MeritBadgeDotOrg:Guide to Layout
Revision as of 20:14, April 3, 2008
The Guide to layout is a quick explanation of some of the basics of laying out an article. For more detail about style guidelines, see the Manual of Style. For greater detail about how to use wiki markup, see How to edit a page.
This little article is a summary of what some fairly clean, simple articles look like. For more complicated articles and 'tricks', it sometimes helps to copy the markup of some article you like the looks of.
The subject of the article should be mentioned in bold text ('''subject''') in the first sentence, or at least the first paragraph. The name of the subject is usually the same as the page title.
If the article is long enough to have several paragraphs, the first paragraph should be short and to the point, with a clear explanation of what the subject of the page is.
If more of an introduction is needed before the first header, then this can be given in extra paragraphs. It is common for introductions to articles about persons to be like summaries, mentioning the most famous things about the subject.
Introductions should come before the section headers; they should not be in an ==Introduction== section of their own. If there are at least four headers, the table of contents will automatically follow the introduction, just before the first named section.
"Wikified" articles link important words to their own article. For example, an article might just link pancakes without having to explain what they are. Or an article about laser beams might give helpful background information by following the link from another article. Not every word should be linked, just helpful ones, which are usually nouns and names that would have articles. If there are no articles with that name, the link will show up in red, which shows that it has not been written yet and may need to be written. Long stretches without any links are not common. Useful links that are not mentioned in the article body can be added to the "see also" section near the end.
Structure of the article
Paragraphs should be kept rather short, because the eye of a reader can get tired of following solid text for too many lines. Most normal articles should be written in paragraphs, not bullet points. But lists can be used for reference.
Headers also help make an article clearer and easy to see the structure in the table of contents; see MeritBadgeDotOrg:Section.
On the other hand, try not to use too many subheaders that are not needed, because this can make the article look cluttered. Short paragraphs and single sentences usually do not need their own sub-heading, and in these cases it may be better to use bullet points or bold text instead.
Editors should use their judgement in deciding whether subtopics should have their own pages, or be kept on the main page.
If the article can be illustrated with pictures, find an appropriate place to position these images. For more information, see MeritBadgeDotOrg:Manual of Style.
These optional sections go at the bottom of the article:
Under this header, list any memorable quotes that are appropriate to the subject.
- "Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted." — Hesketh Pearson, Common Misquotations (1934)
Often, the most relevant quotes can be placed directly into the text to illustrate the topic.
Put here, in a bulleted list, other articles in the MeritBadgeDotOrg wiki that are related to this one.
Related topics should be grouped by subject area to make them easier to find. Please also give a brief sentence to explain if it is not obvious how it is related. For example:
Or for a less formal look, you can simply use something like this in any section:
Put under this header, again in a bulleted list, any books, articles, web pages and such that you used to write the article or that you wish to recommend as sources of further information to readers.
- Pooh, W. T. & Robin, C. (1926). "How to catch a heffalump" in A. A. Milne (Ed.), The Karma of Kanga, pp. 23–47. Hundred Acre Wood: Wol Press. ISBN 999999999
The most important thing is to put all of the citation information, just as you would for any other bibliography.
Put here, in list form, any websites that you have used or recommend for readers of the article. Describe it if you can.