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MicroWiki:Manual of style

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This page collates and codifies conventions on elements of style used on MicroWiki. MicroWiki standardises some elements of style because:

  • MicroWiki, as the foremost English-language collaborative micronational encyclopædia, should look formal and professional. While it is not expected that our contributors are professional writers, or have even finished secondary education, consistency greatly improves the impression given by writing therein.
  • MicroWiki is intended to be accessible and easy to read. Many MicroWiki contributors and readers are not native speakers of English. It is easier for all English speakers to read MicroWiki if obscure and incorrect language is avoided.

Policy on styles is created by administrators, who formulate policy after discussion among themselves and with the broader community, observing existing trends in article style, and considering style policies used elsewhere that editors may be familiar with.

Regional varieties of English

MicroWiki had a British domain name, and is operated chiefly by people who don't use American English. Site information and most pages on the wiki use British English, but it is acceptable to use American English in articles concerning micronations based in the USA. However:

  • Don't add American English syntax when a page already uses British English. If an existing page mixes British and American language, standardise it to American English if the article is about a micronation based in the USA and British English if not.
  • Avoid American terms uncommon elsewhere, such as faucet, bodega, and burglarize.

Capitalisation

Do not capitalise:

  • Any parts of headings, except the first word and any proper nouns therein. For example:
See also Yes
Foreign Relations of Examplestan No
Administrative divisions of Examplestan Yes
  • Ideologies, except Nazism and ideologies named after a person. For example:
Most party members consider themselves social democrats. Yes
He described the policy as "isocratic Thatcherism". Yes
The group counter-protested a neo-Nazi demonstration. Yes
She became interested in Conservatism around her 22nd birthday. No
  • The names of currencies. For example:
Slovenia is home to the largest packaged product display of any country using the euro. Yes
The high Australian dollar is making it difficult for Australian steel to compete on the world market. Yes
The United States Dollar has the worst graphic design of any first-world currency. No
  • Generic academic subjects. For example:
Aaron was interested in Maths from an early age. No
The Duchy surrended after Duke Smith's biology class. Yes
Bartholomew left the Kingdom in Smarch 2082, and has now obtained a Bachelor of Arts. Yes
  • Seasons. For example:
They campaigned all through the Autumn of 1999. No
During winter, they stayed away from the forest. Yes

MicroWiki

Ensure MicroWiki is written in the manner used by official site materials, with a capital ‘M’ and ‘W’, and no space or hyphen between ‘Micro’ and ‘Wiki’. For example:

MicroWiki was secretly run by a shadowy cabal of TASPAC members. Yes
Disgusted with their shoddy treatment at the hands of Wikia, the Microwiki community left for greener pastures. No
The primary aim of micro wiki is to create a micronational encyclopædia. No

Dates

MicroWiki attracts an international audience, and content may not be updated for long periods. Therefore, write out dates in the following style:

30 February 2012 Yes
February 30, 2012 No
31st February 2012 No

It is important that the year always be specified in articlespace for the sake of clarity, but it is unnecessary to repeat the year later on in the same paragraph (e.g., "Mr. Jones announced his candidacy on 1 March 2014 and was elected on 5 April 2014").

In some venues, such as newsfeeds, content will almost certainly be removed before a year has elapsed. In these places only (although their use in tables in articles is also permitted should it aid formatting), a shorter style is preferred:

30 Feb Yes

Remember to always place the day before the month. Never represent the year in two digits, or use ordinal suffixes such as 1st, 3rd, 19th. Only ever represent the month in numerical form in a chart or list of dates of some form, never within paragraphs or infoboxes.

On 2/7/1996, King Jack came to the throne. No
King Jack: reigned 2/7/1996 - 1/9/2014 Yes (within a regnal list)
2nd July 1996 No

Seasons

Do not ever refer to an event as having happened in a particular season. Roughly 50% of the world by volume would have been experiencing a different season to the one you mention. Exceptions exist when an event has a season in its name, such as the Winter of Discontent and the Arab Spring, as well as if an event is universally seasonal, such as deciduous trees shedding their leaves in autumn.

Saint Crispin’s day is in autumn. No
In the spring of 2008, the first Optiman elections were held. No
The Winter of Discontent was a time of hardship in the end of 1977 and the beginning of 1978. Yes
Evergreen trees do not shed their leaves in autumn. Yes

Article titles

An article title is the large heading displayed above the article's content. The title indicates what the article is about and distinguishes it from other articles. The title may simply be the name (or a name) of the subject of the article, or it may be a description of the topic. Since no two articles can have the same title, it is sometimes necessary to add distinguishing information, often in the form of a description in parentheses after the name. The ideal article title resembles titles for similar articles, precisely identifies the subject, is no longer than necessary to distinguish the article from others, and is recognisable to those familiar with the subject. Titles should be neutral (i.e., not use loaded terms) where possible, but if a person or event is almost always known by a certain name (e.g. the Liberation of Orly), that name may be used even if it contains non-neutral words. Names not originally in a Latin alphabet, such as Greek, Chinese, or Russian names, must be transliterated. The following is a list of naming conventions for common subjects of article published on MicroWiki.

Do not use "The" at the beginning of an article title, unless it is an inseparable part of a name or it is part of the title of a work, e.g. The Caesar Show and The Motherland is Calling!.

