Help:Style Guide

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The style guide exists to ensure all entries and edits on the WNYWildlife Wiki are consistent and fulfil the purpose of this wiki. Although one way is often as good as another, keeping the articles consistent means that they will be easier to read and to use.

Unless specified here, Wikipedia style[1] adherence is the ideal. However, Wikipedia standards are very strict, and there is much more leeway here in some respects. Wikipedia applies the very pinnicle of methods for presenting credible, intellectually honest information. The purpose of this wiki is not primarily to recount facts and research found elsewhere. In terms of language, the target audience ranges from primary school students to adults, and that will occassionally include young editors who should not be expected to engage in water-tight research methods and presentation.

The primary purpose of the WNYWildlife Wiki is to catalog current, local information regarding conservation and wildlife in Western and Central New York, and provide basic information to give it meaningful context.

In other words, this wiki is to organize and make available information as it applies to local environs and issues. For example, an entry for a related group of species (such as Salamanders) would center on the native and non-native species found locally, but may also include basic information that applies outside the region, such as

  • taxonomy and what distinguishes them as a group or species
  • their distribution and status (endangered, protected, etc.)
  • identifying characteristics and where to look for them (ie., under logs in wet areas)

Throughout the wiki, links to the most related Wikipedia articles should be added wherever appropriate, and whenever possible, using the template Template:WP.

Article Titles

Article Titles must be the simplest, most common expression someone would use to look for the subject matter on that page. For a plant, animal, or other organism, the local common name should be used, if any.

All words major contained within the page title should be capitalized. The only words that should not be capitalized are smaller words (such as "and", "or", "the", etc.). The word "and" should be spelled out instead of using an ampersand ("&").

Titles of individual species should not be pluralised; Groups of organisms should always be pluralized, though some use the same word, such as "Deer".

Examples:

  • Fishes (a class of vertabrates)
  • Sheephead (a type of fish)
  • Salamanders (could refer to many species)
  • Red-Backed Salamander

The subject of the article should be in bold only in the first occurrence of the word. Any subsequent occurrences are left as plain text.


Sections and Subsections

Where appropriate, articles should be split up into sections. This makes them easier to read and edit. Each section should have a title. The title of each section should follow the same guidelines as article titles. There should not be links in the title, and the title should be as short as possible.

Use two equal signs (==) style markup for main headings. Start with ==, add the heading title, then end with ==. Subsections use three equal signs (===). Except for listing a single species within a group, subsections should ideally be used when there is more than one logical grouping of information within the section.

For Species

For any individual species (other than on a page of its own), the listing is always treated as a subsection, meaning three equal signs, even if there is only one species listed in the group. If there is only one group on the page (the group will likely be the page itself in this case), the above rule still holds, even if there are no sections.

  • This section's heading was created with the markup:
== Sections and Subsections ==
  • This subsection's heading was created with the markup:
=== Species ===

Text

Text may be styled to improve the appearance of the article, but should be kept simple.

Bold and italics

Bold and italics should be used sparingly, and colorization should be avoided.

Put two apostrophes (''italics'') around text to make it italic. Italics should be used to emphasise single word or phrases. It should not be used for long bits of text.

Put three apostrophes ('''bold''') around text to make it bold. Bold should be used to emphasise longer parts of text, or where italics is not enough. The first appearance of an article's title should be in bold. Any subsequent appearances should be left as plain text.


Bulleted lists

Bullet points can be used to create a list. To use a bullet point, put an asterisk (*) before each point. For example:

*Point 1
*Point 2
*Point 3
**Sub-point 3

Comes out as:

  • Point 1
  • Point 2
  • Point 3
    • Sub-point 3

Numbered lists

Numbered lists are similar to bulleted lists. They should be used to order items or in step-by-step instructions. To create a number list, put a number sign (#) before each point. For example:

#Point 1
#Point 2
#Point 3

Comes out as:

  1. Point 1
  2. Point 2
  3. Point 3

Links

A link is places by putting square brackets ([[link]]) around words. This will make a link to the article, using the exact words in the link. A link can also be made with a different word as the link, by putting the title, a | symbol then the word you want to appear in square brackets. For example, [[Western and Central New York|the region]] appears as the region but is linked to the Western and Central New York article.

Links should not be made to the same article multiple times. This means that if the word salamander is mentioned five times, only the first appearance of the word should be linked.

Writing Articles

Most of the articles are factual and straightforward, but require framing, meaning sumaries of information elsewhere are summarized with references.

Tenor

All content should be presented in third person. This means that words such as 'I' should be left out. Articles are not supposed to be like essays, but like encyclopedic entries.

Keep bias and personal interpretation out of articles. This is very important. The Wiki should remain neutral and any personal opinions must be kept out. Useful ideas are allowed, so long as they serve to education rather than persuade. In particular, this wiki is for preservation of knowledge regarding conservation, not environmental activism. Think of this site in light of Audubon, who painted wildlife to document the New World's biodiversity for others who may not ever see such things, either due to distance or extinction. And he shot and stuffed his subjects to make the job easier. Our muskets are cameras for this purpose, but the point is to appreciate, not pontificate.

Authorship

This is a wiki. That means nobody owns an article. Information here will be edited and re-edited forever as necessary or by the preference of the overall community.

References / Citations

Images

Images are one of the main things that make content enjoyable. Good photographs are gold, such as those taken by Dave Malak, the original owner of this site. Drawings of other visual media are acceptable, so long as they were done on local subjects or photographs of local subjects, with reference made to the original location and/or photo(s).

Whoever uploads an image must have permission to do so if required by it's author or owner. Derivatives of existing images should be noted in the description at the time of upload.

Species Images

The most important rule: All photos must have been taken locally. No exceptions. If there is no avilable photo, then that leaves a challenge for someone. If no one is ever able to photograph a species over a long period of time, it may be no longer present locally, and this could be discussed.

Images for individual species should be sized at 400 pixels (wide) in landscape, or 200 pixels (wide) in portrait. It should always contain the common name, Latin name (in parenthesis), gender (if known), and simple attribution, if any. Location and date is required, the more specific the better, but such information must be accurate.

Only one image should be shown for each species, or a set of two to show male and female specimens. A single photo with both (or a group of specimens) is fine.

Conflicting Images

Additional species or other images are welcome, but there will be times when other people wish to use new images (such as their own photographs) as well. When this occurs, a procedure will be put in place to make them avialable by link from within the pertinent article. Wiki administrators will decide when existing images are replaced, with older images catalogued as extras.

Audio and Video

Audio and/or video are always welcome, such as the mating call of a frog, or the flight of a bird. Like photographs, audio and video must be produced within the region.