Tao or Dao is a Chinese word meaning 'way', 'path', 'route', or sometimes more loosely, 'doctrine' or 'principle'. This article is for philosophical reflections by the editors, contributors, and admins on how and why we do things a certain way. Like all philosophy, there is nothing binding here, just things we think are good practices. For our official guidelines see American Horror Story Wiki:Manual of Style.

On Wiki

  • Breathe and remember this is a hobby.
  • DON'T take it personally if an admin rolls back your changes. There's usually a good reason. And that reason is usually "you removed somebody else's work and replaced it with something less worthy" or "you broke something beautiful".
  • DON'T insult, berate, harass, or otherwise act on dark impulses against another user. Not only will you be banned and blocked, you may be prosecuted and / or sent to live with Constance. She'll have cupcakes and a mirrored room waiting.
  • Feel free to add pages, especially where there are red links for missing pages. Let the creative energy flow.
  • Feel free to supplement stub articles. They will not grow if they aren't nurtured.
  • If all you're going to do is make a new page from a red link, leave a sentence or two, mark it {{stub}}, and walk away: don't. Wait until you have more time to devote to that page.
  • You may know (American) English well. Not everyone else who watches the show does. Respect that you may even be an American who does not read or write American English as well as others.
  • Use the special templates where appropriate. They are artisan crafted to make your life and everyone's much more engaging.
  • Read the documentation for those templates: it explains a lot. If there's not documentation and using it is not obvious, ask a wise contributor to write some so that you are not caught unprepared in the future.
  • Be aware of the way some pages are structured. Some page types have special guidelines that we like to keep consistent. If they're in a Category, the Category may have a link to the preferred format.
  • If you see an empty heading, your instinct should be "fill it", not "delete it". Removing an empty picture frame leaves a barren wall.
  • Clean up the articles marked for cleanup. This doesn't mean blanking everything that's there, just removing what is repeated or mistyped.
  • Get comfortable with internal and Interwiki links. They're a lot nicer to manage than external links, and almost always end up in the right place.
  • Talk amongst yourselves! The comments section is a great place to suggest changes, especially if you're not sure about changing something yourself.
  • Don't move pages without a good reason (and probably discussion). If you are clear to move a page, please be sure to leave behind a redirect so that we don't get broken links.
  • Don't bulk delete someone else's work. Admins notice this sort of thing, and you may find your changes reversed. And Tate will take you into the basement if we tell him to.
  • If you're citing an outside source, like Wikipedia or IMDb, don't just copy and paste. Attribution is good policy. Use <ref>References</ref> and {{Article footer}} (which contains <references />) into automatic footnotes.
  • Don't alter an article that is marked "This article is actively undergoing a major edit.". Someone is taking their time to contribute and it is taking longer than expected. Why don't you wait and see what they've come up with? You can edit when they're done or approved by an admin.
  • We don't know what is in the minds of the show's writers. More often, we don't know what's in the minds of our OWN Wiki's writers.

On Articles

  • It is not necessary, nor always an improvement, to add dialogue and stage direction to a plot.
  • Avoid drawing conclusions for the reader.
  • Avoid making assumptions.
  • Avoid florid and superlative sentences. "It is revealed that the twins, one who is named Troy and the other who may be named Bryan, striding into what looks like an abandoned homestead" or "Colonel Mustard is seen in the ballroom gripping a woven cord with red splashes all over his body" are somewhat complex. Instead, "Twins Troy and Bryan break into an old house" or "In the ballroom, a bloody Col Mustard holds a rope" are just fine, assuming that we aren't told later that the red is paint.
  • It is a plot description, not a reconstruction. It is acceptable to tell what happened in the story without retelling the story. That's what watching the episode is for.
  • Phrases like "it is revealed" and "we learn/see" break POV. We are not recounting the events of a TV show. Or rather, we're pretending that we're not. Think of character articles as biographies and episode articles as histories.
  • Evidence of retcon does not mean retcon of evidence.
  • "Lana Winters is an intrepid reporter who finds herself confined to Briarcliff Manor" is a much better character intro than "Lana Winters is a main character in Asylum".

On Images

  • GIFs, captions and otherwise altered images (beyond cropping) belong on your userspace or tumblr not main articles.
  • Unless the image you wish to add is from recent episodes there's a great likelihood that it already exists on the wiki. Use the Search function in the Add Photo UI.
  • If adding found images from the web, then search Google for a browser compatible way to do a reverse image search on the pic you wish to add and find the best version. Gallery pics should be approximately 2X larger than their 300px high thumbnail.
  • If you are unable to find original, unwatermarked/uncaptioned images or do not have the capability to capture high resolution video, then please consider contributing to the wiki in another way. Such as marking for deletion the crappy, little images that were uploaded by someone who ignored these guidelines.
  • Read and obey the official guidelines regarding the naming and attribution of images.

On Quotations

A good quote is quotable
A quotable quote is one you'll want to say aloud. As often as you can fit it into conversation. It brings joy to both the speaker and the listener. If truly quotable it will have meaning even to those not familiar with its source. For example,
"Well, that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it?" would work just about anywhere while
"Then you must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest... with... a herring!" might only be appreciated by a true Monty Python fan. Both would be appropriate for the purpose of a fan wiki but the former has slightly greater merit.

A good quote is unique
You should never have to follow a quote with "You had to be there". A unique quote is specific to its source and represents it well.
"Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?" is a quote that captures the Star Wars franchise well while
"What a piece of junk!" could be from anything. It may be from a memorable moment in the film or the actor may have given a great line reading but the quote doesn't hold its own.

A good quote is succinct
Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet that "brevity is the soul of wit". The primary job of a scriptwriter is to move the story along and little of what they write makes a good quote regardless of how moving or exciting but then here and there they may sprinkle their writing with a particularly well crafted line. On AHS the writers give most of the juicy stuff to Jessica Lange while the rest do the grunt work of plot advancement. Transcribing the lines of your favorite scenes does not a good quote make.

Characters Vs Episodes
The quotes on a character biography page should best represent that character while those on episode pages reflect the themes of that episode or the season/series as a whole.
"Proud Virginian, the old dominion, born and bred; thank you for noticing..." beautifully captures the character of Constance Langdon while
"They say when a parent dies, a child feels his own mortality, but when a child dies, it's immortality that a parent loses." is better suited to the episode from whence it came.

The purpose of parenthetical statements (known to users of the dialogue template as mood1) is disambiguation. There is no need to indicate to whom the line is being spoken unless it provides necessary context.
"You're in a freak show now! My freak show!" stands on its own and isn't improved by the knowledge that it is said to Dell but
"Tell me. Has anyone tasted your cherry pie?" is a bit lost without knowing that it is asked of Bette and Dot.

On Commas

The first rule of commas is that aside from a few special writing conventions (dates, locations, lists) there are no rules. For example, many people would feel compelled, in parsing the previous sentence, to set off the central part by placing commas after "that" and the end parenthesis. However, unless not doing so creates some ambiguity it is unnecessary and merely a matter of preference. The diffusion of ambiguity should be the comma's primary purpose and there are a couple of common (ab)uses that have the opposite effect.

  1. Comma before parenthetical statement - When setting off expositional or extraneous information in a sentence the parentheses and commas have the same purpose. To use both is redundant and sometimes confusing.
  2. Comma before coordinating conjunction - Coordinating conjunctions are for joining two or more items of equal importance and thereby serve a purpose opposed to that of the comma. "Tate snorted some meth, and then killed Larry." is just plain wrong.

On Being an Admin

Watch This Show

Watch now
Available On