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This is a generic style manual which is not tailored specifically for the Mass Effect Wiki. For guidelines specific to the Mass Effect wiki, see the Mass Effect Wiki:Style Guide.
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This Manual of Style outlines a standard of clean, consistent formatting for articles on this wiki. 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 this wiki, but a more expansive set of style guidelines can be found on Wikipedia at Wikipedia Manual of Style.

Article layoutEdit

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.

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.

Lead sectionEdit

Unless an article is very short, it should start with an introductory lead section, before the first subheading. The lead should not be explicitly entitled == Introduction == or any equivalent header. The table of contents, if displayed, appears after the lead section and 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.

If possible, make the title the subject of the first sentence of the article. For example, write "King Frederick II was [[King of Terra]] 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:

The blood elves, or sin'dorei, are a race comprised 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 contentsEdit

A table of contents 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 the 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 only if it is very long (over 15 entries) and an information box is not occupying the top-right corner of the article (rare exceptions exist).

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

Section headingsEdit

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 which is already used by the page header and would be bad coding. Also, 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 lowercase. 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.

ImagesEdit

Example

Caption

Images make an article memorable and pretty. They can speak where words fail. At the same time, misplaced or untidy images can detract from an article. When choosing images, keep in mind placement, size, and the appropriateness of the image to the section. Let images flow with the text instead of break it up.

Large images such as screenshots should use the "thumb" (example:[[Image:CoolImage.png|thumb]]) option which displays large images as thumbnails. Images should generally be right aligned to enhance readability by allowing a smooth flow of text down the left margin - the "thumb" option does this by default. If an infobox is not being used in an article, a right aligned picture in the lead section is encouraged.

For more information, see Help:Images.

Galleries Edit

When an article has many images, or can be improved by having more, and having inline images be detract from the readbility of an articles, the use of a <gallery> section is encouraged.

Tables Edit

Tables should use a "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 create an "alt" class to alternate row colours to enhance readability. The below examples use "toccolours" as a class, but this is only for the purposes of demonstration, and isn't generally recommended.

With row headings, table caption, sortable Edit

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

{| class="toccolours sortable"
|+ I am a caption
|-
! Heading one || Heading two || Heading three
|-
| class="title" | Row heading
| Row data 2
| Row data 3
|-
| class="title" | Row heading
| Row data 2
| Row data 3
|-
| class="title" | Row heading
| Row data 2
| Row data 3
|}

Without row headings, with alt rows Edit

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

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

Article message boxesEdit

Add me! You may want to look at Wikipedia:Article message boxes.

See also, references, external links, and navigational tablesEdit

The last sections, if they exist, should always be "See also", followed by "References", followed by "External links". In the case of "See also", use bullets to list the internal links. Under the references section should be placed <references/>. Finally, in the external links should be all external links.

CategoriesEdit

Categories should be added to the end of an article - a full list can be found on Special:Categories.

All articles should be accessible starting from Category:Browse, via subcategories.

DisambiguationEdit

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:

Were you looking for "[[The Battle of Terrafield]]", an official novel?

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

QuotationsEdit

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.

GrammarEdit

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.

CapitalizationEdit

Titles such as lord or king 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 lord." The correct formal name of an office is treated as a proper noun. Hence: "Anduin is the current King of Stormwind."

Classes should only be capitalized when used as a proper noun, i.e. as someone's name. ("Warlock, go be evil" versus "That warlock is quite evil.")

Titles of worksEdit

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]]".

Writing Edit

“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 humans on the page about Winston Churchill. 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.

Conclusion Edit

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 Edit

External links Edit

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