Wiki 24's Manual of Style is a collection of guidelines and rules of thumb that are designed to set a standard format and appearance for all of its articles. In addition to accuracy and completeness, one of the major goals for which Wiki 24 strives is consistency.
This Manual of Style is designed to make articles:
- easy to read and understand,
- organized and consistent,
- attractive to the reader, and
- easy to edit
Of course, none of these rules are set in stone. They are merely what the creators and editors of Wiki 24 currently feel is the best way to accomplish the above goals. Keep in mind that, like Wiki 24 itself, the Manual of Style is a work in progress, so if you come across something that's missing, feel free to either add a description of how you feel is the best way to organize an aspect of the site, or discuss possible options on the discussion page. Remember that everyone has a say in how Wiki 24 is created.
There are some general rules regarding how articles on Wiki 24 should be named.
- Article names should be in singular form, not plural. The only exceptions are things which always appear in plural form in the English language, such as binoculars or boltcutters.
- The titles of articles about characters should be the name by which the character was most commonly known in the the 24verse, with later names preferred to earlier ones, and full names preferred to partial names or nicknames. Titles such as "Captain," "Doctor," "Agent" or "Mister" should be omitted.
- Unless the name of the article contains a proper noun, only the first word should be capitalized.
- Abbreviations such as "CTU", "DoD", and "FBI" should not be used. Rather, they should be written out in full (Counter Terrorist Unit, Department of Defense and Federal Bureau of Investigation) with the a redirect page created for the abbreviation (see "Redirects" below).
- Articles for things which use "24" as the actual title, such as 24: The Game or 24: The Official Magazine, do not require the numbers "24" in the title, as it's assumed that all things on Wiki 24 are 24-related. These articles should simply be titled The Game or The Official Magazine.
- Disambiguation tags may also be necessary in the title. See below for more information.
Disambiguation is the process of resolving ambiguity, the conflict that occurs when a term is closely associated with two or more different topics. In many cases, this word or phrase is the "natural" title of more than one article; however, disambiguation may also serve to differentiate more than one similarly titled article for a reader. Essentially, disambiguations are paths leading to different topics that share the same term or a similar term.
There are three ways to disambiguate on Wiki 24:
Disambiguation tags are usually necessary for people, places or things which share the same name. These tags appear in the title in parentheses, eg. (Day 3), (One Shot), (writer), etc. Deciding what to title a tag can be tricky, but it should be consistent.
In the case of characters with the same name, tags should indicate which "Day" they appeared (Day 1, Stories, The Game, Veto Power, etc.). In the case of two characters from the same day, title, position or affiliation may be used to distinguish (Agent/Civilian, Department of Defense/Terrorist, etc.). These same rules should be applied to non-character articles as well, if possible.
For cross-categorical articles with the same title, the category itself should be used as the disambiguation tag, eg. Tracy Zigler (character) and Tracy Zigler (script supervisor). The latter may also be simplifed to (crew) or (crew member) if her title were to ever change.
Disambiguation tags usually won't be necessary for locations. If two locations share the same name, the titles of the articles should be expanded to be more specific. For example, "Portland, Oregon" and "Portland, Maine". "Portland" would then be made into a disambiguation page (see below).
Situations for creating disambiguation tags may vary drastically, so there can be no set rules, but editors are asked to keep them as clear and consistent as possible.
If there are two articles with similar titles, a disambiguation note is used, in addition to tags. For example, if someone wanted to search for Marianne Taylor, but couldn't remember her first name, they'd come across the page for the "One Shot" agent known only as Taylor. To help the reader find what they may be looking for, a note is included at the top of the page for Taylor:
A similar note is not necessary for the Marianne Taylor page, as it has the more specific title of the two. However, if Marianne's first name had never been given, a disamgibuation page would be created (see below).
As illustrated above, the most common form of disambiguation page on Wiki 24 distiguishes between character names. 24 is notorious for repeating first and last names of characters and often it can be confusing. If two characters share an identical name or more than two characters share similar names, an seperate disambiguation page is created.
