Hello creators! We're about to get started on our long journey of turning our ideas into actual written word, and to make the universe we've created into an actual environment for roleplay as opposed to just a simple idea. But before we can start cranking out our pages, we all need to start on the same page together.This one.
With a Manual of Style, we can keep all of our pages looking like they belong together, well formatted, easy to read and easy to edit, too. This page right here is going to go into how we can make a successful wiki together, and sort our information effectively.
The Manual of Style is a guide to creating pages on this wiki. It establishes what our style is, how we document and organize our resources, and keep track of our characters and story-lines throughout this universe in a consistent, effective manner. The idea is to end up with a wiki that is easy to navigate and get information from quickly. To achieve this, all of our articles have to meet the same standard, and be clear, concise, and cohesive with each other.
Edits that ignore this manual can be reverted. Use "MOS violation" as the reason to explain why you undid an edit or updated a page. To see how editing should be done, take a look at: Administrivia: Editing.
Edits that ignore the IP policy can also be reverted. Use "IPP violation" as the reason to explain why you undid an edit or updated a page. To see the IP policy, take a look at: Administrivia: Intellectual Property Policy. By editing, you are stating that you understand the IP Policy and agree to it.
Naming Articles and Headings
Every article has to have a name! Here's how we format them.
- Title case: The first letter of every word in a title must be capitalized, except for articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, prepositions and the "to" in an infinitive.
- Singular form: Article names should be singular as a general rule, however, some examples are okay such as defining members of a group like "Human" or grouping items like "Aircraft", or making a list, e.g. "List of Liberator missions". Generally articles about plural things should be in a category, but this may not always be the case as some don't require an entire category or there may be another reason why a single article is preferred.
- Names without flair: Articles about characters should avoid the title or rank. Just give their first and last name, and leave it at that.
- Avoid definite or indefinite articles: The definite article (the) and indefinite articles (a/an) should be avoided in article titles except if they are used as the official title.
- Some types of articles must have an identifier in their name.
- Production Notes articles will have the name formatted as Production Notes: (subject discussed)
- Event Summary articles will have the name formatted as Arc Summary: (name of the arc)
- Capitalize from the first to the last word.
- Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
- Lowercase these words like (a, an, the, eg.), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions. (off, on, to, eg.)
- Links within headings should only be applied to the entire heading, never to a part of it.
- Headings must not contain images.
Article Information Hierarchy
In Universe Articles
All articles should be structured as follows, in this order. Yes, even silly pages, the seriousness of the encyclopediac hierarchy makes them even funnier. Sections in bold italics should be the actual name of the section in the article.
- Basic description
- Main Sections
- Personality (if the article is about a character)
- Powers and Abilities (for people) / Technical Specifications (for tech and items) / Characteristics (for species) / Organization (for organizations) Essentially, details about how the subject operates.
Some articles have different hierarchies.They should be formatted as follows. Sections in bold italics should be the actual name of the section in the article.
Historical Events / Conflicts
- Basic description
- Arc Overview Infobox (Template: Arc)
- Description of the story arc and a general overview.
- Summary using bullet points with each item in chronological order. Summarize key points of the event. Bullets should not nestle inside each other, the list should be straight all the way down.
- Memorable quotes.
- Analysis will use bullet points, each to present a different view of what occurred in the event and the breakdown from an OOC perspective. Responses will be indented underneath the original question and replies to answers indented under those and so on. Sign your posts.
- Questions will use bullet points, each to used to ask a question. Answers will be indented underneath the original question and replies to answers indented under those and so on. Sign your posts.
Some articles will go into detail about how the content of an article was produced.
- Brief description of the subject being discussed. Can be taken from the basic description for the original article about the subject.
- History of how you developed the subject.
- Commentary, whether from the creator or from others.
Templates should be added where it is necessary and removed when it is unnecessary. The latter refers to maintenance and 'under construction' templates. Infoboxes are the first thing put into an article, unless the article has an alerter, which notifies the reader of the status of an article.
Types of content
- On all character pages, use the Template:Character infobox.
- On all pages about locations, use the Template:Location infobox.
- On all pages about species or types of beings / people, use the Template:Species infobox.
- On all pages about battles and conflicts, use the Template:Conflict infobox.
- On all pages about organizations, use the Template: Organization infobox.
- On all pages about vehicles, use the Template: Vehicle infobox.
- On all pages about other items such as maguffins, technology, inventions and other items, use the Template: Item infobox.
- On all pages written in an out of universe perspective or sections of articles with an otherwise in-universe perspective, use the Template: Real Life alerter.
- On all pages that are about story arcs, use the Template: Arc infobox.
Status of Pages
- On all pages still in progress, that are stubs or in need of revision, use the Template: WIP alerter.
- On all pages that are spoilers, or have new information that would spoil an ongoing plot, use the Template: Spoiler alerter until enough time has passed.
