FANDOM


Joo Dee This page documents an official Avatar Wiki policy.

It is a widely accepted standard that should normally be followed by all editors.


Shortcut:
AW:MoS
AW:MOS

The Manual of Style (often abbreviated MoS or MOS) is a style guide for all Avatar Wiki articles and official documents. It establishes our house style, to help editors produce articles with consistent, clear, and precise language, layout, and formatting. The goal is to make the encyclopedia easier and more intuitive to use. Consistency in style and formatting promotes clarity and cohesion; this is especially important within an article.

Article titles, sections, and headings

Article titles

An article title is a convenient label for the article, which distinguishes it from other articles. It need not be the name of the subject; many article titles are descriptions of the subject.

The following points are critical to formatting article titles:

  • Use "sentence case" or "sentence-style": The initial letter of a title is capitalized; otherwise, capital letters are used only where they would be used in a normal sentence e.g. Aang's staff, not Aang's Staff.
  • Use the singular form: Article titles should be singular e.g. Badgermole, not Badgermoles.
  • Use full names without ranks for characters: Articles about characters should avoid the title or rank, unless the character is known only by the title e.g. Aang, not Avatar Aang.
  • Use parentheses to distinguish similar articles: e.g. History of Aang (12 BG - 100 AG), History of Aang (Spring 100 AG), or Aang (games).

Article sections

Main article: Layout guide
  • Headings should not normally contain links, especially where only part of a heading is linked.
  • Citations should not be placed within or on the same line as section and subsection headings.
  • Headings should not contain images, including flag icons.

Spelling

American spelling should be used on all canon encyclopedia articles on Avatar Wiki, on any template transcribed on articles, on transcripts and on all official projects and blog posts. This is to reflect the American origin of Avatar: The Last Airbender. There are the following exceptions:

  • Regional variations in spelling may be used in all other contexts on Avatar Wiki, such as comments, talk pages, user pages, blog posts, fanon and fan fiction.
  • If quoting a source, never alter any part of the quotation, even if it does not use American spelling.

Capital letters

Unnecessary capitalization should be avoided. For example, use waterbending rather than Waterbending. This is sometimes referred to as the "down style". Capitalization should be reserved for proper names only.

Capitalization of "The"

In general, do not capitalize a definite article in the middle of a sentence. However, some idiomatic exceptions, including most titles of artistic works, should be quoted exactly according to common usage.

Incorrect (generic): an article about The Fire Nation
Correct (generic): an article about the Fire Nation
Incorrect (title): He wrote the Boy in the Iceberg.
Correct (title): He wrote The Boy in the Iceberg.

Titles

  • In generic use, apply lower case for words such as king and chief e.g. Hakoda was a Water Tribe chief.
  • In parts of a person's title, begin such words with a capital letter e.g. Chief Hakoda, not chief Hakoda. Standard or commonly used names of an office are treated as proper nouns e.g. The Fire Lord is Zuko. Royal styles are capitalized e.g. His Highness; exceptions may apply for particular offices.
Incorrect (generic): she met a Warden in charge of the facility
Correct (generic): she met a warden in charge of the facility
Incorrect (title): the captives met the warden of the Boiling Rock
Correct (title): the captives met the Warden of the Boiling Rock

Calendar items

Seasons should be in lower case e.g. her last summer; the winter solstice.

Flora and fauna

Flora and fauna should be in lower case e.g. flying bison. An exception to this is if a character is known by the name of their species.

Incorrect (generic): Aang spoke to a Lion Turtle.
Correct (generic): Aang spoke to a lion turtle.
Incorrect (character): Aang spoke to the lion turtle.
Correct (character): Aang spoke to the Lion Turtle.

Celestial bodies

  • When used generally, the words sun, earth, and moon do not take capitals e.g. The sun was peeking over the mountain top; The people of the Fire Nation never thought of the whole earth as their domain. The exception is when the term refers to a proper name e.g. The Moon Spirit was killed; or The Day of the Black Sun.
  • Names of celestial bodies are proper nouns, and therefore capitalized e.g. Sozin's Comet is coming. The first letter of every word in such a name is capitalized.

