Gamification Wiki:Manual of Style

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

Contents

Article layout

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 summarize 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.

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.

Do not put links in the bold reiteration of the title in the article's lead sentence.

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.

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

<gallery>
Image:AlGoreGamification.jpg|Caption here
Image:BingGordonGamification.jpeg|Caption here
</gallery>

Videos

This section is used to show YouTube (and other sites) embedded videos. We are using the MediaWiki extension VideoFlash to make it easy to embed Youtube and other videos. See details on how to use it here: http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:VideoFlash.

See also

This section is used to list links to related topics on Gamification Wiki, which may not have been linked within the article content. Use bullets to list the links. It also is good to link to Gamification Q&A pages that are relevant or Gamification Discussion posts.

References

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

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

Next should come any page-width navigational tables. They should 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.

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 [Bad Link: Plugin Not Found], 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.
  • Write from an impersonal perspective.' Do not use "I." 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 emphasized 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.

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.

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).

Gamification Wiki 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.

Images

For full guidelines regarding images on Gamification Wiki, see Gamification_Wiki:Image guidelines.

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.

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.

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 color, e.g. {{Stub/Lore}}
gray  
other, currently unused

For non-stub boxes, the icon should be replaced with one from Category:Gamification_Wiki graphics or Category:Gamification_Wiki 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.

Categories: