Help:How to Contribute

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Jump to navigation Jump to search aims to help SGU fans search and reference topics and to make the SGU episodes as accessible as possible. There are lots of different ways to contribute; this page describes some of them. The important thing is that all real contributions are welcome, so don't be afraid to contribute, even if you just fix a typo here and there.

If you have any ideas for fun things to include on the site, please let us know in the Community portal.

'Editing Required' template[edit]

Pages that include the 'Editing required' template (orange box saying "This episode needs:...") show what aspects of the page need to be completed. These pages will also be listed in the relevant subcategory of Category:Needs attention, which is a good place to look for any loose ends that need tying up.

Once an issue has been addressed, it can be removed from the 'Editing required' template by deleting the input line in the page's editing box. If it is the last issue to be resolved, then the template can be removed from the page entirely.


The most obvious way to help out is to transcribe an episode, or sections of an episode.

If you're new to transcribing, you might want to start with a segment of an episode. The Help:Getting Started page gives information on setting up and editing pages, including a section with Tips for Transcription that has specific suggestions for what software and techniques can be used to help you transcribe comfortably.

A list of pages that have already been created, but need transcribing, can be found at Category:Needs transcription (currently includes 621 entries). Incomplete and available transcript pages are also denoted on the SGU Episodes page with a Open for transcription icon.


We don't have any "rules" for transcribing, but we try to keep as true to the podcast as possible.

While you don't need to include all the fillers, such as "um", "er", "you know", do try to stick to what is actually said, and not interpret the Rogues' dialogue. The way a person speaks is often very different to how you would read or write text, and can be very messy, even nonsensical. However, with so many people contributing transcriptions, re-writing podcasts in a more 'readable' format would be heavily influenced by the writing style and interpretation of the transcriber, which would soon become impossible to monitor. Therefore, it's probably best to leave it to the reader to interpret, and to use punctuation (such as commas, dashes and ellipses) to indicate broken sentences, change of tack, etc.

For example, if a Rogue is interrupted or changes what they're saying in the middle of a sentence, just add "–".

To help convey the tone of the dialogue, emphasis of words can be shown by including them in italics (see Getting Started: Text Formatting).

Where the Rogues laugh - and they often do - include ''(laughter)'' (multiple people) or ''(laughs)'' (single) in the transcript.

If you have trouble deciphering what is said, just put (inaudible) where the speech would be.

What to listen for[edit]

When transcribing or proofreading an episode, it is a good idea to keep in mind other aspects of the transcript page that you might want to include, as you will be familiar with the content, and able to identify the most important points. For example, it can be easy to note the times at which each segment begins (see Time-stamps) and the topic categories that are covered when transcribing (see Categories section below). In the same way, when an interesting fact comes up, you might want to add it to the 'Today I Learned' list for the episode (see below).

If you'd like to transcribe without adding other features, that's absolutely fine, and plenty of work in itself. If you come across something you want to point out to others editing the page, you can insert a comment in the editing box. For example, if you come across a fact for the 'Today I Learned' list, or a good quote from one of the Rogues, you can insert a comment using <!-- and -->. This won't show on the regular page, but will be included in the page's edit box.

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text text text text text text text text text text text text <!-- include in TIL section -->


Another way to contribute is by proofreading pages. It can be a long, hard task to transcribe a whole episode, and it's easy to miss typos and attribute lines to the wrong speakers. That's why it's good to have a second contributor proofread pages. To proofread a page, simply listen to the podcast and check that the text that has been transcribed matches what you hear. Proofreading can often be done with playback at full speed (or even faster), so it's a rather easier task than transcribing.

A list of pages that have yet to be proofread can be found at Category:Needs proofreading (currently includes 257 entries).

As with transcribing, proofreading a page should not include re-writing the transcription into a regular writing style, but should stay close to what is said on the podcast.