Micronations

  • Use the full official name of the micronation, e.g. Empire of Austenasia rather than "Austenasia". Only deviate from this rule should the official name of the micronation be so long that it is rarely used outside of official contexts, in which case the name by which it is most commonly known should be used, e.g. Mercia rather than "Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Council of the Diarchal Crowns of the Disciples".
  • Do not use acronyms unless the full name of the micronation is simply not used, and the acronym itself holds official or de facto official status (an example would be POMHB, which at time of writing no longer has its own article). Even if the use of an acronym is very common, use the full name unless the above applies, e.g. Union of South London Soviet Socialist Republics rather than "USLSSR".

Sovereigns, royalty, nobility, etc

  • Styles - His Majesty (HM), His Royal Highness (HRH), etc - are never included in article titles.
  • Articles on kings and queens should be titled as Adam I of Überstadt, Laura I of Moylurg, Billy of Rushymia, etc.
  • Articles on sovereigns of a different title than king or queen should be titled as Jonathan I, Emperor of Austenasia, Andrew I, Prince of Sabovia, etc.
  • Where a monarch has reigned over a number of states, use the most commonly associated ordinal and state, e.g. Travis I, Grand Duke of Westarctica. Where this may be problematic, consensus may be reached after taking into account the most commonly used name and ordinal(s), e.g. Declan I, II & V.
  • It is possible to combine a numeral with a cognomen or surname should this be the name by which the monarch is most widely known, e.g. Taeglan I Nihilus, Reylan Emperor.
  • Some monarchs have a name by which they are clearly most commonly known in English, such as a cognomen or suffix, and which identifies them unambiguously (e.g. Alfred the Great); in such cases this name should be chosen as the article title.
  • Do not apply an ordinal in an article title for a pretender, i.e., someone who has not reigned; instead call them a) what they are most commonly known as, b) the official title they hold from the country rule over which they claim, or c) what they were known as before their claim. Discussion and consensus should be used to determine the most appropriate article title, keeping neutrality in mind.
  • Former or deposed monarchs should be referred to by their previous monarchical title with the exception of those who are still alive and have become most well-known for a function other than having ruled the country in question.
  • Living royal consorts are referred to by their present name and title, e.g. Queen Sofía of Spain and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Living former consorts are referred to by the same name, except where they now have a new title by which they are more commonly referred to, e.g. Emperor Mother Margaret.
  • Deceased consorts are referred to by a name by which they are commonly known or (if recently deceased) are expected to become known. This can often differ from the name and title they held as consort or at death.
  • For royalty other than monarchs, use {title} {first name} of {country}, e.g. Crown Princess Caroline of Austenasia. If the individual holds a substantive title, use instead {first name}, {title}, e.g. Anne, Princess Royal.
  • Articles on nobles should be titled according to the name by which the person in question is most commonly known.

Departments, agencies and officials

  • Use official names in article titles, unless an agency is almost always known by an acronym or different title, e.g. DARPA.
  • When creating an article with a common title, be sure to disambiguate it properly, e.g. Foreign Office (Austenasia). Disambiguation is unnecessary if the country or other jurisdiction is a natural part of the subject's name (e.g. Zealandian Air Defences) or if a common method of disambiguating in common speech exists (e.g. Prime Minister of Florenia).

Elections

Events

  • If there is an established, universally agreed-upon common name for an event, use that name, e.g. Yablokogate.
  • If there is no established name for the event, create a name using these guidelines. In most cases, the title of the article should contain at least where and what happened - if these descriptors are not sufficient to identify the event unambiguously, also add when, e.g. 2014 New South Scotland crisis.
  • If there is a particular common name for the event, it should be used even if it implies a possibly controversial or one-sided point of view, e.g. Liberation of Orly. However, language which may seem biased should otherwise be avoided where possible.

Pronouns

Avoid constructions such as his/her. They is perfectly acceptable to refer to a person of unknown gender, and one can also be used when in the second person.

If the heir to the throne is under sixteen, he/she will need a regent. No
If the heir to the throne is under sixteen, they will need a regent. Yes

When referring to a person, use the set of personal pronouns they use to refer to themselves, except where this would result in nonsensical or confusing text.

As a formal venue, MicroWiki never uses the second-person you in articlespace, except in quotations. Substitute one.

You should realise by now that MicroWiki is an encyclopædia. No
One should realise by now that MicroWiki is an encyclopædia. Yes

Indeed, it is far preferable to use the third person or the passive voice.

Users should realise by now that MicroWiki is an encyclopædia. Yes
It should by now be realised that MicroWiki is an encyclopædia. Yes

Informal language

MicroWiki typically uses formal language. Though some linguistic constructions may be acceptable in casual conversation, they are not on MicroWiki:

Contractions

Avoid words like don't, won't, it's, and she's. Write them out in their full forms: do not, will not, it is, she is, etc.

Verbing

She waitressed at a restaurant near Scott Morrison’s office. No
She worked as a waitress at a restaurant near Scott Morrison’s office. Yes

Could of, would of, should of

These are always wrong. Use could have, would have, and should have in all written communication.

Profanity

Profanity and other offensive language may only ever be used in one context, and that is when their inclusion within a quote or title is necessary for historical accuracy. If included, either they are to be "starred out" (e.g., "f**k") or the "Obscene" template is to be added to the top of the article or respective section.

Poetic language

MicroWiki articles ought to be written in straightforward, factual, encyclopædic language. Eschew verbosity; plain English is the most elegant writing style. Particularly, avoid poetic devices such as personifying countries. Plain English does not, however, preclude complex sentences, sophisticated vocabulary, and the like, so long as they are only used because they add something to an article. Complex writing is fine, just not for its own sake.

Ignore this guide

If making a contribution follow this guide would clearly reduce its comprehensibility, ignore the parts of this guide which would make it do so. Raise the issue with administrators or on the forums.