This page is a list of questions frequently asked about Aesthetics Wiki and aesthetics generally. If you have a question that is not included here, please contact a moderator or post your question to our community blog.
- 1 Questions about aesthetics
- 1.1 What is an aesthetic? Why does everyone always argue about what aesthetics should be on this wiki?
- 1.2 Using aesthetics
- 1.3 Moodboards
- 2 Questions about the Wiki
- 2.1 How can I help this wiki?
- 2.2 What is the clean-up?
- 2.3 How are the staff chosen?
- 2.4 This community used to have a much freer, more welcoming and relaxed tone. What happened?
- 2.5 We are a group that wants to interview you for the purposes of news, anthropology, business analysis, etc. Who do we contact?
- 2.6 Why are controversial aesthetics such as Traumacore and Fashwave on this Wiki? Do the mods promote these ideas?
- 2.7 Why was my page deleted?
- 2.8 Why are there so few pages on non-Western cultures? And why was the page I made for that culture deleted?
- 2.9 What do the mods mean when they say it's a photo subject, not an aesthetic?
- 2.10 Can I make a page for my personal aesthetic?
What is an aesthetic? Why does everyone always argue about what aesthetics should be on this wiki?
The short answer: A collection of visual schema that creates a "mood."
Some types of aesthetics include:
- Aesthetics originated from Internet communities (Ex: Cottagecore, Dark Academia)
- National cultures (Americana, Traditional Polish)
- Genres of fiction with established visual tropes (Ex: Cyberpunk, Gothic)
- Holidays with iconic imagery and colors (Ex: Christmas, Halloween)
- Locations that have expected activities, components, and types of people (Ex: Fanfare, Urbancore)
- Music genres with consistent visual motifs present in cover art, music videos, etc (Ex: City Pop, Emo)
- This does not mean all music genres should be present. For example, Pop and Alternative bands' do not have shared visual traits.
- Periods of history with distinct visuals (Ex: Victorian, Y2K)
- Stereotypes (Ex: Brocore, VSCO)
- Subcultures that share music genres and fashion styles (Ex: Raver, Skinheads)
The long answer:
The word "aesthetic" originated as the philosophical discussion about what beauty is, how we should approach it, and why it exists. However, Millennials and Generation Z started using that term as an adjective that describes what they personally consider beautiful. For example: "After Denise finished watching The Virgin Suicides, she said, 'Wow. That was so aesthetic.'"
Aesthetics have now come to mean a collection of images, colors, objects, music, and writings that creates a specific emotion, purpose, and community. It is largely dependent on personal taste, cultural background, and exposure to different pieces of media. This definition is not official and can be debated. There is currently no dictionary definition that captures the complexity of this phenomenon, which arose in the Internet youth. Rather, people who participate in the community "know it when they see it." These elements are constantly debated, as the opinion on whether or not some aesthetics exist or are valid is constantly debated. This is especially true since everyone's own personal life factors into their opinions.
Here is an example of a debate that is going on within the community. Whether or not Lolita is an aesthetic varies on what counts as visual elements. On one hand, lace, petticoats, and bows are valid elements of visual schema. Those elements combine to spark feelings of kawaii, de-sexualization, rebellion, and appreciation of antique. On the other hand, aesthetics are made up of elements other than fashion, such as home decor or music. Fashion is the visual element, rather than the components making up the coord/outfit. That element is part of broader schemas such as Goth and Victorian. What counts as an element and what qualifies as sparking an emotion is a complicated subject.
So right now, the subject is trying to be defined by the community. What either fits into a larger schema or is distinct enough to warrant its own aesthetic is difficult to say and would depend on who you are asking.
How do I find my aesthetic?
See Helping You Find Your Aesthetic or ask on the Discord server.
Can I have multiple aesthetics?
Yes. As aesthetics are largely subjective and individual, there is no right or wrong way to have an aesthetic. You are free to like multiple aesthetics and can keep them separate, mix and match, or change aesthetics as you grow older and develop personally. You can see Blending: Comparable & Contrasting Aesthetics to see the different ways in which you can blend the aesthetics in a pleasing way.
