Wikipedia:WikiProject Knots

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WikiProject Knots

Sample article[edit]

The Constrictor knot article is the sample of this project. It should set the standard for how a knot article can look.


  • To continue refinement of the standard template for how knots are documented.
  • To bring knot up articles to a common standard.
  • To categorize knots with respect to type and usage.

Organization and types of articles[edit]

  • Main article: Knot
  • Knot categories: Category:Knots
  • Knot components - (See talk page on proposed naming change from (knot) to (knot component))
  • Ropework articles (Whipping, lashing, etc.)
  • Classes of knots
  • Individual knot articles


  • Refine the template, see Template talk:Knot-details
  • Refine categorisation of knots, see ongoing exchange in Category talk:Knots
  • Concentrate on correcting errors in current knotting articles
  • Adding proper references to all knotting articles currently lacking them.
  • Check the image on the bight page, it seems there's an image showing "An open loop (ABoK #31) of rope, narrower than a bight:" but not one of a bight, itself. And after seeing that photo, which shows something that looks just like the bight in the bottom photo, I'm left wondering what the difference is between an "open loop" and a bight.

Informal guidelines on editing knotting articles[edit]

px50 These guidelines in a nutshell:
  • Personal experience, while valuable, is not a substitute for reliable published sources
  • Don't get too hung-up on the names for knots; knot taxonomy has always been messy
  • Be absolutely certain your images and diagrams are correct
  • Maintain a descriptive tone when writing about knot usage and tying methods
  • Organize and consolidate knot articles in a way that will make sense to the reader

The value of personal experience[edit]

Personal experience with knots, while indisputably valuable to the project, is not a substitute for reliable published sources. The contributor's understanding of a given knot should inform the direction and focus of an article, but the factual content needs to be backed-up by verifiable sources. There are many examples in knotting literature of an echo chamber effect where the same information is repeated again and again in different works, giving the appearance of consensus and authority when in fact the original source is questionable or possibly downright wrong. In these cases it is the deeper knowledge of the expert editors that will facilitate an explanation of the conflicting information while still maintaining a neutral point of view.

The name is not the knot[edit]

People sometimes get overly attached to the name they learned for a knot. Contributors should remember that the article is about the knot itself; the name is not the knot. Since the same knot has often been discovered by multiple people, who speak different languages, at different times, the various names for many knots will need to be explained in a "Naming" or "History" section of the article. Names in languages other than English should only be included if they represent the source for the English name or otherwise figure prominently in the history of the knot.

Of course the article itself must have a title and it should be chosen to represent the currently most recognizable name. The choice of titles holds special difficulty for knotting articles due to the historic vagaries of knot naming. Compared to most other significant areas of study, knot taxonomy (for non-mathematical purposes) has never satisfactorily been dealt with.

Defer to ABOK, but be willing to question it[edit]

Clifford W. Ashley gave us the closest thing we have to a proper knot taxonomy with his 1944 work The Ashley Book of Knots (ABOK). It is recommended his names be used when current common usage doesn't clearly indicate the proper choice. Ashley suffered health problems soon after his magnum opus was published and died a few years later. He was never able to oversee a second edition. Revisions were made by the International Guild of Knot Tyers in 1991, but errors remain. The work also continues to age, showing gaps as new knots and knotting materials are developed. For instance, on the subject of climbing knots, as they are currently used, ABOK is particularly weak.

That said, ABOK remains an invaluable resource for the discussion of knots and dissemination of knotting knowledge. If you are going to be making serious contributions to knotting pages on Wikipedia you really should have access to a copy of this reference work. It is an expensive book, but if you have an interest in the subject of knotting it is well-worth the price. Also many public libraries have circulating copies which represent a viable, and cheaper, alternative.

Ashley provides both a source for semi-canonical naming as well as unambiguous identification using the knot reference numbers. When confusion threatens, do not be afraid to resort of the use of Ashley's reference numbers. If you do so, it is helpful to provide an image with captions of the referenced knots including their Ashley names and numbers to help readers follow the discussion. Examples of articles making extensive use of ABOK reference numbers include Taut-line hitch, Rolling hitch, and Miller's knot. The case of the taut-line hitch may be instructive: the names for the adjustable loop form of the various rolling hitch variations are incredibly confusing and inconsistent. For the combined article on those variations a more modern name is used. It is reasonably well-known and it nicely descriptive, besides (arguably) having less association with a particular variation than the more "traditional" names.

In cases where more recent works supersede, contradict, correct, or clarify Ashley, due weight should be given to reasonable and verifiable claims. Because ABOK is so widely known even erroneous information, clearly flagged as such, should be considered for mention. Other editors are likely to include it again in good faith as comprehensive errata information for ABOK is not generally available.

Scope of articles[edit]

Since Wikipedia is not inherently space constrained, the articles should contain as much useful information as possible about a given knot and its variations.

Beyond just a simple description of the knot, sections on Naming or History, Usage, Tying, Variations, and Security are useful if good references can be cited. If multiple variations of a knot are shown or discussed but one is considered more secure, preferred in special cases, or easier to tie, be sure to note this clearly in the article. Always be sure to cite your sources on the critical subject of knot security.

Remember to add {{WikiProject Knots}} template to the talk pages of new articles.

