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Help:Style Guide

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Use this guide whenever creating or editing content on this wiki.

Edit Previews

Always preview your edits and try to catch as many spelling, grammar, and coding errors there as possible. Try to avoid making one large edit and then numerous minor edits to fix typos.

Heading and Subheadings

  • This is MediaWiki, so the highest subheading level should be H2. (H1 is reserved for the article title.)
  • Heading and subheadings should be hierarchical.

Categories

  • Make sure every article belongs to at least one category. It is permissible (and in some cases, preferred) for some articles to belong to multiple categories.
  • If a header block template exists for a category, be sure to use it on every article in that category. (You can find a list of templates here.
  • This is MediaWiki, so categories can (and in many cases, should) be hierarchical.
  • Add category tags to the top of articles, just beneath any template tags. (This is counter to WikiPedia practice, which places category tags at the bottom of articles. Placing them at the top makes it easier to see them at a glance.)

Capitalization

  • Titles of articles, subheadings, etc., should always be in Title Case. That is, capitalize important words.
  • For titles of referenced works, use MLA-style capitalization rules. (See this article.)

Links

  • Add links generously when they are appropriate.
  • Use link labels. Avoid the use of bare URLs. In other words, prefer Google not https://www.google.com.
  • Only add an internal link to another article on the first instance in an article, not throughout the entire article.

Copyright

  • All contributions you make should be your own writing. Anything copied from another source should be in quotation marks or a blockquote and properly attributed.
  • All images should be free of copyright issues and properly credited in a caption.

User Profiles

  • Fill out your user profile. Include links to your own website. Add whatever you like.

Talk Pages

  • If you have questions about an article, feel free to discuss them on that article's talk page.
  • If no talk page exists for an article, feel free to create one.

Marking Pages with Templates

  • Feel free to mark pages that need expanding by adding {{Template:Stub}} at the top of the article. (This will automatically add the page to the stubs category.)
  • Feel free to mark orphan pages that need backlinks by adding {{Template:Orphan}} at the top of the article. (This will automatically add the page to the orphan pages category.)
  • If an article is a hot mess, mark it as needed attention by adding {{Template:Needs Attention}} at the top of the article. (This will automatically add the page to the pages needing attention category.)
  • Place template tags at the top of articles, before any other content, including category tags. They will appear in the order you list them.

Minor Edits

Be sure to mark minor edits as minor edits. What constitutes a minor edit? Generally, anything that does not significantly change the the content of an article is a minor edit.

The following items are minor edits:

  • Fixing typos
  • Correcting misspellings
  • Correcting grammar issues
  • Correcting broken links
  • Changing the order of sentences in a paragraph.

Anything that changes the content of an article such that the meaning of the article or of a portion of an article is changed is not a minor edit.

The following items are not minor edits:

  • Adding or deleting headings
  • Adding or deleting paragraphs
  • Adding or deleting links
  • Changing the order of paragraphs
  • Changing the order of sections or subsections.

Why Use Minor Edits?

The purpose of a minor edit is to allow anyone viewing the history of a page to know if the edit resulted in changes to the content that may change the purpose or editorial direction of a page. (Good edit summaries also help.)

Add an Edit Summary

An edit summary is a short (under 70 characters, generally) of what edits you have made. A good edit summary is both concise and precise.

Using quotation marks in an edit summary refers to a portion of the article with that title. For example,

Added "Miscellaneous Links"

means that you added a section called "Miscellaneous Links", while

Added miscellaneous links

means that you added various unspecified links to the article.

Both of these edit summaries could be made more precise, however:

Added "Miscellaneous Links" section at end of article
Added link to Rolling Stone article

Keep in mind that edit summaries will always be in italics, so there is no point in adding HTML or markup to an edit summary.

If you cannot adequately summarize your edit in 70 characters or less, you are either attempting to do too much with a single edit, or you need to work on your summarizing skills.