I am creating a website, where users are able to create guides for a video game. Since there is/could be a strict structure for the writing of the guide, I am not really sure if I actually should pretend a structure for the sections that should be filled out. Should I rather make a link where the recommended structure of a guide is shown and let the user eventually do what he wants to do, or shall I actually pretend a structure for the user so the guide follows a certain quality line?

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    Would your users - those who read the guides - be annoyed or disturbed if the guides do not follow a consistent style? Or is that something they would consider to be normal - and something they like about your site? – Mayo Sep 30 '15 at 10:50
  • Hm that's a good question. I think it would be better to follow a strict guideline so you have a chronological sequence. Readers would always know where what to read – user73953 Sep 30 '15 at 10:54
  • It's good if you create a structure so that the player, when he sees the walkthrough knows exactly which part he needs to look for. So mainly sections could do very well. – Swapnil Borkar Sep 30 '15 at 13:50

Since you're talking about a competitor to GameFAQs, you should be looking at their model in great depth.

As I reminisce about when GameFAQs actually started (I do actually remember finding it in the original Yahoo! listing, back when the engine was moderated by real people), the number of guides I've used there, and the few guides I've written for it -- the site would be a strong case for not restricting structure. The site has existed largely untouched for a long time!

The success in its simplicity is similar to Craig's List's continued popularity. It isn't necessarily pretty, but I can very easily get the information I'm looking for and get out.

Street Fighter does not demand the same structure as Final Fantasy, or as Mass Effect, or another genre. Even within genre, different types of guides do better in different formats. Is this guide a walkthrough, a super-move cheat sheet, or is it about solving the complex mini-games within the larger gameplay? Different scenarios will not fit the same style.

You are also trying to create a site that is driven by community contributions... at least, I'm assuming you're not sending your users a check when write a guide. So, as an author, if I want to contribute something and you put too many restrictions on my "creative genius" I'll probably just go somewhere else (GameFAQs, probably).

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  • While I agree, providing optional templates with placeholder data/elements could increase the quality/display of user contributed guides/tips. – Daniel Brown Sep 30 '15 at 16:24
  • Alright man thank you very much for your suggestions :) I think I will use optional templates and will reference style guides on how to write the guide but mostly will let the user do what he wants to do :) But one more question: I am writing my database model now and I have to think about character limitations. Should there be character limitations, because I imagine trolls could post endless texts and that wouldn't be cool.. How should one handle that? – user73953 Oct 1 '15 at 6:03

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