Depending on which writing style people have been taught in school and which region they are from, there are going to be differences in opinion about how words are typed and used on TF2 Wiki.
This guide will hopefully help people adhere to a consistent standard of style and formatting throughout TF2 Wiki articles. Covering all situations would take a long time and the following is only meant to be a reference for TF2 Wiki specific guidelines. For a complete manual of style the Wikipedia Manual of Style should be consulted.
Article titles should be short, simple and to the point. As a general rule, the first word should be capitalized and any follow words be lowercased. However, this isn't a hard and fast rule and some words maybe be capitalized to adhere to other guidelines (see Specific wording). Superfluous words such as "properly", "correctly", and "the right way" should be avoided, as should the use of pronunciation marks. Articles are usually on one subject so the title should not be on multiple.
Examples of good titles
- Engineer responses
- Rocket jumping
- Control point
- Linux dedicated server
Examples of bad titles
- Soldier - The Rocket Jump Guide
- KILL ALL SPIES!!!
- The Best Way To Take Out a Sniper and then Capture the Point
- Destroying a Sentry gun correctly ("correctly" is superfluous, why would there be an "incorrect" way?)
The introduction of a TF2 Wiki article is the section before the first heading. The table of contents, if displayed, appears between the lead section and the first headline.
The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, briefly describing its most important points. It should contain up to four paragraphs and should be written in a clear, accessible style so as to invite a reading of the full article.
The article's subject should be mentioned at the earliest natural point in the prose in the first sentence, and should appear in boldface. For example:
The Valve Steam and game statistics allows Valve to monitor player and server statistics through Steam.
General writing style
Articles should be written in the third person if possible. While writing on TF2 Wiki doesn't need to be neutral, you should try to avoid personal reference. Sentences such as "I like to duck behind the boxes because it gives me better cover" could easily be phrased as "Ducking behind the boxes provides better cover".
Formatting functions like bold, italics, and linking are provided to improve readability of articles, so use them (see Wikipedia cheatsheet for additional help). If you wish to emphasize a word use italics rather than bold or CAPITALS. Use of the bold face type should be limited within an article whenever possible to definitions, table headers, and name highlighting (although names should only be highlighted once in an article). Double emphasis should also be avoided but can be used for text such as important warnings by making the word bold italic. Italics and quotation marks are also used in names of pieces of media. For example, game names are italicized.
- Do not use
- ALL CAPS
- Instant messenger language abbreviations - R U OK?
- Emoticons - :)
- Excessive punctuation - !!!
- Sentences starting with lowercase - "place the sentry in the corner"
For a complete guide to linking please refer to Wikipedia's Manual of Style (links).
The use of links is a difficult balance between providing the reader enough useful links to allow them to "wander through" articles and excessive linking which can distract them from their reading flow.
Underlinking can cause the reader to become frustrated because questions may arise about the article's contents which can only be resolved by using the search option or other sources for clarification, interrupting and distracting the reader.
Overlinking may distract the reader because links are usually colored differently causing the eye to shift focus constantly. Additionally if the same word is linked multiple times in the same paragraph it can cause the reader to question if the links are directing them to different articles or not.
The guidelines for linking are:
- No more than 10 percent of the words in an article are contained in links.
- Two links should not be next to each other in the text, so that it looks like one link - such as Spy's disguise.
- Links for any single term should not be excessively repeated in the same article. Excessive linking is more than once for the same term, in a line or a paragraph, which will almost certainly appear needlessly on the viewer's screen. Remember, the purpose of links is to direct the reader to a new spot at the point(s) where the reader is most likely to take a temporary detour due to needing more information.
- Duplicating an important link distant from a previous occurrence in an article may well be appropriate. If an important term appears many times in a long article, but is only linked once at the very beginning of the article, it may actually be underlinked. Indeed, readers who jump directly to a subsection of interest must still be able to find a link. But take care in fixing such problems, the distance between duplicate links is an editors preference, however if in doubt duplicate the term further down the article.