- On all pages that are silly and not serious, use the Template: Silly alerter.
Plumbing and piping
Piping refers to how articles connect and link to each other on the wiki. There should be enough links in each article to easily jump from one article to the next to allow easy reading and to saite the curiosity of those visiting. No article should be an orphan or dead end; all articles should link to other articles and be linked to at least a few times by others.
- Internal links: Any internal article should be linked in every mention in another article's infobox, once upon its first mention in another article's intro, and once upon its first mention in each of other articles' sub-sections.
- Unnecessary punctuation: Linking unnecessary punctuation should be avoided in the articles. The part of the text linked should more or less match the title of the article that you are linking to.
- Do not add external links to other sites without permission.
- Do not use external links in the body of an article: External Links must be reserved for the trivia, external links, and references sections.
- Images appearing in articles should not have the thumbnail box border around them. It should just be an image on the page. PNG format is preferable, use it unless there's no other option.
- Avoid having text between two or more images (sandwich effect). or between an image and an infobox.
- Thumbnails shown in the article should generally be 200px/250px. Images containing important detail (e.g. a map, diagram, or chart) may need larger sizes than usual to make them readable.
- Add a caption to describe the image or what is occurring in it if possible.
Trivia helps readers learn more facts about the subject that is not originally in the main body of the article.
- Avoid opinions! Bias and slanted statements make the article less appealing and more seemingly written by an over-eager fanboy, or worse, the creator of a Mary Sue / Marty Stu.
- Decide whether the fact is more relevant in the body or trivia. If the fact is important, or there is a specific section to note it, it should belong in the body of the article. If it is only worth noting, it should belong in the trivia. (e.g. A character displaying a superpower or using a specific weapon belongs to either the "Powers" or "Equipment" section, respectively, not the Trivia section)
- Only post trivia information related to the subject of the article. If it belongs on a more specific article or another topic, post it on the other article.
- If a trivia is related to another trivia, add an indented list below the parent trivia. If that should be the case, however, decide whether the facts are enough to generate their own main body paragraph.
Every article must be categorized, adding one of the existing categories that can be applied to it. Consult the list of categories and subcategories to find where the articles should go.
- Due to misunderstandings of the category system and how it is used and what ones exist and don't, please do not create new categories and add them to articles.
- Most of the time, if a category does not exist, it is not intended to exist, or there is already an existing category that covers its purpose. Make sure you ask around before making a new category.
On this wiki, we have two types of articles.
- Articles narrating elements, like characters, locations, or items; often called "In-Universe" articles.
- Articles about production, ideation, conceptual design and out-of-character, real life element, called "Out-Of-Universe" articles
Each type requires a particular approach, but both must be written from a neutral point of view with no bias. We're not here to read about how awesome our characters are, but just to read what they did and said, and let actions, not descriptors, speak for them.
Articles about any in-universe subject, such as characters, locations, items, vehicles, organizations or races, should always be written from an in-universe perspective, which means that must be written as if the writer was inside the universe itself. Imagine yourself editing Wikipedia of this universe to get an idea of what this is like.
- As a general rule, write these in present tense.
- If the character has died in the in-universe chronology, then write it from a perspective in past tense. You would be in that case reflecting upon the life of someone who died, and therefore was, not is.
However, some sections in an in-universe article are out-of-universe per se, such as the Appearances section which lists appearances of the character in story-lines and events. Mark these with a Real Life Template to mark a change in perspective.
If an article is out-of-universe or described as such, articles about real-life subject should obviously be written from an out-of-universe perspective. Articles that are real life should have the Real Life Template to mark a change in perspective.
Bolding and Italicizing
When a text is in bold, it appears like this. In source code editing, this can be accomplished by typing three single quotes (') on both ends of a word or phrase.
- The name of the subject of the article must be bolded in its first mention.
- Alternate names for the subject of the article must be bolded in their first mention. This includes names of titles that redirect to said articles and nicknames / aliases.
When a text is in italics, it appears like this. It can be accomplished by typing two single quotes (') on both ends of a word or phrase. Using double quotes will not make the word or phrase italicized.
- Italics must be used for the titles of works of art and literature, such as films, short films, television series, episodes and comics.
- The proper names for a vehicle must be written in italics (e.g.Citadel,Phoenix).
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 the people reading it, editors must keep close to correct grammar standards to ensure clear communication.
To best achieve a "Good Article", writers here generally apply this rule of thumb: language should be clear, consistent, and concise.
- Clarity allows us to be clear and neutral as possible so as to communicate the idea of a sentence effectively to the reader.
- Consistency ensures article flow, an important aspect in being clear. The article should be easy to read and predictable, while assuming a reasonable comprehension level.
- Concision or brevity, is the art of using no more words than necessary to convey an idea, though it should not be misunderstood with "leaving out information". It is an important practice when writing so that you do not lose your audience — try to think "get to the point" as much as possible.