Locations

  • Names of institutions (Ba Sing Se University) are proper nouns and require capitals.
  • Generic words for institutions (university, college, hospital, high school) do not take capitals:
Incorrect (generic): The University offers programs in arts and sciences.
Correct (generic): The university offers programs in arts and sciences.
Correct (title): Ba Sing Se University offers programs in arts and sciences.
  • Political or geographical units such as cities, towns, and countries follow the same rules: as proper nouns they require capitals; but as generic words (sometimes best omitted for simplicity) they do not.
Incorrect (generic): The City has a population of 55,000.
Correct (generic): The city has a population of 55,000.
Correct (title): The City of Ba Sing Se has a population of 55,000.
Correct ("city" omitted): Ba Sing Se has a population of 55,000.
Incorrect (generic): Is during the winter solstice when the physical world and the spirit world grow closer together.
Correct (proper noun): Is during the winter solstice when the physical world and the Spirit World grow closer together.

"Internet" and "web"

Like with other cases involving generic terms, "web" should not be capitalized unless it is used as part of the official name of a system or an organization. "Internet" is always capitalized.

Italics

  • Use italics for the titles of works of literature and art, such as books, pamphlets, films (including short films), television series, music albums, and paintings e.g. The Legend of Korra. The titles of articles, chapters, songs, television episodes, and other short works are not italicized; they are enclosed in double quotation marks e.g. "Tales of Ba Sing Se".
  • Italicize only the elements of the sentence affected by the emphasis. Do not italicize surrounding punctuation e.g. What are we to make of that?, not What are we to make of that?.

Punctuation

Apostrophes

Consistent use of the straight (or typewriter) apostrophe ( ' ) is recommended, as opposed to the curly (or typographic) apostrophe ( ).

Quotation marks

  • Use double quotation marks: Enclose quotations with double quotation marks e.g. Katara said, "You must be the Avatar." Enclose quotations within quotations with single quotation marks e.g. Sokka said, "Did Katara say 'You must be the Avatar' just before?"
  • When the title of an article appearing in the lead paragraph requires quotation marks (for example, the title of a song or poem), the quotation marks should not be in boldface, as they are not part of the title e.g. "The Boy in the Iceberg".

Place all punctuation marks inside the quotation marks if they are part of the quoted material and outside if they are not. This practice is sometimes referred to as logical punctuation. This is more in keeping with a principle of minimal change. This punctuation system does not require placing final periods and commas outside the quotation marks all the time, but rather maintaining their original positions in (or absence from) the quoted material.

Correct: Aang said, "I'm going to make a difference this time."
(The period is known to be in the source.)
Correct: Aang regretted that he "wasn't there".
(The period is known not to be in the source, its presence in the source is uncertain, or its coverage within the quotation is considered unnecessary.)
Correct: Katara asked, "Are you coming?"
(The question mark belongs inside because the quoted text itself was a question.)
Correct: Did Aang say, "I'm going to make a difference this time"?
(The very quote is being questioned, so the question mark belongs outside; any punctuation at the end of the original quote is omitted.)
When a quoted sentence fragment ends in a period, some judgment is required: if the fragment communicates a complete sentence, the period can be placed inside. The period should be omitted if the quotation is in the middle of a sentence.
Correct: He said, "Follow me", and they did.
If the sequence of juxtaposed punctuation marks seems distracting or untidy, try an acceptable alternative.
Correct: He said, "Follow me" (and they did).

Brackets and parentheses

  • If a sentence contains a bracketed phrase, place the sentence punctuation outside the brackets (as shown here).
  • If one or more sentences are wholly inside brackets, place their punctuation inside the brackets.

There should be no space next to the inner side of a bracket. An opening bracket should be preceded by a space, except in unusual cases; for example, when it is preceded by an opening quotation mark, another opening bracket, or a portion of a word.

Ellipses

An ellipsis is an omission, often used in a printed record of conversation. The ellipsis is represented by ellipsis points: a set of three dots.

