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This page is considered a guideline on Wowpedia.

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

Icon-shortcut.pngShortcut: WP:MOS

This Manual of Style outlines a standard of clean, consistent formatting for articles in Wowpedia. 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 Wowpedia, but a more expansive set of guidelines can be found on Wikipedia at Wikipedia Manual of Style.

Contents

Article layout

Wikiicon-gnome-at-work.png

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

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 templates {{for}} or {{about}} can also be used for this purpose.


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.

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. The order of the box stack should be based on the border color, using the following order:

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

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".

Infoboxes should generally summarise available information; speculation, as well as "unknown" or "n/a" rows should be avoided.

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 is used to show images in <gallery> tags. For example, you can show several pictures, and optionally supply captions:

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

Videos

This section is used to show YouTube (and other sites) embedded videos using <vplayer /> at the top of the section and {{#vlink:<youtube video id>|<description>}} <br /> for each video.

See also: Help:VideoLink

Patch changes

This section should be used to consolidate all patches and hotfixes made to the article's topic with few exceptions. Entries should use the {{Patch}} template (or {{Hotfix}} if change takes place in a hotfix), 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 Wowpedia.

Exceptions
A few in-game additions that should not be noted in this particular section are the appearances characters make in newly created zones, scenarios, battlegrounds, or other instances in which the character is not completely moved from its original location.

See also

This section is used to list links to related topics on Wowpedia, 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 Wowpedia: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.

Style

  • 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. This makes it easier for all readers to understand, not just the ones accustomed to the same conventions you are.
  • 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.

Content

Keep the following general guidelines in mind when considering what to include in the 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.
  • Avoid repeating other sources verbatim. In general, prose in Wowpedia articles should be original. If possible, you should avoid reusing Blizzard's descriptions or previews of e.g. game features or novels.

For some article types, additional guidelines apply:

  • For API articles, see Wowpedia:How to edit API pages
  • Articles for lore sources, such as books, novels, or short-stories, should include a Plot section summarizing the source's content. Sections that contain only links to other content, such as lists of Characters or Locations mentioned in the source, should be avoided (as characters or locations with meaningful involvement in the plot would naturally be mentioned by the plot summary).
  • Lore character articles should include a Biography section summarizing significant events in the character's past. This section should focus primarily on the character's role in the events, deferring to other articles for more detailed descriptions of events or dialogue. Avoid including subsections for every lore source the character appeared in; the section should not be overly long.

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 cannot be emphasised strongly enough. Numerous edits to the Wiki have to be performed, which are purely for the purpose of correcting truly atrocious grammar. Do not use a native language other than English as an excuse - there are any number of grammar tutorials and references available on the Web, so you should be doing your utmost to make your contributions correct while improving your command of the language.

Capitalization

Shortcut: WP:CAPS

Capitalization generally follows the rules used in-universe, even in cases where the term could be used in both in- and out-of-universe contexts. This provides a consistent standard without bogging down editors in trying to figure out which is correct in every individual case.

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: "Malfurion 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, 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 part of a proper noun, e.g. "Uther the Lightbringer named me a member of the Paladins of Lordaeron." vs "I received training as a paladin." Races such as orc, human, troll, or night elf should similarly go uncapitalized except when as a proper noun or at the beginning of a sentence. To residents of Azeroth, these are simple, common words, like "lawyer" or "human being", and are capitalized accordingly.

Factions, such as Forsaken, Alliance, Horde, or Argent Dawn, are proper names and should always be capitalized.

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."

Formatting

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 organizing. Dates in longhand (as written in article sentences) should be written in the form D M YYYY (for example, 1 April 2009).

Wowpedia does not use MM-DD-YY[YY] (04-01-2009) or DD-MM-YY[YY] (01-04-2009), as use of either format may be confusing.

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.

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, striped tables utilizing alternating shadings are recommended to aid in distinguishing rows, using the "zebra" class.

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

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.

Links and tooltips

Some templates on Wowpedia modify how incoming links to a page appear on other pages; others allow you to customize the appearance of a link explicitly. Note that this formatting (and tooltip-displaying) functionality should be used appropriately; the formatting/tooltip used must be relevant to the context being discussed. Some examples:

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.

See also