Don't panic! These are just suggestions and you are under no obligation to follow them — but keep in mind that others may decide to change your pages' names, links, and content to match these guidelines. We are trying to create a flexible, creative environment, but also one without a whole lot of confusion. This guide should be taken with a grain of salt.
We never want guidelines to interfere with your ability or motivation for expressing yourself and getting your ideas out. Your ideas are the most important thing. This is a style guide, which means it's just the style we try to aim for to make sure we're all on the same page when it comes to conventions.
When in doubt, check out the university's Communications Style Guide (pdf) or the AP Stylebook. Note that style is not absolute; different places can have styles different from the AP and still be perfectly acceptable as long as they're consistent. For instance, the DavisWiki has come to use "AM/PM" instead of "a.m./p.m."
What should I name my page?
If you're making a page, picking a good name for it is important. If the place/idea has a proper name then you should try and make that the page name. For instance, Kerr Hall is often referred to as simply "Kerr" but you should make the page name "Kerr Hall" because this is the officially used name of the building. When you decide to link to Kerr, you can/should link to it with whatever name you want, be it Kerr, Kerr Hall, or the Mathematics building. When making a page for something without a universal name, just use the normal rules for capitalization in the English language.
Sometimes it's not clear what the real name of the place/thing/idea you're making a page for should be. In these cases of confusion, just make a decision as to what the page name should be, then make note of the alternative possibilities in the page itself. Referring to the other possible names allows people to do searches and find the page under any of the possible names. An example of this is the 24 Hour Reading Room, which is known as both the "Extended Hours Reading Room" and the "24 Hour Reading Room". It's not clear what the name of the page should be, so a simple reference to the other name (somewhere in the page, probably toward the beginning) fixes this and allows people to find it in a search (searching is very important for people who don't use the site regularly). Also, making redirects (by making the page contain only the line #redirect The name of the page) allows the other names to be used without problems — they will simply redirect to the one page, whatever it happens to be named.
General naming rules
- Street names should be fully spelled out. Eg A Street or Covell Boulevard. If you'd like, you can make a redirect for the shortened version, eg A St.
- Unless it is part of the actual business name, the word "Davis" can be omitted from most page names. Because this is the Davis wiki, pages can be assumed to be Davis-centric. EG rather than "Davis Weather", just call the page Weather. On the other hand, business pages should always be the name of the business. Davis Auto Body for example, has the word "Davis" as the title and should be named as such.
- When referencing a room on campus, the room number goes first and then the name of the building. For example, is Chem 194 a room or a course? Referring to it as 194 Chemistry resolve the ambiguity.
What do you guys think of capitalizing the first word of a page name and leaving the rest lower-case unless it's a proper name? Personally, I think it looks much better. - MikeIvanov
- No, I think newspaper headline style is better — capitalize most words except for articles and minor verbs. —BrentLaabs
A note on names for people
If you want to make a page about someone, say the UCD Chancellor, Larry Vanderhoef, you should probably name that page "Larry Vanderhoef" (note the space). If on the other hand you are Larry Vanderhoef you could create a page for yourself with the name "Users/LarryVanderhoef". The page that start with "Users/" is going to be the page associated with a particular wiki user. A link to this page is in their upper right hand corner all the time and is automatically linked when they make an edit or comment, so this page is tied to the wiki user in a special way.
Think of it this way: the username page (starts with "Users/") is the page for that person to use. The page without the "Users" in front is the page where historical information about the person might go.
Pages that start with "Users/" are pages for people on the wiki to use. Pages without the "Users" in front are just like normal wiki pages, etiquette-wise, which means they are pages from a more biographical standpoint. Generally, people put highly-personal or wiki-centric information on their own page. If they're a public figure, then other people are expected to control the content of the biographical page.