Style
Ellipsis points, or ellipses, have traditionally been implemented in three ways:
  • Three unspaced periods (...). This is the easiest way in the context of web publishing, and gives a predictable appearance in HTML. Recommended.
  • Pre-composed ellipsis character (); generated with the … character entity, or as a literal "…". This is harder to input and edit, and too small in some fonts. Not recommended.
  • Three spaced periods (. . .). This is an older style that is unnecessarily wide and requires non-breaking spaces to keep it from breaking at the end of a line e.g.  . . . . It is now generally confined to some forms of print publishing. Not recommended.
Function and implementation
Use an ellipsis if material is omitted in the course of a quotation, unless square brackets are used to gloss the quotation (see above, and points below).
  • Put a space on each side of an ellipsis, except that there should be no space between an ellipsis and:
    • a quotation mark directly following the ellipsis
    • any (round, square, curly, etc.) bracket, where the ellipsis is on the inside
    • sentence-final punctuation, or a colon, semicolon, or comma (all rare), directly following the ellipsis
  • Only place terminal punctuation after an ellipsis if it is textually important (as is often the case with exclamation marks and question marks, and rarely with periods).
  • Use non-breaking spaces ( ) only as needed to prevent improper line breaks, for example:
    • To keep a quotation mark from being separated from the start of the quotation ("... we are still worried").
    • To keep the ellipsis from wrapping to the next line ("The Air Nomads, Northern Water Tribe, ... and Earth Kingdom but not the Fire Nation").
Pause or suspension of speech
Three periods (loosely also called ellipsis points) are occasionally used to represent a pause in or suspense of speech, in which case the punctuation is retained in its original form (Katara's startled reply was: "Could he ...? No, I cannot believe it!"). Avoid this usage, except in direct quotations.
With square brackets
An ellipsis does not normally need square brackets around it, because its function is usually obvious—especially if the guidelines above are followed. Square brackets, however, may optionally be used for precision, to make it clear that the ellipsis is not itself quoted; this is usually only necessary if the quoted passage also uses three periods in it to indicate a pause or suspension. The ellipsis should follow exactly the principles given above, but with square brackets inserted immediately before and after it (Her long rant continued: "How do I feel? How do you think I ... look, this has gone far enough! [...] I want to go home!").

Commas

  • Pairs of commas are often used to delimit parenthetic material, forming a parenthetical remark. This interrupts the sentence less than a parenthetical remark in (round) brackets or dashes. Do not be fooled by other punctuation, which can mask the need for a comma, especially when it collides with a bracket or parenthesis, as in this example:
Incorrect: Iroh and Zuko, fed by Earth Kingdom locals (on duck, rice, and other regional foodstuffs) survived for a few months.
Correct:   Iroh and Zuko, fed by Earth Kingdom locals (on duck, rice, and other regional foodstuffs), survived for a few months.
  • Place quotation marks in accordance with logical punctuation:
Incorrect: She said, "Punctuation styles on Avatar Wiki are way too complicated," and also made other policy-related complaints.
Correct:   She said, "Punctuation styles on Avatar Wiki are way too complicated", and also made other policy-related complaints.
  • Use serial commas. This is more consistent with the recommendations of authoritative style guides.
Incorrect: Aang traveled with Katara, Sokka, Appa and Momo.
Correct:   Aang traveled with Katara, Sokka, Appa, and Momo.
  • Modern practice is against excessive use of commas; there are usually ways to simplify a sentence so that fewer are needed.

Colons

A colon (:) informs the reader that what comes after it demonstrates, explains, or modifies what has come before, or is a list of items that has just been introduced. The items in such a list may be separated by commas; or, if they are more complex and perhaps themselves contain commas, the items should be separated by semicolons:

Ba Sing Se has several features: the Outer and Inner Walls, the Crystal Catacombs, and the Royal Palace, to name a few.

In most cases a colon works best with a complete grammatical sentence before it. There are exceptions, such as when the colon introduces items set off in new lines like the very next colon here. Examples:

Correct: He attempted it in two years: 95 AG and 100 AG.
Incorrect:   The years he attempted it included: 95 AG and 100 AG.
Correct (special case):   English and Chinese: these, with a few others, are the real world languages most central to the series.

The word following a colon is capitalized, if that word effectively begins a new grammatical sentence, and especially if the colon serves to introduce more than one sentence:

The argument is easily stated: We have been given only three tickets. There are four of us here: you, the twins, and me. The twins are inseparable. Therefore, you or I will have to stay home.

No sentence should contain more than one colon. There should never be a hyphen or a dash immediately following a colon. Only a single space follows a colon.

Semicolons

A semicolon (;) is sometimes an alternative to a period, enabling related material to be kept in the same sentence; it marks a more decisive division in a sentence than a comma. If the semicolon separates clauses, normally each clause must be independent (meaning that it could stand on its own as a sentence); often, only a comma or only a semicolon will be correct in a given sentence.

Correct: Though he had been here before, I did not recognize him.
Incorrect:   Though he had been here before; I did not recognize him.

Above, "Though he had been here before" cannot stand on its own as a sentence, and therefore is not an independent clause.

Correct: Oranges are an acid fruit; bananas are classified as alkaline.
Incorrect:   Oranges are an acid fruit, bananas are classified as alkaline.