For example, if there exist three characters named "Bob Smith," "Bob Jones" and "Bob Miller", no disambiguation page is needed. However, if there later appears a character named simply "Bob", a disambiguation page will need to be created (titled "Bob"), listing all four characters alphabetically with descriptions and links to their proper pages. The page for the character known only as "Bob" page will contain a disambiguation tag such as "(Day 3)" or "(The Game)". If any other simply named Bob is later created, new disambiguation tags will be used, as illustrated above.
Note that these rules apply exactly the same for last-name-only characters, as well as locations and items which share the same name.
Occasionally, certain characters or items are known by more than one name or more than one spelling. In most situations, it's wise to create redirect pages for any and all alternate titles that may be queried when looking for a specific article.
To create a redirect page, type the following in the edit field:
- #REDIRECT [[RealArticle]]
The first thing on most pages is the sidebar, which places a handful of important facts and a picture in the upper-right-hand corner of the article. To maintain consistency, there are templates that are copied and pasted into new articles. See Wiki 24:Page templates for a list of templates currently used.
Every page should begin with an introduction, briefly summarizing the article for the reader. The introduction should give a quick explanation of what the article is about and establish its context. The length of the introduction can vary from a single sentence to multiple paragraphs. The title or subject of that article should appear in the first line in bold. Even though the article title is already listed, it's useful to emphasize the article's subject for the reader.
Headlines and sections
To create a new section in an article, surround the text with two or more == (equal signs). The wiki engine will automatically create a table of contents once there are four or more headers in an article.
The first word and all proper nouns of the header should be capitalized, and all other words lowercase.
Please avoid using links in headers. Depending on the browser's default settings, some users may not be able to see the links properly. It is much more useful to place the appropriate link in the first sentence after the header.
Perspective and tense
There exist two perpectives of articles on Wiki 24, "in-universe" and "out-of-universe". In-universe describes things which exist within the world of 24, while out-of-universe describes things which exist in the real world. For example, Jack Bauer exists in-universe, while Kiefer Sutherland exists out-of-universe.
All in-universe articles are to be written in the past tense, from the perspective of someone documenting the events from the far future. This creates consistency across all in-universe articles and eliminates the necessity of subjectively deciding when an unresolved loose end is no longer "current" or "recent". Additionally, although much of 24 takes place in our future, the future tense should never be used in in-universe articles.
Other than specific background information sections of the page, the main body of in-universe articles should never refer to the show 24 or any real life things such as actors, episodes or the like.
Out-of-universe articles are to be written from a real life point of view, using a combination of past, present and future tense. For example, the biography of an actor may include all three tenses:
- Jane Snow was born in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1953. She currently plays the role of Lola McElroy on 24. Snow will be appearing in the upcoming film Full House: The Movie.
Articles about episodes, books, comics, games, or other real life 24 story material should contain a detailed synopsis of events, written in the present progressive tense.
24 is a show which is set in the real world. While the characters and some other things such as CTU are fictional, much of what is referred to on the show are things which exist in the real world. When writing in-universe articles for these things, it's important to only include information that was actually given in the story, and not assume that other "known" facts exist within the 24verse as well. For example, Los Angeles is the main location for the show, however it would be inappropriate to include its current population or the year of its incorporation unless it was specifically revealed in an episode or story.
Sometimes however, no information is given about a real life article and it is necessary to add one or two establishing facts in order for there to be enough to even create an article. This should be kept to a minimum and only done when absolutely necessary. In these situations, it may also be wise to include an external link for more information on the subject.
Keep it simple
Above all else, you are encouraged to keep your articles simple! Don't try to get too fancy with your markup (like embedding tables within tables). The easier the markup is, the easier it will be for anyone to edit the article later on. Our first goal is to reliably and accurately display the information. The goal of wiki markup is to keep the articles simple and to emphasize the information as much as possible. We prefer content over form. For this and other reasons, HTML markup should be avoided in most circumstances.