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WoWWiki:Manual of Style

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This page is considered a guideline on WoWWiki.

It illustrates standards of conduct, which many editors agree with in principle. However, it is not policy.

This Manual of Style outlines a standard of clean, consistent formatting for articles in WoWWiki. The formatting described here is a guideline and can be overridden where circumstances warrant it. These guidelines will never be unerringly perfect for every situation. However, please try your best to keep to the advice outlined in this article so others may use your edits as an example when creating and editing their own articles.

These guidelines are a summary of the most important guidelines for the WoWWiki, but a more expansive set of guidelines can be found on Wikipedia at Wikipedia Manual of Style.

Article layout

Wikiicon-gnome-at-work

One of the most important parts of wiki editing is how to structure an article. The structure is a powerful thing: it dictates what information the reader reads and when he or she reads it. It can influence what people contribute, where it goes, and how it might be written. Structure has the power to inform or confuse the same way good or bad writing does. Keep a well structured article, and you're more likely to have a high quality one.

Organize sections in an article in a hierarchical structure like you would an outline. Keep it logical, but feel free to forsake strict logic for readability. Wherever possible, try to have an introduction for each section. Just like the article as a whole, the section should start with an introduction and then have its subsections below it. Try using a shallow structure rather than a deep one. Too many nested sections usually leads to a confusing or unreadable article. See #Section headings for more info on writing section headings.

Above all, keep your layout consistent. Don't throw your reader a curve ball too often. The following sections will offer some good advice on keeping your articles clean, consistent, and clear. They are presented in the order in which they should appear in an article.

Non-article content

Non-article content (such as disambiguations and article message boxes) should be located above the lead.

See also #Article message boxes, #Disambiguations and #Navigation boxes, below.

Infoboxes

Infoboxes, boxes which summarise data relating to the article, should appear at the top-right corner of the article content. Item tooltips are also "infoboxes".

Lead section

An article should begin with an introductory lead section, before the first subheading. The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, establishing context, and explaining why the subject is interesting or notable. It should be between one or two paragraphs long, and should be written in a clear and accessible style so that the reader is encouraged to read the rest of the article. The lead should not be explicitly entitled == Introduction == or any header with equivalent meaning.

If possible, make the title the subject of the first sentence of the article. For example, write "King Terenas Menethil II was King of Lordaeron during and after the Second War."

The first time the article mentions the title, put it in bold using three apostrophes—'''article title''' produces article title. Avoid other uses of bold in the first sentence, except for alternative titles of an article; for example, Blood elf:

The blood elves, or sin'dorei, are a race consisting of former high elves…

Follow the normal rules for italics in choosing whether to put part or all of the title in italics. This will mainly apply to the titles of books and games:

The Demon Soul is a novel in the War of the Ancients trilogy.

Do not put links in the bold reiteration of the title in the article's lead sentence. For example, "The night elves are an ancient race…" versus "The night elves are an ancient race."

Table of contents

A table of contents (TOC) will automatically appear in articles with a minimum of four headings (unless forced by the below options). By default this will be left-aligned above the first section heading.

  • To force a TOC position (left-aligned): __TOC__
  • To completely remove the TOC from a page: __NOTOC__

The table of contents can be right-aligned—but this should only be done if it is very long (over 15 entries) and an information box is not occupying the top-right corner of the article.

  • Right-aligned TOC that floats next to text: {{tocright}}

Article content

For information on writing the article itself, see the #Writing section.

Gallery

This section (== Gallery ==) is used to show images in <gallery> tags. For example, you can show several pictures, and optionally supply captions:

<gallery>
Image:Katrana prestor.jpg|Onyxia in disguise as Lady Katrana Prestor
Image:LadyOnyxia.jpeg|Onyxia after losing her disguise.
Image:OnyxiaTCG.jpg|Onyxia TCG
Image:OnyxiaBlizzard.jpg|Onyxia TCG
Image:OL-onyxiastage1.jpg|Onyxia TCG
Image:OL-onyxiastage2.jpg
</gallery>

Calling this section "Media" (== Media ==) is also acceptable.

Videos

This section is used to show YouTube (and other sites) embedded videos.

Appearances

This section is used on character articles to list which media (books, games, etc.) that character has appeared in. See WoWWiki:Appearances project for more information.

Patch changes

This section should be used to consolidate all patches and hotfixes made to the article's topic. Entries should use the {{patched}} template, quoting patch notes or Blizzard forum posts about hotfixes whenever possible. If no quote is available, for example undocumented changes discovered by players, then the comments field of the template should be used to describe the change. References are not needed if the change is an official patch note, a Blizzard post (though the post should be linked using the template), or if the change is documented in the corresponding patch's "Undocumented Changes" page here on wowwiki.

