Help:Interviews

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From time to time, members of Heroes Wiki conduct interviews with members of the Heroes cast and crew. Below are guidelines for conducting quality interviews.

Securing the Interview

If a member of Heroes Wiki would like to interview a cast or crew member, he should first check to make sure that the cast or crew member has not already been contacted, or that there are no plans to contact the individual. In order to stay organized, any interview that is to be published on Heroes Wiki must first be approved by Ryan Stewart, the interview coordinator. This is to ensure that cast and crew members are not inundated with multiple requests, and that there is no issue with overlapping interviews. Members can contact Ryan by leaving a message on his talk page. If the issue is best kept confidential (in the case of an interview that might not yet be secured, for instance), Ryan can be reached by email: ryangibsonstewart at heroeswiki dot com. The Heroes Wiki member should let Ryan know of his intentions before contacting the interviewee.

Once permission is granted, the Heroes Wiki member may approach the prospective interviewee and politely ask if they would like to be interviewed. Though the interview will be published on Heroes Wiki, the interviewer should never say he is a representative of Heroes Wiki. The interviewer is a contributor to the wiki, and should not represent himself as anything more than that. Additionally, the interviewer should understand that the interview will be published exclusively on Heroes Wiki.

Question Submission

It is important to announce interviews on the wiki so that other contributing members are aware of the interview and can submit questions if they would like. Question submissions usually take place on the interview talk page (see Interview talk:Chuck Kim, for example). The interview can also be announced on every page of the wiki via the site notice. Other places that the interview can be announced include the community portal talk page, the current events page, the Heroes Wiki interview template (which appears on the main page), and the page about the interviewee himself. It may also be a good idea to garner question submissions from other fan sites, like starting a thread at 9thwonders.com.

Before the scheduled interview, the interviewer should review the questions submitted and make choices about which should be asked and which shouldn't. Not all questions should (or can) be asked, of course, but the interviewer should realize that in a way, he represents the fans in the questions he asks. Question wording is up to the interviewer, though he should feel free to use another fan's wording if he would like. Additionally, some questions are simply not appropriate to ask certain individuals. For instance, a question that asks about the writing of an episode in the first episode would probably not be a good question to ask an actor who has only appeared in the third episode.

It is the interviewer's responsibility to organize and lay out questions in a logical order. For instance, it is common (though not mandatory) to begin interviews with questions about the individual first, rather than questions about the show. Questions about a similar topic may be grouped together. Of course, an interviewer may add, delete, and combine questions as he sees fit.

Conducting the Interview

Most often, interviews are conducted either by email or by phone, though other methods are certainly acceptable. Below are some guidelines for conducting interviews in these formats.

Email

Conducting an interview via email has certain advantages and disadvantages. Email responses sometimes take a few days, and there is little or no opportunity for the interviewer to react to the interview responses. However, there is no transcription involved in an email interview, and there is a much smaller chance of one party misunderstanding the other party. As well, nerves usually don't get in the way of asking desired questions when the interview is conducted via email.

Out of respect and where possible, the prepared interview questions should be sent in an attachment as well as in the body of the email. That way the interviewee has a better chance of receiving the email, even if the attachment doesn't open, or if the email server changes the formatting of the questions. Questions sent via email should be very open-ended where appropriate, and the interviewee should be encouraged to elaborate on his answers. If possible, ask the interviewee if it would be acceptable to send a follow-up email in order to ask questions in response to the interviewee's answers. That way, if anything is misunderstood, it can be cleared up. The interview also flows much nicer if it is less question-and-answer and more conversational.

Phone

Conducting an interview via phone (or in person) presents a different set of advantages and disadvantages. The transcription process for a phone interview can be lengthy and tedious. Sometimes, an interview can "choke" during a live interview and will forget to ask prepared questions, even if they are right in front of him. Organizing a date and time for an interview can also be a challenge. However, an interview over the phone is more conversational in nature, and follow-up questions can be posed to unanticipated responses.

There are several recording services available in order to conduct interviews, such as Skype or FreeConferenceCall.com. Whatever method is chosen for recording the interview, the system should be tested and practiced before the actual interview. All parties being recorded should remember to speak loudly and clearly to ease the transcription process.

Proofreading, Publishing, and Publicity

When the interview is completed, it should be checked for errors, as any article would be. Check for spelling mistakes, punctuation mistakes, capitalization mistakes, etc. However, the interviewer should be careful to not make edits to exact quotes that will keep them from being exact quotes. Searchable text should be used in the interview. For instance, "straight quotation marks" should be used instead of “curly quotation marks” since most keyboards make the straight quotation marks as a default. This is especially evident when cutting and pasting responses from an interview conducted by email. As well, it is acceptable (and polite) to fix spelling errors made by the interviewee, though the editor should be very careful that he is not changing the exact quote.

It is helpful to format an interview in a way that makes it easier to read. Sometimes it is helpful to break it into sections (see Interview:Micah Gunnell), or to use colors (see Interview:Blackout). Often, bold and regular text are used to distinguish between the interviewer's questions and the interviewee's responses. Adding a modest amount of related images can help accent and punctuate an interview, and to make it flow easier. Though there are no set rules or standards for the format and layout of an interview, certain guidelines should be followed. Looking at other interviews will give a better idea of how an interview can be formatted and laid out. The interviewer should remember that the interview will alternately be read as a form of entertainment, a piece of information, and as a reference source. Professionalism and high standards should be employed at all times.

In order to have the interview seen and read by as many people as possible, it is a good idea to publicize the interview. In addition to the methods for publicizing the interview's question submission, links may be added to Heroes Wiki interviews section of the interviews page and the interview template that shows up on the links page. Links may also be added to the Notes sections of appropriate articles throughout the wiki. (Remember that interviews are not canon sources. Information contained in them might be good information, but it is not official.) It is also helpful to publicize the interview on different Heroes fan sites. To help draw the attention of others to the interview, a Digg page may be created, and the Digg template may be added to the interview page.