National variations of English will occur depending on the nationality of the author. There is no preferred variation for articles and users should be aware of this, however consistency should be maintained. If the article was written in American English then this form should be used throughout and British English, Canadian English, or Australian English users should not change to their variation part way through.
If possible try to avoid the situation altogether by using common substitutions, for instance: "analyze the situation" could be change to "examine the situation".
This does not extend to the discussion pages where users can use variations freely.
General spelling and grammar should be legible and correct. Use the preview button to check your work for errors before you submit your edit. If English is not your first language or you have difficulties with writing, it is recommended you bring up your point in discussion so that other editors may add it. This makes copy-editing additions much easier.
When using the name of the wiki in articles, the name should be used in two ways:
- Short hand
- TF2 Wiki (not TF2Wiki)
- Long hand
- Team Fortress 2 Wiki
Classes, items, and terms
Names of the Team Fortress 2 classes will generally be capitalized (Engineer, Spy, etc). Normally English nouns within a sentence are lowercased (engineer and spy); however, when referred to within the context of Team Fortress 2, they are treated as proper nouns and thus capitalized. Words and abbreviations of specific names should be capitalized unless referring to things that have become general types (see health example below). This will also apply to names of weapons, hats and terms (see glossary) within Team Fortress 2, however if the name has more than one word, any successive words should be lowercased.
Also keep in mind to avoid using and including unnecessary definite articles. For instance, avoid creating pages with titles such as; "The Hound Dog", "The Gentlemanne's Service Medal" and "The Pain Train" etcetera. Instead use titles such as the following; "Hound dog" "Gentlemanne's service medal" "Pain train" etcetera.
- Sentry gun not Sentry Gun (also Sentries not sentries)
- Butterfly knife not Butterfly Knife
- Critical hit not Critical Hit (also Crit not crit)
- Health not health - when referring to the Health pickup (however health when used generally as in "the player's health")
When writing about weapons, the unifying term for held ammo is 'clip' for the sake of convenience, even in cases where it may not technically 'fit' the weapon, e.g. Grenade/Rocket Launcher. This also applies to ammo in Sentry guns.
When adding data that has been recently changed or added via patch, do not add a note stating that it was added on the '[Date] Patch' but write as if the new data was always the norm, unless the old data is somehow relevant. This is to avoid pages that talk about "recently patched data" which is now years old, as well as articles that have long sections of outdated information followed by "However this was patched and now does not work". Team Fortress 2 is constantly being patched and updated, and changes to aspects of the game become all to frequent to mention specifically.
In order to avoid ambiguity, certain considerations should be followed for specific topics and words.
- "Binds": Many players don't play on PC, and even those that do oftentimes don't use default key assignments. References to commands should refer to those commands in simple, bind-neutral terms, including default key assignments only as extra information (possibly added in parentheses, and not repeated at additional mentions of the same command within the article). For example, "hit mouse2 and sneak around them" would be more appropriately phrased "sneak around them by using cloak (default key mouse2 on PC, left trigger on XBox 360, L2 on PS3)" or, if recently described with key bindings already, simply "sneak around them by using cloak."
- "Pipe bomb": The phrase "pipe bomb" and similar terms should be avoided. Many players think of the Grenade launcher upon reading the phrase, while game coding uses the phrase "pipes" to describe stickies. For example, phrases like "pipes do not suffer damage fall-off" and "use cloak to get past pipes" would be more appropriately phrased "Grenades do not suffer damage fall-off" and "use cloak to get past Stickies."
- "Primary" and "Secondary" weapons: Team Fortress 2 is inconsistent in the ordering of weapons, particularly those of Demoman and Spy. Using the phrases "primary" and "secondary" to describe their weapons should be avoided. For example, "switch to primary weapon to fight nearby enemies" would be more appropriately phrased "switch to Grenade launcher to fight nearby enemies."
TF2 Wiki style guide A-Z - The TF2 Wiki A-Z of style guidelines