This incorrect use of a comma between two independent clauses is known as a comma splice; however, in very rare cases, a comma may be used where a semicolon would seem to be called for:

Accepted: "Life is short, art is long." (citing a brief aphorism; see Ars longa)
Accepted: "I have studied it, you have not." (reporting brisk conversation)

A semicolon does not force a capital letter in the word that follows it.

A sentence may contain several semicolons, especially when the clauses are parallel; multiple unrelated semicolons are often signs that the sentence should be divided into shorter sentences, or otherwise refashioned.

Unwieldy: Oranges are an acid fruit; bananas are classified as alkaline; pears are close to neutral; these distinctions are rarely discussed.
One better way:   Oranges are an acid fruit, bananas are alkaline, and pears are close to neutral; these distinctions are rarely discussed.

Dashes

Two forms of dash are possible: en dash () and em dash (). On Avatar Wiki, the former is preferred. A hyphen (-), or two hyphens (--) should never be used to substitute for a dash.

Incorrect: Another "threat" was detected - but it was later found to be simply a group of misfits.
Correct: Another "threat" was detected – but it was later found to be simply a group of misfits.

Do not use more than two dashes in a single sentence. More than two makes the structure unclear; it takes time for the reader to see which dashes, if any, form a pair.

  • The birds – at least the ones he saw – had red and blue feathers.
  • Avoid: First in the procession – and most spectacularly – came the Fire Lord – then the nobles.

Slashes

Avoid joining two words by a slash, also known as a forward slash or solidus (/). Consider alternative wordings to avoid it.

Terminal punctuation

  • Clusters of question marks, exclamation marks, or a combination of them (such as the interrobang), are highly informal and inappropriate in articles.
  • Use the exclamation mark with restraint. It is an expression of surprise or emotion that is generally unsuitable for an encyclopedia.

Spacing

  • Never place a space before commas, semicolons, colons, or terminal punctuation.
  • Always place a space after the punctuation marks just mentioned, unless it is the end of a paragraph, dot point, list element or the article.
  • Use one space after terminal punctuation. The use of double spaces is pointless as MediaWiki automatically condenses any number of spaces to just one when rendering the page.

Punctuation and footnotes

Footnotes are used to add references (see policy on verifiability). "Ref" tags should immediately follow the text to which they refer, with no space before the tag. When they coincide with punctuation, the tag is placed immediately after the punctuation. Multiple tags should have no space between them.

  • Example: Iroh was previously the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation,[10] but later became known as a Grand Master of the Order of the White Lotus and a successful tea shop owner.[11][12]

Exceptions: "ref" tags are placed before, not after, dashes; and where a reference or other footnote applies only to material within a parenthetical phrase, placing the tag within the closing parenthesis may be appropriate.

  • Example: Ba Sing Se is not the capital city of the Fire Nation – the capital of which is simply referred to as the "Fire Nation Capital"[10] – but that of the Earth Kingdom,[11] and is widely known as a sprawling, self-sufficient metropolis.[12]

(In the above examples, in a real article, the footnote markers, [10] [11] etc. would link to footnotes in the footnotes/reference list at the end of the article, created by use of the {{reflist}} template.)

Dates and time

  • Years are denoted using AG or BG. Avoid expressing time relative to what is considered "current" in canon, as new information can easily outdate it e.g. Sozin's Comet was last seen in 0 AG, not Sozin's Comet was last seen a hundred years ago.
  • Use of the term "current" should be avoided. What is current today may not be tomorrow; situations change over time. Instead, use date and time-specific text.

Numbers

  • In general, write whole numbers one through nine as words, write other numbers that take two words or fewer to say as either numerals or words, and write all other numbers as numerals: 1/5 or one fifth, 84 or eighty-four, 200 or two hundred, but 3.75, 544, 21 million). This applies to both ordinal and cardinal numbers.
  • Use a comma to delimit numbers with four or more digits to the left of the decimal point: 12,345 and 1,000.

Grammar

  • For the possessive of singular nouns ending with just one s, add just an apostrophe.
  • For a normal plural noun, ending with a pronounced s, form the possessive by adding just an apostrophe e.g. his sons' wives.

Tense

For in-universe articles:

  • Past tense must be used on any event articles, articles describing entities that are deceased or no longer exist, or sections of any in-universe article detailing past events e.g. Aang defeated the Fire Nation, not Aang defeats the Fire Nation.
  • Present tense must be used on any location, creature, and character article, where this does not conflict with the first guideline.

Current "in-universe time" on Avatar Wiki is generally considered to be fixed at the end of the announced series which is furthest down the timeline.