My personality and interests are different from others within the aesthetic community. Should I still have the aesthetic?
The answer to this question varies by respondent.
In our opinion as moderators, however, it is completely acceptable to have qualities that do not typically match the others' in the community. You can exclude any of the things that do not align with your interests and can blend with an aesthetic that does or keep it completely separate. Trying to conform to a clique would only cause negative feelings and suppress yourself. However, lifestyle-oriented aesthetics such as Cottagecore often center around activities that match a way of life, so it is also a possibility that you only appreciate the aesthetic on others rather than yourself, or that you should impose visual qualities such as materials and textures, prints, and decor on your personal hobbies and daily functions. See Blending: Comparable & Contrasting Aesthetics.
As an example, you can appreciate the Dark Academia aesthetic yet hate studying. You can wear tweed and decorate your room while doing the activities that you actually like. You may be slightly excluded from the community that shares study tips and literary analyses, but you can still enjoy the visual tropes.
What is a moodboard?
A moodboard is one of the most reliable ways to gauge your aesthetic and allows you to be focused when it comes to understanding your color scheme, common motifs, and "vibe." It is a collection of images, either laid out in a grid, edited like a magazine page, or in a collage with transparent images. They are arranged in a manner that looks aesthetically pleasing through understanding Colour Theory, cohesiveness, and Blending: Comparable & Contrasting Aesthetics.
How do I create a moodboard?
Here are some basic steps for creating a moodboard:
- Collect images. This is typically done using Pinterest, Tumblr, Google Images, and other image collecting sites. Be sure to use images that have diverse subjects, such as fashion, animals, home decor, models, objects, etc.
- Remove the images that do not fit. They might be too similar to a better image, have clashing colors, etc.
- Use a photo editor to arrange the images. These include Canva, Adobe Spark, LINE Camera, Crello, etc.
How can I help this wiki?
You can help this wiki through various ways, including but not limited to:
- Creating pages of pre-existing aesthetics that are missing from this wiki. Some examples of aesthetics that we are missing are: Cabaret, Pre-Raphaelites, and Regency England. Please do not create a page for the sake of doing so. Created aesthetics need to be discussed, and it is important to check for redundancy.
- Fixing grammatical mistakes, re-writing certain sentences for clarity, re-arranging different sections, alphabetizing, and getting rid of broken links.
- Adding additional information, images, citations, and examples of aesthetics. This is best done for the "Needs Work" category, and should be done for short pages, rather than ones with an already-established media and visuals list, such as in Dark Academia.
- Discussing aesthetics with other users, showing appreciation, and creating moodboards in the forum.
- Having fun in the Discord. Engaging with the community does not have to involve knowledge. Memes and asking for help are always encouraged.
What is the clean-up?
Many pages on the Aesthetics Wiki are redundant, poorly written, or about subjects that don't qualify as aesthetics. The administrators and moderators are currently reviewing pages and discussing which should be kept, deleted, or merged.
The clean-up process will be transparent and democratic; Wiki contributors will have a say in page decisions. The schematics are still being discussed, and the timeline is not set in stone, but the clean-up will be finished by the end of 2021.
Voting will begin with the administrators and moderators before going to the members of the Discord and finally to the Wiki community. A document detailing the team's reasons for different pages' statuses will be shared to ensure that the decisions are made based on logic and discussion. This is accompanied by a Google Form which will allow users to comment and discuss the aesthetics with the team. Various message boards, announcements, and comment threads will also be used to facilitate communication.
How are the staff chosen?
The team of staff members would choose new staff members if the wiki grows, a moderator or administrator has to leave this post, or if there are more responsibilities to fulfill. The staff discuss the candidate together and then give the chosen contributor the privileges. Staff members look for people who are:
- Knowledgeable in aesthetics and can speak definitively for an aesthetic community
- Constantly contributing to the wiki in meaningful ways, such as creating necessary pages with good information
- Well-mannered and would contribute to meaningful discussions without interpersonal drama
This community used to have a much freer, more welcoming and relaxed tone. What happened?