When we're making pages for public figures who have an initial in their name, do we use a period? Peter J. Shields has a period, but JB Anderson does not (there are others as well). What's the consensus opinion here? —aa
I created JB Anderson and did not use periods because that is the way it was presented in the list I had. I do know that some people in the 1800s and early 1900s went by their initials professionally (JB, BJ, AJ, etc). I would imagine that, like official entries for various businesses, using what use as their official title (on letterhead, in the news) is probably best, possibly combined with a redirect for search purposes in cases where it is possible or likely that a visitor might search for the wrong format (although "J.B. Anderson" does return JB Anderson among the returns). — jw
Renaming pages & Redirecting pages
Sometimes, for whatever reason, it's a good idea to change the title of a page. Using the "Rename" feature will cause the old page to redirect to the new page, and thus all old links do not need to be updated. This old page is said to be a "redirect" to the new page. Redirects can be made manually, by inserting #redirect Page Name into the first line of a page.
It's important to keep the wiki clean, and thus many useless pages are eventually deleted. Redirecting pages are sometimes seen as useless when no other pages within the wiki link to them. Here are some things to consider before deleting a redirecting page:
Does the redirecting page aid the user in finding the content by providing an alternative title for the material?
Do resources outside the wiki link to the redirecting page?
(1) is usually easy enough to figure out, but (2) is harder to know because even good search engines cannot index everything.
Searching is very important! Before you make a page you should do a search for it and similar items to make sure the page doesn't already exist. If the page already exists, add to it! If it exists but has (as you feel) the incorrect name, then feel free to Rename it (by going into Edit and pressing "Rename" down under the edit area) — be sure to state your reason. After renaming the page you should change the old links to the old name to the new name — again, by doing a search :) (search for the old page name) — note: you don't have to do this, as the old page name will automatically redirect to the new page name, but it's good style, and good style is sexy.
Be kind and courteous!
Order of Lists
Generally, when listing a bunch of links or just making a list in an article, they should be organized alphabetically, unless there is a good reason to do otherwise.
What about dates? There are a few pages like Thong H. Huynh Awards with dates. Some sort ascending, some sort descending. How do we want to standardize this? IMHO, it looks best to have the most recent date at the top. —ArlenAbraham
Conversations and Comments
Often times the conversations or comments inside of a page contribute a lot to the page's worth. If possible, integrate and re-structure the page to reflect the important information contained in comments. If a comment is directed at you and it's hardly valuable to anyone else after you've read it, then removing it un-clutters the page. Leaving the subjective/experience-based portions of comments attributed to those who make them keeps (more) subjective knowledge around.
- Avoid use of the words "I" or "me" unless you are attributing text to yourself.
- Want a fact checked? Write [[Include(FactCheck)]] next to something you want checked. Want a photo taken? Write [[Include(PhotoRequest)]] next to something you want a photo of. Doing this will allow for determined folks to easily search for the phrases please check and Photo Requests to find things to do.
- Names of books and movies are italicized rather than underlined. Underlining is reserved for writing things by hand or by typewriter when italics are impossible. Names of smaller, shorter works such as articles or songs within an album are surrounded by "double quotes." Also, punctuation marks always go inside the quotes unless you are posing a question which contains a quote. Ex: Did he really say "you're a floozy"?
- Avoid the use of "click here" or "go here" for link names. Descriptive and integrated names are best. Imagine that the page you're writing on is printed on a piece of paper. Would all the text still make sense?
- Capitalize in a standard English style on all pages which you expect to be useful. (Do as you like on your personal page.)
- When captioning a photo, be informative instead of interpretive. For example, it is better to say where the picture was taken or who the subject is instead of making a joke. Overall, be mild, explicit, and not flippant.
- I disagree with this. I will try and see if I can find this old photo guideline that was down at the california aggie.
- Numbers larger than ten should be represented by figures. Don't start a sentence with a figure.
Example: Bob has two bikes. Alice has 11 bikes.
In the U.S. people usually write dates as MM-DD-YY. The two-digit years caused the Y2K panic. Incredibly, people seemed to learn nothing from that and still write MM-DD-YY. This is especially confusing with low years, as they can be confused with month or day numbers. For example, when is 01-05-11? Parts of Europe use DD-MM-YY, other places uses YY-MM-DD, it can be ambiguous. Imagine looking back from 2050 and needing to determine when a document dated 01-05-11 was written.
It turns out there is an international standard for dates. It's called ISO-8601 and was developed by the International Organization for Standardization. Simply put, it is YYYY-MM-DD. It was determined not by political means, but by scientific (rational) means. It has these advantages:
- Putting Most-middle-least significant order means dates can be easily sorted, especially if the dates begin the line.