While particular articles may have additional sections specific to a given knot, these are the recommended sections and ordering for non-stub knot articles:

  • name= Canonical name (i.e. article title)
  • names= Alternate names, comma separated
  • image= Image, preferably showing the completed knot
  • caption= Optional caption for image
  • type= knot category, lower case (e.g. bend, binding, coil, hitch, stopper, etc.)
  • type2= secondary type, optional, only for multi-purpose knots
  • strength= Percent efficiency (Use discouraged due to difficulty assign values)
  • origin= (Use discouraged, true origin of knots is notoriously difficult to establish.)
  • related= Links to articles of related knots, comma separated
  • releasing= jamming, non-jamming, other explanations optional
  • uses= General statement about usage of knot, keep very brief
  • caveat= Any warnings or unusual behavior regarding the knot
  • abok_number= List of ABoK numbers referring to knot, in form "#1234', bold major entries
  • Lead
  • History or Naming - Section name based on focus of content, if both fully covered use History
  • Tying
  • Variations (optional)
  • Usage
  • Releasing (optional)
  • Security
  • Standard appendices and descriptions

Creating images for knot articles[edit]

Given the difficulty in verbally describing the forms of knots and tying methods, the inclusion of images, diagrams, or other illustrations in knotting articles is strongly encouraged. Above all, make absolutely certain your illustrations are correct. Knotting literature is rife with examples of incorrect diagrams and pictures. Having no image for an article is better than including an incorrect one. When creating graphical depictions of knots, tying methods, or usage examples, it is important to avoid potential visual ambiguities. Make sure that all crossings of the knot can clearly be seen in the graphics, in some cases this will mean spreading the knot out artificially when making the image or diagram.

Adhering to certain visual conventions can help make your images more useful to the reader. Be careful to keep end(s) of the rope within the frame when picturing knots which rely on the end being threaded while tying. This helps differentiate the standing part from the working part. Likewise, the standing part should be shown exiting the frame. For knots tied in the bight, both ends should exit the frame. These conventions may need to be broken in particular cases, but keep them in mind.

When taking photographs of knots it is best to use solid colored rope, plain neutral backgrounds, and plenty of lighting that highlights the three dimensional relationship between the parts of the knot. Avoid using white or black rope in your knot images. And more generally, avoid excessive contrast between the foreground and background, as this can present exposure difficulties for digital cameras.

Writing about methods and usage[edit]

Practical knots are functional constructs and descriptions of their usage and method of formation are integral to comprehensive encyclopedia articles about them. Due to possible conflicts with WP:NOT#IINFO, "4. Instruction manuals", contributors should make every effort to maintain a purely descriptive tone when writing about the usage and tying of knots. The use of verifiable and reliable sources is critical to avoid NPOV issues, especially regarding the "best" ways to tie or use a knot, one knot's superiority over another, and other potentially subjective claims.

Consolidation of closely related knots and variations[edit]

The impulse to separate every single distinct knot onto its own page has the undesired side effect of fragmenting the discussion of how knots are related. It also makes comparisons between variations more cumbersome for the user. Obviously a line does need to be drawn somewhere, else we'd end up with a single article containing every conceivable knot! However in cases where there's close historical, taxonomic, or structural similarity between multiple knots, having redirects pointing to a common page makes a lot of sense.


  • The Slipped buntline hitch should redirect to Buntline hitch since it is a trivial but important variation which is best be illustrated on the Buntline hitch page.
  • As a counter-example, the Water bowline should not be redirected to Bowline as its structure and behavior are quite distinct from the basic Bowline.
  • More complex situations might require different strategies. In the case of the Rolling hitch and Taut-line hitch several names have historically been used to refer to a number of similar but distinct knots in confusing and conflicting ways. The solution here was to divide the set of knots into two functional groups, hitches directly around an object and adjustable loops where the hitch is made around the standing part. The variations of each are discussed these two pages with appropriate cross references. If each distinct variation had its own page there would be up to 6 articles with either redundant information, incomplete articles, or a mire of cross-references.
  • When a knot has two (or more) well established names which are consistently found in entirely separate contexts it may be reasonable to maintain distinct articles for each of the names with appropriate cross-references between them. For example the four-in-hand knot used to fasten neckties is technically exactly the same as a buntline hitch. With so much history behind both names there seems little likelihood sailors would ever refer to "their" hitch as a four-in-hand or haberdashers to a buntline hitch. Although this contradicts "the name is not the knot", it would seem there are cases where common sense should prevail.


No parent of this WikiProject has been defined.

Descendant Wikiprojects[edit]

No descendant WikiProjects have been defined.

Similar or related WikiProjects[edit]


Knots Project Template[edit]

The {{KnotsProject}} Template is used on the Talk Pages.

WikiProject Knots    (Inactive)
WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of WikiProject Knots, a project which is currently considered to be inactive.

User Page Template[edit]

The {{User Wikiproject Knots}} Template is used on a member's user page.

Wikipedia:WikiProject KnotsThis user is a member of WikiProject Knots


For more detail about the recommended structure of knot articles, please see discussion above in the Guidelines section.

General Strategy and Discussion forum[edit]


Nice to see knot instructions[edit]

I've seen wikipedia entries that are how-to articles get edited out because Wikipedia isn't supposed to be how-to. I've long felt that was too doctrinaire. Knots are a nice place to include step by step instructions. It's so nice to show people how to make the knots, perhaps allowing individual to make the knot and work it while reading about the knot. I hope the excellent illustrative photographs or drawings are kept. Kd4ttc (talk) 15:21, 12 September 2015 (UTC)