Help:Style guide

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This article is a Team Fortress Wiki style guide. 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 TF Wiki.

This guide will hopefully help people adhere to a consistent standard of style and formatting throughout TF Wiki's articles. Covering all situations would take a long time and the following is only meant to be a reference for TF Wiki specific guidelines. For a complete Manual of Style, the Wikipedia Manual of Style should be consulted.

Article titles

Article titles should be short, simple, and to the point. As a general rule, the first word should be capitalized and any subsequent words should be lowercase. This isn't a hard and fast rule though, and some words may 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 about one subject, so the title should not be on multiple topics.

Examples of good titles

  • Engineer responses
  • Rocket jumping
  • Control point
  • Linux dedicated server
  • Melee weapons

Examples of bad titles

  • Soldier - The Rocket Jump Guide
  • The Best Way To Take Out a Sniper and then Capture the Point
  • Destroying a Sentry Gun correctly ("correctly" is superfluous and an opinion)
  • Why the Scout is the worst playable class.
  • Cool server list

Introduction (lead)

The introduction of a TF 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 within 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. Although writing on TF Wiki doesn't need to be neutral, you should try to avoid personal references. 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, therefore use them (see the 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 be highlighted only 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 are also used in titles of works in media (comics, games, books, videos, music, poems, etc.) whether published by Valve or others.

Do not use
  • Instant messenger language abbreviations - R U OK?
  • Emoticons - :)
  • Excessive punctuation - !!!
  • Sentences starting with lowercase - "first, place the sentry in the corner"

Spelling and grammar

For a broader list of detailed style conventions, see Help:Style guide/A-Z

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 – British English, Canadian English, or Australian English users should not change it 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 changed 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.

Overlinking and underlinking

For a complete guide to linking, please refer to Wikipedia's Manual of Style (linking).

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 that can distract them from their reading flow.

Underlinking can cause the reader to become frustrated because questions may arise about the article's contents that 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. Excessive linking is defined as multiple linking of the same term, or a high concentration of links that 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.

The guidelines for linking are:

  • No more than 10 percent of the words in an article are contained in links.
  • If possible, 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 generally should not be repeated in the same article.
  • Duplicating an important link in a larger article can be justified in some situations. 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 may find such a repeated link useful. But, take care in fixing such problems, the distance between duplicate links is an editor's preference, however if in doubt duplicate the term further down the article.
  • Disambiguation and other lists: The general wiki style is exactly one link per line of a list; ideally, that link should be to the article for subject of the line. Any temptation to add more links in the line is usually to add links that are already in the first or second sentence of the linked article, and, so are totally unnecessary in the list. That said, this wiki has long tolerated the redundant overlinking for these links: cosmetic item, all classes, and any of the classes, even though, clearly, those links are in the first lines of all cosmetic pages. Do not let this counter example of tolerated overlinking suggest that it is acceptable to add overlinking anywhere else.
  • Adding links to established articles: New editors are often tempted to add links to established pages. Generally, the level of linking on this wiki's pages are more than adequate; so, you should add a link only where you honestly do not know what the page is discussing at that point.

Specific wording

Team Fortress Wiki

When using the name of the Wiki in articles, the name should be used in two ways:

Short hand
TF Wiki (not TFWiki) or simply Wiki
Long hand
Team Fortress 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). 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 the names of weapons, cosmetic items, and terms (see glossary) within Team Fortress 2, however, if the name has more than one word, any successive words should be title-cased.

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 Gentle Manne's Service Medal", "The Pain Train", etc. Instead, use titles such as "Hound Dog", "Gentle Manne's Service Medal", "Pain Train", etc.


  • Sentry Gun, not Sentry gun (also Sentries, not sentries)
  • Butterfly Knife, not Butterfly knife
  • Critical hit, not Critical Hit (also Crit, not crit)
  • Mini-Crit, not mini-Crit or mini-crit.
  • Health, not health, when referring to the Health pickup, however, health when used in general 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 for Sentry Guns.

When referring to any class, except for the Pyro, male pronouns such as "he" and "his" are used. For example: "The Heavy and his Medic".

When referring to the player or the Pyro, gender neutral pronouns such as "they" and "their" are used. For example: "The player can select cosmetic items from their inventory to wear." or "The Pyro can use their flamethrower".


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 instead write it 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 too frequent to mention specifically.

Strategy pages

Strategy pages contain advice instead of neutral statements about gameplay, so writing "you" giving commands, being accurate and brief, are preferred to encyclopedic language. Whenever applicable, the scope of a strategy should be specified. In some cases, this will require phrases that are normally weasel words, such as "probably" and "on occasion."

Many strategies will be impossible to cite, so use judgment. The best strategy entries will apply universally and will not require enemy players to be stupid, inexperienced, or foolish. For example, strategies requiring deception are poor advice because they will almost never work against excellent players. Success in general can be a poor measuring stick, since almost any strategy will work against sufficiently poor enemies. Give advice that would succeed against the best possible foes.

Unique cases

In order to avoid ambiguity, certain considerations should be followed for specific topics and words.

  • "Binds": Many players don't play on a PC, and even those that do often times 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 Mouse2 on a PC, left trigger on an XBox 360, L2 on a 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 this 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 the Demoman and Spy classes. Using the phrases "primary" and "secondary" to describe their weapons should be avoided. For example, in the case of Demoman, "switch to primary weapon to fight nearby enemies" would be more appropriately phrased "switch to the Grenade Launcher to fight nearby enemies."

See also