Golden is on a mission to map and generate human knowledge in order to accelerate discovery and education. This is a writing guide for contributing on Golden.
Topic pages like Ginkgo Bioworks and CRISPR-Cas9 exemplify the principles in this guide and can be used as a template for creating new pages.
All articles on Golden should accurately report facts and information about a topic in the most informative manner possible while maintaining a neutral tone. Avoid stating personal opinions, controversial or contested assertions, or unproven assertions as facts. Use an impartial tone which does not seek to pass judgment on the subject or to take sides or a viewpoint.
Give the most balanced and nuanced perspective based on the main consensus viewpoint of experts and scholars in the field as well as any well supported opposing arguments. Avoid giving extremely fringe or conspiracy a false equivalency by giving them undue weight in an article.
Marketing language does not belong on Golden. This is especially important for descriptions of companies, products, or anything which users have a financial stake in. Contributors should generally avoid language like “best”, “most efficient”, “easy to use“, etc as these are almost always qualitative and uninformative to the user. Descriptions like “first”, “fastest”, “cheapest”, should be avoided unless a citation which directly supports the language used is supplied.
Citations on Golden provide evidence and support for claims made on Golden. Any claim which could be challenged or is controversial should be cited. Controversial or challenged claims will be adjudicated based on the quality and content of cited sources. High-quality sources include scholarly papers in academic journals or news articles from reputable sources which undergo rigorous review. More niche or less well-known sources can also provide important information but should be analyzed with a more skeptical eye before use. Primary source information, such as information about a company from their own blog or from a contributor who has personal experience with the topic is also ok to use, however it should be identified as primary sourcing and used sparingly or in concert with third party sources when possible. Citations also provide a valuable source for further reading.
Even articles that start out with little information can improve over time and become high-quality articles. However, articles should still strive for equal weight. Unbalanced topics which give undue weight to niche or fringe aspects of a topic may give readers an unrealistic perception of the consensus viewpoint. While articles may initially be fragmented when in early stages, over time it is important for articles to morph into comprehensive articles which give proper weight to all aspects and viewpoints of the article according to their importance. Information builds on itself and knowledge generation takes effort and time.
Avoid phrasing that will go out of date quickly like “recently” or “just launched”, “working on”. For example, replace “Biotech Company recently developed a new technology for x-ray crystallography” with “Biotech Company developed a new technology for x-ray crystallography in 2018”. Phrasing that goes out of date quickly can often be replaced by more permanent statements tethered to specific points in time. Adopting this writing style avoids unnecessary editing upkeep from the community.