Vocabulary

Formal use of language is mandatory on all canon encyclopedia articles e.g. Aang's bending skills are some of the most potent of any bender in the world, not Aang's awesome bending skills.

Formality and neutrality

  • Uncontracted forms such as do not or it is are the default in encyclopedic style; don't and it's are too informal.
  • On encyclopedia articles, avoid such phrases as remember that and note that, which address readers directly in a less-than-encyclopedic tone. Similarly, phrases such as of course, naturally, obviously, clearly, and actually make presumptions about readers' knowledge, and call into question the reason for including the information in the first place. Do not tell readers that something is ironic, surprising, unexpected, amusing, coincidental, unfortunate, etc. This supplies a point of view. Simply state the sourced facts and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.

Perspective

Articles on Avatar Wiki are one of two types:

  • In-universe: Article should be written as if the Avatar world was the real world. Episodes should not be referred to in a sentence, and characters should not be treated as fictional constructs. These articles include all character, location, flora and fauna, event etc. articles – all articles not in the real world category.
  • Real world: Article should be written from "our" perspective. This includes all actor, staff, episode and film articles.

Images

  • Avoid sandwiching text between two images that face each other, or between an image and an infobox.
  • Lead images, which usually appear inside an infobox, should usually be no wider than 250px.
  • Thumbnails shown in the article should generally be 200px. Images containing important detail (e.g. a map, diagram, or chart) may need larger sizes than usual to make them readable.

Links

  • Make links only where they are relevant and helpful in the context: Hyperlinks are distracting, and may slow the reader down. Redundant links (e.g. the tallest people on Earth) clutter the page and make future maintenance harder. High-value links that are worth pursuing should stand out clearly.
  • Do not add external links to other Avatar-related sites without permission. If you are the owner or member of another specifically Avatar-related site and you believe that a link to your site from Avatar Wiki would be beneficial, affiliate with us.
  • Do not use external links in the body of an article. Articles can include an external links section at the end, pointing to further information outside Avatar Wiki as opposed to citing sources.

Miscellaneous

Source mode editing markup

  • Place spaces on either side of the text in a heading e.g. == Heading ==.
  • Place a blank line before a line containing a heading, except when a sub-heading immediately follows a heading, where there should be no blank line between the heading and the sub-heading.
  • Do not place a blank line between a heading and the text or files below it.
  • If used, {{Main}} should be added immediately under the heading. If it is followed by a file, the file link should be immediately under it before a blank line separating the file link and the beginning of the text.
  • File link parameters should appear in this order: [[File:Filename.png|thumb|right|200px|Description.]]
  • Place blank lines before and after a file, separating it from body text.
  • Place a space after the asterisk and hash symbols in unordered and ordered lists respectively, so that each new list item is easier to find e.g. * Item.
  • Sparingly, longer quotes of short passages of dialogue may be emphasized by using <blockquote> tags. Of course, the quoted text should be in italics and be enclosed with quotation marks e.g. <blockquote>"''Quote''" — Who said it to [[Whom]].</blockquote>
  • Reference lists should be enclosed within a scroll box.

To promote consistency and ease of editing, the following items, if appropriate, should appear in this order before the lead section of an article.

  1. {{Icons}}, which should appear together on one line rather than split apart.
  2. Information about other uses, similar topics and links to disambiguation pages.
  3. Notices detailing article quality and areas of improvement – if more than one is used, they should appear together on the same line, and should not be separated by spaces. If more than two are used, enclose them with {{Notices}}.
  4. {{Quote}} template containing a relevant quotation, in the color most closely associated with the subject of the article. The quoted text itself should not contain links. (See below for more information.)
  5. Infobox template, if a relevant one exists, split apart with a line for each template parameter. The closing curly bracket for the infobox template should be on a new line. The lead section should begin directly after this curly bracket, not on a new line.

Separate each of the items listed above with a blank line.

Other points

  • Quotes may be added to any page. Quote boxes should only be used once at the top of the page. Quotes for battle pages should be the color of the instigator of the overarching conflict. Changing a profile quote must be done through the profile quote change page.
  • Allies may be added to the infoboxes of characters. Only major allies can be added e.g. do not add the fisherman as an ally of Aang.
  • Translations of Chinese key terms can be added to articles, but only if the Chinese being translated actually appeared in official material. For episode pages, create a main link to Writing in the World of Avatar.
  • Speculation may not be added to any Avatar Wiki article.
  • Credits for an episode should contain character names written as they are given in the respective episode. If this conflicts with the actual name of the character, they should still be credited by the name given in the episode.

See also

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.