- Using dashes instead of slashes avoids confusion with 1's in handwritten dates, i.e. 11/1/11.
- Using four digit years removes century ambiguity.
- Having fixed field widths (always -02- never just -2-) facilitates sorting and has other advantages.
It's easy for Americans to learn the new system since the month and date order don't change.
I strongly encourage all people to use this new universal standard, and I have done so since 2000-01-01. —SteveDavison
This is the format used by Wiki comments, BTW.
See also: Wiki Ethics, Davis Wiki Guide and Good Style.
I want to add the following, because I think it's important:
Building pages so searching works best
Try to avoid segmenting and replicating information across pages. Putting the same information on a bunch of pages makes keeping information updated extremely difficult and also makes searching very hard. Keep the information about a particular topic on the page devoted to that topic, for the most part. General pages that collect information from specific pages are terrific and useful, but keep in mind that you want to minimize replication of things that change frequently otherwise it will become harder, down the road, to keep it all updated.
Thoughts? I'm not sure I'm phrasing this very concisely or clearly, so I'd appreciate any help.. Maybe it would be best to just say "When editing, keep in mind the years to come and what will need to be updated and how difficult that may be."? —PhilipNeustrom
(from AlphaDog) How about:
- "Avoid relative time references, e.g. yesterday, to help us keep the wiki current; it would be preferable to include a specific date reference that will still make sense six months from now."
- "Duplicating information on multiple pages makes it very difficult to keep the wiki current and virtually ensures that there will be misinformation published somewhere. Whenever possible, try to link back to the original DavisWiki source rather than duplicating information."
- Is this duplication of information thing a reference to the Latin American Restaurants page? —SummerSong
- I don't think it's intended as a personal slight. I've noticed a lot of redundancies getting posted as well, so I think it's just a matter of good record-keeping. Maintaining multiple sources of info inevitably causes big problems down the road. BTW: Was that a mulberry tree in your yard?? —AlphaDog
It is good practice to cite any sources you use, particularly if you are using a direct quote or facts/figures from a publication or website. Note that Davis Wiki does not follow the strict Verifiability and No Original Research policies of Wikipedia, especially the latter, since the local nature of the subject allows for much primary research.
If a reference is applicable to a specific passage, use the footnote macro after the end of the sentence or paragraph. e.g.
Chief Jim Hyde resigned in June 2006. [[Footnote(Keene, Lauren. ''Hyde resigns as chief.'' ["The Davis Enterprise"]. 2006-07-14.)]]
If a reference is applicable to large parts of the page, cite it at the end in a "References" or "Sources" section. The format of the citation is not important but should at least contain the title, author and date of publication for both printed material and online resources. Linking to the URL via the title is preferred, but do not just cite the URL, as it could change. Giving the author, title and publication (even for online articles) gives later editors and readers a chance to find the article via internet or site search engines.
- I am debating whether it is worthwhile to use NewsBank links for old newspaper articles. A lot of people won't be able to access them (the login prompt may confuse them too) and the URLs are incredibly long (making it hard to edit the page), but it could useful for those on campus. —AndrewChen
- I don't think it's a great idea, although it would be wonderful if there was an open resource like it. Open information dependent on closed information is a bad feel, IMO. Plus it excludes all townies and out of town readers (since the entries with the most citations are likely the ones of most interest to non-Davis residents looking up info about Davis). If it were the only source to cite, it might be okay, but even then, author + title + date + publication can get you the article in any archive at a library, NewsBank or otherwise. —JabberWokky
Primary research can be either footnoted or information relevant to the source can be added in the edit comment. For instance "I stopped in yesterday and asked". For items that might change in the future, a footnote indicating when or where the information was gathered might be appropriate.
Rent is $1050 for two bedrooms, $1300 for three. [[Footnote(As of 2006-07-14.)]]
or even better
Rent is $1050 for two bedrooms, $1300 for three. [[Footnote(According to the manager, 2006-07-14.)]]
Note that another way to reference material is via interwiki links. Material that is removed from the target can be retrieved by looking up the history of the citation and then the history of the target article. As a result, a simple link can be made.