As the aesthetic phenomenon becomes more popular, the administrators want to demonstrate that aesthetics are a deep and valid movement that has justifiable boundaries between aesthetics.
As such, we are increasing and tightening our requirements for new pages, revising existing pages, reformatting, and discussing unanswered questions.
We welcome beginners and people who want to share aesthetic ideas. However, reading the FAQ, new page standards, and Helping You Find Your Aesthetic pages are necessary to understand this Wiki's standards and the phenomenon.
Larger Wiki communities like Wikipedia and TVTropes have developed reputations as encyclopedic, reliable sources because they are moderated well and rich with citations, details, and examples. We want to achieve the same level of quality so that users can find comprehensive and relevant information regarding aesthetics.
We are a group that wants to interview you for the purposes of news, anthropology, business analysis, etc. Who do we contact?
Contact any of the moderators or administrators via email, Discord messaging, or Wiki message boards. Also feel free to lurk on the Discord to see what conversations happen in this community.
Why are controversial aesthetics such as Traumacore and Fashwave on this Wiki? Do the mods promote these ideas?
The Aesthetics Wiki is an impartial source. We are here to provide information only. The moderators are not the arbiters of morality and will acknowledge any aesthetics if they exist. We also include a section describing why the aesthetic is controversial and the risks of being involved in trauma- and politics-based aesthetics. If you are sensitive to these subjects, there are browser extensions that filter out potentially triggering content.
Why was my page deleted?
Your page does not meet the standards that are required for pages on this Wiki. We delete pages for various reasons. Contact a moderator if you do not know why your page was deleted or if you want to appeal the decision.
Our requirements for new pages can be viewed on Creating an Ideal Page.
Why are there so few pages on non-Western cultures? And why was the page I made for that culture deleted?
Cultural pages are under protection because the subject is a sensitive one that needs research, personal experience, and specificity in order to represent it correctly. Because a majority of contributors here are from the Western world, this leads to a deficiency in people with enough knowledge to write on this topic.
Cultures cannot be treated like an internet aesthetic; there are thousands of years of aesthetic shifts; historical, philosophical, and religious contexts; and issues of racial conflict that necessitate cultural pages to be written by expert opinions. One cannot simplify a culture into an "essential essence." Doing so is an example of Orientalism (even if applied to non-Asian cultures), in which an imperial power stereotypes a people and appropriates it without paying proper respect to its people by treating them as a static "other."
If you want to contribute to a cultural page, cite your sources, provide necessary context, and use photographs of that people, rather than media that misrepresents them. For example, if you want to make an article on Native tribes in the Plains, include all of the tribal names, information about their religion, and DO NOT add media examples that are based on racial stereotypes that fueled oppression.
What do the mods mean when they say it's a photo subject, not an aesthetic?
An aesthetic needs at least five different visuals. Simply having photos of a subject, such as an animal, is not an aesthetic. These visuals cannot be parts of a whole (i.e. feathers would not count for a “Birdcore” page). Reproductions of the image on different mediums are also not accepted. For example, “rose printed fabric” is unacceptable for a theoretical “Rosecore” page. It is true that the components of that subject can be applied to something else, such as its color or symbolic meaning, but it is not adequate enough. If you were to remove any explicit mention of the main motif, an aesthetic should still hold up. For example, if you were to delete the word "books" in dark academia, the article could still survive.
The best way to understand this is through the superhero Batman. He wears a bat-inspired costume, has bat-shaped weapons, and uses fear. But there is no such thing as "batcore." If your "aesthetic" follows the same visual application that Batman uses, it is not an aesthetic, but rather a theme.
Can I make a page for my personal aesthetic?
We are taking created aesthetics again. Please contact a moderator before creating the page. All of the page requirements have to be met, with the page being distinct enough from other aesthetics to qualify.