See also

This section is used to list links to related topics on WoWWiki, which may not have been linked within the article content. Use bullets to list the links.

References

Under the references section should be placed <references/>, or {{reflist}}, the usage of which can be found at WoWWiki:Citation.

External links

In the external links section should be any external (off-wiki) links relating to the article.

Navigational tables

Next should come any page-width navigational tables. They should follow the design of {{Burning Legion}}, and use {{Navbox}} or {{Navbox with columns}}. These navboxes should be placed at the end of a page, just above the categories (and below any succession boxes). The navboxes should be ordered by the best related concepts.

There are a few exceptions for small templates, such as profession skill levels, which are vertical—e.g. {{AlchemyRecipes}}.

Categories and interwiki links

Categories and interwiki links should be added at the very end of the article, with category links followed by interwiki links. A full list of categories can be found on Special:Categories. They take the form [[Category:Categoryname]], and should be named in the same fashion as articles.

Writing

"I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs"
- Stephen King

We now come to the meat of an article: the words themselves. When you're editing wikis, you're both academic and artist. You have to be accurate, but you also have to be interesting. Neither one can dominate; you have to skillfully balance both.

  • Keep your writing concise. Don't use two words where one will do. Keeping your writing simple will make it easy to understand and easy to expand on. Use complete sentences whenever possible. When you write, use grammar as a toolbox: know the rules, but only break them on purpose.
  • Check your spelling and grammar. Do not use 'u' in place of 'you' or '2' in place of 'to'. Write the way you would for a class paper or a newspaper article.
  • Keep all of the topics you cover within the scope of the article. What that means is, you don't need to give a detailed history of the blood elves on the page about Kael'thas. Consider the article's title as your point of origin and write from that perspective. Make use of the wiki's ability to link to more detailed articles or external sources for more information.
  • Write from an impersonal perspective.' Do not use "I." For example, do not write, "Hellscream was a fervent member of the Horde. He served both the Old and New Horde, as far as I know." Avoid drawing attention to the author (yourself) as much as possible.
  • Be bold. If you know something is wrong, correct it. If you think you could word something better, write it. If an article has a glaring deficiency, fill it. Even if your first attempt isn't golden, you can fix it later or someone else will come along and fix it for you. Don't be afraid to screw up.

Grammar

Grammar is a writer's toolbox. You can't build good sentences without knowing how to use your tools. Since a wiki article must be as clear as possible for all of the people reading it, editors must maintain a high level of adherence with the rules of grammatical use, to ensure clear communication. Note that a sentence that seems grammatically incorrect, may not be depending on context.

This can not be emphasised strongly enough. Numerous edits to the Wiki have to be performed, which are purely for the purpose of correcting truly atrocious grammar. Even if English is not your native language, there are any number of grammar tutorials and references available on the Web, so you have no excuse.

Capitalization

Shortcut: WW:CAPS

Titles such as lord, king, or archdruid start with a capital letter when used as a title (followed by a name): "King Arthas", not "king Arthas". When used generically, they should be in lower case: "Furion is a powerful archdruid." The correct formal name of an office is treated as a proper noun. Hence: "Varian Wrynn is the current King of Stormwind."

Nicknames, however, such as "'Furion," should be avoided, since not only are they colloquial, but also suggest partiality, and a possible violation of NPOV.

Classes should only be capitalized when used as a proper noun, i.e. as part of someone's name. ("Warlock, go be evil" versus "That warlock is quite evil.") Races such as orc, human, troll, or night elf should not be capitalized except when used as a proper noun or at the beginning of a sentence. Factions such as Forsaken, Alliance, Horde, or Argent Dawn should always be capitalized.

Titles of works

Italics are used for the titles of works, such as books and games. The titles of articles, chapters, and other short works are not italicized but are enclosed in double quotation marks.

For example, italicize The Last Guardian and World of Warcraft, and use quotes for "Arathor and the Troll Wars".

Dates

Shorthand dates (used in tables and templates) should be written in the form YYYY-MM-DD (for example, 2009-04-01), to aid alphanumeric organising. Dates in longhand (as written in article sentences) should be written in the form D M YYYY (for example, 1 April 2009).

WoWWiki does not use the United States standard (MM-DD-YY), as this is confusing to the many English speaking readers from parts of the world, in particular for dates where the day and month are small numbers.

Quotations

Format a long quote (over four lines) as an italicized block quotation, which will be indented from both margins. Do not enclose the block quote in quotation marks. To format a block quotation, do not use the wiki indentation mark ":" — instead, use the HTML <blockquote> element.

Tense

Most articles should be described as facts, so use the present or future tenses. "The trainer is in Stormwind." "This recipe can be learned by rogues."

