Wikipedia:Did you know/Preparation areas

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The instructions below are guidelines about content to keep in mind when preparing the prep areas. For technical instructions about how to move a hook to one of the prep areas, see Template talk:Did you know/Approved#How to promote an accepted hook.

Rules of thumb for preparing updates

N1: Users are encouraged to help out by preparing updates in the six prep areas. You don't have to be an administrator. Note that promoting your own articles is generally discouraged, and promoting your own articles before they have been independently verified is disallowed. When possible, it is also best to avoid promoting the same article that you reviewed, nominated, or created. (It is almost invariably possible to avoid this conflict of interest, so eschew such promotions. Ask for assistance at WT:DYK if you've run into a seemingly intractable situation.)

Here are a few rules of thumb to bear in mind when preparing updates:

N2: Choose approved hooks (Symbol confirmed.svg or Pictogram voting keep.svg). These will be on the approved nominations page, including the Special occasions section on the bottom of that page.

N3: The accepted length of an update is a fixed number that changes on occasion, usually six, seven or eight hooks. This is not an absolute rule but it is the currently accepted standard length for an update, depending on page balance, so the items selected fit with whatever else is on the Main Page at that time. Check by using the links on the prep page you're working on. For example, for Prep 1: "See how this template appears on both today's Main Page and tomorrow's Main Page." to see if the DYK template balances the rest of the main page layout.

N4: Make sure to choose a varied selection – don't choose half a dozen people hooks, for example, or a bunch of hooks about one particular country or topic. Variety is the spice of life. (However, see the following clause for an important qualification).

N5: Because of the preponderance of submissions on US topics and biography hooks, it is usually appropriate to have roughly 50% of hooks in a given update on both US and biography topics, but no more than half. That is to say, in an eight-hook update you should have roughly four hooks per update on US topics, and four on biography. These are not mutually exclusive, for example if you have two US bio hooks that would count as both two US hooks and two bio hooks. Note that "roughly 50%" means just that – this is not an absolute; you can have less of either if there are not many currently available such hooks to choose from on the Suggestions page. Note however that as a general rule you should never have more than 50% of hooks on US, biography or any other topic, except when doing so is unavoidable.

N6: Also, mix your hooks up. Try to avoid having two hooks of the same general type next to one another in the update (for example, two US hooks or two bio hooks together). Putting several US hooks next to one another in an update makes the update look US-centric; the impact is greatly reduced if you interleave the US hooks with hooks about different countries. In the same spirit, try to avoid putting two bio hooks together, or two hooks on any other subject.

N7: Try to avoid putting inappropriate hooks next to one another. For example, don't put a sad hook next to a funny one; it looks incongruous and jerks the reader uncomfortably from one emotion to another.

N8: Hooks on the approved nominations page that include images often get verified first. Users sometimes then just go and grab a bunch of the nearest verified hooks for the preparation areas, which can often include several of these verified picture hooks. Not every submitted picture can be featured in the picture slot of course, but since only one picture can be featured per update, try to leave the good picture hooks behind for another update if you possibly can.

N9: Consider picking at least one funny or quirky hook if there is one available and putting it in the last (bottom) slot of the update. Just as serious news programs end on an upbeat note to bring viewers back next time, ending on an upbeat or quirky note rounds an update off nicely and encourages readers to come back next time for more.

N10: Don't be afraid to ruthlessly trim hooks of extraneous information and clauses. A lot of people who submit hooks tend to overestimate the amount of information that is required, but the end result is a hook that has too much information and is difficult to process. We don't want our readers to work hard, we want to make reading the DYK section as accessible and enjoyable an experience as possible! In general, the shorter and punchier the hook, the more impact it has. As it says on the Suggestions page, the 200-character limit is an outside limit not a recommended length—the ideal length is probably no more than about 150–160 chars. Note however that some hooks cannot be reduced in length without losing essential information, so don't assume that every hook that is 200 characters long requires trimming.

N11: Please disambiguate linked words in the suggestion. Here is the Wikipedia guideline.

N12: Make sure to include the article name, date, nominator, and creator under the "Credits" section to allow others to return it if a dispute arises.

N13: It is the promoter's responsibility to make sure all review issues have been resolved, that the hook is verified by sourcing within the article. The promoter acts as a secondary verification that the nomination was reviewed properly. The article should not have any problem templates on it at the time of promotion.

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