Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-09-08/Dispatches 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Wikipedia Signpost

Dispatches: Style guide and policy changes, August

By Tony1 and Dank55, September 8, 2008

Manual of Style (main)

Added to the Animals, plants, and other organisms:

In articles that cover two or more taxonomic groups, a consistent style of capitalisation should be used for species names. This could involve the use of:
  • scientific names throughout (often appropriate for specialist articles);
  • title case for common names of species throughout (per WP:BIRDS) and lower case for non-specific names such as eagle or bilberry, which may work well for articles with a broad coverage of natural history; or
  • lower-case initial letters for common names, which may work well for non-specialist articles that happen to refer to different taxonomic groups.

In quotations, the phrase between the commas was added:

If there is an error in the original statement, use [sic], or {{sic}} (which produces [sic]), to show that it is not a transcription error.

The advice for where a quotation within a quotation results in jostling single and double quotation marks was changed:

use the {{" '}}, {{' "}} and {{" ' "}} templates for this purpose: ...your right to say it.{{" ' "}} Do not use plain or non-breaking space ( ) characters, as this corrupts the semantic integrity of the article by mixing content and presentation.

In slash, this was added:

Use / when representing mathematical division, except in the context of elementary arithmetic.

The guideline on spaced slashes was changed to this:

A spaced slash may be used to separate items of which one or both have an internal space (the NY 31 east / NY 370 exit with the NY 31 east/NY 370 exit), or where it otherwise makes the reading easier.

A new section was added on Punctuation after formulas:

A sentence that ends with a formula must have a period after the formula. If the conventional punctuation rules would require a question mark, comma, semicolon, or other punctuation at that place, the formula must be followed by that punctuation.

Chronological items

  • The autoformatting of dates is now deprecated. Thus, month-day (October 13) and day-month (13 October) items, and month-day-year (October 13, 1998) and day-month-year (13 October 1998) items should be rendered in plain black text without square brackets.

Units of measurement

  • In an important step for UK-related articles, the main units are metric; previously, the main units could be metric or imperial. [Editorial note: apparently a fly-by edit by an anon, which has just been reverted 10 September.]]

A new subsection, Ampersand, was added:

The ampersand (&) is a symbol representing the word and. In running prose, use it instead of and only if there is a good reason to do so. The ampersand may be used in tables and infoboxes where space is restricted. Retain it in the titles of business and works, and in quotations.

A new subsection, Scrolling lists, was added:

Scrolling lists and boxes that toggle text display between hide and show are acceptable in infoboxes and navigation boxes, but should never be used in the article prose or references, because of issues with readability, accessibility, printing, and site mirroring. Additionally, such lists and boxes may not display properly in all web browsers.

This was added to Bulleted and numbered lists:

Do not leave blank lines between items in a bulleted or numbered list unless there is a reason to do so, since this causes the Wiki software to interpret each list item as an individual list.

WP:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)

  • Dates in article body text should all have the same format.
  • Dates in article references should all have the same format.

The exception for dates within quotations and titles remains.

  • [Editorial comment: The issue of which date format should be chosen for articles without ties to an anglophone country is the subject of a poll starting September 10 at MOSNUM talk.]
  • Use Template:birth date and age and Template:death date and age only if both dates are in the Gregorian calendar, due to possibly inaccurate calculations if the birth date is Julian and the death date is Gregorian, or the end of a Julian century intervenes.
  • Clarification that the 1700s is 1700–1799; the 18th century is, by contrast, 1701–1800.
  • New section, Fractions, beginning: "The template {{frac}} is available for representing common fractions."
  • This was added to "Units":
In the main body text, the first instances of units of measurements should be spelled out at least once, and perhaps several times for less familiar units before unit symbols are employed. For instance, one should write “…the typical batch is 250 kilograms…” before one later writes “…and then 15 kg of emulsifier is added.” For less common units of measure, editors should not employ unit symbols without first showing the unit symbol parenthetically after the first use of the full unit name. [Note: there's a little more in the last sentence that I don't quote; I'm following the AP Stylebook convention here of not using an ellipsis; the fact that the period is outside the quotes means that I'm not making any representation whether there was a period there or not.] "For reasons of legibility, the preferred symbol for the unprefixed liter is upper-case L."
"For reasons of legibility, the preferred symbol for the unprefixed liter is upper-case L [not lower-case as permitted until now]."

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links)

  • The list of "low added-value" links that should be avoided without reason was expanded to include "the names of geographical locations that are likely to be well-known to English-speakers should generally not be linked where, in the context, they are unlikely to be confused with other locations of the same name, and the linked article would not specifically add to readers' understanding of the topic at hand—this includes the names of: countries such as United States, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, India, Russia, China, Germany, France and Italy, and the associated demonyms; major cities such as New York City, London, Moscow and Paris; the continents and the major oceans and seas; commonly known languages, particularly English; large-scale historical events (World War II); familiar astronomical objects (Earth, Moon, Sun); as well as common "dictionary" words."
  • This was added: "Avoid piping links from "year" to "year in something" or "something year" ([[1991 in music|1991]]) in the main prose of an article in most cases. Use an explicit cross-reference, such as ''(see [[1991 in music]])'', if it is appropriate to link a year to such an article at all. However, such piped links may be useful:
  • in places where compact presentation is important (some tables, infoboxes and lists); and
  • in the main prose of articles in which such links are used heavily, as is often the case with sports biographies that link to numerous season articles.

Wikipedia:Only make links that are relevant to the context

  • "Avoid obvious, redundant, and useless links" was added to the nutshell.

Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria

  • "Or publicly displayed" was added to Criterion 4:
Previous publication. Non-free content must have been published or publicly displayed outside Wikipedia.
  • The disputed clause ", and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding" was again removed from Criterion 8. [Editorial comment: The clause appears to have been removed and reinstated month by month for most months of this year.]
Significance.' Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding.

WP:Naming conventions

The nutshell text:

Generally, article naming should indicate what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.

was changed to this:

Article naming should reflect what English speakers easily recognize.

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting)

  • Added: "A proper name is usually not italicized when it is used, but it may be italicized when the name itself is being referred to (see Words as words)."

Avoid peacock terms

Excellent, important, outstanding, world-famous have been added to the list of words that should ring alarm bells.

Lead section

This is a new section that lists optional elements that may be included in a lead, in addition to introductory information, and the order in which they should occur.


In Lead section, the order of the elements was clarified, providing a code that is readable by both graphic browser and screen reader. In particular, the positioning of caption text for an image in the lead was clarified.

Words to avoid

  • New section on the term Controversy.
  • The statistical meanings of significantly and associated were clarified.
  • A tweaking of the advice on the words theory, extremist, terrorist and freedom fighter.

Also this week:

Wikimedia UK — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — Dispatches 1 — Dispatches 2 — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

(← Previous Dispatches) |width="20%" align= "center" valign="top" |Signpost archives ||width="40%" align="right" valign="top" | (Next Dispatches→)