The major exception to this rule are undocumented patch notes. The tense used should match how Blizzard's official patch notes are written. For the most part, past tense should be used, "Cooldown reduced." For new features, future tense can be used as well, primarily used in conjunction with now, "Now also increases spell damage," "This ability now has 3 charges." Other tenses should be converted. For example, "The pet will be renamed" should be "The pet has been renamed."

Images

For full guidelines regarding images on WoWWiki, see WoWWiki:Image guidelines.

Tables

Tables should use the "darktable" class design when possible, and should include as little "fancy" formatting as possible. Tables can also be made sortable by adding a "sortable" class.

For long tables, it is recommended to use the "alt" class to alternate row colours to enhance

More information about wiki tables can be found on Help:Table.

With row headings, table caption, sortable

{| class="darktable sortable"
|+ I am a caption
|-
! Heading one || Heading two || Heading three
|-
! Row heading 1
| Row data 2b
| Row data 3c
|- 
! Row heading 2
| Row data 2b
| Row data 3a
|-
! Row heading 3
| Row data 2c
| Row data 3b
|}
I am a caption
Heading one Heading two Heading three
Row heading 1 Row data 2b Row data 3c
Row heading 2 Row data 2b Row data 3a
Row heading 3 Row data 2c Row data 3b

Without row headings, with alt rows

{| class="darktable zebra"
|-
! Heading one || Heading two || Heading three
|- 
| Row data 1
| Row data 2
| Row data 3
|-
| Row data 1
| Row data 2
| Row data 3
|- 
| Row data 1
| Row data 2
| Row data 3
|-
| Row data 1
| Row data 2
| Row data 3
|}
Heading one Heading two Heading three
Row data 1 Row data 2 Row data 3
Row data 1 Row data 2 Row data 3
Row data 1 Row data 2 Row data 3
Row data 1 Row data 2 Row data 3

Section headings

Use the == (two equal signs) style markup for main headings, equivalent to <h2>.

Do not use a single =. This is because a single = creates an <h1> heading. The page header already uses an h1, and to use further h1s would be poor semantics. In addition, do not use wikilinks in subject headings. When edited, these sections become confusing in the edit history because of the link code. Consider instead putting the word in the first or second sentence of the section and linking it there.

Capitalize the first letter only of the first word and of any proper nouns in a heading and leave all of the other letters in lower-case. Use "Founding and history", not "Founding and History". Note that this is different from most section title rules you'll encounter elsewhere.

Avoid special characters in headings, such as an ampersand (&), a plus sign (+), curly braces ({}), or square braces ([]). In place of the ampersand, use the word "and" (unless the ampersand is part of a formal name).

Always keep headings short and simple. Headings are guidelines to your page's structure and should inform the reader rather than confuse. To keep it short, avoid unnecessary words or redundancy in headings, i.e. avoid a, an, and the, pronouns, repeating the article title, and so on. Also, try to avoid giving identical titles to different sections.

Disambiguations

A disambiguation line is sometimes put at the beginning of an article to link to another article with the same or similar title. The line should be italicized and indented once. Most usually contain the phrase, "Were you looking for X?" For example, in the Battle of Mount Hyjal article:

Were you looking for "The Battle of Mount Hyjal", Chapter V of the History of Warcraft?

The template {{for}} can also be used for this purpose.

Article message boxes

An "article message box" is generally a temporary notice on an article—it may flag up some issue or notify the user about some special aspect of the article. It should never be part of the article content.

All article messages use Template:Ambox base template, which is designed to work as stacked banners at the very top of a page. A list of templates using it can be found here.

Example:

Location

Article message templates such as {{wikify}} and stubs should be placed at the very top of an article, before all text, images and other templates.

If the notice only applies to a very specific section of an article, an alternative inline template should be used.

Order

The order of the box stack should be based on the border color, using the order shown in the next section.

Design

They should be based on {{Ambox}}, using the following border color scheme:

blue  
article notice
red  
serious issue, e.g. {{NPOV}}
yellow  
mild issue, e.g. {{wikify}}
green  
something good, e.g. {{willkeep}}
purple  
technical change, e.g. {{merge}}
orange  
stub colour, e.g. {{Stub/Lore}}
gray  
other, currently unused

For non-stub boxes, the icon should be replaced with one from Category:WoWWiki graphics or Category:WoWWiki icons (or a custom icon), with a maximum width of 60 pixels. For more info, see Template talk:Ambox.

Conclusion

Every article can be improved (even this one). Following these guidelines will not ensure a perfect article the first time, but it will give the article a stronger skeleton. It's ultimately your job as an editor to put meat on it.

External links

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