Things to look out for when proofreading:

  • Typos
  • Inclusion of appropriate and working links added to relevant text or included as references
  • Misattribution of speakers

Other things that are easy for a proofreader to add to a page are:

  • Categories - if not already applied (see below)
  • Interesting facts for "Today I Learned..." list (see below)
  • Favorite Rogue quotes (see below)
  • Categorized segment redirects (see below)

You should also look out for comments made by the transcriber in the editing box, or on the talk page, as they may point out sections which they found difficult to transcribe or find links for etc.

Once a page has been proofread, the parameter "verified" can be added to the infobox template, which will display a tick, and a link to the explanatory page, Transcript Verified.


One of the main advantages of transcribing the SGU podcasts is for reference. By including time-stamps at the beginning of each segment, readers can revisit topics of interest, or point other people to the section, without going through the whole podcast (not that that's ever much of a chore).

Some transcripts need time-stamps added to them. You can find a list of these pages at Category:Needs time-stamps (currently includes 456 entries).

Time-stamps take the format:

  • m:ss for times under 10 minutes, e.g. (0:37) and (2:34)
  • mm:ss for times between 10 minutes and an hour, e.g. (17:42)
  • h:mm:ss for times over an hour, e.g. (1:09:42)

They are added in a small font in the section header, for example:

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Time Stamp Example (12:34)

== Time Stamp Example <small>(12:34)</small> ==


Some contributors may prefer to submit unformatted transcriptions, which then need a few tweaks, such as defining quotes or adding wiki mark-up. More information on formatting can be found on the Getting started help page.

Page skeletons[edit]

The Episode skeleton contains the general structure of a transcript page, including section headings, infobox (see next section), outro and navigation templates. For 5X5 episodes, use the 5X5 skeleton. These pages can be copied to new transcript pages and built upon by changing headers and adding text and links.


The infobox appears on the right-hand side of every transcript page, outlining certain information about the podcast, including, among other things, the broadcast date, any guests on the show, a key for speakers and links to the shownotes, podcast and SGU forum page.

The Help:Episode infobox page gives an explanation of how to enter input into an infobox to customize it for each episode. For help customizing the infobox for 5X5 episodes, see Help:5X5 infobox.


As is a resource to explore the topics discussed on the SGU podcast, we like to add links whenever appropriate. For information on adding links, see Getting Started: Links.

The default source for links used here is Wikipedia, unless there is reason to use an alternative source. This helps to keep things uniform across transcript pages, and also means that you don't have to search for the ultimate website to explain the subject.

Links provided in the show notes[edit]

Transcript pages should include all working links on the relevant podcast show notes page at

Enter these immediately after the relevant segment title, and use a descriptive format for the linking text, instead of the raw URL. An easy way of doing this is to include the name of the source of the page (e.g. the website or organisation), followed by a colon and the title of the page or article. For example, instead of:


Neurologica: Modern Medical Zombies

This allows the reader to see clearly where the link will take them, and is generally more inviting.

General links[edit]

There are many occasions where a link can be a useful addition to the transcript. Generally, these include:

  • Technical jargon
  • Key concepts that may not be immediately obvious (e.g. argumentum ad hominem)
  • People / organisations
  • Websites
  • Articles / blogs

Most of these links can be added to text in the transcript itself, however, there are some cases for which there is no appropriate text to turn into the link. For these, use references (see Getting Started: References).

Unidentified internal links[edit]

When a podcast references another SGU episode that has not been identified, the template Link needed should be included. For example:

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We talked about bat-winged monkey-birds before[link needed] We talked about bat-winged monkey-birds before{{Link needed}}

This not only highlights the need for the link, but adds the page to Category:Needs internal links (currently includes 32 entries).

Note, this category is separate to Category:Needs links, mentioned above.


A nice easy way to search through SGUTranscripts is to browse through categories.

When a page has been categorized, the relevant categories are automatically listed at the bottom of that page, and it is also automatically added to the relevant category pages. Therefore, to avoid adding incomplete transcriptions to the category pages, please only add categories to pages/segments that have been transcribed.