Unnecessary capitalization should be avoided.
- Capitalizing the word 'the': In general, do not capitalize the definite article in the middle of a sentence. However, some idiomatic exceptions, including most titles of artistic works, should be quoted exactly according to common usage.
- Capitalizing the name of a species: In all sections of in-universe articles, the word "Humans" should be capitalized, just as the name of any other sentient species (Akkrenium, Tralonian, Anthro-Feralis) Derived words such as "humanoid", however, should not be capitalized.
- Capitalizing the name of an exceptional material or object: In some instances an object may have a special name that it is referred to by even in normal conversation. For example the Vorfschtam drive is named after its creator Dr. Gustoph Vorfschtam. Its uses in conversation are Vorfschtam jump, Vorfschtam navigation, and Vorfschtaming, all capitalized. The word Red Matter to describe the exotic magic material is the prime example of this.
Ranks and Titles
Ranks and titles are to be capitalized when they immediately precede an individual's name. For example, "Captain Johnson" or "Lieutenant Ossera."
- Names of institutions, such as Grayburn College or Culver University, are proper nouns and require capitals. However, generic words for institutions (university, college...) do not use capitals.
- Political or geographical units, such as cities, towns and countries, follow the same rules: as proper nouns they require capitals (New York City); but as generic words they do not.
Spelling and Punctuation
This Manual of Style is not intended to be detailed English guide. Knowledge of basic spelling and punctuation is automatically assumed.
- Contractions: Uncontracted forms such as Did not or He would are the default in encyclopedic style; don't and he'd are too informal.
- Contested vocabulary / weasel words / bias: In encyclopedia articles, avoid such phrases as remember that and note that, which address readers directly in a less-than-encyclopedic tone. Similarly, phrases such as of course, naturally, obviously, clearly, and actually make presumptions about readers' knowledge, and call into question the reason for including the information in the first place. Do not tell readers that something is ironic, surprising, unexpected, amusing, coincidental, unfortunate, etc. This supplies a neutral point of view... Simply state the facts and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
- Don't say "Some people say" or "It is argued that..." say and tell us who exactly argued that. "Reporters such as Robert Hankman and Jack White responded to the incident with..." or "At the UN, member states such as China and Russia argued" are much better ways of doing it.
- Nicknames: Some characters are often referred to using familiar names or nicknames. However, their use in encyclopedic articles must be strictly avoided, and a character must always be referred to by its full name when first mentioned, and surname only in subsequent references.
- When a paragraph or section refers to at least two members of the same family, characters can be referred to by their first name, in order to clarify which one of the characters is being discussed.
Language and Spelling Differences
- This wiki uses standard American English spelling, grammar and punctuation, as it is the English used by the majority of the participants in this project.
- However, direct quotes should never be altered, even if they do not use American spelling or the English language at all.
Use Present Tense
As a general rule, every article, both in-universe and out-of-universe, must be written in present tense, as they are considered to the world as it is currently.
- The articles on the Liberators Database are presented as "information briefings / database records" of the events that have occurred in in this reality.
- The exception to this is if the subject of a page has died or been destroyed, in which case the subject should be referred to in past tense to reflect this status.
How to do Paragraphs
Inexperienced writers have a tendency towards "run on" paragraphs. Some of these may number dozens of lines and many column inches without a break. This makes the articles difficult to read as everything seems to flow together. It also makes it tough to quickly skim articles for data points.
- A good paragraph grammatically speaking) is two to five sentences in length on average. It covers one thought or idea or piece of information. Any time there is a change in the thought, idea, or piece of information, there should also be a paragraph change.
- When formatting paragraphs, adding an empty line between paragraphs looks better in the articles than the traditional "paragraph indent" on the first line. It makes for a more definite "break point" visually, and allows the reader to more easily see that they are reading a new paragraph at that point.
Terminology, Special words and Technical Terms
Sometimes, the Liberators Database uses very specific words to refer to terms that could be described with different synonyms. In order to maintain consistency, here are some words that must be used to describe their subjects on every count.
- Powers and Abilities: The word Powers is specifically used to refer to what is commonly known as "super-powers", such as super-strength, super-speed, flight and many others.
- Abilities is used to refer to a list of skills that include Martial Arts, Marksmanship, Acrobatics, Engineering, Scientific Knowledge, Business Management, Computer Hacking, Espionage, Multilingualism, among others. As such, while redacting an article and making reference to any of them, both words are not interchangeable, and cannot be used indiscriminately in case the word is repeated in a sentence.
- Alien: The word "alien" is defined as a person, animal, plant, or other thing which is from outside the family, group, organization, or territory under consideration. This word is commonly used to refer of individuals or items of extraterrestrial origin. In the context of the Liberators Database the word 'alien refers to anything from Earth that is not of this planet.