This wiki was set up after Christmas '05, when I had to ask a stupid question on a forum because I'd never actually seen a fairly comprehensive firearms maintenance guide on the net. I resolved that I would address that deficiency by creating a wiki and inserting the answers to any future "dumb questions" I ask into it.
Everyone's welcome to contribute articles, however I reserve the right to edit them for look/feel, splitting into multiple articles if need be, or even outright removal if the information is incorrect. That having been said, I doubt there will be much need for that.
I will consider this site a success when a person of average intelligence with no real hands-on experience with firearms can buy an old military surplus rifle, be pointed to gunwiki.net, and find everything he needs to know in order to properly maintain his/her new acquisition.
Presently, Gunwiki is strongly slanted towards legal compliance and AR/AK series rifles, because that's where the public interest seems to be at present. It also has a strong California slant, because a lot of garage gunsmithing goes on in California in order to comply with the laws. This doesn't mean that contributors from other states are unwelcome; it only means that we don't know other states' laws well enough to write about them. Michigan state law, for instance, will have to wait up for some Michiganites to join and write articles of interest to themselves.
Fortunately, the point of an open wiki is that other are encouraged to submit articles. I'm not out to make a profit off of this site; to the contrary, I expect that it will cost me quite a bit by tempting me to buy new toys which other people are submitting articles about. But, that's half the fun of running a gun site anyway, right?
I am morally opposed to profitting off of other peoples' work - and ultimately most of the articles here will be other peoples' work. Should the ad banners bring in more money than needed to keep the site running, I will scale them back or alternate non-profit NRA / SAF / GOA / etc banners with them. This is an amendment of previous policy. When I first started this site, I had free hosting. Starting with 1/1/09, TGW's monthly hosting cost is $75/mo (one co-located Dell server). There's a donation page available for anyone who wishes to chip in, but ad banners are the primary means of offsetting this expense.
Article Replication Policy
I'm aware that Wikipedia, and some other wikis, permit their articles to be copied and pasted into other wikis. While the openness is commendable, I want to make it clear to TGW contributors that I don't want them to copy/paste articles which they find on other wikis into here. Noteworthy articles elsewhere should be linked to as appropriate, not copied in. If we replicate an article, we are more or less stuck having to maintain that copy over time. It is best for all if we let Wikipedia do what it does best, and not take upon ourselves the burden of maintaining a separate copy of their articles.
For the same reason, I don't like the idea of folks copying articles from GunWiki into different wikis, or even Wikipedia, for the exact same reason. That having been said, as long as the other wiki is also a free resource, there will be no retribution. However, all users are expressly forbidden from reusing TGW articles for profit unless they wrote it themselves or the author gave their consent. If I hear about anyone using TGW articles commercially (book, etc) without the authors' consent, I'll contact some lawyers.
That having been said, I'm perfectly fine with contributors using their own articles in a book or other publication later on. It would be nice, however, if they could drop me an email so that I don't think someone is ripping them off if the publication gets brought to my attention.
TGW is backed up semi regularly. But because there's always a risk of data loss, I encourage folks to maintain mirrors of TGW's articles in an off-site backup. If enough people do this, it will guarantee that, even if something happens to me or to TGW's server, we will never lose the information stored on this site. If you had to replicate TGW, just bear in mind that you could extract this into the appropriate place on any TWiki wiki system, and a 'Gunwiki' web will magically materialize, with all of the actual information from this site. You will also find some of my setup instructions at http://notes.cheapspeech.com/, which is my TWiki instance I keep for non gun related matters.
Commercial Link Policy
This hasn't been a problem so far, but I would like to ensure that it doesn't become one. To that end, I'm stating this policy as of now: when making links to an item for sale, list three distinct vendors for the product unless you are linking directly to the manufacturer. The links should be in alphabetical order by store name, without commentary on their prices (given that they're subject to change). Shipping policy/prices, on the other hand, is fine. Yes, of course, whoever registered Aardvark Arms would greatly benefit from this policy, if they were big on selling gun parts. Added 5/28/07
What to Document and what Not to Document
Do not post articles of questionable legality, as per United States Federal Law, to this wiki. We are not concerned with state law, as it may be perfectly legal to do something in Texas instead of California, for instance, and it is the responsibility of the citizen to know his or her own state's laws. As for the prohibited subjects, two specific areas are of great concern, but that doesn't mean that everything else is fair game.
No information is to be posted regarding the illegal conversion of semi-automatics to fully-automatic status. The BATF is likely to get upset. Instructions on the construction of suppressors (silencers) is also forbidden, however information on mounting legally obtained, commercially available suppressors is not forbidden.
Similarly, nothing is to be posted regarding the creation of explosive ordnance. Some leeway exists, though, for discussion of legal fireworks (e.g. 37mm 'bird buster' rounds).
No articles are to be copied from copyrighted sources. This means, for example, that you shouldn't copy a reloader's manual and insert it here. While it would be useful, it's likely to result in lawsuits from the publisher.
This is not a legal point, but simply good manners: If you wish to copy a how-to from a forum or some other site, secure the poster's or site's permission before putting it in as an article. Although the nature of a wiki is to store and warehouse information, it's poor form to simply slap it in an article with your name on it without folks first saying it's ok to do so. Also, whenever someone contributes information that you end up splicing into your article, make sure to give credit where credit is due.
GunWiki warehouses maintenance procedures and general firearms-related knowledge for public consumption. It is not meant as a discussion board, as the internet doesn't need any more of those than it already has.
If you get an answer, post it here for the next person.
Any procedures found on this site are performed at YOUR OWN RISK. Incorrectly handled or modified firearms can be lethal, and GunWiki recommends that you consult a licensed gunsmith prior to performing any procedure you find on this site.
Directly, GunWiki itself collects only basic traffic data. This is your IP address, the time, your browser version, and the site you clicked on to get here (if any). There is a session cookie associated with your connection, but it is not used for long-term tracking. This basic data is primarily used for system performance tuning, and determining the popularity of one article vs another.
Registered users fill in more information when they apply for an account to make changes to the wiki, but this information is not used for anything beyond determining if the account looks like a spammer. We reserve the right to remove usernames which we deem offensive, however this has yet to happen.