Using templates to add categories[edit]

To add categories to a full SGU episode, include Template:Page categories, for 5X5 episodes, use Template:5X5 categories. The template pages show the available categories and the input needed. The category templates add the page to the available categories, and apply a sort key based on the page name to separate out full episodes from section links on the category pages, and keep numbered order (e.g. see Category:Nature & Evolution).

Categorized segment redirects[edit]

SGU podcasts cover a multitude of topics in a single episode, which can make it difficult to find exactly what you're looking for. To categorize segments individually and list them on category pages under a relevant title, a redirect page is needed.

For example, Episode 1 contains a segment on exploding toads, and was entered into the category 'Nature & Evolution'. However, on the category page for 'Nature & Evolution', listing 'SGU Episode 1' is not very informative. However, making a page with the title 'Exploding toads baffle scientists (1)' that redirects straight to the segment, and categorizing that page under 'Nature & Evolution', will make it much clearer.

There are a couple of ways of contributing to these. You can propose a title for the redirect page and/or create the redirect page itself.

When adding categorized redirects, first check that they haven't already been created by clicking on 'What links here' to the left of the page. Redirects are marked as "(redirect page) ‎ (← links)". You should also look in the episode's talk page and the editing box for suggestions made by other contributors.

Redirect page titles[edit]

There are a few conventions to follow for naming redirect pages, the most important being the inclusion of the episode number in parentheses at the end of the title. They should also be in a sentence case format, that is, capitals should not be used for each word, but only at the beginning, after colons and for proper nouns and acronyms. This helps to keep things clear and uniform.

Titles should be short and informative and can often be based on the segment heading in the SGU show notes, but remember that they need to be unique and descriptive in order to differentiate between them on a category listing page. It is also good practice to use keywords first, both for clarity and to facilitate sorting on the category page, e.g. Global warming: Heartland Institute scandal follow-up (346).

If you are not creating the redirect pages, simply add your proposed titles to the talk page for the episode, and someone will do this for you.

Creating redirect pages[edit]

Create a redirect by searching for the appropriate title in the search box at the top right. If no page exists with that title, then a link to 'Create the page "xxxx" on this wiki!' will be shown. Click on this link to create the new page. In the editing box, add #REDIRECT and then the internal link to the segment (which will include the time-stamp), followed by applying the relevant category, or categories. For more information on the available categories, see Help:Categories.

To find the segment link, click on the entry in the table of contents on the episode page, you will notice that the parentheses for the time stamp are replaced by ".28" and ".29" in the URL. The internal link consists of the text after "".

For example, the redirect page Glow-in-the-dark cockroach (411 SoF) contains:

#REDIRECT [[SGU_Episode_411#Science_or_Fiction_.281:04:25.29]]
[[Category:Nature & Evolution]]

Today I Learned...[edit]

These sections include a bullet-point list of interesting facts that come up in the episode. A list of pages without 'Today I Learned...' fact lists can be found at Category:Needs TIL (currently includes 767 entries).

Entries should be concise, and include links/references where possible so that they are informative and independent of the episode's transcription. To insert bullet-points, simply add an asterisk at the beginning of the line. For an example, see SGU Episode 347#Today I Learned...

Favorite Rogue Quotes[edit]

The weekly Skeptical Quote is a great homage to outstanding thinkers and orators, but what about all the great quotes that come from the Rogues themselves?

To celebrate the profound and humorous utterances of our friends at the SGU, we're building a list of our Favorite Rogue Quotes.

To add to this list, first check that the quote isn't already in the list, then enter the quote into the table, adding the speaker(s), the relevant episode, and the topic. Use the Help:Categories list to help define the primary topic for the quote, that way the table can be sorted easily. For example, if it's a joke, use "humor"; if they're deploring the state of science education, use "Science & Education". More detailed information on adding quotes can be found at the top of the editing box of the Favorite Rogue Quotes page.