all-lowercase headlines are the ultimate way to set sans serif type doesn't mean you get to tell everyone else they're the only available option. Unless you're Jan Tschichold or Robert Bringhurst, in which case you can do whatever you want.

Syndicate content