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Contributing Guidelines

These are the guidelines for contributing or improving articles on The Berean Archive.

Article Goals

Articles published on The Berean Archive should strive to meet these goals:

  1. Like an encyclopedia, there should be one article per topic rather than topics being spread out across a serious of blog posts.   Sub-topics can be organized into sub-articles and linked from the main article.  Articles will be updated based on critical feedback and as new data becomes available.
  2. Articles and sections within articles should first summarize all the main points, then go into more detail.  Nobody should have to read a large portion of an article just to know what it's about.
  3. Scholarly approach; layman approachable--credible, comprehensive, and detailed. But as in easy to understand langauge inasmuch that technical accuracy is not sacrificed. Articles can use <dfn> tags to define definitions, and use the sidebar when more detailed definitions are needed.
  4. Make ample use of lists, tables, charts, and interactive calulators/simulators to improve both readability and visual appeal.
  5. Prefer data-points over quotes, although including quotes is also fine.  Long lists of quotes can be sub-articles if it's necessary to establish that a view is widely accepted.
  6. Articles should engage every argument from the critical perspective, and those that cannot be engaged should be listed as open issues / unanswered qustions.  Be as objective as possible.
  7. Avoid intellectual dishonesty.  Don't omit contrary facts and don't use ambiguous language to make an argument appear stronger than it really is.  Don't oversell.
  8. Sources should be detailed and easily verified.  When posisble include links, screenshots of book pages, and audo/video clips.  Store fair use and public domain sources locally to prevent broken links.  Prefer hostile sources when possible.
  9. All original content should be placed under the CC0 "Public Domain" license

Topics Within Scope

Philosophical arguments for God.  Epistemology, fine tuning, evolution, common descent, age of the earth, ark logistics, Old and New Testament reliability, the problem of evil, slavery in the old testament, gospel reliability, the resurrection.  Islam, Mormonism, The Trinity, Buddhism.

Topics Out of Scope

Economic policy, foreign affairs, dealing with variouls spiritual/emotional issues.

Examples

The Slavery, Servanthood, and Social Welfare article is a good example that conforms to this specification.  Some other articles don't yet because they were written prior to this specification.

Article Format

Except where it otherwise doesn't make sense to do so, most articles should use the following layout:

Layout

  1. Large image header
  2. Meta info:  authors, created, modified, history
  3. Summary
  4. Super-short key points aside.  Outlines in 2-4 short bullet points what position the article argues.
  5. Detailed Key Points 1..N
  6. Common Objections
  7. Issues and Unanswered Questions (if applicable)
  8. Further Reading
  9. Related Articles
  10. Footnotes (sources and acknowledgments)

More detailed sub-points can be summarized in one article with a link to a more detailed article.  Likewise with large blocks of supplemental information.

Writing Guidelines:

  1. Make ample use of tables, lists, charts, and images to summarize information and to make article more readable.
  2. Use numerical citations inline and shortened versions of quotes.  Include or link to full quotes in sources.
  3. NRSV should be the first choice for bible citations, since it is most commonly cited in academia.
  4. Embed javascript tools to try out calculations or show adjustable graphs.

Citations

Berean Modified MLA Rules

The main goal of citations is to make it easy to find and very sources.  The Berean Modified MLA citation format is based on MLA version 8.  Despite recent updates, MLA is still showing its age in the internet age, and these modifications are made to replace less helpful information with that which is more helpful:

Omissions:

  1. Website name and Publisher may be omitted if they are not significant.
  2. Access dates should be omitted for brevity.
  3. Since all journal articles names should be a link to their source, volume and issue numbers may be omitted.
  4. Words like Web and Print should be omitted--including page numbers indicates the source was originally in print.
  5. Long article names may be abbreviated, or subtitles omitted.

Dates:

  1. Format dates as Feb 7, 2005 since it's more conventional.

Links and Pages:

  1. Any online content should have its title link to it source.   If page numbers, or audio/video seek time can be linked, they should be linked instead.
  2. All longer audio and video sources should include the minutes and seconds, linked if possible.  E.g. "At 2:23 " or "2:34 to 4:36 and 8:15 to 8:39"
  3. Page numbers should be preceded by the word "Page" or "Pages".
  4. Page numbers can be suffxed with a parenthetical note to find the specific place on the page.  E.g. (2nd column, top left).
  5. Closed-source journal article titles should link to the most official source available, such as the journal's website or ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, even if the source only includes the abstract.  If arXiv.org or someone else has a full source PDF published on their blog, it can be listed in the mirrors.

Abbreviations:

  1. "Ibid." should be replaced with "Previous source", to help those who do not speak latin and are not familiar with MLA abbreviations.
  2. Journal names may use their approved abbreviations.  This site can convert journal names to abbreviations.

Miscellaneous:

  1. Comments are surrounded with <span class="comments">, which makes the text smaller and lighter.
  2. Include mirrors of the same source in the comments.
  3. Two spaces after each period, to improve readability

Berean Modified MLA Examples

Here are several examples of what article citations should look like:

Website Examples:

  1.  Last, First.  "Article Title".  Webiste Name.  Article Date.
    Comment about the source.  Mirrors:  Mirror 1 | Mirror 2 | Local copy with notes
  2. Behe, Michael J.  " Design for Living."   New York Times.  Feb 7, 2005.   Behe is a biochemist and a leading proponent of Intelligent Design.  Mirrors:  Archive.org | Local copy

Book Examples:

  1. Last, First.  "Chapter Name".  Book Name.  Publisher, Year.  Page 1. Mirrors:  Local copy
  2. Behe, Michael J.  "Chapter 4: What Darwinism Can Do".  The Edge of Evolution.  2007.  Pages 62-63.Mirrors:  Local copy
  3. Behe, Michael J.  "Chapter 4: What Darwinism Can Do".   The Edge of Evolution.  2007.  Pages 37, 49, and 113. Mirrors:  Local copy

Journal Examples:

  1. Last, First.  "Paper Title."  Journal Name, Year.  Pages.
  2. Behe, Micahel J.  "Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-function Mutations, and 'the First Rule of Adaptive Evolution'".   Q Rev Biol 2010.  Page 419 (top left).Mirrors: PDF on Behe's website | ResearchGate | FlipHtml5

Video Examples:

Forum, blog, or newsgroup comment:

Based on the guidelines here.

  1. west_of_everywhere.  " Re: How come there's a Amoeba with 200 times larger gene set than humans?"  Aug 27, 2016.
    west_of_everywhere describes his/herself as "a grad student in Statistics in the Bickel group at UC Berkeley" who was part of the ENCODE Analysis Working Group.  Mirrors: Local copy

Additional calculations without an external source:

TODO

Naming conventions for locally mirrored sources (pdfs / images / html pages)

  1. last-first-article-title-year-pages23-25.png
  2. username-forum-thread-title-website-year.html